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Pedalling to Prague

Trebic, Czech Republic
Apr 27, 2004

Pros: variety of beautiful scenery, enthusiastic bar staff and helpful tourist office lady
Cons: cycling on cobble stones working loose my screws

The pedal to Prague began at breakfast time on Tuesday 27th April. I want to be there by early afternoon on Friday in time for the celebrations at the weekend. I'll have to do about 100km per day to make it.

After slipping around the Carpathian hills on the outskirts of Prague I was amazed to find myself cruising along at 25 t o 30km/hr. I was on another plain and the wind was behind me. It felt really good. I paused long enough for lunch in Malachy and there is a spit of rain as I set off through the farmland again, however the sun is out again as I enter the lovely little village of Kuty a few km from the border.

The main street is surfaced with black cobble stones. It looks great but I can't help thinking of all the screws working loose as I shudder along. I stop to take a photo of the church and the cobbled street. A man walks over to me and offers to take the shot with me in it. We chat a while afterwards and he explains that he is a geography teacher who likes cycling also. Has toured in Croatia and Slovakia. Martin is late 20's??, and has a friendly smile. Some of his students pass on the opposite side of the road as we talk, they shout over at him and he shouts something back. The girls start shouting over "Hello, hello" and walk on giggling.

Martin tells me there is a lovely castle in Lednice, worth a look. That becomes my destination for the night. I promise to post the photos on this page as I say cheerio.

I cross the border on a small road, on the motorway about 200m away there is a very long queue of trucks. The guard exclaims "Ah, Irsko." on examining my passport and waves me on.

Lednice is indeed a lovely little village and after checking into the Oynx pension, very nice, but a little expensive, I went for a walk around the castle grounds as the sun set behind the trees around the lake. The castle is more of a big stately home than a fortified castle, and the grounds are like a mini Versaille, formal gardens, lovely mature trees, and a huge green house/arboriteum.

In the little bar by the castle, I discover from the barmaid that the Ice Hockey championships are on in Czech Republic. She is very enthusiastic and produces a programme which I peruse over a couple of pints. Apparently this place is very busy from May on. I can well believe it.

The first village I passed through on Wednesday was Bulhary. The spring tidy up was well under way. People tidying their garden, weeding vegetable plots and the council out relaying pavements and verges. It'll look great in a couple of weeks.

I crossed over a large lake, I suspect it's man made as several large tree trunks stood in the middle of the lake like tombstones to a drowned forest.

Home for the night was Trebic. I found the tourist office in the main square., in the beautiful \y decorated town hall. The assistant was very helpful and soon had me booked into a pension and there was an internet cafe open till 10.30pm. Now 5.30, perfect.

Well, no. It was too easy. The pension was part of some kind of civic building. the care taker was a very nice old man who spoke no English. We went through all the formalities and I paid. Then he showed me to the accommodation block, BUT the key would not open the lock. HMM!! He went through the main hall and tried from the inside but no good. (Why can't I go that way??) Amid much shaking of head and apologies he led me back to his office and returned my money. It was actually all very comical.

The helpful women in the tourist office tried again. This time the Pension Pod. There I got a really comfortable little room. Unfortunately the internet cafe actually closed at 7pm, so my well planned evening became a bit of a farce. Things seem to work better when I have no idea what I'm doing!!

I left Trebic at noon on Thursday after using the internet in the library and having a huge breakfast in a restaurant. All very nice but now time was a bit of an issue.