When I conjure thoughts of a great riding day with friends it is hoped the weather is reasonable. Partly cloudy with a light cooling wind. Smooth and well maintained roads with minimal traffic. Scenic with a few hills thrown in to keep us honest but nothing that’s going to pop a heart valve to climb up. Most importantly good company and interesting banter.
Today I got all of that. Oh, and a slight tailwind too!
Our accommodation last night was in a decommissioned water mill hosted by Thomas (he of the largest hands in the Czech Republic and a handshake that could crush walnuts) and his blind beagle called Joey. Leaving his hospitality was the only downer of the day.
Our home last night. Pension Stare Mitrovice . 10/10.
Joey the blind beagle keeping guard of our gear as we settled up the bill.
Any man who loves his motorbike so much that he parks it in the foyer must surely be single.
Thomas did tell us the first 4 km of the day was straight up a hill and he wasn’t lying. So very glad (not) that I had donned basically every item of cycling clothing in preparation for what had been forecast to be a cold morning. With all that kit on I was sweating somewhat profusely a mere km into the day.
Once we had ”summited” the climb it was a 21km ride over undulating terrain towards Tabor that ran us through dense pine forests at time and across vast open expanses of recently ploughed fields. Very similar countryside to that we had cycled yesterday complete with countless numbers of ponds and small lakes.
At some point we crossed the invisible boundary that separates Central Bohemia from Southern Bohemia, with the latter region being famous for its wines.
Tabor was our first coffee stop and it’s a small cobblestoned town that was surprisingly quiet for 11am on a Saturday of a long weekend. It is famous for being founded by the Hussite’s . Read more here …
The climb out Tabor was a steep one and I am pretty sure evaporated the benefits of the double espresso I had enjoyed 15 mins earlier in the main square under the shadow of the rather impressive Tabor Church .
The rain held off through the day and the wind was strong enough to be cooling but not so strong that you noticed it. The air at times was rich with the smell of recently fertilised fields and at other times the aroma of pine trees as we cycled through numerous heavily wooded forests that were on the whole devoid of traffic.
We decided to take lunch at a non descript bistro adjoining a closed supermarket. For Gareth.W, who is a vegetarian, it was a moment of unbridled joy when he realised he could order something other than fried cheese. A salad it was. We all commented how very few choices there are for vegetarians in this meat eating / loving part of the world. Vegans would stand even less chance of fulfilling their dietary requirements.
The undulating roads made it interesting riding and the accompanying scenery made the day a very enjoyable one.
Tabor Church and main square
Museum of the Hussites - Tabor
Leaving Tabor via the old wall entrance
Smallest churches award goes to any of the countless villages we passed through in Central Bohemia where the place of worship would struggle to hold Thomas (our host last night and owner of the biggest hands in the Czech Republic) and his entire family in one sitting.
What happens apparently when you plan one too many long distance bicycle trips.
We are following the Greewnays Route from Prague to nearly Vienna. It’s an extremely well thought out and well sign posted route that aims to keep the cyclist off major roads.
Two friends chewing the fat with the sun on their backs as the km drift by and so do countless ponds/lakes.
April 30 holds specific interest for the people in this part of the world. Marking the end of winter and commencement of Spring the occasion is known as pálení čarodějnic, or “burning witches”. Communities throughout the country gather together to drink whilst standing around massive bonfires watching effigies of witches burn. Drink and fire. What could possibly go wrong?
In keeping with this tradition some town residents had gone to great lengths to ensure their participation in this historic festival was noted .
Our Greenway route took a detour at one point of about 5km. This picturesque Villa was the reason. Cervena Lohta. A Renaissance-style castle, built in the middle of the 14thcentury, with its rich interiors from the times of the Schönburg-Hartensteins.
An impressive structure that we enjoyed whilst sipping a coffee in the late afternoon sun and a mere 20km from our hotel.
Leaving Cervena Lohta we soon came across this minor obstacle. Faced with an alternative route that required another 10-15km to be cycled the decision to walk our bikes gingerly through this building site was an easy one.
This non descript body of water was the 50th lake / pond we passed on the day. By days end that number stood at 56.
The joke must surely begin with “How many Czechs does it take to build a bonfire?”. In this case 9 would be the answer as folk in a small hamlet ready the local park for biting the witches tomorrow night.
Surely the smallest natural grass football pitch in the country.
You can’t see it, however there’s a mighty big stork neat atop that chimney. As there was atop most tall disused chimneys we cycled past Trust me.
We clipped out of our pedals for the final time of the day in the small town of Jindrichuv Hradecj
Jindrichuv Hradecj main square .