I wake early, the room is flooded in sunlight. Breakfast opens at 8:00 sharp. I am the only foreigner, I try to listen to the Czech language but it is impossible to understand a single word.
It’s great that German seems to work just fine for simple tourist conversation. I had a look at the map yesterday and the track looks very hilly so I decide to ride along the river on the normal road instead.
The traffic is very sparse, less than 30 vehicles in 1 hour. When I get closer to Český Krumlov I ride through Větřní, it looks well dodgy and not the place a tourist want to be.
I see some local cyclists taking a smaller road on the other side of the river, I stop and have look at the map, an older man on a bike stops and talk Czech to me, I choose to interpret what he says to be that the small road indeed is the way to Český Krumlov. It was and the road was almost completely free of cars.
Český Krumlov is a very nice old town, I start to look for an ATM, I get completely derailed from the GPS track and once I have found the ATM I try to take some shortcuts to get back on track. I thought the Czech-dollars I had would be enough but I guess I got confused by the exchange rate to Euro (1 Euro = 25 Kc) and Swedish krona (1 SEK = 3 Kc).
Next big town is České Budějovice, the home of Pivovar Budějovický Budvar (Budweiser brewery), it’s a bit messy to get in to town but once there I find bike lanes and ride through town in a jiffy.
Today has been a very hot day, lots of sunshine and only some hills. From my guidebook I can see that the hills will start again after Hluboka nad Vltavou so that town seems like good place to stop for the day.
The countryside has been magnificent today, drivers drive slow and reliably, it’s very clean everywhere. The countryside is extremely clean, no trash at all anywhere, much cleaner than Sweden.
I’m tired and overheated when I get to Hluboka nad Vltavou, the last bit in to town is a small hill. The hotel I ended up in was unnecessary expensive, but once I had gotten off the bike and in to the cold and nice hotel I just gave up and checked-in. The room was great, Internet was fantastic, there was a big heated towel rack so I could do a big batch of laundry.
I practice some Czech from my dictionary “Víteje na rozmezí tří zemí!”, Dobrý den, Pivo, Kolo, Máte volný pokoj, Zmrzlina
Wake up early from the sunlight. Breakfast at 7 is not a problem. The sky is blue and the weather looks nice.
Today will be many hills, much up and down. The uphills are the long slow type and the downhills has so bad surface that I have to brake all the way down.
The day becomes very, very hot, my handlebar thermometer show 45 C. I spend much of the day riding in a wide circle around the Temelín nuclear power station, I see it’s massive cooling towers on and off for a great part of the day.
There are quite a lot of forest roads on the track, I doubt that they would be cyclable if there were any heavy rains.
In Albrechtice nad Vltavou I hit double jackpot, there is an open lunch restaurant and a supermarket with the familiar name Coop. The menu is in Czech but the staff speaks some German so I manage to order some lunch. It was great to sit indoors and eat. After lunch I went to Coop and did some shopping. I did not recognize any of the brands they had but it worked out OK.
The nature reminds me a lot of Sweden, but a lot cleaner. The day was very hot and hilly, I think I biked more than 3000 meters up and down, I am totally exhausted when I arrive at Pivovarský dvůr Zvíkov which is a hotel/bar/restaurant/brewery and more.
After some cooling down in my room I have dinner and taste their beer, it’s very good. Prices in the Czech republic are like in Spain, the food in Spain is a bit better but all in all it’s equally great.
I wake up early from the sunlight. I have my breakfast, it’s very good with fresh bread. I did some service on my bike, the rear brake pads were worn out, that only after 2300 km. It must have been lots of downhills with the brakes engaged. The rear wheel seems OK, no more broken spokes since I re-tensioned the wheel.
When I am done with the bike I take a short walk in to the village, I had seen signs with Coop so I wanted to do some shopping at the supermarket. I spent a while looking and it seemed like the Coop store was inside a hotel. I went inside and asked, as it turns out Coop also runs hotels in the Czech republic. So the hotel was Coop, there was no supermarket.
In the afternoon there was a severe thunderstorm passing by, nothing much to do except drinking some beer.
Cloudy and some light rain. I really didn’t want to leave this place, one of the greatest places I stayed in.
Once I get going there are lots of muddy roads and some rivers to cross, I have decided to stop before Prague as I don’t want to end my day in a big city.
All day is up and down, up and down, I think I accumulate more than 2000 meters of up and down. It is Saturday and it’s hard to find any restaurants and shops that are open, the closer I get to Prague the more deserted it feels.
I had hopes for accommodation before and around Slapy but no luck. So I have to descend a crazy downhill that ends in a summerhouse area, I have to ford two creeks to get out of there. One was to deep to risk going through so I removed all the bags and led the bike over a small rickety bridge.
Now it feels like I am in the suburbs of Prague and the nice countryside is gone, I bike towards Prague and just stop at the first possible accommodation. The Hotel is really worn down and it smells of many generations of smokers. The room is tiny and the beds are not really beds. But I was tired and fell asleep quickly.
The first 13 km was along the big road next to the river, then there was a fantastic bike road with thousands of people riding bikes and inlines all the way in to Prague. In the city there was lots of cobblestone and it was hard to navigate. After a while I got back on the route towards Mělník, the route was hard to follow just north of Prague.
There was a massive amount of people out and about, the few lunch places I saw was severely overcrowded, on the countryside north of Prague I saw a few places that had signs from breweries but looked like peoples backyards, drying clothes and kids toys included, I never managed to figure out if they were restaurants or not.
Nearing Mělník I missed that I was supposed to take the ferry to the other side of the river and ended up in a dead end with two options, either backtrack 2-3 km or carry the bike over a bridge (actually a heating pipeline). I decided to lift the bike up and down the 10 meter high pipeline bridge, it was for sure faster than biking 4-6km and waiting for a ferry.
In Mělník I was a bit tired and missed the bridge to cross the river and ended up biking 2 km to far. Once in Mělník it turned out that the hotels were on top of a hill, I was very tired when I had conquered this final hill, I had some luck and found a really great hotel that was cheap and clean.
This concluded my journey along the Vltavou (Moldau) and tomorrow I would start the journey along the Labe (Elbe) towards Magdeburg and then home.
I have breakfast early and bike to the Tesco supermarket, but it didn’t have any windows so I didn’t dare to leave my bike outside. I bike along the Labe, after a while I find a supermarket in a small town.
I have decided that I want a short day today after the last 2 very long days. I had my mind set on Ústí nad Labem but when I see as sign with “Ústí nad Labem 58 km” I decide to rethink and take a detour to visit the Terezin concentration camp a.k.a KZ-Gedenkstätte Theresienstadt. After some biking in the countryside I got there, but since they wanted money to see the inside and also even more money to take photos I stayed on the outside.
I biked the short distance from the Small Fortress (the camp) to the walled city (the ghetto) and looked around, while doing so I saw a hotel and decided to go inside and see if they had a room. Yes, they had a room, cheap,nice and clean it was.
They also had a room on the first floor that wasn’t used so I could park my bike there. Just as I arrived there was a busload of Danish retirees leaving, they had had some buffet lunch in the restaurant. The staff in the restaurant said I could eat whatever was left on the buffet for free, the best meals are for free.
There is a small convenience store next to the hotel, it opens at 05:30 in the morning.
I wake up early and have breakfast at 7, there are about 10 of us having breakfast. I have not heard a single sound all the time I stayed in the hotel so the others must be quiet or the hotel well insulated. I find my way back to the river and just keep biking along, the weather is OK and the roads as well.
I have lunch at a nice place just before the border, I celebrate and try to blow my last Czech-dollars and have a nice steak for lunch. Unfortunately the food was so cheap that I still had a bunch of money left. The restaurant caters for cyclist, there is a big bike parking just next to the veranda.
Crossing the border to Germany was uneventful, just a sign stating where the Czech republic starts.
It starts to rain, I look for the first place and find a Hotel garni. A nice place, twice as expensive as last night, the difference are the small things like high pressure in the shower, nicer looking and newer furniture, a distinct feeling of ordnung.
I go shopping for dinner at Lidl, when I am leaving the heaven has opened and the rain is massive. I get soaked walking back but it doesn’t matter since there is heating in the hotel and my shoes and clothes dry quickly.
So now my adventure in the Czech republic is over, I must say that I am very positively surprised by the country and it’s people. The nature reminds me a lot of Sweden, people are a bit the same in the sense that they are low key and keep to themselves. I missed my tent, I would really have liked to go camping. I saw some great looking campings and a million other spots that looked great. I will definitevly come back and explore the country more some day.