Děkuji Czech Republic, it’s been Lovely

30 08 2012

As we rode into the Czech Republic Rose turned to me and said, “it feels different doesn’t it?” We both agreed that it did, although we hadn’t spoken to anyone, the environment was similar although the house’s were a little less preened and we were certainly cycling along the same river since Dresden. So although not much had changed barring the number plates on the cars we felt the atmosphere had changed, But would we have noticed this ‘change’ if we weren’t aware of the border we had crossed? I guess we can’t know for sure but we think it was our sub conscious perceptions of the Czech Republic that influenced our initial feelings of this new country. It would be nice to let a new place make a completely fresh impression on you with out any additives.  Just a thought, anyway that’s enough of thinking for now.

The other notion that struck us some 40km into CZ was that the beer prices outside the bars we passed were marked in Kc’s. “Uh oh,” was the communal dread! We hadn’t even considered the currency of this new country, so we found a bank in Usti and withdrew 2000Kc not knowing whether we had just gone bankrupt or not. However being seasoned beer drinkers we were able to pretty accurately deduce from the pub chalk boards that 30 was about a quid.

On leaving Dresden our friend Thomas had boldly declared that the Czechs do the best beer in the world, better even than the Germans. This statement  has more weight to it when you consider that Thomas is German. I must admit I was dubious having enjoyed the liquid cuisine of Deutchland a little too greedily for the last few weeks. That was until I met my new best friend (Mr) Braznak, who is a delicious dark beer.In the interest of Eurpean exploration we have sampled many more, all of which will be included in our future compendium of beer. It is worth noting that the Czechs like there beer so much that it is not uncommon to  see them drinking large quantities for breakfast, one chap camping opposite us had 3 before his coffee and breakfast.

Although we cook most of our meals ourselves we have eaten out a few times. The highlight of which has to be my roasted pigs knee with a dark beer sauce, if you like ‘meat’ and the fattier cuts then this has to be tried. Dad I thought of you when ordering this, remember the pigs ears and duck feet fiasco?

We of course went to Prague where we treated ourselves and our bikes to a double room in a hostel in the old town. Prague has the feel of most Europen capitals although this maybe more beautiful than many with wonderful architecture around every corner.

We were also lucky enough to bump into Vicky and Steve,  Roses good friends from Manchester.Another place of note has to be Cesky Krumlov which we accidentally stumbled across and has a fantastically pretty old town.

We have been following another bike route from Prague to Austria. It has again loosely followed the Vltava river to our current position alongside Lake Lipno by the border.

We even got to cheer on Team GB in the European rafting Championships yesterday, which makes up for missing the Olympics which we hear was quite average.

Unlike previous routes this has been somewhat hillier and a lot more rugged. The hills have reduced our daily distance to around 65km and the ruggedness has reduced my lovely soft Panasella Racer tyres to shreds, the result being that I have a temporary replacement tyre on and have arranged to pick up 2 new stronger tyres in Vienna.

As we prepare to leave the Czech Republic it has to be said that it has been a tougher ride than previous routes but it has completely been worth it. The views have been astonishingly beautiful, the people warm and welcoming, the food good if not gourmet, the prices cheap (excluding Prague) and did I mention the beer is OK too. Good ingredients for a holiday destination I’d say.

Austria and the Danube here we come!

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The Truth! (My days at fat camp)

21 08 2012

When we planned this trip I was promised beautiful views, camping in the wild, city hopping and meeting lots of lovely people. And yes all this has happened so far, we have met some amazing people already been to lots of cities and seen some glorious sights along the way…what I didn’t expect was the grueling ten day stint at fat camp!

I never did join a gym or go on a silly diet to try and lose the pounds, no I decided to quit my job, sell my belongings and cycle 100KM+ a day to try and lose the pounds, and that I did (I don’t do things by half).

So who would have thought that eating great hearty meals, a block of cheese, bar of chocolate a day, carbs galore and tasting all the delights of beer that Germany has to offer would actually help me to lose weight in such a short space of time!This cycling malarky is much better than any gym.

We now have our own beer compendium of all the German beers we have tasted and have been assured that the czech beer is even better.

The cycling is not the hard part although it is tiring when the sun is beating down ( we have now invested in sun hats, although Jimi thinks hes a teenager again in his and forgets its for a purpose) I will also be investing in a second pair of cycling shorts as saddle sore is a slight problem. (Sudocrem is a godsend.)

Since the 1000M dash we have now chilled out and the day after we only cycled 30km and relaxed by the lake. This is now more like I imagined, camping, cooking dinner, reading lots of books and enjoying the scenery and wildlife. The next map after Prague however has many hills, so my next blog may be a different story!

We are now in Dresden and have stayed two nights with a lovely young couple from Warm Showers who have just returned from a year on their bikes around Australia. They welcomed us into their home like we were old friends and we have had a wonderful few days and a well needed rest.

We did the obligatory tourist sightseeing things, the military history museum was very interesting, then we had a bbq in the 40 degree heat! We are now busy planning our next few weeks as we will be crossing into the Czech republic today, where we will be able to wild camp along the river Elber cycle route as much as we like as it is more acceptable. We don’t have Wifi very often so when we do we will blog and keep you all up to date with our trip. More photos in the photo gallery.