On our first few days in the Czech Republic, we got to know the country in various ways. Cycling over the border, we were welcomed by old, some abandoned, houses, sketchy people, meth seeking junkies, signs forbidding prostitution and roads filled with potholes and dozens of memorials and roadkill on the side. Lovely… Weirdly though, besides all the memorials and roadkill that make me feel sick to my stomache and worried that I might be involved in the next accident, as cause or victim, I liked it. These damaged roads, ruinous residences and the suspicious looking man walking by for the third time now, are obviously a lot different than the villages in the mountains of Germany, the remote little towns or even the bigger cities, all with more pleasant, clear and safe roads. That is exactly why I like it! It is different. In the minute we crossed the border everything changed. Yes, you do get the occasional tweeker asking for either marijuhana or chrystal meth and the roads are possibly destroying my bike nonetheless, I like it. It surprised me, keeping the journey unpredictable, as we went from a warm bed, a filled stomache and good hosts in Hof to a tent in a small forest near As on a rainy night with half of our conversations with the locals being about whether we have some crank or not.
Reason to celebrate
It wasn’t all grim though, we had plenty of reason to celebrate. As, together with crossing the border, we reached another milestone; the 1k kilometer! 😀 Besides that, we had some sick campfires, enjoyed the marmelade sandwiches and with the tools given by our sailor friends and with the help of good old duct tape, I managed to fix both my brakes. You read that right, both my brakes were broken. Luckily, I found out on time that my second one had gone as well and not during a game of joust with a mad truck driver.
On our 3rd day, we came upon more friendly people, less busy with narcotics, which we quite frankly preferred. This was as we entered Marianské Láznê, after leaving our campsite in Dyleń. The people here seemed genuinely more happy when greeted with a smile, which I loved. We cruised around for a bit, going through the expensive, amazing hotel area with people riding around in carriages. Before leaving this lovely town, some supplies were bought and we finally got to exchange our currency to the crown at a Vietnamese nail salon.
The evening was enjoyed by another campfire, next to a pond and with the view of the sunset in the background. As tired as I was, it was not a night whereon I was able to catch some sleep. Even after the moon was done and slowly went away, letting the sun replace his empty seat, I was still awake. I had started a fire instead, when the crawling hours became too much for me. A little bit after the sun, Maarten got up as well, also without a good night’s rest. Then one on no, and one little sleep we took off from Nova Hospoda to Plzeñ, 60 kilometers away.
The beer city
After a long, killing day, both ready to fall death, we arrived late afternoon in Plzeñ. It was hotter than ever before, announcing shorts weather. We wandered around for a small bit, before going to a cheap hostel. It was not the building or inside itself that explained the cheapness, yet the neighbourhood it was situated in. Scattering glass, sounds of more things breaking and people shouting.. We ignored it and enjoyed the luxuries; a comfy bed and a hot shower to wash away our homelessness look. It was not late, when I dove in my bed to not return until the following morning.
As we felt Plzeñ a city worthy of viewing, which we hadn’t properly done, we decided to stay another day and explore the city. Since it’s well-known for its beer – Pilsener Urquell – we thought it fitting to go to a brewery museum. Although very interesting to learn more about the history of beer and beer in Plzeñ, thirsty as we were, it left us craving for a cold one.
Upon our return, we came upon two German girls, Hana and Hana. They too, had the incredibly stupid idea of using their free time to travel by bike. Quite funny, how the only others in our shared dormitory, were also two cyclists. Together we had some pizza and pasta (my two favourites!) and washed it down with a beer, I mean, we are in Plzeñ.
Some trouble on the way
As we left the beer city, hoping to reach Prague in one go, the sky was clear and the sun was bright, allowing us to bike in shorts. This is the kind of weather you want when biking. But it doesn’t matter what weather it is, snow, rain or sunny, it will be difficult to go further with a flat tire. In a small town before Beroun, we stopped at a house with the plan to fix my tire and stay the night; Prague isn’t going anywhere. The second I saw their dog, Bessie, I knew we were good. The lady did not speak any of our languages, but luckily the husband spoke German. Not only were we allowed to stay, also did the old man help with fixing my tire. (…) Fine, it was us that merely helped when the old man fixed my tire. 🙈
The rest of the evening – when not cuddling the dog – we spent talking with their granddaughter, half forced to speak to us as she knows English. “They’re 14 too”, told the grandma her… 😒 She was only 5 years off.. Despite that, we had a good conversation with Elizabeth (aka Queen) and I was already happy to be speaking in English, instead of German or playing charades.