Today I have the second continuation of my journey around the border. Pleasant reading.
I slept like a log. I spent the morning planning the next day and drying things. But the Info Center, where I wanted to pay for a sleepover, wouldn’t open. But then I wouldn’t be allowed to have a loaded bicycle without a nice guy sitting next to me with a bunch of questions about where I was taking it all. Soon there were two, and at my insistence they opened the infocentre a little early. And to pay for the night, I got stickers and a pendant that wouldn’t leave my neck for years. I repeat to myself that I must come here with another wheel. Time is pressing now. I mean, it’s not the time, it’s more the need to move on.
I’m on my way. Under Ramza, I visit a cabin where my grandmother took me, my brother and cousins 23 years ago. The gentleman remembers us. Wow! With memories, I continue through Branna, Hanushkovice, on to the Eagle Mountains, visiting a balaclava shop in Rabbits instead of a military fortification. I stock up, have a word with the owner, and order a smoothie. Outside, the clouds are rolling in, and I end up staying in Rabbit Square a little longer than I expected. As soon as the storm passes, I’m moving on.
After a few kilometers, I arrive at the Abbey above the Eagle, where a blue tourist sign leads me to the LAST CHANNING sign. I see a couple of guys at the tables having beers. The minute I notice two loaded fulls, I dismount and go and order a beer, too. Loaded bikes look a little different than mine. These only have two small bags, and their owners only have small backpacks. A little later, I know they’re milliners and they’re driving a few more miles to accommodation with a washing machine. The lady complains of smelly clothes and apparent fatigue, while the guy happily nibbles on a sausage. I’m already drinking another beer, and it’s clear to me that Last Chance is really last for today. I’m staying in one of the cabins at the campsite, which is up and running again after about 20 years. The showers match, but the water’s warm and the beer’s cold, so nothing to complain about.
That night, I still became guests of a Czech family living in America. At cards, we discussed everything from the weather to the difference between the Czech Republic and the US. Around midnight, I staggered to my bed, thinking that by the end of the expedition I would have no more than one beer in the evening.
The morning is a little sore, but a bath at Wild Eagle and the beginning of the rain will wake me up. From a new American friend, I get bananas for the road and I go. The road around the bunkers is beautiful. So is the wooden walkway, which makes it slippery. The rain adds richer colors and smells to the landscape. The rustle of the river and the rain lulls me. I’m awakened to the steep steps leading to the river. Ugh! I almost hummed in there. I get off my bike and explore the terrain. It’s a piece, but a very violent piece for that. Of course, it would be wise to take off the bags and bear it all carefully on a straight path, but you know why the lazy dragged himself, don’t you? So the squirrels were able to amuse themselves by looking at me and my laden bike as we inched our way down the wet stairs and roots. When my bike gets stuck in a tangle of roots and I don’t know how to get it off. What about it? Nothing. I’m going to get my camera out of my bag and at least take a picture. As I do so, I find I am already within sight of the Earth Gate (a beautiful stone bridge). Therefore, I leave the wheel hanging and take enthusiastic pictures of the gate with wet stones in the foreground.
When the card in the camera is richer by a few photos, I take the wheel off its roots, cross the Earth Gate, and ride on into the Eagle Mountains, and my attention is drawn to an older lady who leads two malamutes. Beautiful malamutes. Her daughter appears to be walking beside her, carrying a stroller. As I slow down to look at the dogs, she asks me where I’m going. If I tell her about my Journey, she invites me to breakfast. Moments later, I’m sitting in their cabin, toasting Magda S.’s health. After a while of lamenting that she had nothing to feed me, I’m getting about the best eggs I’ve ever had and another shot of whiskey. We talk about life, the roads, and how it’s likely to rain all day today. And it was raining. Before I left, I asked for a photo with the malamutes to remember me by.
Rain really does accompany me most of the day. And as I pass Broumovsko, I am horrified by the sight of a huge cloud rolling over the Giant Mountains. The wind tells me this parade is coming my way. I am therefore urgently seeking accommodation. It’s not until the moon that I succeed at an old villa.
The owner has experience traveling by bike, so he offers me a bike cleaning and something hot to eat. I won’t bite either (although I do have my cleaning, of course, but the rag is already more black than the chain). I still get breakfast brownies tonight and fall asleep like a kitten.
The big cloud hangs around the Giant Mountains the next day, and the radar in those places glows red. Change of plans. I’ll take it underneath. With my head off, I head to Bohemian Paradise to check out the Rough Rock and make up for the Giant Mountains. Exploring the map, I discover a campsite in Jablonné in Podještědí. That’s where The Old Bobbit’s Secret was filmed at Lemberk Castle. Therefore, the direction is clear. When I commute 140 km to the campsite, I’m happy for a dry bed and a cold shower.
The morning tour of the castle went well, with coffee and biscuits imported from the petrol station perfect for breakfast at the castle gate. At Zdislava’s well, I’ll replenish my healing water and hurry north!
In my desire to avoid crossing the border, I amble along our side of the “line” until I reach Rumurk, where I am driven by hunger and more raindrops into the pub, where I spend the next 3 hours seeing that the rain must end. Not finished. Nor did he finish behind Lobendavou, where I hid my bicycle in the scrub and walked to the northernmost point of the CR. On those wet roots, the wheel would be slow. I’m sad for a while. It was like leaving a close friend. But when I take out my camera and start taking pictures of the stream that shows me the way, the sadness is gone. In the North, I’ll take a picture, send a message home that I’m at the “North Pole” again, as my grandmother says, and run for my bike. Wet as a hen, I then check into a western restaurant in Lower Postevna. They have excellent soup and schnitzel.
The reluctance to cross the border outweighs the reluctance to follow the same route as the previous year, so I enter Germany. Sunshine is getting stronger, and I hope it lasts, because my slippers are all wet, which I climbed into in my bags this morning so I wouldn’t wet my warm socks. As far as the Elbe, it’s so warm I can roll out and let everything wet dry.
I take the Elbe Cycle Route (motorway) as far as Ústí nad Labem, where I try to get out of town as quickly as possible. I have long wondered whether to go under the Ore Mountains and visit the Lake District or enjoy the mountains. Then, when I see the mines from a distance, I know. I’m going to the mountains! After a beautiful climb, New Ves welcomes me to the Mountains. I guess it’s no use saying I found a pub, a beer and a bag of chips. I was staying behind the stage in the park across from the pub.
I confess that I came to the Ore Mountains slightly sour. For at Litvínov, my surgically repaired knee had begun to annoy me, and I was terrified that I would do something to it, or, God forbid, end my Journey. So I took out the tees this morning and taped the leg as much as I could.
It didn’t go this morning. Not at all. I was still hungry and hungry. Until I ate all the goodies I had with me and started stopping for the one raspberry that dangled from the bush by the side of the road. As it was, I drove all the way to Copper, where I stormed the first pub. After eating everything I could eat and a little more on top, I finally felt some peace of mind. With my belly full, I rode under the Keys to God’s Gift.
There, I sent my dad a birthday card, while visiting Santa’s mail, buying supplies of sweets, and restocking my stomach at another restaurant. It was beautiful. So beautiful that even though it was only a little after noon, I decided to spend the night somewhere. And where else but Santa’s Way. It’s kind of a learning trail for the children behind God’s Gift. After washing my feet in the creek, reading a couple of educational blackboards, even with one that wrote about the fate of a family here during the war, I finally found a nice place to sleep. Shelter U Fukacha (one of Jesus’ helpers). I was tired and thrilled by the beauty of it that I would even believe Fudge lived here.
Didn’t. Because he certainly wouldn’t have had a mess like that. People are really pigs! Grumbling, I picked up all the garbage around. It was almost a full bag. Fairy-tale thinking vanished. After enough rude words were said at the expense of those who were scattering the place, I was finally calm again and started getting my lie-in ready, my bike cleaned, my dinner cooked, and I tried the playground that was there, too. I was falling asleep a little more rested than the night before.
One of the nicest awakenings I’ve ever had. An animal peered into the shelter, and by the time I rubbed my eyes, there it was. But the sunrise that was literally at my feet stayed. And he stayed long enough for me to write him down well in my head.
I was driving along the border for a change that day, enjoying fine weather and a painless ride. I was heading for the Borders and the West. I booked a sleepover in Beautiful (the westernmost community) in advance. I needed a good rest. The road went by under the wheels, and I was probably lost in thought, as I remember well as far as the Borders, where I was trying to find a friend’s house of relatives, which I had promised to photograph and say hello to when I passed. But in vain. So I took a picture of all the houses I passed and it wasn’t until I got home that she told me it was a little further. There was an effort.
The West greeted me with windmills and a sleepy mood. It’s like the meadows yawn with me. Not a soul in sight. Following a familiar path, I took the bike to the westernmost point, entered my diary, took a picture, texted home, and hurrah for Beautiful. A good cmunda and a soda for dinner puts me to sleep at 7pm, and my body has a long 12 hours to regenerate. And he deserves it! After 13 days and 1423 km.
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- 684 km
- 6.419 m
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- 7 dní