We all have our limits. Some year ago, mine were on the border of the CR. That's why "with BIKE borders." I drove around the border. Finally, something nudged me to write it down and not end on the first day of the fourth page of the document.
After successful trips North and Beyond the Sunrise, it was clear to me that without trying to drive around the borders of our republic, I just couldn’t be. I couldn’t. So I upgraded my equipment again (skipping the tent/tarp/homemadestan) arranged time off for a year-long brigade, gathered friends for a barbecue at Staňkova, drank, ate, chatted and went to bed.
I woke up early this morning. The diary reads: “3.7.2018 A.M. boat ride for sunrise (smiley face of the sun) and after a 10h start with Boja and Lucka to Peršlák, there’s coffee and I’m going.” My brother’s line about my bike being heavy as a load of felicia kept me entertained for the next 17 days.
From Peršlek (forest hotel on Novobystřicka) I drive eastwards. So lunch and a brief visit to the overcrowded Slavonic is a foregone conclusion. I am both aware and unaware of the familiar landscape of Czech Canada slowly crossing the Dacic basin in Podyjí National Park. I meet English-speaking brothers on the way. We talk about our travels for a while, so I know they met somewhere and then they went together (I’m not a good English speaker) and that their bags are a lot bigger than mine. Feeling that I’ve managed to get rid of a few necessities and ease myself and the coke, I buy half a melon in Vrana, which I eat for the company of a swarm of mosquitoes at Dyje. Then I take the worst hill on the Road (yes, it didn’t measure more than 300 metres, but it gave me the most trouble), pass through Šobes (one of our best vineyards) and finally reach Lampelberg.
A beautiful castle from 1860, transformed into a wine paradise. Unfortunately, and thankfully, closed. While laying out sleeping, cooking, and drying sweaty socks, I do bush work for amorous couples who take turns there at regular intervals. Sorry. Not today. Today, I am the queen of the west and the vineyards. Both spells put me to sleep, and in the morning woke me again to another hot day.
Dyje leads me to Passover, whose name I have associated with fire sport. So I can’t resist a photo in their playground and the restaurant just across the street. A family staring at their cell phones for an hour will only slightly disturb my well-being, but once I’ve paid up and disappeared into the world of Going Around the Border, I don’t think about them anymore. Novomlýnsky reservoirs, Děvín, plain, Lednice, nice master in Břeclav, Morava river and Moravská path. I’d never have said it was straight, flat and ever the same, yet not such a long trail could be fun. But eat and the frolicking children at his place made me feel better. I stare at the action for a moment. Then I shyly wash in relatively warm water. And after a while, I slide down the weir with them. Awesome! It’s not much of a place to sleep. So I saddle Max and ride the boredom. The pond with the shelter looks pretty inviting, but the fishermen don’t seem like much to me, so again, in the company of mosquitoes, I head further east.
Staroslovan Castle Mikulčice. A magical place that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go until I found a convenient place by the “foundations” of one of the ancient churches. When I report my position to home, I get a message from my dad saying it’s the eve of Cyril and Methodius. Staroslovan Castle. It’s magical, like the west behind the century-old oaks nearby. I read Vinnetou for a while, but the mosquitoes drive me into my sleeping bag. It’s hot. Wondering if mosquitoes are better or sweat I fall asleep until the sound wakes me up. And another. The deer come out into the clearing and yell at each other from one side to the other. It’s scary. Even though I know it’s deer and deer don’t eat people, I’m a little scared. With amusement at the thought of having my nose bitten off by a deer and the satisfaction that the mosquitoes are gone, I fall asleep and sleep until morning.
‘5.7.2018 a.m. direction of Hodonin and White Carpathia. Lunch on limestone – beauty – Slovaks, cyclists, lady, master with maxipse without ears and two nice boys (Big Javora)”. I will. At lunch on limestone, I joined a bunch of Slovak cyclists who were super. Unfortunately, time was chasing them, and they had to continue their trip. A super lady took the vacant seat for a while, and then a gentleman with an Asian herding dog. When I sat and he stood, we looked into each other’s eyes (with the dog). And the boys were telling me to go with them to the Great Javora. But I had a clear direction, and I promised them I’d show up again sometime in their county. It dawned on me here that trips like this weren’t just about miles and days on a bike, it was about meeting. Yes. About meeting people. Some looked at me like a freak (in a bad way) and some who were mostly talking to me, too (but in a good way). The gentleman who told me a better way was in the second group, and the nice waitress who got me my cell phone, too. Thank you.
The guy on the super racing road who caught my attention over Old Grape so much that I made it all the way to the border crossing, too. Thanks to him, I took a piece of his hilltop training on foot. ‘Cause we had a little chat, and when he left, I thought, even with a broken wrist, he’s a real stud. And I missed the turn. Never mind. The diary says “then the hill like a cow.”
On the wave of encounters that day, I also found sleep in Hostětín, where they have a “natural garden.” I just saw a gentleman with a beautiful dog and I asked. Another gentleman once told me that football fields are good for sleepovers. This one didn’t know where the playground was, but he led me to the community garden. He called the people in charge, but when they didn’t pick up, he said he’d vouch for me eventually and tell me to sleep there. The fruit dryer seemed like the perfect place. While laying out the sleeping arrangements, he came to me with his wife and we talked about life’s ways. What better way to end a day like this. Except maybe the eco toilet, which flushes with shavings. Good night, friends.
The besties welcome me in all their glory. Impressed by the scenery and the heat, I refresh and wash in Karolinka by the swimming pool. I’m thinking about the trails that are supposed to be here somewhere, but a loaded bike and my skills to date probably wouldn’t enjoy it so much. So I drive all the way to the border with Slovakia, where I’m overtaken by an elderly gentleman with a backpack. He’s just going to overtake me. Well, I’m not gonna lie, but my competitive soul stepped on the pedals and finished him off. To that, he responds by inviting me to Kofola on Bumblebee if I’m going there. “Okay, Bumblebee.” He leaves smiling, and I have no idea yet that he will accompany me a little further.
“Kofola and pancakes, please.” Jarek smiles at me and asks me where and why I’m going.So I tell him, trying to be brief, and when we find ourselves in the same direction, we move on together. It bothers me a little that I exert myself more than he does, but his tale of the landscape around me makes up for it. When I find that the cabin where I wanted to sleep and, above all, wash is already occupied, he suggests that I can stay at the cabin where he and his friends sleep with electric bikes (because they are retired). Why not? So we’re moving on together.
It’s going to rain at the Old Hamrs. We quickly throw on our waterproof clothes (me and my homemade shoe-warmers) and climb up the hill. “This guy can’t possibly climb. He certainly can’t anymore. Well, until he gets down, neither do I!” This train of thought accompanies me until Jarek pulls out a slivovitz. An honest Moravian who always has a cure at hand. After a while, we have fun with neither getting off until the other gets off the bike, and that’s how we get to Sparky Hanka. The Švarná Hanka hut, where Jarka’s gang and wedding guests are staying. Lots of wedding guests enjoying their friends’ weddings the next day.
A Radko greets us, and the wet ones sit down at the table, and he’s already carrying beer. “A schmaltzl? Here’s your slivovitz. Girl, you want some food?” Before I take a breath that I’m not booked, I’m having a slug and I’m timidly asking for hallucinations instead of chicken. I hear there are no hallucinations today. Moments later, I’m down another drink and demanding attention. I need a shower. And sleeping. Because if there’s no way to sleep, I have to keep looking. Another shot and a beer. Room 12 is free. The shower’s over there. Yay! My hair and everything is jubilant. Warm water is like a blessing. So much so that some won’t recognize me when I return to the restaurant. And the ones who booked it will come to room 12. “Sit tight, you won’t go into the night.Have a slivovitz, we’ll find you a place.”Suddenly there are halloos in front of me and I’m in paradise.
In a slightly parched state, I inflate a sleeping mat and lie down on the floor in the dining (booze) hut, where I (and myself) get spooked in the morning by a bride who goes to get her hair and makeup done. The hangover’s over and I’m packing up my stuff and flying to the sink to make myself human. I don’t know that my bike is locked and the owner of the keys is asleep until a little while later. I have time to rearrange my things, sober up a bit, get to know the groom and his super aunt, pop balloons with them for decoration and glue hearts with the still-surprised bride. I was given wedding cakes to find a man (not to bother at other weddings, I suppose) and I was also photographed by their photographer and invited to breakfast, where I chatted with milliner Karl. Then I had a block like newlyweds, and with the last cookie (“corner walnut wedding best cookie”), she drove on.
To this day, I still have in my head a spectacular Cyrilomethobic trail (that I am taken by boys), along the border of Moravia and Slovakia. I ended a fine piece of scallop by going down to Upper Lome. I would have kept going, but the wheel was protesting more and more urgently against the terrain. I literally drove part of the way. I rode standing up, hoping the bike I was leaning on wouldn’t be down before me. At the crossroads, I warned a sympathetic couple about the pile of mud I’d slid down. The council was useless because they went elsewhere, but they advised me. Let me ride my bike to Decathlon in Ostrava. What an idea! I worked at Decathlon, so that’s where they have to help me. Plus, one of them could put me up at home.
I hit the pedals and was already in Bukovec at the last restaurant on the right, eating their delicious garlic. I arranged to keep my bags for the next hour and reached the easternmost point in the Czech Republic. Here again after a year. Nothing has changed, photo and back for bags and foothills Beskyd direction Ostrava. I mean Ostrava… First, the Minibrewery U Koníčka, which was advised by a nice couple.
I’m overtaken by a guy on a graveling and he’s got maxi bags. Too bad it’s going so fast. By that point, I’m already aware that the wires are called wires (thanks to Vasek) and that it’s exactly what elicits the weird echoes from the rear wheel. That’s where the guy stops, he’s hustling, I’m overtaking him, and I’m greeting him uneasily. A moment later he’s riding beside me, asking me in not-so-perfect Czech where I’m going and why. After a while, I know it’s Paolo and he’s coming from Ukraine, where he was on a “trip.” Mate! So we’re going to Horsey’s together. A small beer, a raspberry and an ice-cream sundae will quench my appetites, and a chat with Paolo will at least partially fill in the number of words a woman has to say during the day. Together we go to Frýdek Místek, where we are on the verge of looking for a serviceman. My untouched wire doesn’t mate with Paolo’s tools, and I find out what’s missing from my kit and my round of education.
Paolo’s server isn’t home, so we’re saying goodbye and I’m continuing my racing pace to Ostrava. I have to catch the Decathlon before closing. By some miracle, I pass through town without wandering, and Nohavico’s Poruba runs in my head. Closed. Holy ******. Well, after a little bit of thinking and counting, I figure 3 more people have to close the store. Yuch. I wait patiently, and after they do come out the back door, I drop on them that “I’m Libby from Budějcký Dekatlon and I need to fix my bike and sleep somewhere.” Come on the bike tomorrow, but the sleepover isn’t right today. After they want to google me about a hostel, I’ll say I’d sleep in one of the tents on display, but there were all sorts of interesting people and other creatures crawling into them at night, so I don’t really want to do it. At the most important of these, he picks up the phone, calls security, announces a night-time tent-sitter, and wishes me a good night’s sleep.
As for choosing a tent to sleep in, I’ll give you some advice. Choose the most expensive. Because we’re in the Czech Republic. I will. When I crawled in and started unpacking, a car pulled into the abandoned parking lot. Two people got out and went to the tent exhibit. They were interested in a two-second tent. He says he’ll fold in two seconds. The other resisted. It will decompose in two seconds. And then how do they fold? After about ten minutes of their discussion, I wanted to come out and show them, but then I’d give myself away and someone might kidnap me at night. And also. They’d probably think I was nuts if I walked in wearing merino panties and a T-shirt. Since there was no agreement, they went to investigate other tents. And the “my” was really nice and taut, so I could see the shadow bending down to unzip it. I was figuring out what I was going to say to surprised future Decathlon customers. “Evening-to-morning service, do you need help with your selection?” When a woman’s voice almost cries out “He’s expensive, he’s not!” The man stands obediently and follows her. And I can calmly call my grandmother, who’s been trying to reach me and I’ve been insisting on “ditching” her. Good night.
I get into the shop with Patrick, who I later learn has ridden a bit of Vietnam on a bicycle. He knows what I need. He offers me a shower and a candy machine. I did a little bit with the shower, but the cookies and coffee were great. At a morning meeting, the manager told him he was in charge of me. So he went for my round. Well, he can’t center. Now what? He texted a colleague. Just for the record, it’s Sunday at 8am, and most of my colleagues were at the party. Including this. Well, that didn’t stop him from coming to work to fix a stranger’s bike. In return, I folded all their clothes in the aisles with Patrick and lined up the bidons.
When asked if I knew where I was going, I had my answer ready. I’m going to the Speed Paths. “Yeah sure girl, but that’s 150km”. The doubtful tone whipped me up, and I was saying goodbye. Fortunately, there was an adventurer and runner, Matej, who led me out of Ostrava and pointed the way. Then I vaguely remember a schnitzel for lunch and a ruined church somewhere near the border with Poland. The euphoria poured into me with the sunset and the signpost to the Fast Paths, where I rode in darkness. And that didn’t stop the local Bajoran from showing me where to lay my head and where to wash. It was so peaceful and peaceful. I’ll be back here.
4 900 m
3 from 5
- 739 km
- 4 900 m
- 3 from 5
- 6 dní