Author Topic: London to Auschwitz  (Read 7426 times)

alfapete

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Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #25 on: 18 July, 2023, 08:20:14 am »
DAY NINE: London to Auschwitz - in Bad Salzschlirf
Well I guess it was all going too well. That climb up to the hotel yesterday left me very tired this morning, or it might have been the TWO beers, but I felt I deserved an easy day. The morning's anticipated long descent had a couple of ups along the way and one of them was really nasty and off road (see pics) which tired me even more. The final 9km into Fulda was excellent, though and the town itself is very pretty.
I thought I'd press on for another hour or so after lunch just to put another 20km on the clock but could find no available airbnb's or hotels on booking.com anywhere helpful. The earliest available room was at 35km and that would have meant two huge climbs which I couldn't see me managing.
I went to Tourist Information thinking they must have something in Fulda but they only came up with one room at €280. The problem was a huge convention in town this week. They suggested I might get a better rate if I went direct to the hotel itself and so that's what I did, only to be treated like something that the receptionist had scraped off their shoe. I sat in the lobby for a while and then travelled to one other hotel:no luck.
Then I had a thought - I could get a train to another town and stay there. The guys at the railway station were very helpful - they chose a line which didn't need a bike reservation and after four potential towns we came up with a hotel which was less than half the price of the Fulda one, and the train journey was just 20 minutes.
And it's turned out rather grand!!!
Tomorrow I'll get the train back to Fulda and resume the journey. So only 40odd km today, but hopefully refreshed by the morning. And I do believe I've passed the half way mark 🚴🚴🚴.

This was really steep, and pushing the loaded bike up it was tough. It didn't look as though another bike had been along there for months. At least it was dry, and only 2km long. It seems to be a feature of the mapping on Ridewithgps that a good proportion of the German tracks are very off road, and the lack of Streetview in Germany means they can't be checked in advance.

The forests in the spring are gorgeous.

I keep coming across these signs. They always seem to know where I'm going. Spooky!

The train to Bad Salzschlirf

My balcony view. Lots of outdoor smoking in Germany, ashtrays everywhere.


Not too shabby


Bad Salzschlirf

alfapete - that's the Pete that drives the Alfa

alfapete

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Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #26 on: 20 July, 2023, 08:23:35 am »
DAY TEN: London to Aushcwitz - in Mellrichstadt, Germany
Well this was much better, a thoroughly enjoyable day. Had the best night's sleep ever, breakfast at the hotel was wonderful and I then took the bike on the train back into Fulda. I rejoined the route where I left it yesterday(in true audax style), just after 9am, knowing there were two humongous climbs in the first 30km, and rainclouds were threatening ominously.
The scenery was gorgeous - gentle undulations of spring greenery with the occasional brash stripe of yellow rapeseed, this being the Rhon region. The hills were very forgiving. They went on for 5-6km each, which is an awful long time at the rate I was riding. My lowest gear got regular use, and frequent stops were the order of the day but I didn't have to walk anything as the steepness wasn't excessive. The downhills following the ups were magnificent, smooth tarmac. 40mph was seen for a brief moment.
I got damp from a couple of light showers and sheltered under a bar awning for 5 minutes or so. There was another, less severe hill which could have been tackled but I'd located a good value hotel at a convenient point and so stopped at 3.30pm on 67km for the day.
A glorious day today, heading for Coburg and beyond tomorrow.

This reminded me of BBC's Colditz from my childhood but it was actually filmed nearer Leipzig (I checked).

Here's a better one of the bike. I'm growing attached to the old thing.

And here's another - they (sic) needed a rest, and we took a pause for a passing black cloud.

Colditz from the other side.

The top of the first climb which was near the summit of Milseburg. The second one was at 788m but there was no sign, and I'd only descended to around 250m before climbing the latter.

Lots of pretty villages, this was Nordheim vor Der Rhon

Some wonderful clouds, but they seemed to stay a distance away.

More of the same

This was the sight that confronted the hotel receptionist when I checked in. I caught the view in the lift mirror and thought it was worth recording - I felt great!

Dining like the King (just after the coronation)
alfapete - that's the Pete that drives the Alfa

alfapete

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Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #27 on: 21 July, 2023, 08:28:55 am »
DAY ELEVEN: London to Auschwitz. Fechheim, Germany
WEATHER!!! Started the day with a climb out of Mellrichstadt to loosen the legs in light rain. I avoided a couple of off road sections but, to save extra km, risked taking a couple more and they worked out well.
I stopped for coffee and cake after a couple of hours and the rain increased a little. I decided I had to press on but within a few minutes I was sheltering under a tree when the rain became almost torrential. After twenty minutes or so it eased off a little so I made a dash for it. The rain didn't fade for the rest of the day. Water on the Garmin and on my glasses made it difficult to navigate and there was a long section on a busy road with spray from lorries.
My first target for the day was Coburg and I rolled into the first cafe I could find which offered ice cream or a toasted sandwich. I had both, sitting on a towel they'd offered, along with a milkshake. I never really got warm as my lower half was soaked whilst a jacket looked after my top half quite effectively.
I didn't want to stop quite so early in the day and so booked a room a further 14km on, though my legs could have gone further.
The appeal of a house in a tiny village was soon negated when I realized I had no food, and the establishment didn't even offer breakfast. I didn't fancy riding another 10km for tea, having to put back on soaked clothing. I thought I might survive on chocolate (I had plenty) but the diabetes management would have been challenging.
In the end I went to my lovely landlady, Simone, and asked whether she would rustle something up and she was more than happy to do so, refusing payment, too! I must have looked a sorry sight!
Not many pics today (tried that in the rain?) but read on for info on East Germany.
Stat for the day: 82km today and the current section ends at the Czech border, over 100km away. It's flat to begin with but serious hills at the end so will take a further day before getting there.

So many pretty lanes with virtually no cars

This was an 'off road' section which I did take and it worked out well. Here I was in the old East German region of Thuringia and I dipped in and out of there for 10-15km. I read a book about the East German method of governance recently and they were so paranoid it was almost comical. Very interesting, and if I could remember the name of the book I'd post it here.edit: 'Stasiland' by Anna Funder

This was Gleichanberg where, in stopping to take the picture, I got my foot caught in the pedal and came crashing to the ground. No harm done. German villages are like British ones in having old and ancient churches at their centre.

My free meal. And I ate the lot, apart from the triangular cheeses which I've always been suspicious about since Dairylea experiences as a child.
alfapete - that's the Pete that drives the Alfa

Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #28 on: 21 July, 2023, 09:43:20 am »
Pity about the weather that day, Coburg - as in house of Saxe-Coburg Residence of Prince Albert. Did you get a chance to visit the Palace ? (Ehrenburg I think)
Regards,

Alan

alfapete

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Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #29 on: 21 July, 2023, 11:57:24 am »
Pity about the weather that day, Coburg - as in house of Saxe-Coburg Residence of Prince Albert. Did you get a chance to visit the Palace ? (Ehrenburg I think)
No, the unrelenting rain made it one of the low points of the excursion, so I certainly wasn't in tourist mode at that point.
alfapete - that's the Pete that drives the Alfa

alfapete

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Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #30 on: 22 July, 2023, 09:02:24 am »
DAY TWELVE: London to Aushcwitz in Goldkronach, Germany I didn't bother my landlady for breakfast but took a gentle 8km ride into Mitwitz for a coffee and almond croissant. Light rain at the start of the day concerned me but, unlike yesterday, it dried up by 11am and the day was then dry throughout. A nagging easterly breeze had returned but it only impeded progress from time to time.
Today's main roads carried very little traffic and there were a lot of country lanes and decent cycle paths too. Diabetes management, however, was a struggle today, and balancing insulin needs against carb usage whilst cycling is not an exact science. I'm testing every 30-60 minutes (a 2 second scan of my sensor with my phone) and adjusting my insulin pump accordingly. I struggled to eat enough today but survived the late hills with plenty of stops along the way (and a large piece of apple pie).
Tomorrow begins with a 10 mile climb, and even the following downhill has a couple of nasty lumps in it. If I get over those then I should be in Czechia tomorrow evening 🤞. And a surprising total of 89km today.

Well I never! But no pick'n'mix.

I really lucked out here. The barrier stayed down at the level crossing so we had to wait for a second train!! Very exciting.

Miles of cyclepath like this today, some tarmac, all in absolutely excellent repair, and with far more dog walkers than cyclists.

Bridge over the River Main, near Mainleus

Eventually I crossed three like this.

Over and then under: glad I didn't encounter this after dark!

A very excellent bus shelter, with a seat for weary limbs.

Beautiful scenery, but the hills mounted up after Bayreuth.

This bench could not have been better placed.

Goldkronach - a pretty little place in the hills.

Goldkronach, a pretty little place with excellent apple pie.

View from my balcony tonight. A traditional German guest house, and very good value, but 75 steps down to the restaurant! I'm in a separate building from the main hotel and will plan my baggage carefully tomorrow morning so I only come up once before leaving.
alfapete - that's the Pete that drives the Alfa

Cudzoziemiec

  • Ride adventurously and stop for a brew.
Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #31 on: 22 July, 2023, 11:44:51 am »
The "very excellent bus shelter" appears to be modelled on an outsized roadside chapel!
Riding a concrete path through the nebulous and chaotic future.

alfapete

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Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #32 on: 23 July, 2023, 12:51:47 pm »
DAY THIRTEEN: London to Aushcwitz - near Cheb, Czechia
I was already high in the hills but knew that I had a further 10 mile climb to go this morning before any worthwhile descending. I was pleasantly surprised by how gentle the gradient was on a beautiful tarmac cycle path (former railway) for almost an hour - not rapid, but comfortable.
I took a rest at Bischofsgrun and then there was a steep-sided valley to cross followed by a gravel climb in a deserted forest. From the summit I knew that the steep descent was also on gravel and so found another way down - a little longer, but on paved roads. I was lucky to be able to confirm the route with a passing road cyclist who spoke excellent English.
The chilly easterly wind was strengthening and there was a threat of rain when I reached Wunsiedel so I had a bratwurst and ice cream before spending a warming 20 minutes in Aldi's foyer, booking my hotel for the night.
I persuaded myself to push on into Czechia even though I was tempted to stop sooner. Just because I hadn't walked any hills didn't mean they didn't take anything out of me. My stop tonight is just a couple of km inside the Czech border and I took the appropriate pictures 😁.
Only 63km today, and the next 100km or so is equally lumpy 🙁.

This snail was huge. I had to pause for a picture as I thought it metaphorically represented my journey. There were 75 steps between my room and breakfast.

A snowman with a top hat and broomstick. Not sure what's happening here, but it was in Bischofsgrun.

The cap comes out to protect my bald patches from the sun (when it makes an appearance). Thanks Liam!

Gravel climbs, not too steep, but it turned into tiny pebbles after a while which slide around under the road tyres - not pleasant.

I climbed a little higher than this up to a parking area to check out the gravel descent. It might have been the high point of the whole ride, but we'll have to wait and see.

The usual high quality cyclepaths for a good part of the day, running parallel to a (quiet) main road just 100m or so away.

In the distance we can see Czechia.

A cyclist from Mannheim took this for me, but we didn't share a common language so didn't stay together for long. I didn't see how the border was treated on the road - once again, this is a cyclepath.

My hotel is the building on the right and my room has a view of the lake. £42 including breakfast.

The local council even provide doggy bags! I know one or two of my audience will appreciate this🙂
alfapete - that's the Pete that drives the Alfa

Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #33 on: 24 July, 2023, 08:58:09 am »
Enjoying following this, thank you
#makewattsnotwar

alfapete

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Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #34 on: 24 July, 2023, 09:03:52 am »
DAY FOURTEEN: London to Aushcwitz, Becov nad Teplou
You'll all be asking me to do more cycling so I don't have so much time for these posts - this is a long one with more pictures than usual.
After bacon, eggs, madeira cake and gherkins for breakfast I had a glorious start to the day through the city of Cheb and out into the countryside on a perfect cyclepath alongside a meandering river, in dappled sunshine.
After Kynsperk nad Ohri I knew there were three climbs in fairly quick succession, and here I entered the Slavkov Forest, a national park. The climbs were long but forgiving with hardly any traffic and beautiful, steep wooded scenery.
I approached the village of Rovna which, I thought, sounded pleasant, but on arrival I discovered ugly 1960's tower blocks in a poor state of repair (though mostly still inhabited). My suspicions were confirmed later by Filip at the Dul Jeronym visitor centre that the buildings were "Commie" ones to house the workers at the, now defunct, tin processing factory. Filip now gives guided tours of the mine where tin and other metals were extracted. They served the best cup of Nescafé Gold Blend imaginable, and lovely biscuits. There were four employees and four visitors (plus me). It was a relief to reach the highpoint but I knew there was a long descent followed by another climb which I was keen to get out of the way today.
The descent ended in Becov (pron Bechov) nad Teplou at 55km and I had lunch here with every intention of climbing one more hill and adding a further 15-20km at least. Over lunch I could find no accommodation using any method in the right area at all and so settled for some tourism and an early finish. I booked a hotel in Becov without difficulty and then realised it was the building next door to the cafe whose WiFi I was using!
I checked in and then had a wander around the grounds of the stunning castle (see pics) before a leisurely evening meal. That climb will have to wait till the morning, and then it's mostly downhill to Jesenice at 60km or so but to avoid confusion, there are several Jesenices in Czechia if you're looking it up!

On the edge of Cheb

Riverside cyclepath, and all gently downhill for 10km

Planning laws don't seem to be too strict - this slab in a village amongst beautiful countryside, visible for miles.

They perform agricultural processes...

Purpose built track again - can't have been a railway as it climbed abruptly at the end.

Resting in Kynsperk

Almost the top of a long climb

Slavkov Forest

Czechian forest, as opposed to German.

The beautiful sounding Rovna

Filip at the Dul Jeronym visitor centre. I pulled in because I was tired: I didn't think it was a cafe, but it was an excuse for a break. Filip told me all about it, in excellent English.

Vast views once out of the trees.

Delicious lentil soup, could have demolished two. Lunchtime.

Becov Castle

..and again

Honey cake. Yum!
alfapete - that's the Pete that drives the Alfa

alfapete

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Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #35 on: 25 July, 2023, 10:39:15 am »
DAY FIFTEEN:London to Aushcwitz Kolesovice, Czechia
A day of highs, lows and drama. I'll start with the usual report and if you have time for drama scroll down and read the other post (up soon).
I had fresh legs for a 4km climb from Becov up to Chodov and rewarded myself at the top with a pause on a bench in the very quiet village. Took a selfie and carried on for a short downhill through open countryside. Almost took a photo of some pollarded trees but realised I couldn't identify them so carried on till I got a true high plains view.
(I will put the DRAMA in a separate post because it doesn't seem to fit within this one).
I was heading for Touzim where I visited a bike shop for some spare brake blocks, and a spray of oil for my chain.
There were dark clouds around and the forecast had suggested rain later in the day but I needed sustenance and so located a restaurant tucked away in the village of Chyse.
The Czech road surfaces are not as good as previous countries (Germany turned out very well after a very poor first few km) with lots of patching and unevenness in parts. Very few potholes, though, certainly better than the UK.
In the afternoon it began to rain and I took shelter in a wood. Eventually there was hail and torrential rain - I'd made the right decision. I set out when the rain began to ease (couldn't stay there all day) and within ten minutes there was bright sunshine as I headed towards Jesenice. I collected a microwave meal and beer so I wouldn't go hungry at my Airbnb which was very much in a village. Onwards to Prague tomorrow.
I completed 91km today, but only 79 of them were in the right direction!

Pride comes before a fall. Proud of myself at the top of the early climb out of Becov.

First of two fateful landscapes

Second of two

My lunchtime restaurant, likes many businesses over here, didn't look very welcoming. It didn't even look open. Behind the imposing door was a lovely restaurant and microbrewery. I had pork medallions, potatoes, apple strudel and a small glass of their own beer.

Dramatic skies didn't release too much wet stuff.

Waiting in the wood for the storm to pass, the cones represent my family from a few years ago 🙂

Some level crossings have no barrier, some only have a 'Stop' sign with no lights!

My Airbnb host has just delivered Czech pork and potato soup! I'd already eaten my microwave meal but this was delicious! So kind.

alfapete - that's the Pete that drives the Alfa

alfapete

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Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #36 on: 25 July, 2023, 10:51:03 am »
London to Aushcwitz supplement,  Chodov, Czechia. Most of today's report is in the previous post which should be read first, this one is a bonus
If you've already read my other post today you'll remember that I took a selfie in a very quiet village, Chodov, while sat on a bench. I rode on afterwards almost pausing to picture some pollarded trees but decided against it, carrying on to a bigger landscape view. When I stopped and reached for my phone it wasn't in the usual pocket but I thought I must have put it in my barbag. But it wasn't there either. I checked every pocket and piece of luggage but came to the conclusion that I'd left it on the bench, 6km previously, where I took the selfie. I was more than a little cross, and did wonder whether it might have fallen out of my pocket along the way. I had no choice but to return, mostly up hill!
When I finally got to the bench: the phone wasn't there!!,😦😦
The village was so quiet I didn't think anyone would have stolen it, but a dog walker might have picked it up. I needed to talk the situation over with someone so I knocked on the door of a bungalow close by. The lady had no English but she kindly phoned her son to whom I spoke. He rightly said "well how can we help?". We agreed that I would return the phone to his mum to explain and she would phone my number to see if there was a reply.
Whilst I was talking with the son a Hagrid-type rag and bone man went by complete with horse-drawn cart, exchanging words with my helper. When she came off the phone after a couple of minutes she wrestled her reluctant dog back into the house and sped off in her car, indicating I should wait. I suspected she was chasing down Hagrid.
A full 15 minutes later she returned and drove straight into the garden. She got out of the car with TWO phones: mine and hers!!! I gave her the longest, tightest hug imaginable, if only so she couldn't see that I was on the verge of tears.
I didn't have the presence of mind to take a picture or ask her name, but I have noted her address and will send her something when I get home. I suspect some money might have changed hands but she didn't want anything from me. The kindness of strangers, huh!
After that the rest of the day felt pretty good😁😁😁
PS: When I got home I sent her some flowers and we had a short correspondence by email.
alfapete - that's the Pete that drives the Alfa

Cudzoziemiec

  • Ride adventurously and stop for a brew.
Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #37 on: 25 July, 2023, 10:54:22 am »
Wow!  :D
Riding a concrete path through the nebulous and chaotic future.

Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #38 on: 25 July, 2023, 01:10:01 pm »
Pete, this ride report has become the best bit of my day.  Just riding a bike for pleasure.  Thank you

alfapete

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Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #39 on: 25 July, 2023, 02:06:27 pm »
I needed the phone not only for usual uses (internet, hotel bookings etc) but also for my diabetes management. A two second scan of the sensor on my arm with the phone gives me an immediate blood glucose reading (and could be done on the move) and insulin dose alterations were often made as a result of these. The alternative would have required a stop, digging out my back up finger pricking kit and then a five second wait for a reading which would have deterred me from checking so often.
Thankfully the device which controls the insulin input, which runs as a phone app if you're USAnian, is a separate unit and that lived in a different pocket. Different licencing arrangements between the USA and UK.
alfapete - that's the Pete that drives the Alfa

alfapete

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Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #40 on: 26 July, 2023, 08:49:39 am »
DAY SIXTEEN: London to Aushcwitz in Certousy, Czechia
After a lovely, restful Airbnb the day started with a quiet, gentle roll into Raknovic, but the climb out was on a busy, narrow road and the Czech drivers could take a few lessons from the other EU countries in allowing space for cyclists. I was relieved to turn off after half an hour or so onto quieter lanes.
I was wondering what I would have to write about tonight as the scenery was much as I've become used to in recent days as I got closer to Prague. But then a lucky find: a cycling cafe! I wasn't due to stop for another 5km or so and almost carried on, but I'm so glad I stopped at Kolo &Kava www.koloakava.cz as I met the proprietor, Denis, who lived in London for twenty years before returning to Czechia to open a bike shop. The coffee was lovely, and the cake too. He was interested in my ride, but not impressed by my ancient bike 🙂.
There followed a long, long descent into Prague which began on lanes but concluded on a bike lane beside busy traffic into town. I wasn't allowed to appreciate the sights of Prague because Mrs alfapete is keen to visit one day and we have to save the delights until then, but it was cool and damp so I just took a couple of quick pictures, had lunch, and booked my night's bed on the route out of town.
I was keen to visit an Alfa Romeo showroom in my Alfa Romeo shirt and I found one in Prague. I shared what I was up to with them and, whilst they allowed me to take pics and have a rest, they seemed disinterested and didn't even offer a coffee! The cars were good, though.
I then had a horrendous two hours travelling to my hotel. Prague traffic was hideous, every cycle lane ended within 200m of beginning, sometimes with a high kerb or steps, and I was regularly directed on to busy carriageways. Because I wasn't following the line on my Garmin (I was en route to the hotel) every navigational correction needed a stop to recheck the map, and Google Maps doesn't do cycling directions in Czechia yet (they've been good in all the previous countries). It was a great relief to finally reach the hotel around 6pm which, incidentally, is excellent!
Very surprised to see I'd done 104km, but again 15km or so was wandering aimlessly around this horrible city. Mrs alfapete will have her work cut out persuading me to return😁.

Ponds everywhere in Czechia. Large, small, very wildlife rich

And another

A cycling cafe!!! I nearly didn't stop.

Denis, who was very hospitable. He was a baker in London before returning home needing a change.

Excellent coffee and cake

These are cycling world championship stripes, not some endorsement of gay rights!(for my non-cycling audience)

Denis used to race for London Phoenix

Prague looms on the horizon

A positive for Prague: nice old trams, and they had new ones too.

Not a tourist's picture

Not another one, either

This green Guilia Quadrifoglio GTAm was glorious

A pretty garden, before I got annoyed with the traffic and lack of cycling infrastructure.
alfapete - that's the Pete that drives the Alfa

Cudzoziemiec

  • Ride adventurously and stop for a brew.
Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #41 on: 26 July, 2023, 09:17:45 am »
Kolo a kava = wheel and coffee. Must be tempting to read it as "Koala" though.
Riding a concrete path through the nebulous and chaotic future.

alfapete

  • Oh dear
Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #42 on: 27 July, 2023, 08:54:39 am »
DAY SEVENTEEN: London to Aushcwitz in Dasice, Czechia
I stayed on the edge of Prague last night but thankfully was immediately on to country lanes on leaving the hotel. The terrain was remarkably flat crossing large agricultural fields with few hedges. This meant taking advantage of a pretty good tailwind for most of the day for the first time. Whoopee!
Passed through many villages and I got the impression that this was a more wealthy part of the country - some very pretty houses in good repair, and fewer barking dogs.
I passed through the large city of Pardubice which is famous for and supposed to smell of gingerbread. I didn't notice, and didn't have time to search the shops - wanted to get on a little further.
Overall, an unremarkable day where excellent progress was made, 117km. The next couple of sections are less flat but only moderately hilly. Heading towards Sumperk tomorrow.

They like their tree-lined roads, and there are saplings in places to create more.

Here's today's long, straight bikepath - great cycling.

After crossing at least 50 level crossings in the last few days this bridge has been built to save cyclists the risk of having to cross a railway line. EU funded

Padobrady where I was looking forward to having lunch, a pizza. It was only after I'd ordered it that I realised it was still only 11.30am.

I followed the 8240 for a long time and the surface (road and bike path) was outstanding.


Love a bus shelter, always a good place for a sit down. Stit is the name of the village.

Skoda's everywhere, far and away the most common brand

And they're of various vintages. I'm sure the owner of this one has every intention of restoring it one day...

The hotel bar/restaurant. Someone has invested a huge amount of money here recently. £54 for the night in a beautiful room inc breakfast, £12 for a decent main course and pint.
alfapete - that's the Pete that drives the Alfa

alfapete

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Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #43 on: 28 July, 2023, 08:47:09 am »
DAY EIGHTEEN: London to Aushcwitz in Bohutin, Sumperk, Czechia
Left my lovely hotel and had a good first 20km or so, all only gently rising. The hills were expected in the afternoon so I stopped for lunch in Letohrad in a cake shop - no hot or savoury food. Thought I'd stop again a little later but kind of forgot until late afternoon when I had another coffee and cake. Blood sugars fared well, though.
Much of the morning I'd been riding alongside either a river, a railway, or a road, generally on a wonderful bike path. I took a picture for Jonny, who recently retired as a railway signalman, of an unprotected level crossing.
For a long time I was in very pretty valleys with beautiful scenery (see below), but I did meet an impossible barrier (see below!).
I trudged up four long hills after lunch, not steep but slow, and booked my accommodation late in the afternoon, just 12km up the road. Except that there are several Bohutins in Czechia, and my hotel was in the one three hours away! I doubt I'll get a refund, but it was only £45, and the correct Bohutin had a bar/penzione for much the same price.
Good progress at 97km for the day. Two more long days to go.

Especially for Jonny - read on

Chocen market square

Hmm. Looks a bit deep this, the rest of this 3km lane was being reconstructed but was reasonably ridable. I didn't want wet feet, so I climbed up the bank and lugged the bike across two railway lines. Look away now Jonny! Made it safely somehow but there was a tense moment or two, and my feet are still dry.

A beautiful quiet glade followed, with beautiful homes, some 100m or more from the road. It's a beautifully quiet, out of the way spot, until they finish that road. Near Orliche Podhuri.

More of the same - no obvious vehicular access to these places, though.



It was a bit of a climb to get out of the valley, but a highlight of the whole ride.

Love a coffee shop where you can watch your bike from the window.

Not sure about these cakes! But some of the village names I passed through were Horni Roven, Horni Jeleni, Horni Houzovec and Horni Dobrouc so maybe it had something to do with that...

I'd heard the Czechs drink as much tea as coffee. This was my first, and a lovely change, jasmine.
The tea brews and then the jug can be placed on top of the beaker which opens a valve in the bottom of the teapot to automatically fill the beaker. Ingenious!

Another bus shelter. If you zoom in on the chocolate bar on my barbag you'll see what I really wanted at this point.

Some of the churches are in poor repair but this one has had a fresh lick of paint. This is Vyprachtice.

I got a much better reception from Tadeáš at this showroom than in Prague. He was just locking up for the day when he saw me peering in through the window. He was happy to let me in to take a couple of pictures. His English was excellent, but he didn't want his picture to be shown.
alfapete - that's the Pete that drives the Alfa

Cudzoziemiec

  • Ride adventurously and stop for a brew.
Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #44 on: 28 July, 2023, 01:12:18 pm »
Horni just means Upper, disappointingly. There will probably be a Dolni Roven etc nearby. So the cakes must be, um, modelled on a fungus...
Riding a concrete path through the nebulous and chaotic future.

alfapete

  • Oh dear
Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #45 on: 29 July, 2023, 08:44:17 am »
Horni just means Upper, disappointingly.
Very disappointing, but thanks for saving me having to look it up :)
alfapete - that's the Pete that drives the Alfa

alfapete

  • Oh dear
Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #46 on: 29 July, 2023, 09:01:07 am »
DAY NINETEEN: London to Aushcwitz - in Kruzberk, Czechia
With the goal in sight I guess I was due a tough day and this certainly was one. A couple of short climbs and I was in Sumperk which had a nice, busy vibe. A couple more climbs leaving the city and then it was fairly flat until a 9km hill at 40km rising around 350m. It was a reasonable gradient but didn't half go on. Afterwards there were endless ups and downs until a 2km final grind which was the last of the 'greater than 100m ascent' climbs of the whole trip. Up in the hills there was a strong NE breeze which was really chilly and I had to resort to three layers plus a buff. Still in shorts, though, as I have been since France.
Afterwards I was on to very poor tarmac and gravel for some time, high up in the wind, when I got a p*!+"#re. I walked to a junction with some decent tarmac (no point in fixing it and then getting another) and swapped out the inner tube remarkably rapidly. But the pump on my bike fell apart as I started to use it - I'd been meaning to check it before I left home!!! I had a fixed but flat tyre.
The junction I was at only saw two motorcycles and one car pass in the fifteen minutes I was there so it didn't seem worth waiting for help. I located the nearest village (3km away) and walked there treating the deflated tyre as carefully as I could. I knocked on the door of a friendly man (no English) who took me to the village hall where they were having a social gathering of some sort. He even bought me a coffee. A lady who had a few words of English phoned and directed me to an agricultural engineer down the road who not only inflated my tyre (not easy due to the valve type), he fixed the pump, too! All extremely cheerfully. He even guided me out of the village in his pick up and then miraculously appeared at a junction ahead of me another three miles away to point out the correct road to take.
However, I was a bit of a chilly, broken man by this point, hence no names or pictures, and it was getting late. The drama had prevented me booking any accommodation so far and I thought I'd press on a few km if I could but this was a mistake. I couldn't find a B&B or Penzione in the two villages I passed through and eventually booked one 15km away, with plenty of hills along the way, well off-route. I could have done without the 15km racing to arrive a few minutes before the 7pm check in cut off. They certainly weren't expecting me when I arrived as a booking.com reservation requires no human interaction at their end.
Still, 97km for the day, even if 10-15 of it was not as intended and the hotel is cheap and very comfortable indeed.

Early in the day, on the way to Sumperk

Called in here to get oil on my chain - no charge.

Today's comedy off road section was thankfully only 30m long.

Lovely bike path at the bottom of the long climb

Which came to an abrupt end. The greyish vomit-like matter you can see on the right was a mystery but they were finishing off applying it further down the hill. A weed suppressant, a mix of wild flower seeds? Who knows.

Looking back through the gloom at where I've come from. At this point I was 2/3rds of the way up.

Sovinec Castle came as a complete surprise on a rapid descent.

Murky up there on the top, and bloomin' chilly.

The highpoint.

The end of a long day, but I'd been fed and watered by the kitchen that was closing at this point, just in time.
Note, no pictures after the point at which I lost my sense of humour until this one.
alfapete - that's the Pete that drives the Alfa

alfapete

  • Oh dear
Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #47 on: 30 July, 2023, 08:43:13 am »
DAY TWENTY: London to Aushcwitz - Petrovice, Czechia
A much better day today. My hotel had a power cut this morning so no coffee with breakfast. I think they were more concerned than I as they were hosting a wedding at 2pm. Power was back on by the time I left at around 8.30am.
I was quite a long way off route and it promised to be much warmer today but the ride to Opava to rejoin the planned route was lumpy and frequently had me in low cloud/mist and it remained chilly. Opava was a lovely town and I caught the start of a mountain bike race as well as acquiring a new pump and topping up the pressure in yesterday's punctured tyre.
However I was chilly all the way to Ostrava where I warmed up as the sun finally broke through at lunchtime with a pizza. Ostrava was surrounded by lakes and bikepaths and seemed very civilised but I skirted the edges and so didn't see its main delights.
The final 30km to the Polish border was a leisurely affair including a stop for ice cream. I'd hoped to get across the border but there was no accommodation in a convenient location so that leaves me 60km to Oswiecim tomorrow. Today Booking.com was playing up so I left it uncomfortably late to secure my room and was greeted by a grumpy receptionist at the hotel I had my hopes set on. Thankfully she finally tore herself away from her paperwork and gave me a room. The hotel was just 30 metres from the border via a back road, but it's very comfortable indeed.
Almost 96km today.

Golf, Czech style. Lovely clubhouse.

War memorials are everywhere - I must read up on the drawing up of borders at the end of WW2 as it was done in remarkable haste.

Typical of the lakes around Ostrava

This chap had just finished completing his topiary and seemed as impressed with it as I was.

Cyclepath and lake on a perfect sunny day.

Warming up for a football match. I was peering through the barriers, it was for ticketed fans only.

The hotel is tucked out of the way and has a lovely faded grandeur about it. And a grumpy receptionist.

Does that mean no bikes at the border? No, it means cyclists are exempted, but cars are not allowed through on this tiny lane just a few metres from the hotel main entrance.
alfapete - that's the Pete that drives the Alfa

Cudzoziemiec

  • Ride adventurously and stop for a brew.
Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #48 on: 30 July, 2023, 10:50:44 am »
Yes. "Nie dotyczy" = "does not not apply to (literally "does not touch"). And watch out for the weird rules about turning right on a red light.

I think the border you're looking at, the Czech-Polish border, still follows its 1918 line, though there were various disputes and even mutual invasions between WWI and II. You won't see any Soviet war memorials in Poland (though you will see plenty of official and unofficial war cemeteries).
Riding a concrete path through the nebulous and chaotic future.

Re: London to Auschwitz
« Reply #49 on: 30 July, 2023, 03:42:01 pm »
I find this diary an absolutely compelling read 👍

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