Tuesday, 26 July 2011

No More Cities!

Prague – Tynec      60.5kms               1201’ ascent.

Yesterday was our rest day. Bit of a misnomer is that. It just means that we don’t get up at seven and we don’t ride. Otherwise the day is often more frenetic than a normal cycling day. This was true of yesterday. Just trying to buy tram tickets to take us into the city was a challenge; locating the map shop was easy following excellent instructions from the manager of the hostel but it was shut as was the information centre (it was, after all, Saturday when all the visitors arrive! Hmmm). We did find a bookshop with masses of maps including the ones we needed. The bit of Prague that we saw was generally a bit of a disappointment so we returned to our hostel and a more tranquil pastime, that of watching international canoeists working the slalom course.
 The hostel itself was part of the water sports centre and so, for us, its familiarity made it a very comfortable stopover. Add to that the unfailing help and advice we received from the staff for whom nothing was too much trouble (even picking our room lock when Alan left the key on the inside of the door!) it rates highly on our places to stay.
Today has been a triumph for Mr. Map and Compass. After diligent research, using the correct maps and very careful navigating, we/he successfully negotiated our way out of Prague with only one tiny blip which resulted in a mad dash along a duel carriageway (or was it a motorway?) for a couple of kilometres. The man deserves a medal! It still took us a couple of hours during which time we covered only some 15 kms and were slowed even further by having to bump our way down a set of steep steps! 
Finally clear of the city and its suburbs we discovered that the Czechs have spent all their road allocation on the ‘posh ’roads while lesser mortals are playing dodgems around the potholes. Still, stress levels had subsided sufficiently for us to take a lunch break and relax a little – until …………. I got lost! Alan, quite correctly turned right, and I sailed straight on having missed sight of this manoeuvre. When there was no sign of him at the top of a very steep hill, a bit anxious and breathless, I resorted to emergency measures and rang. A headlong flight down the hill and we were reunited. This slight mishap delayed us further and it was time to start looking for shelter for the night. As luck would have it a road sign appeared advertising a cycle friendly hostel some 2 kilometres further on. Its location at the bottom of a steep downhill was not very cycle friendly, but we made it just in time to get some food and book a room. Apart from the hill, the location is very attractive – on the banks of a fast flowing river.
No more cities! We’ll do those by ‘plane!

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