Friday, 22 July 2011

Who Pays the Ferryman

Litomerice – Veltrusy    69 kms       (too wet for the GPS so no height, but it wasn’t much)
If we had hoped for an improvement in the weather, we were disappointed. It was tonking down and had been for most of the night if the surface water was anything to go by.
 We are getting much more inventive as time goes on and so this morning, by manoeuvring two bikes and shifting a bike rack, we had about two square feet of dry land to load up the trailers. After which, we were still quite damp mind you. After a few photo shots of the town, we located the signs for our route. Ten metres later we were presented with the steepest set of steps so far!  Only Hercules would have attempted to carry a bike to the bottom, so off we set to find the inevitable, but always unsigned, alternative. Mr. Navigator took only seconds to find the way. We now had a tail wind for the first time in several weeks; the payback was the rain and the inevitable puddles. Afraid to go round them for fear of a bump from the rear, we had to hope that they were not hiding a missing drain cover of wheel bending proportions. Once onto the cycle track though, the going has been mostly the promised asphalt. However, when the asphalt has run out, the alternative has been potholes, puddles so deep our trailers would have floated had they had a little more buoyancy and mud glorious (or not so glorious) mud.
Still, we Brits, although unafraid of torrential rain, did seek refuge for lunch in a pizzeria. Smelling as we do (that is to say – not pleasant) we remained in the garden under the protection of a large tent, where the waiter, bearing two huge pizzas, eventually found us. A very sustaining and satisfying meal is pizza. Still, we couldn’t stay in the dry forever, so once more into the breech.

With the luxury of an accurate map, we knew that we must cross the river and had elected to do using a small bridge marked on the map. We found the bridge. It was small. It was also up steps almost ladder steep. A few head scratches later, we decided on the ferry. Five kilometres further on, what looked like a homemade sign for a ferry indicated a left turn. Turn we did down a gravel slope to the water. (A good place for a ferry we thought) A rickety jetty existed and tied to it was a little green boat attached to a line running across the very fast flowing river. No one was in sight and we were not quite sure how two bikes, two trailers and two cyclists would access this wee craft. A man appeared (this seems to happen quite a lot) and seemed quite unfazed by our entourage. A push and a shove and we aboard and on our way to the other side all of 50 metres away. Another push and a shove and we were off again. Did I mention the rain?
We have found a campsite of sorts and a cabin of sorts which doesn’t defy description, but as my mum used to say, ‘If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all’ so I won’t. But we are dry – so far!

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