Elberadweg towards Prague, flat tire repairs and the long way home changing Czech trains

mountain through glases

Cycling towards Prague and “relaxing” bike transportation in Czech Republic

Germany was again having holiday on Monday, the Pentecost, and we saw that as a great window for a trip, a short 3 day trip. Till the last moment again nothing was planned, just that we leave on Saturday morning. Saturday came unexpectedly fast and though awaken from 7, at 10 we were still packing. We had no detailed maps and so we went for a well marked Elbe Radweg for which the map is not necessary. We had just a brochure about it with campsites marked, which are on the way anyways, however we found it expensive (Cyclo camp in Roudnice asked for about 5 eur. per person per night).

umut with ferry

So, we went on towards Prague. The route was familiar as last summer we did a trip till Usti, this time we expected to push it further. And we went up to Roudnice, where Umut got a puncture, figured out that the extra tubes we carried were too small, the repair kit glue had dried out and the helpful repair guy at the camping area nearby did not succeed either.. And so it took all the morning to roll-carry the bike to the city that was on the river bank and wait (while tasting Medovnik) for the bicycle shop to open.

The two days before we have been cycling sincerely and we were already tired so after the repair we though just to cycle a bit, get closer to Germany and come back home not so late to still enjoy the Sunday on the sofa after the dirt is washed and the laundry is spinning. It is just we did not know that the bike transportation system in Czech was not as easy as in Germany. We actually had to lift them inside the wagon that at small stations is like at the 1,50 m. height. And the first time we did it with all panniers and bags attached as we had no time at the small station to prepare for this surprise. None actually explained anything as we had a trouble to find anyone speaking anything else but Czech.. So after some heavy lifting, indeed multiple times as we have been changing trains, running through platforms and after all that extra stress due to trains at the end of the day we were really really tired.

Fast packing  – not when you are leaving from home…

As I said packing was done in the morning.. and of course some stuff was left at home. It wasn’t the first time we went cycling so we though it is going to be easy and fast – the packing.

It was sort of ok, but nevertheless there are so many things at home, that you can’t realize what is the thing you did not pack in yet!
Tip: either keep all camping-biking stuff already separately or just get rid of things at home 🙂

So, I grounded coffee freshly and packed it, however I did not pack ‘cafetera’ nor cups.
Recently we have been finding things so there was a little hope we might one ‘cafetera’ on the way.
Well, no miracle happened..
Luckily I packed two pots, useful substitute.

In search for perfect camping spot – on the way of wild boars

First day as it was sunny we were enthusiastic, reaching for not seen and we did it. We have ridden beyond what we have done before. After tracing roads it seems we did 80 km. Made maybe another 5 searching for a wild camping spot without a map.. Elbe river was too close to the road with no even banks suitable for a tent. Plus along river from both sides railways were busy and very loud at night – we knew that from last year when we pitched a tent 10 meters away from one rail thinking it wasn’t in use anymore..

Already tired and hungry we climbed the road leading away from Elbe but along the roads houses were situated one after another. After a while we just rolled down back to Elbe. Went on and found a forest road, that was direct into the wildness! Oh wild it was! Steep forestry road framed in bushes behind which a meadow was stretching. But the meadow wasn’t even, tire prints were everywhere and it was bending and rolling, all but even surfaced. We pushed our bikes more up and at the edge of the forest we found rubble of some old house frame, the stonewall and some corner stones, also some metal locks. The even surface seemed enough to fit our tent. (Suddenly Umut remembered he did forget to take fire… So while he was preparing the campsite I’ve cycled back to the village searching for matches or lighter, which I did find in the only open local pub with local oldmen siting in a smoke hugging their beer glasses and all watching me in cycling shorts..)

When I came back the camp was nearly ready and so I started cooking and since there was plenty of dry woods around later on we made the campfire. It seemed a cozy spot we have found!

And when the night came we heard some branches breaking under someone’s steps: firstly far away, then approaching and in a distance moving around. We listened, tried to make noise as the feeling was not so cozy anymore: it was clear they weren’t people nor dogs. There was no reaction to my clapping, whistling nor to the fire –  we  lifted a burning branch in the air. When the sounds were close enough to expect to see who was making it Umut flashed with our bike lamp and said “Wild pigs!!! I saw them, one was staring directly at me! Those eyes reflecting the light!”. Kind of scared, somewhat excited we still sat around fire afraid to close it down and just after the sounds disappeared we decided to get into tent as indeed it was late and we were tired.

The night was long. I was too tired, maybe too full or the sleeping bag was too hot but I could not fall asleep. Moving side to side I finally sat up to drink some water and ventilate a bit. Then as just getting more into relaxing mood I started to hear breaking branches again, but it was still far. I tried not to listen, but I am bad at that.. Some time later already used to those sounds far away suddenly I realized they were approaching and in a good speed. It seemed those wild pigs just decided to wildly jumpily run down the slope at which foot indeed our tent was standing. My heart was jumping wildly too! I woke Umut telling-whispering – they are here, let’s make noise. As we spoke the silence stood or I just could not hear anything over my pounding heart. I could not speak loud and I remembered I took a blues harp with. Quick search and  I started blowing the harp. Maybe it is just my imagination, but not far away I heard the grunt of a pig and then the noise of breaking branches followed getting further. I still played, already fallen into melody, now just for calming myself.

Next morning we promised, and here comes the Tip: check the camping place for hoof-steps more careful before setting up a camp. When we came home I read and read and read on wild boars. They aren’t dangerous if you aren’t provoking them, but if attacked they are the worst dream of a hunter. I even posted on stackexchange online platform what is the best to do when met with wild boar.  Main tip: do not provoke or attack. If under attack then climb in the tree. Generally just make enough of noise and keep food away from the tent.  Maybe we will met again and I will write some article next time .)

On Elberadweg in Czech Republic visiting Litomerice and Terezin

These two cities are just some kilometers and a river Elbe away, both rich in history, in great one as well as dark one.

Litomerice being one of the oldest Czech Towns in medieval period with acceptance of Catholicism became the seat of Bishop’s residency and bloomed with beautiful baroque architecture built buy Italians (how else..). When arriving on Elbe Radweg from bottom we saw a nice church tower on the top of the river valley banks and needed to climb there to see. It was the enormous Saint Stephen Cathedral and Bishops Houses, but it was closed..

When watching over the roofs it reminded me a bit of Vilnius: rooftops covering each other in various heights, plenty of churches, small turning streets in cobblestone and beautiful facades.
Then we rolled down to the main square framed with of old baroque buildings.

The first drops started to fall and we decided to run trying to escape the rain. We  did not know that there is an underground with extensive corridors of the royal city of Litomerice for public visit available, it would have been interesting. Well, instead we hit the road. Rain caught with us up in like 2  hours on the way. We chose the car way over the unpaved road and soon got wet enough.. but it was ok.

Roudnice that rainy afternoon was the goal and we did not want to go any further..  We just looked around the city as it wasn’t raining anymore and decided rather to prepare for the night, maybe taking the Cyclo camp which was back the way through the horrible bridge. Right after we found that Cyclo camp was rather expensive the bike tire got flat. We pushed the bikes into the hops field and placed the tent. It looked like the storm was not over yet…

Next day due to the repairs, that weren’t working, it took a half of the day to get get us on the road. So we looked around and decided rather to ride a part back and check Terezin. It was worth!

Terezin looked really crazy with those all old big building, all framed in a fortress with big walls and all empty, streets and squares too. The city was supposed being used for defense, but paradoxically it became infamous first of all as a prison, and later during World War Two as a Jewish ghetto and concentration camp. The museum for that was huge and we hadn’t enough time for it nor mood. All looked so depresive.  Have a look for more info:(http://www.czechtourism.com/t/terezin/)

We promised we will come back…

Oh, and here is the track:

What do you think?