Wednesday, 1 July 2009

cycling in south bohemia - czech trip (pt 1)

A few pics from our recent cycling trip to the Czech Republic. The start was the Budvar brewery in České Budějovice (funnily enough!) and from there we headed north. The plan was to travel light, follow our noses and arrive back in four days time. And the rules were....No 1: REMEMBER WE'RE ON HOLIDAY!! Well...there was only one rule!

day one:
České Budějovice - Hluboka nad Vltavou - Týn nad Vltavou - Bechyně

there was a lot of this!

Bechyně from the 'Rainbow' bridge

day 2:
Bechyně - Dobronice u Bechyně - Zvíkov

...and a lot of this! This was only puncture no 1.

Dobronice u Bechyně

We cycled over every kind of surface, on main roads, country roads, cycle lanes, forest tracks, muddy farm tracks, riverside paths and even over fields (although I think we may have strayed a bit there).

Zvíkov Castle. Beautiful and dramatic Gothic castle which sits out on a peninsula where the river Otava runs into the Vltava.

day 3:
Zvíkov - Písek - Protivín - Vodňany

The brewery at Zvíkov (Pivovarský Dvur Zvikov). We stayed here (it has rooms I'll have you know!). Enjoying a rather strong beer at 10 in the morning. Thanks to the lovely brewer (who was all strapped up after a car accident) for his hospitality.

A beautiful ride along the river to Písek. A way we would have almost certainly missed if we hadn't been abducted from the higher ground by a retired gentleman on his bike who showed us the error of our cycle-ways. This was by way of a very welcome riverside drinkery (where Ken's tyre exploded and the fourth or fifth repair was made) before being escorted into Písek where we were shown the sites. Thanks Písek Pavel!

Písek with the oldest bridge in the Czech Republic

enjoying the countryside.

I don't have any pictures of the town of Vodňany - our place of rest for night 3. We chose this place for no other reason than it was half way from where we left in the morning to where we wanted to be the next day. We must have cycled around the place and surrounding villages for a couple of hours looking for somewhere (anywhere) to lay our weary heads and cursing having left sleeping bags behind as we would have happily slept out in the woods at that point. Finally we found a pub with rather grim but welcome hostel type accomodation attached. The owner was drunk. The naked lady poster count was a bit on the high side. The phone rang throughout the night. I don't think anybody ever stops in Vodňany.

day 4:
Vodňany - Kratochvíle - Holašovice - České Budějovice

Kratochvíle, a Renaissance Chateau built in the late 1500's for the last generation of the Rožmberks. It was extremely hot when we got here but I managed to get a quick walk round the gardens while Ken took in 'everything' from a bench in the shadows. Like every bit of water around these parts the moat here is full of carp. It's very hypnotic just sitting there watching them.

We had a quick peek at Holašovice -a UNESCO world heritage site- seen as a typical example of so called "rural baroque" architecture in South Bohemia. And also a source of well needed water before we both expired. Culture over we headed back to České Budějovice to drop of our bikes at the bike-shop. And then it was off on the bus southwards to the lovely little town of Český Krumlov for the Five-Petalled Rose Festival (pictures soon) and a bit of relaxation.

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