Windischeschenbach - Cheb - To France the Long Way - CycleBlaze

June 9, 2009

Windischeschenbach - Cheb

It rains on and off all day. On with the rain jacket, off with the rain jacket. We exit Windischeschenbach on a bicycle path next to the road which climbs and we are soon in a forest of conifers. Our route continues through woods, past shallow lakes and wetlands, with many wild flowers.

A rainy start from Windischeschenbach
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Conifer forests - you almost expect Hänsl and Gretel to pop out from between the trees
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Lakes and many wild flowers
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Some of the time we're on dirt paths - slow but we're not complaining as it is also very pretty. Then comes the stretch between Lengas and Mitterteich with a deep layer of coarse gravel cover. Now I'm complaining. I get nervous on loose gravel and tense up which makes me even less adept at steering properly - so I get off and push. Just what the mosquitoes were waiting for. We are attacked by swarms of the biggest mosquitoes I've ever seen (and I'm from New Jersey). Here's where I can verify that Skin-So-Soft is truly effective as an insect repellent. I manage to find the bottle in my panniers fairly quickly and Janos and I apply a generous amount to our faces and exposed parts of our legs and arms.

That black stuff is loose gravel and was no fun to ride on
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When we reach Mitterteich, it begins to pour and I'm chilled to the bone. It's time for lunch anyway so instead of a picnic we take refuge in a pizzeria. From Mitterteich a bike path next to the road takes us to Waldsassen and Waldsassen Abbey, a former Cistercian Monastery. The basilica and Baroque library are impressive.

Former Monastery at Waldsassen
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Church interior, Waldsassen
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Monastery library, Waldsassen
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Wood figure in the monastery library, Waldsassen
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Detail from the ceiling of the monastery library, Waldsassen
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Once again my GPS route serves us well - we cross the border to the Czech Republic on a small, traffic-free road we wouldn't have found otherwise. From the border there is only one road to the town of Cheb, or Eger in German, a bit narrow for the amount of cars and trucks travelling along it.

We cross the border to the Czech Republic
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We are out of Germany, away from the familiarity that makes things so matter-of-course - everything is startlingly different, the signs, the language, the buildings, the currency. We have a coffee on the main square of Cheb, the sun is out and we are enjoying a feeling of excitement and satisfaction at having made it thus far.

Main square in Cheb
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Cheb is one of the oldest towns in Bohemia and has many picturesque Gothic and Renaissance houses, as well as a Romanesque castle, founded by the Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa.

Cheb
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Cheb
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Facade in Cheb
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Fortress ruins, Cheb
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Church of St. Nicholas (Kostel sv.Mikuláše), Cheb
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We spend another day in Cheb, sightseeing and leisurely getting caught up on doing laundry, writing, and sleeping. Prices are noticeably lower than in Germany. Our hotel breakfast is also of a noticeably lower quality. Coffee is instant, the cold cuts strange, I can't remember the rest, but it wasn't very palatable although the hotel was one of the best in town. Sometimes the trick is to know what to order. In this case, tea. A tea bag is a tea bag, not too much you can do wrong there. I know, British readers won't agree, but for me it was acceptable. Breakfast was included in the price of the room, however it isn't difficult to find excellent coffee, espresso or cappuccino and pastry in the numerous cafes and bakeries on the town square.

This used to be the main entrance to the hotel - the art work above the door was probably modern in socialist days
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Cappuccino in Cheb
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Cat in Cheb
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Chicken in Cheb. I looked up the company's website, chickenfinder.com, and discovered that they also sell bar-b-q chicken in Bavaria (the business is located in Bavaria) and Austin, Texas
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Knedliky in Cheb. Sliced yeast dough dumplings, made to soak up a lot of gravy, are served with almost every dish. The dough is formed to make a long roll, steamed and then sliced as you see it here.
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Today's ride: 40 km (25 miles)
Total: 331 km (206 miles)

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