Haidmühle to Kvilda - A Bit of Bavaria and Bohemia - CycleBlaze

October 30, 2022

Haidmühle to Kvilda

Today we ride a few short kilometers before we cross the border into Czechia. We have cycled here a few times, but that was many years ago, in the early years after the East Europe border opened. I am looking forward to returning to see what I remember and what has changed, or maybe not changed so much since the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989.

Cycling back from our guest house to Haidmühle, the last town before the border, to pick up our bike path, we cross the Cold Vltva (Studená Vltava). The Vltava itself originates at the confluence of two streams, the Warm Vltava (Teblá Vltaba) and the Cold Vltava, with its source in Bavaria.

The weather is again good, relatively speaking, good for the end of October. The sun is weak and the air is brisk, but it's not raining, it's not foggy, it's not snowing - nothing to complain about I remind myself as I realize that my bicycle pants aren't doing a good job keeping my legs warm.

The Vltava as a small stream
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Good Moooo-ing!
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Gregory GarceauIf I were a cow, which I'm not--but if I WERE--I would limbo under that wire and wander aimlessly up that scenic road. Then I would offer a "good mooing" to cyclists and motorists alike. I really like this picture.
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2 months ago
Good Morning!
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Gregory GarceauGood morning back to you, Janos.
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2 months ago
We pass the German border into Czechia. It's interesting that the border sign is for Bavaria not Germany! They take their status as a Freistaat seriously.
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Crossing into Czechia - the bicycle is pointing the wrong way. I turned it around to lean on the railing while I took the picture.
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Picnic tables now under the observation tower that surveilled the border day and night. A reminder of a dark past. This was no man's land.
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Just across the border: It's 10:30 on a Sunday and the outdoor seating is filled with people enjoying an early beer or two and barbecuing sausages.
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We are now entering the Šumava National Park or Bohemian Forest National Park. The approximately 200 km long mountain range that separates the Czech Republic from Germany and Austria called Šumava means in Czech “a noise of trees in the wind,” “dense forest” or “murmuring,” according to folk etymology.

1999 - 2000 the Šumava was awarded the title "Landscape of the Year".
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Almost immediately we are on beautiful paths through the forest, some paved and some not.
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Often we ride through lanes of birch trees.
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Characteristic marshy moorland
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Not a sealed surface but still good for riding
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I wasn't sure if this was swamp or flooding.
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Lovely mix of deciduous trees and conifers
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It is a Sunday and we hadn't found an opportunity (forgot?) the day before to stock up on provisions, in other words we are hoping for a town or village where we can find something for lunch. Around kilometer 23 we are in Strážný, a small town with many visitors, at the junction of the bicycle path and a road across the border to Germany. Goods are cheaper in Czechia than in Germany and there is considerable border traffic. Cheap tourist articles, and cigarettes, are offered along the street. We find what we are looking for, a restaurant, and are happy with our first Czech meal. We probably would have been happy with any meal.

I kind of liked the bird feeders but didn't bother to take any pictures of the gaudy plastic junk displayed.
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I am always fascinated by the trees pushing their way from beneath the stones.
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We gradually gain  altitude and get views of the landscape and its hills. Janos has been warning me all day long about the killer climb coming at the end of the day. It was not really a killer, but a stretch of 10.5% on a paved surface, not bad at all and he didn't seem to have any problems with it, either.

More views
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The area is very popular for hiking, and in the winter cross-country skiing.
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Higher up now and the fields are no longer marshy.
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Many signposted paths
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Our destination is Kvilda. We had passed through here on an earlier tour, May 2003, but I recognize nothing. The town is full of tourist hotels, construction sites, there are ski lifts that start close to the road. But it is off-season and there isn't much going on. In the old days 19 years ago we just looked for signs that said ubytování, accommodations. This time around we had reserved a room with booking.com as usual. 

Our hotel building, as many others, isn't completed but is looking promising. Our room is sunny and spacious. I enjoy the warmth from the sun pouring in as it is already getting cool outdoors. 

In my journal from Czechia in 2003 I noted that even in May the rooms were without exception overheated. Heating cost next to nothing and the country was still burning lignite or brown coal, which you could smell almost the moment you crossed the border. In those days the only way to turn down the heat was to open the window. On this trip I notice that the heating doesn't go on until 6 pm and when the sun goes down our room gets quite chilly.  I am sure  heating is no longer cheap but the air no longer smells like brown coal.

In socialist times things were pretty drab, even paint for house facades was hard to come by. Now most everything is being spruced up, in our room everything is brand new, we might be its first occupants. I am not being a fussy West German, nor am I complaining, just describing what we experience. The shiny new doors to the shower stall come off their trolley before I can even close them, the elegant black sink faucet twists back and forth when I try to adjust the temperature. Obviously, prosperity and the money for quality has not come with the opening of the borders.

Now to dinner. We opt to eat in the pub in our hotel. It is empty except for the cook, server, barman and three guests. The music is loud. The young couple at one table have obviously already enjoyed many a beer and are in high spirits. The guest at the bar, a young man in his twenties, also seems to be under the influence. From his behavior I surmise he is probably handicapped and I wish the barman wouldn't serve him any more beer, he is drinking like a fish. Our food is fine, though, and when we go back to our room the heating is on.

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Today's ride: 48 km (30 miles)
Total: 98 km (61 miles)

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Kathleen JonesLooks like it was a beautiful fall day.
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2 months ago
Suzanne GibsonTo Kathleen JonesYes, and all the more beautiful for being so late in the season.
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2 months ago