September 21, 2019: Hrabětice to Valtice - Praha to Wien Greenway Tour (Tour 19) - 2019 🇨🇿 🇦🇹 - CycleBlaze

September 21, 2019

September 21, 2019: Hrabětice to Valtice

We might have done that climb by mistake

Hotel: Penzion Za radnicí, € 70

CHALK it up to my mistake of not learning more of a language before visiting a country. For breakfast, we ate the snacks we picked up yesterday but when we went down to load the bikes, the woman asked us if we wanted breakfast. Doh. I thanked her then we packed up and headed out into a morning that had warmed up a bit but not much from the 4 C at 630 am. With the wind having swung around and now in our face, even though it was gentle, it made a difference in how easily we zipped along the route and how warm or cool we were.

It took a few kilometres to get back onto the PVGW where it followed alongside the railway in a number of arrow-straight lines. Beside us were fields of cabbage, sunflowers, corn, then eventually lots of vineyards with both green and red grapes. Also more numerous were the cyclists. At first a trickle of two here and another two or three there became groups of fifteen to twenty all in a shot. Most of them were on e-bikes so when we came to a rise and we geared and slowed down, they turned up their batteries and away they went.

One of the interesting points was really close to the Austrian border, and though the signposts were in Czech and German, it seemed there was a big steel monument to the former Wall that came down thirty years ago in 1989. It gave kind of an eerie feeling knowing that where we were people would not have been able to move freely across that line.

We passed Mikulov and its enormous castle when the Greenway made an abrupt turn to the right onto rather rough tarmac. Parts were sand, parts were rough gravel, and the route went from flat to facing a couple of really steep climbs. I was doubting myself, so when we got to the top, I checked the gps for routing to our penzion. It said to do a u-turn and head back down the hill. I studied the route a bit more to find that yes, we were still on the Greenway, yes this route would bring us to Valtice and more importantly, to our penzion. We were fine. What I didn't know is that there were still a number of pretty long though gradual climbs to do before we got there.

Fortunately, after one of these climbs, there was a farmhouse in one of the villages with a sign for burčák. Several dozen other cyclists had the same idea, so we stopped for a glass each of white for 20 CZK each (about CAD$1.25). It was delicious and refreshing. Another steep climb followed but after a rest stop to take a few photos, that was the last climb of the day as we rolled and rolled down into Valtice. Before finding the penzion we made a little diversion through an archway that led across a park and into the courtyard of the Baroque Valtice Castle. Beautiful. In its heyday it competed with the court of Vienna. There were hundreds of people around, and even more amazingly, there were hundreds of people around on bicycles. Bikes were everywhere. It was overwhelming but awesome to see.

It was a bit tricky to find the penzion because it was not well-marked but when we did, we were quite pleased. A beautiful place with an amazing wine bar and a gorgeous room that is huge. The owners gifted us with a bottle of delicous dry rose wine plus allowed us into the room early - it was just past noon. The owner suggested a restaurant just across the road from the penzion so we went for ribs and traditional Moravian pork, cabbage and dumplings - all of which was delicious. The place was packed with... surprise, dozens of cyclists and dozens more cycled past outside.

After returning to the room to clean up, we went out to find a couple of geocaches. On the way, we came to a small square where there were scores of people looking at pumpkin displays, having coffee, sipping wine, or just hanging out. Walls had bikes against them, racks were full of bikes and cars had bikes on their racks. It was in this area where we found Valticke Podzemi, a series of underground wine cellars that have been here for hundreds of years. There are wine tastings and tours, but one can just wander the cellars as well. There were many, many locked shelves of ancient-looking piles of wine bottles of various vintages. Apparently most of them are white as that is their specialty though they are starting to expand into red wines as well. It was a really interesting and beautiful place. I had read about it but hadn't thought to go - until we stumbled upon it.

We resumed on our geo-hunt and found one of the caches on one side of town and another within the gardens of the Valtice Castle. Very cool. Getting late, and having already enough exercise, we stopped by the Coop supermarket for yogourt, juice and ice cream, then back to the room. I am still hoping to make tomorrow an interesting one by stretching out the route from 33 km to 65 km. We'll see if the winds co-operate. The forecast winds say no.

There were a number of really straight stretches as we followed alongside the railway, which made it a bit less exciting than the hills and mountains. -- Between Hrabětice and Valtice, Czechia.
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Though we didn't go into the city, we could see the castle in the distance for quite a while, so it must be enormous. -- Mikulov, Czechia
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Unlike in Bohemia, Moravia has vast vineyards covering the hills alongside the trail. Wine was for sale everywhere as was burčák. -- Mikulov, Czechia
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When we got to the top of the hill, I did what I always do as we approach the day's final destination. Where initially I follow the gpx track for our route, later on I navigate directly to our penzion using turn-by-turn gps routing. Today when I did that, the gps told me I had overshot the route and had to go back down this monster of a hill. On further study, I saw that we couls continue this same way and still arrive at our penzion. Thank goodness. -- Mikulov, Czechia
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We weren't actually stopping for wine but this area is so well known for its grapes and wine that everything is wine-themed. -- Mikulov, Czechia
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Nearby was yet another rest stop along the PVGW route, Eurovelo 9 and Eurovelo 13. At each of these stops and along the route there were scores and scores of cyclists, most of whom were on e-bikes. -- Near Valtice, Czechia
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Dried sunflowers along the PVGW route. -- Near Valtice, Czechia
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The impressive Baroque Valtice Castle in all of its splendour just around the corner from our penzion. -- Valtice, Czechia
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Right after a difficult climb along the cycle route was this farmer who was selling burčák to a few dozen cyclists, including us. Different from yesterday's, it was delicious and refreshing. -- Near Valtice, Czechia
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Everywhere we turned there were piumpkin displays. At restaurants, coffee shops, homes, apartments, town squares. They were carved in all kinds of designs. Hundreds of people were wandering the streets often with their littles who were excited to see the various works of art. -- Valtice, Czechia
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Valticke Podzemi wine cellars where hundreds of bottles of wine are literally cellared underground in the city. -- Valtice, Czechia
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Valticke Podzemi wine cellars where hundreds of bottles of wine are literally cellared underground in the city. -- Valtice, Czechia
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Right in front of the Castle is Church of the Assumption. -- Valtice, Czechia
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Today's ride: 37 km (23 miles)
Total: 411 km (255 miles)

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