Day 79 - Brno to Boskovice: No time to lose, so I wasted a few hours - No More Taxi Drivers - CycleBlaze

April 4, 2015

Day 79 - Brno to Boskovice: No time to lose, so I wasted a few hours

My wonderful Couchsurfing hosts had picked out a cave for me to see in the Moravian Karst: the second best cave, because the best was closed. I had to be there by 13:00 and we figured on four hours to get there. With such a tight schedule, I was careful to linger over breakfast and take my time loading up the bike. Then I was really careful to take my time at the supermarket, using my very useful ability to always pick the slowest line. (Yes, I know everyone claims to do this, but careful analysis reveals I pick the slowest line 80% of the time. If you don't believe me, you're welcome to go grocery shopping with me sometime, but please pick a day where you have nothing scheduled for several hours after the shopping trip.)

Then it took forever to find my way out of Brno. Finding the Eurovelo 9/Route 5/Greenway was easy, but the trail itself could use some improvement, particularly the section that was underwater. I saw a pair of touring cyclists on their way into Brno, but they didn't stop, so I can't blame them in any way for what happened later.

And since it was the Saturday before Easter, I saw many men out harvesting sticks. Men walking, men on motorcycles, old men, young men. I had previously been warned about this pagan Easter tradition, but seeing the earnestness of the preparations was a bit unnerving. You see, these men will create beating sticks, used to beat women on Easter, in order to a) make the women younger and prettier, and b) get chocolate. The really worrying part was that drunkenness was involved somehow. I was glad, in a dark/morbid way, that I would still be in this country on Easter Monday. I hadn't given any thought to the seriousness of this tradition until I saw all these preparations, particularly the mother who encouraged her 4-year-old son to brandish his freshly harvested sticks at me menacingly as I passed.

The EV9/Route 5/Greenway was quite nice (aside from the headwind that wasted more precious time), running alongside a river and separate from traffic for much of the time. There were lots of cyclists out, on fancy bikes an in fancy gear and moving much faster than me. I arrived in the Moravian Karst and the route took me through the nature reserve, which was nice enough even without the caves, but unfortunately uphill. I passed a couple of lesser caves, considered going to one of them, but decided I'd stick with the good cave; if I arrived too late--which was a certainty because it was already after 13:00--I was prepared to overnight in Sloup and see the cave in the morning.

When I finally arrived in Sloup, I saw a few people standing around near the cave entrance, so I looked for the ticket office and was thrilled to find a sign stating (presumably, because I don't understand Polish) the last tour was at 15:00 and the last tickets were at 14:50. I glanced at my watch: 14:51, but there was nobody at the ticket window and the woman was just leafing through a book. But the instant she saw me at the counter, she closed her window.

If I hadn't just passed through structured Austria, it might have occurred to me to offer her a small bribe. Instead, my thought process was something like this: okay, fine, screw you, I don't want to see your stupid cave anyway. The journey is its own reward, blah blah blah.

One minute, one lost minute prevented me from seeing that cave today. Which one was it? The steep hill I pushed the bike up to save my legs, the construction zone, the wrong turn, the photo of yet another steep gradient sign, the underwater trail, the other wrong turn, the slow line at Lidl, the long breakfast, the wind that had been slightly but persistently slowing me down? One minute.

Given how the headwinds had been affecting my speed, and with more in the forecast, I decided it was best to keep going today rather than overnight in Sloup and not leave until noon tomorrow. I've seen caves before, so I wasn't exactly passing up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, spectacular as this cave system was supposed to be. So I continued, and eventually stopped in the least interesting town I could have stopped in. But the barmaid was friendly and helpful, the room perfectly fine. I want to camp at some point, plenty of forests around, but it's too cold for comfort, and good sleep is essential with this difficult weather and all the climbing.

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I think we have a new record. (And if I hadn't stopped for this stupid photo, I would've been on time for the caves.)
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I've seen a few clusters of these steep-roofed houses. These one are bigger than the others, which looked more like one of those miniature town theme parks.
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Today's ride: 60 km (37 miles)
Total: 3,680 km (2,285 miles)

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