Jindrichuv Hradec - From Prague to Paris - CycleBlaze

May 26, 1996

Jindrichuv Hradec

Another lovely day of cycling on hilly, green, extremely quiet roads.  We continued to gain elevation until fairly near Telc, taking us high above the surrounding hills and valleys and giving us fine views in all directions.  We almost talked ourselves out of visiting Telc since it is somewhat off route and would add 20 miles to the day.  Happily we decided to go the extra miles though and were rewarded by a visit to a remarkable and well preserved town.  We arrived shortly before noon.  The core of the town, consisting of a long square, many fine buildings and several monuments, is a UNESCO protected site.  The many colored and sculpted facades give a wonderful, appealing feel to the square.  It was packed today by a lively Saturday market, a small beer garden, and throngs of visitors.  Rachael further loaded down my bike by purchasing a colorful, loose-fitting pair of pants from one of the booths. 

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After enjoying beverages at one of the cafes on the square, we returned to our bikes for a picnic beside the pretty,, rowboat specked pond that borders the town.  Our meal consisted of various treats we had picked up from the grocery in Pelhrimov - cheese, bread, filberts and chocolate.

Shortly after leaving Telcc we passed through what appeared to be a resort area, with picnickers in the fields beside ponds, couples on rickety, heavy looking tandems, and a memorable crowd of at least four adults and a child on a bike - the largest crew I have ever seen on a two wheeler.  They accommodatingly waved a forest of hands at us as I hurriedly pulled out my camera.  (Ed: good thing I have a photo for documentation - there were actually six adults on this contraption).

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We were not sure of how far we would ride today.  It depended on the uncertainty of the weather and our hill-weary legs.  The riding in south Bohemia has been surprisingly tough - steep climbs out of streambeds were hillier than expected, and a rough road surface broken up even more by the predicable cobblestone stretch at the heart of each village we passed through.  We had thought we might try to reach Trebon, which for some reason I expected to be a lovely town, but instead settled on Jindrichuv Hradec. 

Jindrichuv Hradec proved to be a beautiful small city, made all the more attractive by its being unexpected.  For some reason I had imagined it as mainly industrial and uninteresting.  Its old town includes a bright, expansive town square, again with the typical brightly painted house fronts.  To the west of the square is the large castle after which the town is named.  Much of the core area appears to be recently renovated, and reconstructive activity is in evidence on manu of the surrounding streets and alleyways.  With several hotels and pensions to choose from, we selected an attractive, clean place that surprised us with its modest 800kc bill, including breakfast - barely more than its dingy counterpart in Pelhrimov.

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After dinner we went back to the castle for a surprising and delightful concert in its opulent rotunda.  The concert presented the Maine University concert choir, on a performance tour of central Europe.   It was quite entertaining to listen to this group in such an unexpected location, and to observe the tentatively appreciative response they received.  The first half of the program consisted of religious music, and the last of American numbers in a variety of styles from Gershwin to Stephen Foster to boogie.

Today's ride: 90 km (56 miles)
Total: 255 km (158 miles)

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