Wednesday 28th August Progressing to Prague - Retyrement on 2 Wheels - CycleBlaze

August 28, 2019

Wednesday 28th August Progressing to Prague

Left the kayak camp and underway by 9:00. Michael has a broken spoke but should be able to get it fixed in Prague. We cross the river and continue beside the right bank. It had been interesting to see so many signs in English at the kayak camp. Generally it doesn’t seem to be spoken or understood too well. This judgment comes from one whose knowledge of Czech is zero and we often have to try to guess the meaning of signs. 

The route has some road, some rough track, then it’s inland to Vodochody and Drasty and down to Klecany on the road. 

We know that there’s a hill coming up, as well as a section of busy road, because the river trail is reduced to one precarious, unsealed section. With this knowledge, provided by our guide (thank you again French people) we stop for a coffee in order to build up our resilience. The woman at the riverside kiosk offers me the option of instant or real. I opt for the real thing and she unceremoniously drops two teaspoons of grounds into each of our cups and adds boiling water. Surprisingly, it works, with no floating grains- how did she do it?

Thus fortified we head uphill on a gentle climb. The road is quiet but gradually becomes busier. At some point we miss the turn down to Klecany and continue to a major junction with trucks and heavy vehicles. We decide this can’t be right and head back. Once we find the turnoff it’s all quite simple and after a break for lunch, we push on to Prague central.

As we enter the city outskirts we see the zoo and also another kayaking slalom course. This one also has white water rafters belting down the race. Further on industrial areas appear and then the city beside the river. Finding our apartment is comparatively easy, though we immediately note that Prague is not really a cycle friendly city and although cars are good with giving space there do not seem to be too many cycle lanes. Cobblestones are also a problem- they look great but are to say the least awkward for cyclists, though plenty seem to belt over them.

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Arriving early for once is a real bonus. It gives us time to check in, shower and get out on the streets. Check in with the diminutive bottle blond Veronika is painless though she hasn’t a clue where we can store our bikes. This is simply dealt with by telling her we can keep them in our room. She’s in too much of hurry to demur and in fact seems to like the idea. Problem solved!

Out on the town- firstly my spoke is deftly and instantly replaced at Praha Cycles which turns out to be very close to our apartment. They also have a map of the Greenway Prague-Vienna which we buy. It’s quite detailed, but as with all of this information, the proof of the pudding etc...

Having restashed my bike we walk down to Wenceslas square which is a fomentation of tourist activity. The Gothic church of Our Lady before Tyn is lit up against the skyline- Ann has read that Disney got the idea for his fairytale castles here. The second landmark in Old Town Square is the Astronomical clock from whose tower appear the twelve apostles on the ringing of the hour. All this is not exactly off-putting but it’s a little overpowering, particularly as we are in the midst of swarming tour groups, young people here for the party, and PLU’s. 

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We head off down some side alleys and fantasise over the menus. Pigs knuckle is supposedly a local specialty along with other meaty dishes. A place doing falafel salads takes our fancy and we set it aside for tomorrow. 

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In the streets away from the square the amazing detail of the building facades becomes apparent. The beauty of these buildings resides in their colour as well as their designs. Some are very ornate art nouveau design while others are more simple. You do begin to ask - why so many and why at a particular time? These questions we decide to leave for the following day. 

Today's ride: 41 km (25 miles)
Total: 1,445 km (897 miles)

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