Wednesday 4th September Slavonice to Lukov. 62.5kms. Along the Iron Curtain Route and the Austrian Border - Retyrement on 2 Wheels - CycleBlaze

September 4, 2019

Wednesday 4th September Slavonice to Lukov. 62.5kms. Along the Iron Curtain Route and the Austrian Border

A bright and sunny day as we set off Southeastwards. We are so close to the Austrian border that the 30 kilometre Thaya Route which starts from the railway station in Slavonice very quickly crosses into Austria. Apparently this a new cycle route is sealed and follows an old railway line directly south to Waidhofen. We are tempted to try it but not sure what happens at the end of the 30kms sealed route.

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The Greenway (and us) continues on quiet roads, taking us through small towns which, from the magnificence of the buildings, once had a life of some significance. At Pisecne we come across a huge chateau with beautiful gardens and an old granary. There are a large number of such chateaux or castles in the region, some perched in the most in accessible places. Further on the we see an area established for equestrian eventing.

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The Dyji or Moravian Thaya River runs nearby. Any descent to the river requires a major ascent to the open plains again. As we roll along one such open plain, Daniel, a young German chap pulls alongside. So nice to meet a fellow tourer! And he’s a lovely chap- perfect English- on his way to Istanbul from his home town near Dresden. The truth is, we’ve seen very few tourers so far. A short chat and then he’s gone.

At Uhercice we stop in the shade of an old tavern that’s seen better days but still does a decent bratwurst, with cucumber slices and tomato, washed down with a grapefruit Radler. Along the river some apple trees provide us with dessert. 

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Further on, the river widens and forms a large lake at Vranov nad Dyji. This is part of the National Park Podyji. Our approach to the lake is quite spectacular - around a corner we come and there it is! Firstly there’s the suspension bridge in the distance, and before it the bright blue reservoir lake. There are a few watercraft- yachts, and an idle ferry boat called Poseidon - clearly, they hadn’t seen the movie.

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After iceceams we follow the cycle route around the top of the lake past holiday homes, then through the woods and up a gutbuster hill ( have to walk part of it) to the top where we resume the race to Lukov. We arrive here at about 4:30, a little apprehensive because the pension we’ve booked in to looks a little too classy- manicured lawns, electric gates, landscaped gardens. 

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But the owner is very pleasant and from the bottles on display, seems to be a winemaker - he’s aware of NZ’s reputation. After securing our bikes in the garage (combination required to open) we prepare to dine. In summary, the meal is a hit- set menu,  starting with the most perfect mushroom soup (Ann’s favourite) and followed by a pork fillet wrapped in fine pancetta, with shredded greens and baked potatoes. Desert is a chocolate roulade - beautifully presented. The Cabernet Sauvignon is a knockout- almost literally. A beautiful local variety. I should point out that neither the room nor the meal cost as much as the average in NZ. 

Sleep comes easily as we dream of tomorrow’s breakfast!

Today's ride: 66 km (41 miles)
Total: 1,748 km (1,086 miles)

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