Day 28: Slavonice to Jindrichuv Hradec - Grampies Track the Tortes (2019) - CycleBlaze

April 15, 2019

Day 28: Slavonice to Jindrichuv Hradec

In the cold light of morning, Slavonice looked exactly the same as it looked in the cold light of evening: quite pleasant, but with really only the one central square.

The hotel that saved the day yesterday
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Seen on leaving Slavonice
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Outside of town we immediately had the kind of road that (unlike on our first day in Czech) we have come to expect - smooth, beautiful, not much travelled. The more of these we see, the more Czech is becoming a favourite cycling place:

Beautiful untravelled road. This is actually a main road. Today there were a lot of trucks - about one per five minutes.
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We have learned to distinguish roads on the Greenway map - there are small red ones and bigger yellow ones. Pictured above is the "yellow" #152. We would like to say we chose it as a shortcut (which it was), but actually we just bumbled onto it.

The yellow road still had a lot of hills, that's just the way it is here. Actually we can see the point of some of our hill loving friends - they do add interest, like when will this up slope ever end, and will I crash on the way down? 

Very quickly (like within 12 km) we each lost one bar from our batteries, and we began to wonder if we would somehow have to change strategies for cycling in Czech. When we rolled into Nova Bystrice we were half thinking we would need to find a cafe, though it was barely 10:30. But we just persevered, and though the hills still continued, they were not severe enough to cause us further concern.

Aside from hills, there were other sources of interest along the way, like cows. Yes, we had noted so far in Czech no cows, leaving us short of good subjects to photograph for Scott Anderson. But now, here they were. And in the far distance, mountain sheep?

Cows!
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Scott AndersonFor me? I’m no great fan of cows actually. You started it, and I’ve been seeking them out for you.
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonIt was sarcasm Scott. This can be how international misunderstandings, and even wars, get started!
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2 months ago
Sheep?
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And how about this herd of deer?
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These guys were not totally red, but best not to step too close!
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One other object of keen observation, after yesterday, was bus shelters. There are actually quite a few of them, and all seem to have good benches!

Maybe we can compete with the guys in Janov, and put this on Booking.
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All along our cycling in Czech so far, we have been skirting the Austrian border, and so flirting with EV 13 - the Iron Curtain Trail. We have even found these maps, though next time around we would actually want the Bikeline guide:

Maps for the Iron Curtain Trail. Does anyone want to borrow them?
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Our association with the border came to head as our route banged into the most northerly point of Austria. At that point there are a series of monuments and sights - like a demo piece of barbed wire border, an ancient Linden tree, and a special rock. Strangely, on the Austrian side no one seems to care at all about the significance of this spot.

The list of significant things here near the border
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The border demo
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The Linden Tree
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Of most significance to us, and really the highlight of the day's ride was what may have been a national park or national forest, or something. For about 10 km we rode through an interestingly managed forest, in which there was a mix of older, medium, and newly planted tree, and a mix of species. The trees were generally planted very tightly together, making us wonder whether the plan was later to thin them or not. It was not at all a uniform thing, like popular "farms" we had seen so much of along the Po in Italy. Rather it was a mixed, if not entirely natural experience, and extremely pleasant to cycle through.

Some of the trees were very brown. They certainly had their bark, but they looked almost as if they did not. They looked like this:

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Their leaves looked like this. Any idea what species of evergreen?

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Bill ShaneyfeltMight be a species of fir.

https://www.mrtreeservices.com/blog/tell-difference-spruce-fir-pine-trees/
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2 months ago

During the time we skirted the border in past days, past all the pill boxes, I imagined the possibility of various ghosts of the past in the forests to the left and the fields to the right. In the forests could be 1938 era German soldiers, ready to storm across into then Czechoslovakia.  And in the fields could be Cold War era Czech citizens, looking to escape to Austria. But mostly, in the managed forest, I was thinking about 1917, through the 1965 film Dr,. Zhivago. A prisoner of the White Russians, Zhivago spends time in Siberian forests, slogging along, or appreciating shafts of light streaming down through the trees. Like this:

See the similarity to today's forest?
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From our cycle today. Even 10 km of cycling affords time for a lot of reflection. That's one of the things Iike about it.
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We could see that Jindrichuv Hradec was centred on a lake, and for a while we followed the river that left that lake, in to town. Jindrichuv Hradec is quite a large place, and the first of it that we saw were some apartment buildings, out of since with the little villages we had been passing:

Jindrichuv Hradec in the distance
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But when we actually rolled into town, we were pleasantly surprised to find it very old and beautiful. Our place, the CykloPenzion Kasper, is in a heritage building right downtown. It is totally cycle friendly, and in fact is decorated throughout with cycle themed images.

In our Cyklo Penzion
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Wall decoration
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We had arrived really early, and went out for a stroll in the old town. It generally looks like this:

The mmain square
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A view through to the lake
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Frescoed building
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We were thinking about what it is that gives one of these nice Czech towns its unique appearance. Dodie put her finger on the plaque like building ornaments, and of course the pastel colours:

Above a door
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Pastel and ornamented
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One thing we have noticed in towns is a lack of obvious bakeries. Still, we stopped in to a cafe, and there was a good selection of interesting items, even if no tortes.

The first thing we noticed were kolaches (sp?). These are famous with us ever since we sought out the Lukas Bakery in LaGrange, Texas, on the Southern Tier, in 2014. There is a well known German population in Texas, and this bakery has become famous for this thing.

In La Grange they looked like this:

Kolaches in Texas?
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Sue PriceWe LOVE kolaches!
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2 months ago

But here we were in the Old World - original home.  What we bought was this:

I think we would declare Texas the winner, on gooiness!
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By the way, if you look at that Czech sign, you will see that these are available in Ma'k - that's Mohn - poppyseed. That's a big plus anyway. Ma'k is the second word of Czech I have learned. The first was Pozor! which means Achtung!

With this we got hot chocolate. Look how elegant!

You get a marshmallow and a piece of chocolate, plus schlag on the side.
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We picked up a booklet about Jindrichuv Hradec that runs though its history since the 10th century, and walks you around a large number of sites through the town. It was too much for me. But we did notice that just as there is an area in Normandy called Swiss Normandy (for its hills) we have just passed through an area called Czech Canada.  It is so named for for its forests and waters, plus unusually chilly temperatures.  No wonder we instinctively extra liked the ride today.

Today's ride: 46 km (29 miles)
Total: 1,530 km (950 miles)

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Scott AndersonWe stayed in Jindrichuv Hradec Lao, about twenty years ago. It was a lovely town then too. Surprisingly, there was a concert in the church - a choral group on tour from some college in Maine.
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonSounds like you've been everywhere along this route. Are you planning to revisit it any time soon?
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonWe do talk about it alright. It’s really lovely cycling (or was 20 years ago - we were there in 1994 biking from Prague to Paris, as well as the 1999 tour). Not sure about soon, but possibly next autumn - it’s been too long since we’ve biked north of the alps.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonI’m glad you are finally seeing the more interesting side of the Czech Republic. We really enjoyed it.
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2 months ago