Wednesday 15 June 2011

Riding down memory lane

Stage 5, day 1 (Thursday, 2 June 2011)
Nýrsko to Železná Ruda (36 km)

Just a half day’s cycling in store for me today, on the back of a four-hour train ride from Prague to the start point of Stage 5 - Nýrsko on the northern edge of Šumava National Park. I begin by retracing a small section of the Prague-Munich ride I did with a couple of friends three years ago. Back then, the weather was cold and wet. The steam rose from our backs as we laboured up the climb to Špičák pass, and the subsequent descent chilled us to the bone. In Železná Ruda we took refuge in a pub to warm up, but the manager switched the heating off as soon as we arrived. It’s none too warm today, either, and for reasons not even known to myself I’ve booked a room at the same place tonight. It doesn’t bode well.

Špičák pass, wet and cold, May 2008

Friday 10 June 2011

Stage 5 slideshow

Here's the Stage 5 slideshow, folks!

Sunday 5 June 2011

Stage 5 completed

The church clock on Horni Dvoriste square is striking noon as I enjoy a celebratory pint and an ice cream outside the village pub. It seems as good a way as any to celebrate the end of Stage 5 before catching the train home.

Saturday 4 June 2011

Castles in the Sumava sky

This afternoon I climbed to the highest castle in the Czech Republic - Vitkuv Hradek. Look closely at the photo and you might see a rock climber hanging off the keep. From the top of the castle there are fine views through 360 across Sumava, and especially of Lipno reservoir, aka the South Bohemian sea. Tomorrow I plan to visit the southernmost point of the Czech Republic, but given my previous failures to find the most northerly and westerly points I'm not feeling too optimistic.

Easy rider

Saturday lunchtime and I'm eating blueberry tart in a sunny pub garden. After yesterday's hard work I'm easy riding today down the Schwarzenberg channel, which in past centuries was used to float timber out of the Sumava forest towards Vienna.

Friday 3 June 2011

Hard climbin' man

What a wonderful day on the bike today, despite some 4,500 ft of vertical ascent in all (including to the summit of Polednik, pictured). Sumava is wondrously beautiful at every turn. Even the weather, despite some ominous clouds here and there, held fair for me. Shame that Strazny, where I'm spending the night, is such a hole, but one can't have it all. Tomorrow will be much flatter, but there'll be a lot of miles to cover.

Thursday 2 June 2011

Bottomless, unfathomable

An afternoon of heavy duty climbing today brought me out at Cerny Jezero (Black Lake), which is said to be not only bottomless, but unmeasurable. From there it was more climbing then a long descent into the frontier town of Zelezna Ruda, where I'm spending the night. Tomorrow I'm aiming for the highest point of my entire lap of the Czech Republic - the summit of Polednik.