This morning in Dečin
Knee-pain is a good thing when it leads to pleasant mornings like this. A visit to Dečin’s synagogue was enhanced by meeting the bloke (Vladimir Poskoliče) behind its restoration. He has 3 gold medals in javelin! Very chatty in broken German and so friendly and full of energy at 80. The altar painting is of the sun, which shines on and for everyone. Exhibition (in Czech) about Reinhard Heydrich had me choking – not really a surprise.
On his recommendation (Vladimir’s, not Heydrich’s!) we walked up a hill to some fine views of Dečin. I’ll post a photo or two later.
Then back to the hotel to collect bikes and on to the fortunately nearby station. Not too much trouble to buy tickets for us and bikes. (This explains what to do to get a bike on a Czech train). Just now chilling in the outside bit of the station cafe over tea and water…
This evening in Prague
So we’re in hotel Aida, in a north-eastern suburb 4 stops up metro line C from Praha hlavni nadrazi (main station). Plans have changed a lot! Our first thought was to get a train to near the border with Austria, as near as possible to Linz, then cycle to Linz and then do the Donauradweg (Danube cycle path) to Vienna.
Most options were ruled out because south-bound trains with bike spaces were rare and south-bound trains with uncooked bike spaces were non-existent. It turns out there are train works between Olbramovice and Tabor, so replacement bus services are the order of the day. I’m amazed the buses can carry any bikes at all!
So our plan, with thanks to a very helpful lady in the ticket office is to take a 09:15 train to Olbramovice tomorrow morning, arriving around 10am, then cycle 39 km to Tabor. Then we have a train to Ceske Budejovice at 18:54. Even I shouldn’t need 9 hours to cycle 25 miles, especially now my knee has a support that has taken away all the pain!
Deciding and redeciding what to do, along with buying a knee support in the station pharmacy, took about 2 hours. So food was required! Fortunately only 14 minutes’ walk from the main station is Radost FX, a vegetarian/vegan eatery and nightclub. I’ve just had a tofu burger, which goes excellently with Budweiser Budvar Tmavy ležák (dark Bud), while Elly had had an African-style tofu and peanut stew over couscous and an orange and banana smoothie. Yum!
And now cheesecake! All the while Barry White and the Love Orchestra have been serenading us. And not a single Orc in sight!
As for after Ceske Budejovice, who knows? I’d like to cycle across the Czech/Austrian border and Elly would like to cycle some of the Donauradweg. But neither of us are sold on cycling all the way from Ceske Budejovice to the border so there may be more train. More as and when…
Elly puts it much better
Adventures on Czech railways today. Bit of sightseeing in Dečin this morning, including meeting Vladimir (photo) who showed us round the very moving reconstructed synagogue – and also showed us the medals he had won in international javelin competitions. Then to Prague by old-fashioned corridor train with bikes in the luggage van, which was easy enough once we worked it out. Prague metro with bikes interesting but probably less stressful than cycling through rush hour traffic over tramlines and cobbles. This evening’s entertainment involved a pantomime in the chemist’s shop since we can’t say ‘please’ in Czech, let alone ‘knee’ or ‘support’. In spite of this, Bruce now has leg assistance. We then tried to book rail tickets for tomorrow to get us somewhere close to the Czech border so we could carry on to Vienna in easier stages, but no luck. The words ‘rail replacement bus service’ seem to spread chaos in any language. Thanks to the sterling efforts of a very enterprising assistant in the main railway ticket office, we are going by train tomorrow morning to Olbramovice and we will see how Bruce’s knee holds up after 20 miles or so by bike to Tabor. Another train booked to take us on to Ceske Budejovice tomorrow evening and then we will have to work out a new plan from there.