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Cycling Tour Vienna to Prague

Posted on May 07 2020

Cycling Tour Vienna to Prague with Connal Kit


Cycling Vienna, Austria to Prague, Czech Republic, Europe.

This seven day bicycle tour, between the two cities of Vienna and Prague, was our first foray into cycling with a pre booked self-guided cycling tour. Booked with Sherpa Expeditions, with local content supported by Romantic Czech Tours. After having previously ventured on some short rides on our own with hired bikes in France (Burgundy), Czech and Austria, we thought this would be the next step into bike touring. We felt it was a good way to dip our toes into the waters of bike touring by having our accommodation and luggage transfers organised, bikes hired and be presented with a hard copy map and directions of our cycling route. Each day we were free to ride at our own pace in our own small group of four friends from Western Australia. Some sections we were provided with vehicle transfers. 

Being Australians and having to combine different things into our long-haul European holidays, we had already spent some time in England (Surrey, Devon, Cornwall), France (Paris, Epernay), Austria (Bregenz, Kitzbuhel, Portschach am Worthersee) and arrived in Vienna on the 18th June 2012. Yes, a few years ago now but it is a lot of fun revisiting these early tours, looking through our photos and bringing the wonderful memories back. It was part of our journey of discovering just how good it is to tour by bike. It was also a continuation of research into our family history and our second visit to Prague and the Czech Republic – the homeland of Jen’s father.

Meeting up with our friends from home, Tony & Judy, in Vienna was the classic ‘meeting of long lost friends in the street’ kind of moment. First, we see each other in the distance, walk towards each other, get closer, walk faster, get closer and then the outstretched arms and the hug and double European cheek kissing. As couples we were doing different things on our European adventures but these next couple of weeks we were spending together cycling from Vienna to Prague and then exploring Prague. We had a few days together in Vienna to explore this lovely city before the start of our cycling tour. The Schönbrunn Palace and gardens, morning exercise of the Lipizzaner horses at the Spanish Riding School, an evening concert at the Kursalon Vienna listening to performances of Strauss and Mozart “Sounds of Vienna”, Coffee and Sacher Torte at Café Sacher, the Liechtenstein City Palace and Park, Danube Island walk. But, enough of coffee and cake and waltzing around Vienna – it was time to ride.

Cycle Day 1: Transfer Vienna to Schrick; Cycle Schrick to Hlohovec 45km.
Thursday 21st June 2012.

We were treated to a hot sunny day for our first day on the road. To avoid riding in the Vienna traffic our tour began with a transfer out of Vienna to an outlying village of Schrick with our local driver Michael Cabal “Chopper” who picked us up at 9:45am from our hotel with our luggage and our four hire bikes swinging from the rear of his vehicle. He spoke very little English, was shaven headed, tattooed, black T-shirted, dark sunglasses and a big grin. By the adornments in his vehicle and window stickers he was obviously also a hard-core motor cyclist. He probably thought we were totally mad wanting to pedal our way into Czech under our own leg power. He then dropped us in the small town of Schrick just north of Vienna. Some basic adjustments were made to our bikes, panniers were attached and with a cheery wave, we were left to our own devices, hopefully to be reunited with our luggage at the end of the day. First stop was a coffee and a study of our maps to get our bearings and start our own navigation.

As we set off, we soon discovered that it was cherry season and the roadside cherry trees were laden with delicious red cherries. The bikes even becoming useful stepladders to enable some tree climbing and cherry picking. Being a group of farmers, viticulturalists, wine industry workers and country folk, we had many roadside stops to inspect the vineyards, the barley crops, peas, canola and anything else that was being cultivated as well as marvel at the huge wind turbines gently turning in the breeze. Without roadside fences it was easy to be able to inspect the edges of these crops and check their soil conditions. Often the crops were grown in quite narrow strips creating an intense pattern of colour and texture over the gently undulating landscape.

Cycle Tour Vienna to Prague Day1
Day 1 pick up - not sure what we'd let ourselves in for!
Cycling Tour Vienna to Prague ConnalKit


Our route was north through the Austrian towns of Prinzendorf, Rannersdorf, Ginzersdorf, Groskrut, Walterskirchen, Hermbaumgarten and Schrattenberg. The villages were small and neat with a row of simple, plain houses lining the main street usually with tiled rooves and rendered walls in varying states of age and repair, but often with a burst of bright flowers colouring their entrance. There appeared little sign of activity as we quietly cycled through these villages. The outskirts of the villages often had the collection of large farm buildings servicing the productive acreages between the villages. As we left the village of Schrattenberg we came to the Austrian – Czech Republic border, now a deserted border crossing in the Euro Zone. Quite an emotional entry into the Czech Republic for Jen as she returns to the land of her father once more. We paused to remember what this border post must have represented for many years when it was part of the heavily barricaded Iron Curtain between East and West.

We had entered the South Moravian Region of the Czech Republic and the first town we came across was Valtice with a very impressive Leichtenstein Chateau residence. We find we are in the heart of the Moravian wine growing region with large Farming Estates, vineyards and forests dating back to 1249 that were part of the ruling Liechtenstein family estates. They were family owned until 1939.  With Nazi occupation that changed, then the properties passed into communist Czechoslovakian state ownership. Since 1989 the estates are now owned by the Czech State with the Leichtenstein family not being successful in reclaiming ownership.  A similar tale for many of the grand family estates and chateaux found all through this region. The vineyards and farming lands are situated near the Pavlov Highlands with forests and limestone Karst landscape.

Day one was fantastic to get back on a bike, be out in the fresh air, the countryside was serenely charming, eye opening, beautiful; emotionally it had been a big day and it was with relief we arrived at our destination of the Hraniční Zámeček Hotel in the village of Hlohovec, a rather grand building with an outlook over the lake. After a rather hot day it was a perfect finish - an outdoor setting where we could sit and quench our thirst with some well-earned beers and watch the sunset gradually softening the light through the trees and over the water.

Cycling Tour Czech Border ConnalKit
Crossing from Austria into Czech through what was the Iron Curtain. 
Cycling Tour Czech roadside cherries Connal Kit
Some roadside cherries were easy picking others needed a step up. 
Cycling Tour Vienna to Prague Map Day 1 and 2
Maps Days 1 and 2 Cycling Vienna to Hlohovec

 

Cycle Day 2: Circuit cycling route: Hlohovec-Valtice-Lednice-Mikulov-Klentnice-Pavlov-Milovice-Bulhary-Lednice-Hlolovec. 64km.
Friday 22nd June 2012.

It was Judy’s Birthday today so it worked well that we were spending another night in this delightful place while we had a relaxing circular loop ride to complete, exploring the UNESCO listed cultural landscape which was the nucleus of the family Liechtenstein’s possessions around the Chateaux of Valtice and Lednice and their landscaped surrounds.

First, we returned to Valtice to visit the Chateau Valtice. Cycling on through the countryside we visited Castle ruins at Januv Hrad and entered the grounds of Chateau Lednice. Landscaped parkland with rare trees, a minaret, a number of romantic pavilions and follies, a Roman bridge and several fishponds. Closer to the Chateau were gardens with a mix of French formal and English park and an extensive greenhouse. Signage indicated Cycling was officially not allowed in the grounds but we managed a combination of walking and scooting along the paths when no one was nearby. It was very quiet which added to the enjoyment of the parkland spaces and formal gardens.

Next we headed for the hills of Pálava Highlands to discover Mikulov which is surrounded by white limestone hills and vineyards. It is a well-preserved medieval town with the hilltop Mikulov chateau visible for kilometres around. It has a long Jewish history (dating back to the 16th century) and was once the thriving cultural centre of Jewish trade and community and the largest Jewish cemetery in central Europe. Pastel coloured buildings and some with detailed Sgraffito decoration. The town has a backdrop of the three rocky dominant outcrops overlooking the town - Kozí hrádek (Goat Hill) with an abandoned 15th century lookout tower; Svatý kopeček (Holy Hill) with numerous chapels and nature park; and the rocky cliff with the Mikulov chateau on top. 

Leaving Mikulov we continued to climb into the Pavlov Highlands and through large farming and vineyard areas to Klentnice with castle ruins appearing on hilltops. Continuing our climb we then have a view over the huge Nové Mlýny reservoirs (series of 3) and then a long descent around the side of the highest peak of the Pálava Hills – Děvín - to the winemaking village of Pavlov.

A pleasant homeward journey through Milovice, Bulhary and return to Lednice where we stopped for a birthday dinner for Judy.  A very welcome hearty meal with Czech demi sec Sekt champagne for Judy’s birthday. Quite the celebration after what we described as a TOP TOP DAY. The late European sunsets giving us such long afternoons to enjoy our ride, dinner and still have daylight to find our way home. Then a happy if tired pedal to our hotel in Hlolovec to finish the day with a swim in the pool and more sunset drinks overlooking the lake.

Cycling Tour Czech Chateau Lednice ConnalKit
Chateau Lednice 
Cycling Tour Czech Pálava Hills ConnalKit
Up and over the Pálava Hills - reservoirs and wine country

 

Cycle Day 3: Transfer Holhovec to Lancov; Cycle Lancov - Slavonice - Telč. 67km.
Saturday 23rd June 2012.

Leaving Holhovec this morning we were again transported by our friendly driver “Chopper” to Lancov. En route our driver stopped at the Vyhlídka Zamilovaných observation deck, complete with love locks on the railings, as we approached Vranov nad Dyjí to view the Zámek Vranov nad Dyjí perched high on a clifftop overlooking the village and river Thaya. He then dropped us in the village of Lancov to begin our cycling for day to Slavonice and Telč.

Setting off from Lancov we are soon immersed in dense forest that surrounds the reservoir as it meanders and snakes its way through the valley. Strange timber ‘hides’ are found in the forest we guess bird watching hides? We soon come to the castle ruins of Hrad Cornštejn perched on a strategically hilly promontory as we enter the deep bend of the Údolní nádrž Vranov reservoir on the Thaya River. It’s a stunning walk through this stone ruin that must have seen many battles over the centuries from its very strategic spot with views in both directions along the river. Then down the hill and over the blue railed bridge with the Bitov Castle looming over the river on the opposite hilltop. OK … you guessed it - and then up another hill. Quite a steep valley carved by the Thaya River.

We finally leave the hilly reservoir sides and are back out into the farmlands, past acres of crops, fields of peas, roadside chapels, and the ever-present roadside cherry trees worthy of a stop. Through a series of villages: Vysocany, Korolupy, Mesovice, Dancovice, Desna, Zupanovice, Pisecne, Slavetin. Such wonderful names and we battled to pronounce any of them let alone remember them.

We cycle into Slavonice – full of medieval renaissance character in the town centre with sgraffito covered buildings dating from the 14th to 16th centuries. Built during a period of extreme wealth in that period when Slavonice was an important town on the route from Prague to Vienna. We entered on the cobble stoned streets under a narrow archway into the long rectangular náměstí Horní (Square) which leads into the wide base of the larger triangular náměstí Míru (Peace Town Square). It was definitely a place to park the bikes and walk around.  This town is full of wonderfully decorated town houses and public buildings with intricate designs and delicate lace like patterns of biblical scenes, heavenly bodies, royal portraits and more on the richly decorated sgraffito façades. In triangular nám Míru with the centre piece of the Marian Column, it was a good place to rest, with many benches placed in the square and restaurants spilling into the square with their small decked areas with tables, chairs and umbrellas. Many people were out enjoying the sunshine and watching the passing parade. A drive through of vintage Skoda 2 seater cars made the whole scene rather resemble a movie set. First yellow, red then green followed by the touring motorcycle group and even an old Trabant 601 car, all rattling over the cobble stones.

Cycling Tour Slavonice Skoda Czech ConnalKit
Charming Slavonice - Cobbles, Sgraffito and highly decorated façades
Cycling Tour Slavonice Czech ConnalKit


The word náměstí we translate as ‘square’ with reference to a ‘town square’ but really, I think they are more ‘plaza’ or a ‘piazza’ as they are not always a geometric square. Some are triangular, some rectangular, some even curve around corners. They are the open public space found in the heart of these traditional towns and host community gatherings and markets. The Town Hall and the main church often dominate a corner or one side of these spaces. They are certainly always full of amazing buildings with interesting architecture usually built by the wealthy traders of the time and generally competing with their neighbours for the biggest or most decorative finishes. The restaurants seem to claim sections of the cobbled square with a decked platform. Others simply place their tables and chairs on the uneven cobbles to attract their customers. People gather, children play, visitors walk and stand in awe of the beauty of the place, locals just go about their daily affairs.

Dragging ourselves away from Slavonice we cycle through rolling hills with large expanses of farm lands with cut hay, emerging corn and an ominous building of black clouds following behind us. We pass through the villages of Dolni Bolikov, Pec, Kostelni Vydri, Kostelni Myslova. With the clouds becoming more threatening we glimpse moments of sunshine giving us distant rainbows as if they are following us but never quite catching us.

Cycling Tour Telč Czech ConnalKit


Our riding today ends as we enter Telč (pronounced Telch).  Yet another beautiful Moravian town dating back to the 13th Century with a historical town reserve and protected by UNESCO World Heritage listing for cultural importance with architecture from Gothic and Renaissance to modern. Situated in a shallow hollow, surrounded with fishponds, the remnants of the original surrounding moats, formed from the Telč Brook. It is described as a town with one of the most beautiful squares in Europe and the most perfect example of the Italian Renaissance north of the Alps justifies its listing. The central market square, náměstí  Zachariáše z Hradce, has a delightful Marian column (Mariánský sloup), public fountains, a 16th century chateau, several churches and fortification gates. Colourful houses surround the square with arcades and richly shaped gables from the Baroque period. A public place of great beauty and wonderful display of architecture. Our accommodation for the next two nights Hotel U Hrabenky (Slavatovska 86) overlooks the fishponds, the Chateau and the town centre. A large single level with attic rooms surrounding a central courtyard bar restaurant.

Cycling Tour Telč Czech ConnalKit
Telč - more stunning architecture - listed UNESCO site. 
Cycling Tour Telč Czech ConnalKit

 

Cycle Day 4: Cycling circuit Telč - Třešť - Telč for Jen & Greg 40km. 
Rest day for Tony & Jude. Sunday 24th June 2012.

An early walk around the town of Telč was full of rewarding views. To see the competing beauty of these houses as they built facades to display their wealth and outdo their neighbours (sometimes obviously the roof behind the façade is much smaller and less imposing). Greg of course had to try out the water well/pump in the main square. The colonnaded arcades with arched entrance doorways filled with an assortment of wooden double doors with decorative panelling, knockers, handles and bolts.

Tony & Jude stayed in town today, but we followed the suggested ride for the day, not wanting to miss out on anything.  Leaving the old town behind we headed into another day of rolling hills and forests of the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands. Again, the apple and cherry trees along the roadsides were fair game as they are public property and well appreciated when cycling.  Avenues of oak trees created shaded green tunnels with one particular downhill oak tunnel being noteworthy for its length and enjoyment. Cycling through the villages of Mysliboř, Sedlejov, Panenská Rozsíčka we arrived at the hilltop village of Třešť. Then villages of Čenkov, Růžená, and the hidden castle of Hrad Roštejn, perched on a rocky outcrop and surrounded by forests. We stopped here to explore the old castle and refuel. A walled triangular shape with centre courtyard and high tower, which of course we had to climb to view the surrounding countryside. The roads are quiet with avenues of trees and many more peaceful fishponds with Sunday picnickers enjoying the sun in the parklands beside the ponds. More villages of Řídelov, Řásná, Lhotka, Mrákotín, Částkovice, Hostětice and we descend back to the main square of Telč.

Cycling Tour Třešť Czech oak tunnels ConnalKit
Cycling Tour Telč Czech ConnalKit
Cycling Tour Czech Republic Maps Day 3 and 4 Hlolovec - Telc
Maps Days 3 and 4  Cycling Hlohovec - Telč, Czech Republic. 

 

Cycle Day 5: Transfer Telč to Strmilov; Cycle Strmilov to Třeboň. 47km. 
Monday 25th June 2012.

Once again, with a 9am pickup, we were transferred with our bikes by a new taxi driver (Mr Vondrak) from Telč to Strmilov. Here we commenced our day of cycling. With heavy grey skies, it was raincoats on for the start of the ride, even needing to take shelter in a bus stop at one stage. The rain cleared as we cycled over the Moravian Highlands into Bohemia. Endless landscape of fishponds (carp farming), farmlands and forests.

We cycled through the small villages of Vlcice, Maly Ratmirov, Blazejov to Jindrichuv Hradec, a Gothic fortified town with its castle dating from 1220, baroque and renaissance buildings, where we stopped for a very interesting walking tour and refreshments. Yet another beautiful old town with its central cobbled náměstí Miru featuring the Plague Column – 20m tall sculpture of the Holy Trinity. All of these towns have had these Marian columns or Plague Columns which are religious monuments depicting the Virgin Mary or another saint on top. The Plague Columns were built in thanksgiving for the ending of a plague or for some other reason. The Holy Trinity columns were simply to celebrate the church and the faith, they were built as a gesture of public faith in Catholic countries.

Cycling Tour Jindrichuv Hradec Czech cobbled streets ConnalKit
Jindrichuv Hradec
Cycling Tour Jindrichuv Hradec Czech ConnalKit


Fed and watered, and with another 50 photos on Jen’s camera, off we go again through Polikno to Stráž nad Nežárkou, a town on the Nežárka river. Crossing the river via its weir, we came suddenly upon the chateau and town buildings crowding the riverbank.  Even though we think we’re almost castled or chateauxed out at this stage, every one is significantly different and has its own story. Every larger town has been built around or within the walls of the local nobility’s country home or chateau. The buildings forming the sides of the Town Squares being an indication of the wealth of the town in its early years. The decorations and embellishments to each building an attempt to outdo the neighbours. Every one of these old towns is architecturally stunning.

From here it was a very scenic ride through a mosaic of forests, past fishponds, wetlands, peat bogs and small settlements. For the record, we rode through the villages of Stribrec, Stara Hlina, around Lake Rozemberk and finally into Třeboň. The entrance is over the Zlata Stoka (Golden drain) with a lovely statue of a naked pregnant woman surrounded by lily pads, through the medieval gates along the cobbled streets and into the main square.

Our Hotel Zlata Hvezda was easy to find perfectly positioned and our window overlooking the main Masarykovo náměstí (Masaryk Square). In Masaryk Square are the town hall and the baroque Marian column and a stone fountain. The burgher houses surrounding the square again are wonderful in their colour and decorative architecture.  Zámek Třeboň (the Chateau) with its adjoining park and ponds completes the Old Town. The House of the Little White Horse (Bílý Koníček) is notable dating from 1544.

A town with a brewery is not to be missed, the Bohemia Regent Brewery (Pivovar). Of course, we had to have a drink of beer at a brewery founded in 1379, being one of the oldest breweries in the world.

The network of fishponds in the area date back to the 14th Century. Dinner tonight was, of course, Carp fish, as we are in the heart of the carp aquaculture region. Carp being the traditional Czech Christmas Eve Dinner (not that it was Christmas Eve!). Another very acceptable hotel this time with an unusual extra of two indoor bowling rinks.

Cycling Tour Třeboň Czech Lady in the Pond ConnalKit
The sights and tastes of Třeboň
Cycling Tour Trebon Hotel on the square Czech ConnalKit
Cycling Tour Trebon Brewery Czech ConnalKit

 

Cycle Day 6: Cycle Třeboň to Český Krumlov. 52km.
Tuesday 26th June 2012.

Today we are cycling towards another jewel in the Czech crown … Český Krumlov. Today’s ride was through beautiful rolling countryside, forests, poppy fields and around reservoirs with several short steep hills.

Our route took us through a collection of rural villages – Domanin, Spoli, Libin, Slavošovice, Ledenice, Strážkovice, Komařice, Pašinovice, and Římov, on the left bank of the Malše River. There are many small chapels on roadsides or in the fields around Římov and a reportedly 650-year-old lime (Linden) tree. It was time for coffee and the biggest strudels we had ever seen. They filled a dinner plate and topped with lots of cream. Greg opted for the broccoli soup. Leaving the village and feeling rather full, we cycle over the reservoir dam wall and immediately turn into a road with a 12% gradient sign. We were warned about a couple of hills, but this hurt after filling up on strudel and broccoli soup and coffee. Cycling through the forests and around the reservoir through Kladiny, Hrachovy Hory, Sedlce and over a further reservoir, we roll into Velesin.  The area has large fields of flowering white poppies, which have been a traditional crop for a long time with Czech being the main world producer of poppy seed.

Cycling Tour Poppy farms Velesin Czech ConnalKit


The pace picks up a little as we go through Markvartice and a few smaller villages in anticipation of our destination, through some high forests and finally we all enjoyed the steep descent into Český Krumlov (but secretly thinking “I guess that means it’s a steep climb out of here tomorrow”). This medieval town is strategically placed on the meandering ‘S’ bends of the Vltava River and has a fairy tale appearance, playing host to a multitude of cultural festivals. Our hotel for the night was easily found just on the edge of the old town - Penzion Gardena. It was definitely “a walk till we drop time” as there is so much to explore in this UNESCO listed town. The town is built around the 13th century Castle, which is the second biggest in the country. Below the castle is the Latrán area of the town and the main inner town is on the opposite bank of the river and almost completely surrounded by the meanders of the river. It had importance as a seat of government which gave it wealth through crafts and trade as well as attracting many religious orders.

The Castle is imposing as it sits on a rocky platform dominating the town with fortifications down to the river - a complex arrangement of over 40 buildings with five courtyards. The Chateau Tower is a dominant feature of the town. The Cloak Bridge (Plášťový most) with stunning views overlooking the town, another bridge leads you out into the 11 hectares of sprawling gardens with mosaics of colourful flower beds under huge trees and a lake at the end of the gardens. 

While exploring the main square Nám. Svornosti and walking the web of cobbled streets, we couldn’t resist some street food when we came across the Trdelnik stall (chimney cake). It is rolled dough that is wrapped around a stick, then grilled and topped with sugar and walnut mix and grilled over open coals. A bit like a firm donut and easily shared. They disappear too quickly as they are so delicious.

Wherever we were in the old town we could constantly hear the rippling and gurgling of the river as it tumbled over the weir and around the corners. You are never far from it and it provides a playground for kayakers in the heart of the town.

Cycling Tour Český Krumlov Czech ConnalKit
Český Krumlov
Cycling Tour Český Krumlov Czech Connal Kit
Cycling Tour Český Krumlov Czech Connal Kit
Cycling Tour Český Krumlov Czech Trdelnik stall Connal Kit
Cycling Tour Czech Republic Maps Days 5,6,7 to Prague ConnalKit
Maps Days 5,6,7 Cycling Telč - Třeboň - Český Krumlov - Prague.

 

Cycle Day 7: Cycle Český Krumlov to Hluboká  nad Vltavou. 45km.
Transfer Hluboká  nad Vltavo to Prague. Wednesday 27th June 2012.

A couple of hills today, the first being the climb out of Český Krumlov. The roadside cherry trees though help us on our way. Several small villages are passed by as we follow the quiet back roads in a northerly direction through the rolling countryside, hill tops covered in forests and large areas of mainly barley crops.

Our next stop is the beautifully preserved Historical Village Reservation of Holašovice (another UNESCO World Heritage Site). A traditional central European village with 18-19th Century vernacular buildings (architecture characterised by the use of local materials and knowledge designed for local needs and traditions) in the South Bohemian folk Baroque style, and an original ground plan from the Middle Ages. The village was restored in 1990 and repopulated. A village green is flanked by the original 23 brick farmsteads containing 120 buildings with their gable ends facing into the broad elongated village green. Each building has different shaped gables decorated with various forms of painting, window framings, stucco decorations on the gables and ornate doorways. The main entry doorway opening into a large interior courtyard. The village green was surrounded by Linden Trees (Lime Trees) – the national emblem of Czech; along with a small chapel, a pond and the still standing maypole. Greg and Tony discovered the old weighbridge in the centre of the green. Judy and I weren’t impressed with the results as they insisted we stand on the platform.

In need of refreshments we entered one of the courtyards to find a small restaurant, where Greg found ‘Grog’ on the menu and decided it had to be tried. That certainly re-energised and warmed him up ready for more cycling. We later discovered this is a common menu item in Czech and is Czech Rum with hot water, lemon and sugar.

Cycling Tour Holašovice Czech Trying Grog ConnalKit
The discovery of 'Grog' and the Historical Village Reservation of Holašovice
Cycling Tour Holašovice Czech ConnalKit
Cycling Tour Holašovice Czech ConnalKit
Cycling Tour Holašovice Czech weighbridge ConnalKit

 

Nearing the end of this cycling tour, we cycle through small villages of Jankov, Čakov, Křenovice, Čejkovice all with populations of between 150 – 400 people in the heart of the Bohemian countryside. Again we find ourselves cycling through a landscape of gently rolling hills topped with forests, large expanse of farmlands, avenues of oak trees  and alongside many fish ponds.  As we approach Hluboká nad Vltavou we can see the Chateau Hluboká on the hill overlooking the river. This significant chateau was originally a royal castle and was redesigned with an influence from Windsor Castle. Unfortunately our ride ended here and after celebrating with lunch and beers we were picked up by Mr Liska and transferred to our hotel in Prague. Our first night in Prague was spent at the Novoměstský Hotel (Reznicka 4, Prague) booked as part of the tour.

 Cycling Tour Hluboká nad Vltavou Czech Connal Kit
Celebrating the end of the cycling section at Hluboká nad Vltavou
Cycling Tour Vienna to Prague Czech ConnalKit
Cycling Tour Vienna to Prague Czech friends Tony and Jude ConnalKit
Cycling Tour Vienna to Prague Czech food for energy ConnalKit

 

As we had several more days in Prague before flying home, we relocated for the remainder of our stay to the other side of the river to the Residence Hotel Green Lobster (on Nerudova 42, Prague) on the cobbled street leading up to the castle. This was an excellent location for another 6 days of exploring Prague. We happily showed Tony and Judy some of our favourite places.

We simply can’t get enough of this city. This was our second visit and we have since returned several more times. With each visit we dig a little deeper and discover more interesting bits of culture and history. Prague has captured our hearts and is now our favourite city to visit. This time we had a visit to the National Theatre (Národní  divadlo) to see Doteky Folkloru – a ballet and folk music performance; The Estates Theatre (Stavovské divadlo) to see Mozart's Don Giovanni Opera (premiered in this theatre on 29th October 1787). Kampa Museum, Communism Museum, The Charles Bridge, Prague Castle and surrounds, Petřín Hill. A Kosher meal in Josefov. A boat trip on the Vlatava River to the Zoo. Several visits to the military archives copying Jen’s father’s army records. The Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí) and the Astronomical Clock, Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí) to place a rose on Jan Palach’s memorial, exploring the grounds of the historic fort of Vyšehrad, visit the Memorial to the Heroes of the Heydrich Assassination. Our last three evenings culminated with crashing thunderstorms and rain adding to the mystique of this place. Running on the cobbles to catch trams in the rain, jumping puddles and huddling together, the lights of trams and cars reflecting in the puddles in the dark evenings, the constant rumble of car tyres over the rough cobbles, the tram bells as they move along their routes – such unique sounds.

Prague Czech Cycle Tour Connal Kit
Prague Castle complex and just a few of the bridges over the Vlatava River
Prague Czech Cycling Tour many steps to Prague Castle Connal Kit
When in Prague there is a lot of walking to do. Steps to Prague Castle. 
Prague Czech rose for Jan Palach cycling tour Connal Kit
Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí) - a rose on Jan Palach’s memorial.
Prague Czech trams on a stormy night cycling tour Connal Kit
Trams, cobble stones, rain, puddles - part of the mystique of Prague. 
Prague Czech home of great artists cycling tour ConnalKit
You could easily spend your entire stay in Prague discovering the unusual sculptures in public spaces and galleries. 

 

Judy and Tony moved on with their travels. As a farewell on our final dinner together Judy sang (to the tune “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man”) the lyrics she had written about our ride together. See the Lyrics below.

The four of us had an extraordinary cycle touring trip and shared many beautiful moments of wonderment and discovery along with many laughs, delicious drinks and meals together. We have found cycling in Czech to be really enjoyable on a number of occasions. The landscape is not a ‘grand’ landscape of mountain vistas or stunning ocean cliffs, but more a consistently beautiful landscape with enchanting towns, enabling totally enjoyable cycling adventures suitable for moderately fit cyclists. The country offers very achievable cycle touring.
Till our next story.

Jen & Greg 
Connal Kit

Note 1: This tour was booked with Sherpa Expeditions (UK company) as a Self-Guided Cycling Holiday which gave us the accommodation bookings, luggage transfers, bike hire, maps and instructions and some transfer sections. The tour cost per person was AUD$1680. Note 2012 prices. We were very happy with all the accommodation, the service and the cycling instructions. Tour: 7 Days, 367km Total Ascent 3760m.

Note 2: 27th June the day we arrived in Prague is the Czech Commemoration Day for the Victims of the Communist Regime (the date of the execution of Milada Horáková  - Czech politician executed in 1950). This explained the flowers adorning many of the memorials around Prague.

Note 3: Judy’s poetic lyrics sung to “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man” to thank us for this bike tour:

Ahoy Greg and Jenny
We loved our time with you
And we can tell you why
There’s lots of reasons
We loved our cycle ride

It must be something
In them Movavian wines

We had to peddle
So we could fly
Rise on our saddle
So we didn’t cry
Can’t help lovin’ that cycle ride

Jenny ain’t lazy
She was head of the pack
Greg was a little crazy
But sooo relaxed
Can’t help lovin’ that cycle ride

Jenny loved coffee
Greg drank his ‘grog’
Greg loved his whipped cream
And Jenny like to snog
Can’t help lovin’ that cycle ride

Jenny and her lens
Snapped here and shot there
Greg sketched and sampled
The beer and the fare
Can’t help lovin’ that cycle ride 

Chorus:
When we cycled hills
That’s what really killed
But when we came back down – it felt FINE
Our smiles did shine!

We downed those hills
As fast as a bus
Ridin’ without hills
Ain’t no ride for us
Can’t help lovin’ that cycle ride. 

When we cycled hills
That’s what really killed
But when we came back down – it felt FINE
Our smiles did shine!

We downed those hills
As fast as a bus
Ridin’ without hills
Ain’t no ride for us
Can’t help lovin’ the two of you!

 

1 comment

  • Judy Waterman: May 11, 2020

    Ahoy there Jen and Greg
    The most memorable bike holiday we have had especially with you both sharing the country you love so much. For me it was like living in a fairy tale ( even with the hills and the heat), moving through a magical place and witnessing what has gone before for the Europeans. We value our freedom & space here in our small part of the world yet this ride opened my heart to the freedom that has been fought so hard for with unbearable and unimaginable losses over centuries. I keenly felt the acknowledgment and palpable sense of the value of freedom amongst the people as we stopped to see how they live and have restored their homes with peace.
    I agree – Sherpa were a great cycle company and loved all the places and accommodation on this route.

    Thanks for writing this up Jen – you are incredible – your journey over these last 8 years is inspirational to us all.
    Judy

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