Monday, June 18, 2012

Day 351 - 352 Bad Köstritz - Leipzig

A cycling crowd of 15 friends joining me on the last leg of my journey. Wonderful day, wonderful ride. Once I arrive in Leipzig more dear people are waiting for me. We proceed to a barbecue in the park. We talk and play and sing. I am back home :o).

Big thanks to all the people who supported me from home and on the road, who gave me company, shelter, motivation, food, a smile or a hug.

Now I have a packed schedule: job interviews, checking out flats, requicken social relationships and things like filling out tax computation forms, örks.

I am done with travelling.
For now!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Day 350 Jocketa - Bad Köstritz

More hills. In the beginning. Some of them pretty steep. I am impressed how well my untrained cycling companions handle it. On the highest hill we stopped at a wonderful inn for lunch. After that things got much easier, we had some beautiful ways along the river and through the forest. Some parts of the signposted bike path 'Elsterradweg' were best cycled on on a mountain bike. Mud, pretty slippery stones and stuff. But we made it. And then while cycling through Gera on a very nice, very wide bike path, no obstacles and no traffic,...: I slip from my right pedal, the foot touches the ground and before I know what happens I jump over my handlebar - this must have been the most spectacular tumble of the whole journey - just one day before the end, tststs. I am ok, just have a few very small bruises on my right knee and hand - but my only more or less wearable pair of trousers has a big hole - now my wardrobe-options are hole-on-the-knee or hole-on-the-bum. But it is ok, a real adventurer has to look a bit battered when arriving at home.
Tomorrow will be the last day of my journey and many more companions will join me: right now we are 4, by midnight we should be 6 and tomorrow we will ride to Leipzig in a much bigger triumphal procession, yeah!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day 349 Nebesa - Jocketa

I am back in Germany!
In the morning we (that's a group of 4 now!) paid a visit to the Elsterquelle (the source of the biggest river that runs through my hometown Leipzig). From there we cycled the last kilometers on Czech territory and finally entered Germany around 11 AM.
Not much of a culture shock as I had been in Europe for some days already and my friends had already brought a part of Germany to me.
The weather was surprisingly good and even the, ähem, less-trained members of our group survived the day - though we theoretically only have to cycle down river Elster there were quite a lot steep hills today. Just before arriving we had a 22% descent and a very similar ascend on the other side of the river. But we made it and we celebrated our success with food and quite some beers.
Now I have only 2 days left to cycle until I arrive in Leipzig and more and more people will be joining on the way, slowly I start to get excited.

Day 348 Velka Hledsebe - Nebesa

Rain rain rain. All day long. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but all the day rain. When it got too bad we stopped under a roof. When we arrived we were pretty much drenched. Tom did not have any dry clothes left, so he stayed at the hotel while I cycled to pickup 2 more cyclists of our group from the rail station. From tomorrow on we will be four: Tom, Marina, Chris and me. And tomorrow I will finally enter Germany again - after nearly 11 months. That's the longest time I have ever been away from my native country. But I don't even feel tooo excited, possibles because with my good friends I already have a part of Germany here with me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day 347 Plzeñ - Velka Hledsebe

Got up early! Tom seems to have a good influence on me. After an opulent breakfast we hit the road. Despite the predictions of the weather report (all day rain!) it stayed dry all day - nearly. Once we had found accomodation in a bungalow at a camp ground we decided to sightcycle without luggage to nearby Marianske Lazne (Marienbad) - a spa town known for its many hot springs. Even though we couldn't see any springs as most of them were surrounded by hotels, we agreed that it might be a nice holiday location for us in 50 years. On the way back we stopped at a supermarket to organize tomorrows breakfast. When we were done with shopping hell had  broken lose: heavy hëävÿ rain. And most of our waterproof was in our bags which were in the bungalow. We waited until the rain got a little less, finally decided that it wouldn't change for the next hour or so and started cycling back. I had at least a jacket with hood, so I only got wet below the waist, but Tom got fully drenched. Hopefully our shoes will have dried by tomorrow morning and hopefully their won't be more rain.

Day 346 Rokycany - Plzeñ

Yeah, Tom is here! From now on the cycling group will grow and grow until the big final in Leipzig. Still alone I cycled the short distance from Rokycany to Pilsen - after I managed to open my very new lock - took me about an hour - it seems too much rain hasn't been good for it - I bought some oil, now everything is smooth again.
In Pilsen I spent the waiting time checking out what a pastry shop had to offer, hmmmm :o]
When Tom arrived we decided to stay lazy today and only start cycling tomorrow. So we found a very nice Penzion and had a walk through the city - we soon ended up in the beer brewing museum. Later we tasted some of the finished product and of course had a lot to talk about. I am very well informed about all the gossip in Leipzig now!

Day 345 Jince - Rokycany

We started for a wonderful ride in the rain through a former military area. And we came very far: about 10km before we found ourselves in the first pub. Grog and beer made us get stuck there for a long while. The only reason to move on was that the oddly attractive waitress could not offer us any food: kitchen closed on Sunday. So we got out into the rain and cycled another whopping 5km to the next town, where we found a restaurant that offered both food and beer. We got stuck there for another 2 hours or so. It was already afternoon, so I brought my companions Hana and Filip to the station for their train back to Prague. I had a short thought of giving up the fight against the demons of laziness and just stay in town. But somehow I managed to find a last  spark of motivation and started cycling towards Plzeñ. I knew I wouldn't make it all the way there, but at least I wanted to get a little closer. The weather got a bit better - which meant: it did not rain all the time anymore - instead long periods of rain alternated with short periods of drizzle and even a few occasions of sunshine. The last 20km or so before arriving in Rokycany were incredibly beautiful: a bike path through the deep forest, suddenly opening to a quiet lake with a water mill. Then the path continued to wind through lush meadows along a brook right into the town of Rokycany.
As in the evening the rain got worse again I spent the rest of the day in the hotel room. The TV had one German channel: ZDF info - it broadcasted only documentaries about several contemporary European monarchs and their families - with a very strong focus on how important this royalty is to the people, the sense of togetherness of the nation, etc. etc. This would be kind of acceptable, if it would have been a private channel. But this is a public channel, i.e. a channel that more or less every German is forced to pay for. It is ridiculous that this money is used to propagate a seriously outdated world view where some people are better, more noble, more worth than others.