Hezky (beautiful) Česky (Czech)
It was finally nice to have some company out on the road and my enthusiasm for no longer riding by myself I think was also matched by Kauli's enthusiasm for his first taste of cycle touring.
It's funny how people evolve over time and I'm sure Kauli won't mind me saying that he has most certainly changed, I know I have too. He's still the great guy I used to know, full of life, energy, wit and boundless brilliant ideas but he has made some quite dramatic lifestyle changes. Once again I'm sure he won't mind me writing but the time I knew him previously we did a fair bit of beer drinking and I think even he would say his lifestyle wasn't the healthiest in the world.
He explained to me how he now lives a life based around the strict principles of macrobiotics and has given up not only the bad food, lifestyle but most importantly smoking. It's incredible and awesome at the same time and I now find myself riding with a serious athlete, cyclist, runner and general all round health nut. Suffice to say I'm already on lesson five of macrobiotics! We hit the road early with Kauli promising that after an hour or so of riding he'd cook me my first ever taste of macrobiotic food.
I had originally marked out a plan to take me west to Olomouc and then head north to Hradlec Kralove however now in the presence of a native Kauli suggested an alternative and more likely scenic route and one that would crucially avoid having to ride on any highways.
It was a slightly damp start to the day but in no time the sun was making its way through what cloud was left and we were treated to beautiful blue skies, welcome back to the Czech Republic I thought!
Our decision to take more country roads resulted in us doing a fair amount of climbing. We passed through some glorious countryside and weaved our way up through forest thick with pine trees. At one point we even made our way up to a height of just over 900 metres.
The last time I rode with someone was way back in Kazakhstan if memory serves me correctly it's great but a little strange. Kauli asked me to go in front as I'm carrying more weight and then I can set the pace. We changed positions throughout the day but I've come to the conclusion that I'm much happier following. It's been nice to take it down a notch especially when riding through such beautiful countryside.
It really feels like the trip is coming to an end and despite the fact that I still have just over a month to go I feel like I've done the hardest parts, I hope these words won't come back to haunt me. In some respects I feel like that of a marathon runner who enters the stadium so far in front and all alone and can complete the last few laps of the track at a canter.
It's nice to just slow down to a more relaxed pace not that I think I've been busting a gut covering distances but I'm certainly looking forward to just savouring this final month of my trip through Czech, Germany and France.
We arrived in the small village of Petrov nad Desnou around five and quickly located a small farm track at the side of a field, past some houses and leading to some woods. We decided it would make the perfect place to set up camp for the night looking back on the mountains that we'd crossed earlier. Many people in the Czech Republic have really nice houses out in the countryside and in order to set up our camp we needed to pass one. I was once again treated to some exceptional macrobiotic cooking after which Kauli went in search of a spring which a guy had told us was just a few hundred metres into the forest. Whilst he was gone the owner of the house nearest us came up along the track with his young daughter and dog. He possessed the kind of build which one could only describe as 'solid' and had shoulders you could land a plane on. He spoke fairly decent English and introduced himself as Jiří or George in English. It was then that he stretched out his hand, quite literally the size of two of mine and my hand disappeared into his as we shook hands. It was only after he released me from his grasp that he told me he was a wood cutter which certainly went some way to explaining his imposing physique.
Camp for the night
He was very friendly and when he found out what we were doing he was quick to invite us to his house for food. I explained to him that we'd already eaten and with that he replied immediately 'well schnapps then!' I told him I should wait until my Czech friend returned. About half an hour later he returned and spoke with Kauli who explained to him that we were very grateful of the offers but we were going to enjoy sleeping out under the stars. I think he was a little confused all the same when he saw my small tent and Kauli's sleeping bag on his mattress but he wished us all the best and of course invited us to help ourselves to apples from the trees in his garden.
And one more thing, today was the day that I passed 8000 miles I reckon just another 1400 to go.........keep biking.
12,874km or for us Brits 8000 miles
Missing one finger....that should be eight.