Going back to my roots
It was another early wake up for me this morning at around six and I boiled up some coffee to watch the sun come up. With summer gradually disappearing there will be a lot less mornings like this where I'll be able to sit outside my tent in my shorts and witness the best part of the day.
We pitched up the tents not far from the city of Hradec Kralove last night but instead of once again taking the more direct highway from there to Kauli's home in Mnichovo Hradiště we decided to take the more scenic yet slightly longer route.
I've been eating really well what with Kauli's cooking but I've missed my usual morning bread and couldn't resist the opportunity to pop into one of the massive supermarkets on the outskirts of Hradec Kralove to pick myself up some lovely straight from the oven fresh bread.
We stopped a little further down the way and as we'd be finishing this leg of the trip Kauli wanted to cook up the last bits off the food he'd brought with him. I certainly wasn't going to complain as I was treated to yet another macrobiotic culinary masterpiece.
Early morning pitstop
Loaded up with food and full of energy we set off into the region known as Český ráj (Czech Paradise) which covers an area of nearly 180 km² It's been a long time since I visited here and was my first time by bicycle. One of the things I was amazed about was the sheer number of fruit trees lining the streets and apparently not owned by anyone. I'd seen apples trees in other countries but today was the first day that we were able to pick freely from plum trees. Kauli explained that they probably belong to someone and that the normal practice is to ask before you pick or perhaps offer some money but he said that people will usually just let you go ahead and take what you want.
"oiiiiiiii..........you pay for that?"
We rolled into the lovely little town of Jičín in the late morning. It's like stepping back into time sometimes visiting these small towns and Kauli explained to me that Jičín is a place famous for children's stories and folklore tales.
We continued along at the most leisurely of pace and it was great as had been the case in Poland to see so many people out on their bikes in the countryside. We stuck mainly to small roads but Český ráj is a labyrinth of hiking trails and bike tracks and Kauli was eager to take me a little off road and along one such track. I had my reservations as we were so close to his home by now and all I wanted to do after four days of riding was get off the bike and take a nice long shower. Nevertheless I followed him into the woods and down a very bumpy sandy trail. The bike must have thought we were back in Kazakhstan as I tried to plough on through the sand but in the end had to give up and push. Thankfully the trail did improve to a degree that I could actually ride if somewhat slowly. The trail wasn't that long and the forest reminded me very much of being back on the Ashdown Forest in Forest Row.
I think Kauli could tell I was flagging a little and we jumped back onto the ashplat surface to finish off our ride to Mnichovo Hradiště. I was obviously full of excitement with my first sighting of a signpost for my old stomping ground Mladá Boleslav it's been over ten years since I was last here but it was good to be back in the same region and I very much look forward to going and visiting there in the days ahead.
We finally arrived at Kauli's place around five and just in time to beat the rain that the weather forecast had promised.
Kauli's girlfriend Lucie had prepared a feast and I mean a feast and once again I'm sure her first thought of me as we sat at the dinner table must have been 'when did this guy last eat?'
My plan is to rest up here for a few days before heading off to Prague. Kauli's house overlooks a small lake and they also have a swimming pool which he informs me that they never use which to me seems somewhat crazy; if the weather picks up I will certainly be taking a dip in it.
At the time of writing it's now Sunday and I plan to head to Mladá Boleslav later today to have a good old look around the 'Bolly' and perhaps take in a football match; so more updates on my time in here in Mnichovo Hradiště to come perhaps later but until next time that is all for now.