Castles, Mushrooms, Cheap Beer & Kind Words

This was the view from the tiny open-air cable car as we descended from the summit of the Eckbauer in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Flashes of lightning and a torrential downpour soon followed. We got wet, very wet.

I just returned from spending four days in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the gorgeous resort town in the Bavarian Alps. I was showing my sister, Carol, and my nephew, Alex, around. They flew into London for a few days, and then jetted down to Munich, where I met them at the airport before we drove south into Bavaria.

It was my third visit to Garmisch, and like last time, I enjoyed a pint of fresh buttermilk at the summit of the Eckbauer, along with lots of roast pork and weißbier.

Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate. It rained, and rained hard, for about half of the visit. We never did get to take the train and cable car to the top of the Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain. It was obscured by clouds for our entire stay.

Nevertheless, we took a tour of Schloss Neuschwanstein, King Ludwig's fairytale castle, hiked through the wondrous Partnachklamm gorge, and took a cable car to the top of the Kreuzeck, which, while only 1,340-meters high, still afforded some incredible views.

I also seemed to have caught a very bad flu bug in Bavaria, but I hope to be out cycling soon!

Cheapest Beer In Prague

I am on a quest to find the cheapest half-liter of beer in Prague, especially if the pivnice happens to be along a cycling route.

So far, the cheapest I'd found was a half-liter of Gambrinus at U Vokacu in Klecany for 18 CZK, or about $.88, matched by Hospůdka Zvířátka in Roztoky, which serves delicious Cerna Hora for the same price.

Now, Rob has found a new king of beers, Na Hrazi, at 32 Habricka in Zlicin. They sell half-liters of Staropramen and Velkopopovický Kozel for 17 CZK, or about $.83.

Keep those submissions coming!

The Magic Mushroom Revealed

A reader of my blog, Simon, has identified the amazing mushroom I photographed a week or so ago on a ride around Petrin hill. He left a comment, in case you didn't see:

"It's a parasol mushroom (bedla vysoka in Czech), and a fine specimen at that. My (Czech) wife says the best way to cook it is to lightly fry the cap in olive oil with caraway seeds.

I like your blog. I'm a bit of a cyclist myself and have done some of the routes you describe, and I look forward to trying some of the others. In return, I might be able to suggest some alternatives ..."

Thanks for the info, Simon. And I would love to have you suggest some new routes!

Tooting My Own Horn Department

A reader wrote me a very nice e-mail which I wanted to share:

Hello Grant,
I’ve just read your complete bike blog having come across it by chance via myczechrepublic. I just felt I had to email and say thanks for sharing your life thoughts and feelings about Prague and her surroundings. I was spellbound by your writings and excellent photographs. Keep up the good work.
Thanks again and kind regards.

Now that's the kind of e-mail that makes me want to keep going. Thank you very much.

Karlštejn castle makes a great cycling daytrip from Prague.

Cycling to Karlštejn Redux

Another e-mail from a reader I received suggested an alternative route from Prague to Karlštejn castle. In my blog post, I lamented the fact that almost the entire route marked on the bike maps is on paved roads, not bike trails.

"An alternative route to Karlštejn. It is a partly 'unmarked' route if I am not mistaken; but it basically ensures you of a 80-90% route with no cars. You basically start on the Smichov side of the large Barrandov bridge.

"Right next to the river (Vltava at this point) there is a paved cycling route (on the other side - city centre side there is a similar route as well - but this is often packed with rollerbladers). This route goes for about 1,5km and then changes to dirt path - keeping out most rollerbladers.

"Just keep following the path - might be a bit of searching at the start; but if you choose a busy day and follow another cyclist you will definitely find the route heading out of Prague - as you can easily lose the track in the beginning (you must pass a bridge and the highway for example - but the route DOES keep going! - you keep following the water all the way into Cernosice!).

"The route goes on to Radotin, Cernosice, and you can keep following it MTB style all the way to Dobrichovice and Revnice (or at least - I am not fully sure of the last stretch to Karlštejn; but you are practically there then...) Very nice route to do - some pubs/places to stop along the dirt path so definitely worth it!!"

Thanks for the tip. I will definitely try to check it out on my next trip to Karlštejn, when I will also try to find the real Velka Amerika, a flooded quarry that I had a heck of a time locating on my trip down there a few weeks ago.

One of my readers, Marek, pointed out that I had stumbled on the wrong quarry:

Hi, Grant

I'm almost sure the place on the photo isn't Velka Amerika. There are at least three big quarries around Mořina and you have probably visited the wrong one. Compare these photos with your one, or check out the exact place on this map.

BTW, the Small America hidden in the woods west of the big one (see the map above) is much more romantic.


Thanks, man. I was really hoping the pit I stumbled upon wasn't really the "most romantic place in Bohemia."


Your appreciated. Nice feeling isn't it?

Keep at it. It's very interesting reading and photography.
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