Costas Clear

Costas strikes a pose in front of one of the sports-themed sculptures in the Forgotten Sculpture Garden in Liben.

I've been seeing parts of Prague I hadn't really explored that well before. The thing is, it hasn't been on my bike.

You see, I moved from Prague 6 to Černý Vůl, northwest of Prague, at the end of last week. That's why I haven't been posting. Too busy packing and unpacking. Plus I've lost my Internet connection at home for the next two weeks or so.

It turns out the house we've moved into is very close to the trail that we always take from Prague 6 to Okoř. Černý Vůl is a tiny village that's almost attached to Statenice, both of which we pass through after Roztoky and Unetice on the way to Okoř.

Černý Vůl means Black Bullock, which apparently is a reference to a ceramic mask of a young steer dating to the Neolithic era that was found in the area.

Living in Cerny Vul will give me the opportunity to explore the trails and roads out that way a bit more than I have already. Watch this space.

In the meantime, let me tell you about an interesting ride I managed to squeeze in last Wednesday (August 29), just before we packed up.

I met up with my friend Costas from Thessaloniki, Greece. I met Costas through this blog. He'd written me a fan letter of sorts, and was also planning his umpteenth trip to Prague, so I asked him if he wanted to meet up for a jaunt.

He was a big fan of the post I did awhile back about the Forgotten Sculpture Garden I stumbled upon in Liben, so I took him out there to check it out. My friend Mark Baker met up with us in Stromovka park for the ride.

Mark and Costas sit back and enjoy the short ferry ride across the Vltava.

We started in Prague 6, crossed the river over the suspension bridge near the Troja chateau, and followed the bike trail south along the Vltava River. Once in Liben, we took a little jag right and ended up at the sculpture garden. On the way back, we decided to head past Troja and cross the river by ferry at the Podbaba crossing, hooking up with the bike path that follows the river back to Stromovka.

You can see the complete route by clicking here. I've named it the Costas Loop. It's a leisurely ride, almost totally flat. It's a good route to take if you just want to get out of the city and see some cool stuff, but not work up too much of a sweat.

Of course, we ended up at a pub near Mark's flat, where we enjoyed a few half-liters of Budvar.

Costas is a former lawyer who's now a librarian for the state statistical office of Greece. I really enjoyed hanging out with him, and wished I'd had more time. I like his take on Prague history and architecture. He knows his stuff.

I also loved the fact that he ended up, a few days later, sending me an SMS from the so-called Blues Shack, which he'd read about on this blog. It's a hole-in-the-wall place that's part of the Bakerloo Run. The Blues Shack looks like something from the Deep South. It serves cheap beer and its own specially smoked klobasa and is somehow just inherently cool. But it's not the easiest place to find. I admire his intrepid nature.

I hope Costas and I can meet up again, either in Prague or perhaps Thessaloniki. I've never been, and now thanks to the blog, I've met someone who perhaps could show me his city's version of the Blues Shack and the Forgotten Sculpture Garden.

Length of ride: 26 kilometers
Average speed: 14.1 kph
Maximum speed: 35.7 kph
Time on the bike: 1.47.12
Distance ridden so far in 2007: 1,324.5 kilometers

Costas and I and a cool cycling sculpture that I would like to buy for my garden. If anyone knows the artist behind these pieces, please let me know.

Mark was at something of a height disadvantage as he attempted to block the winning three-pointer.


Meeting online friends is fun. Isn't it nice how quickly we get comfortable with each other so quickly. I think it's the common link, like biking or on my case, quitting smoking that does it.
Costas said…
Hi Grant,

well, here I'm back in Recko and work, but still dreaming going around Hlubocepy park on a sunny day...Sigh..

Thank you for your post on me (couldn't hope for a better photo on the top! : ))) and all your good words. It was a real pleasure making your acquaintance and Mark's. You were great hosts and I enjoyed every minute of our ride and conversation.
Hope everything went right with your moving and you're now relatively settled.
Once again, thank you again for taking out time from your really busy week for me. If you ever happen to pass though my place in the world I'll be delighted to show you around. I'm not guaranteeing you any lost statues garden but I'm fairly sure we'll find worthy things to see. : )

My very best,

Prague Hotels said…
I feel so nostalgic now! I've only been there once for a few weeks but it left a lifetime's impression on me. Lovely city.
Negro Whalely Craving Negra said…
before my morning coffee , at my office, found this blog, interesting, very interesting as i don;t read blogs , this one is probably the second one i have ever read.

lovely pics and clear , nice words , i was encouraged to get back to rides and also renewed my deep desires to visit prague.

thanks again for all the pics and words .

hope that later i will be able to read it again, taking more time to do it so not to lose details of your narrative.

can you please tell me and send me more about the " garden of forgotten sculptures ? where is liben exactly ?
Grant said…
Hello, NWCN!

Thanks so much for your very nice post. I really appreciate the kind words.

Liben is a neighborhood of Prague, in the east, near Karlin. Take a look at my biking routes on the left-hand side of my blog and look for the route called Costas Loop, you will be able to see exactly where Liben is.

If you want to read more about the sculptures, go to this link on my blog:

All the best!

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