Carlo & The Castle
A birthday beer (or two) with Carlo in Okoř.
Carlo and I finally went for a ride.
I met Carlo through this blog, last summer. He's Australian, and a doctor of mathematics, and moved to Prague in January, with his wife, Nadiah. They just had a baby boy.
Carlo's also a cyclist, and had seen my blog last year, and contacted me before a brief trip to Prague. We met for a beer, but never had the chance to ride together.
He's been pretty busy with the new baby, and his job at Charles University, but he found time to head out with me last Thursday, April 24, which just happened to be my 47th birthday. I took the day off from work. It was a beautiful day.
Trying to look fit and healthy and not old at the start of my ride.
Carlo's been riding a bit around town (he lives in the Prague neighborhood of Liben), but he hasn't yet explored the country roads and trails where I usually ride. I cycled the 12 kilometers or so from my home in Černý Vůl, northwest of Prague, and met him by the suspension bridge near Prague Zoo.
I figured I'd let him decide where he wanted to go. I had considered a birthday ascent of the Hill of Doom, but wasn't too disappointed when he chose my favorite destination -- the castle in Okoř. You can't go wrong with that ride.
We crossed the Vltava River on the cool little ferry near Sedlec. The ferries (there's one closer to the zoo near Podbaba, too) are piloted by campy captains in striped shirts and sailor hats who literally toot their own horns as they set off.
I missed the toot, but here's a video of our river crossing:
You have to love the captain's costume. He was also very helpful loading the bikes on and off the boat.
We cycled to Roztoky, through the forest to Únětice, through Černý Vůl and Statenice, to Noutonice, and then took the delightful back route into Okoř, which involves a fantastic downhill on a rocky forest trail. Exhilarating. And teeth-loosening.
In Okoř, we had a couple of cold ones and some lunch at the Hotel Okoř, one of my all-time favorite places in Prague. Great food. Friendly service. And outdoor picnic tables in an idyllic setting next to a stream.
Note the freshly grated horseradish. Yum.
On the way home, we went through Tuchomerice for a little change of scenery, before connecting back to Statenice and Cerny Vul.
We stopped at my house and sat in the sun and had a few more drinks.
Then Carlo managed to find his way home without me.
I had a great day off.
I'll take Carlo to meet the Hill of Doom the next time we're out.
Length of ride: 46 kilometers
Average speed: 17.8 kph
Maximum speed: 48.9 kph
Time on the bike: 2.28.33
Pivo Index: 2
Distance ridden so far in 2008: 475.5 kilometers
I passed this willow and its reflection while biking through Stromovka park on my way to meet Carlo.
The 14th-century castle ruins in Okoř.