Taking Our Pick


The Czech countryside is a giant free fruit basket.

Man, that was one sweet pear.

Stewart and I were in an orchard somewhere between Husinec and Vetrušice, and we were amazed. Delicious apples and pears just dropping to the ground. What a waste. We decided to do a little harvesting of our own.


Pears for the taking.

I must have eaten about six or seven small pears. Lovely little things, and so tasty. I even threw a bunch into my backpack for later. Stewart did the same.

We've always said (like the first time we stumbled across this orchard) that if you were homeless and hungry in Prague, all you'd have to do is head out to the countryside and there's a banquet in the bushes and trees -- fruits and berries everywhere.


Crossing the Vltava on the ferry in Roztoky.

On this ride, I met Stewart at the ferry crossing at Roztoky. I had ridden from my house in Černý Vůl (past the ruins of our beloved Koliba, with no rebuilding in evidence), and he came down from his home higher up on the hill in Roztoky.

We hauled our bikes onto the ferry and crossed the Vltava as a silvery sun sliced through the gathering clouds.

We decided to head up the trail toward Kralupy, but neither of us had the time to make it to the Marina Vltava (our new replacement for Koliba) for a beer.

Along the way we passed a creepy pub/snack bar dedicated to the beloved Czech stop-motion animated characters Pat and Mat. Maybe it was just the fact that it was deserted and cold, but the whole place felt weird and slightly dangerous. U Pedophilia, if you get my drift.

Instead, we headed up the steep, winding road into the hills above Klecany, marveling at our ability to carry on a conversation as we climbed, something we'd have been hard-pressed to do a few years ago. We still laugh at some of the hills that used to give us problems but which today seem like speed bumps. (Except for the Hill of Doom. That one is still a monster and always will be.)

(Click here to see a map of our entire ride.)

At the top of the hill in Klecany, we linked up with a trail that cut across to Vetrusice and then further still, across fields and forests, to the ridge above Dol.

In Vetrušice, we came across a beautifully done statue, carved from a tree trunk, of Boreas, the Greek god of the north wind.


Boreas.

It's an amazing downhill ride from the ridge above Dol to the Bee Institute, on a steep, rocky, leaf-upholstered trail that winds down and down and down and leaves you gasping for breath at the bottom. I barely kept myself in the saddle at some points.


The ride down into Dol is full of hidden ruts and rocks and roots and it's fantastic.

From this point, we decided to head further north and have a beer at a pub we knew in Dolany. Sadly, once we got there, we found it was closed. Too late in the season, I guess.

Damn.

We headed back upriver toward Prague, passing infamous Baker's Falls, the afternoon waning, the light fading. And us, pivo-less.


The sun sets as we head down the east side of the Vltava, back toward Prague.

At Řež, we crossed the pedestrian bridge back over to the west side of the river, and then walked our bikes on a narrow, largely unrideable trail next to the river and just below the railroad tracks. It's the same trail where Rob and I found a dead boar, probably hit by a train and flung down the bank.

It's an unpleasant stretch of path.


Twilight reflections on the Vltava.

If only someone would spend some money to extend the bike trail from Úholičky all the way to Řež. The trail from Roztoky to Úholičky is a wondrous thing and highly recommended.

And it was that trail that we picked up in Úholičky and took all the way back to Roztoky. Our plan? A ride-ending drink at Hospůdka Zvířátka (Little Animal), in Roztoky, which pours a wonderfully creamy half-liter of one of my favorite beers, Černá Hora.

And that's just what we did. In fact, we had two.

And then we went out separate ways.

What a nice little run that was.

RIDE STATS
Length of ride: 38.5 kilometers
Maximum speed: 35.1 kph
Time on the bike: 3.59.44
Pivo Index: 2
Distance ridden so far in 2009: 738.5 kilometers

Comments

Book_em_Danno said…
Great blogs, Grant. One small technicality: Pat&Mat is not really a Slovak creation (the Czechs can legitimately claim credit here), even if the Slovaks helped out in keeping it alive back on the dark ol' days of the CSSR. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_&_Mat (and especially the controversies). Kind of funny in typically Czechoslovak dark humour: When's the last time animated characters were deemed "submersive?"
Grant Podelco said…
Thanks, Danno! I will correct the copy accordingly and set the record straight about those subversive dudes.
The memories of the posts came back simply by looking at the photos. Call me Pero de Pavlov.

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