Beauty & Folly -- A Sunny Ride To Mělník

Photo by Mark Baker

"Beauty and folly are old companions." -- Benjamin Franklin

The call of cameraderie, March sunshine. and a few cold beers overrode my muscle memory (see previous post on my pitiful quadriceps), and I headed back out on the bike on March 17 with Stewart Moore and Mark Baker.

We took our bikes on the train and all met up in Kralupy nad Vltavou for the wonderful ride to Mělník, the same trail that I've written about before. It's flat, largely car-less, and picturesque, and boasts quite a few nice little pivo stops along the way (featuring Holba and Krakonoš, two beers too little seen in Prague).

And we got to explore an Egyptian-inspired pavilion -- a folly, if you will -- not far from the chateau in Veltrusy. Stewart first noticed it on a recent solo ride. We'd passed by it before, but the trees in full leaf had evidently obscured it from view. It features a subterranean staircase, a few underground rooms bisected by a tiny creek, some dark stone tunnels leading to the surface, and a room that features what can only be described as an altar.

If anyone has any more information on who built this and why, please let me know.

We made it to Mělník for a lunch of hamburgers and chicken wings at the Buffalo American Restaurant.

(I managed to cycle all the way to the castle summit in Mělník without a break, my legs feeling pretty fine -- proving, I think, that the problem in my quadriceps stems from cycling and then stopping for lunch or beers or whatever, thereby letting the muscles tighten, for my ride home was excruciatingly painful.)

And then it was back home the way we came.

One of my favorite rides -- a great route free of cars, classic pubs along the way, and a stunning destination to aim for.

Enjoy the photos, quite a few of which were taken by Mark (including the portrait of Stewart, above right).

Length of ride: 63 kilometers
Average speed: 14.9 kph
Maximum speed: 38 kph
Time on the bike: 4.10.34
Pivo Index: 6.5
Distance ridden so far in 2012: 93 kilometers

Photo by Mark Baker

Photo by Mark Baker

Photo by Mark Baker

Bad name for a gas station.


JackFate said…
No photos of the lunch? Was it really that shameful?
Grant Podelco said…
I have since posted one photo of my Philadelphia Burger. Sloppy, but good.
JackFate said…
Thanks for that photo. I'm going on Monday!
Anonymous said…
"Václav Vokolek, in volume five of his Esoterické Čechy, Morava a Slezsko puts forth the hypothesis that Veltrusy castle is an esoteric structure and that its park has a spiritual dimension as well. Vokolek posits that the park was the site of Masonic initiation rituals. He points out the Sphinx bridge, whose eastern end is done up as a gateway to an Egyptian temple, and a nearby grotto on the canal. The candidate is supposed to have swum between the two."
Grant Podelco said…
Really?? That's totally fascinating. Thanks for the comment. That will change the way I look at that place the next time I'm there!

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