The roads, though scenic, were filled with lorries, but as we headed north into less inhabited areas the traffic thinned out. We stopped at a roadside bar which didn't look very promising, but a friendly landlady helped us out with the menu and soon we were eating fried cheese with oven chips. Howard continued his journey of discovery through the native lagers, while I had Kofola, which was formerly Communism's answer to Coke and tastes like an unholy mixture of cola and root beer. The radio shifted from something incomprehensible in Czech to 'Black Velvet', and I smiled at the foreignness of it all. (When we left, it was a rather nice Czech cover of 'The Boxer'.)
The border with Poland was close, and we crossed it to see what we could see. I immediately felt a lot further from home and a little anxious, especially when the tarmac on the road we were following vanished into mud and we had to turn round. Then we arrived in a beautiful national park with a smooth road surface, allowing Howard to enjoy the corners and me the views.
We refuelled before returning to the Czech Republic, and a nice petrol station attendant gave me a zloty for my collection of small-denomination coins from the countries I've visited.
What we returned into was the area known as Bohemian Switzerland for its forests and rocky mountains. Evening sunshine alternated with driving rain, and we stopped to don waterproofs. I was amused by the sign for Turnov at which, beautifully, we did indeed turn off, and by the town of Horní Police, then we took smaller and smaller roads upwards to our hotel.
Our last night in the Czech Republic was spent just a few kilometres from the northern border with Germany, in a spa hotel whose welcoming receptionist let us park the bikes outside the front door. This was by far the nicest place we stayed in terms of staff, facilities, room and food; I enjoyed a swim before a dinner which included wild boar and Aperol ice cream.
< Back Forward >