In the words of The Great Oz…

August 31, 2008 in Czech Republic, Europe, Travelogue

I take it all back, everything I said about Czech bike paths. Well, maybe not ALL of it back… but at least some of it. Ezra, two miles in to a nicely paved forest cycle way, said it best: “I can’t believe it hasn’t turned to dirt yet, Mom!” He was answered with a chorus of, “SHHHHHH!!! Ezraaaa!!!” We were all sure the dirt mule track was just around the corner. To our great surprise the bike path from Blansko to Brno was paved, off road and lovely. AND, it didn’t turn to dirt until about the last seven kilometers; even then it was not much worse than our driveway when it washes out with the spring rain. Compared to the previous corn fields and downed trees, we’ll take it!

We pushed off at our usual “bright and early” of eleven o’clock from the Adams’ driveway. There were tears all around as we bid farewell. It is amazing, having lived such totally different lives, how very much alike our families are. The time in Cerna Hora flew by. We arrived complete strangers and parted life long friends. Little Morgan made me the saddest, “Don’t laugh at me if I cry,” she said to the children. We stayed an extra four days to be present for her birthday and we’re so glad we did! It was a day of grand festivities, with swimming, BBQ chicken wings a la Daddy, and topped off by a campfire, complete with songs in Czech and English.

Today’s ride was, actually, lovely. Once we got past the bag dropping off in the middle of the Cerna Hora traffic circle and dragging five feet on the pavement before Ez and I could come to a safe stop. We are just fine. The bag is ruined: three big holes in the formerly waterproof top. A nice start to the day. We’ll patch it the best we can and look for a replacement in Austria. Until then, we pray for dry weather! Amazingly, we rode down hill almost all day along a beautiful river, complete with a picnic table placed perfectly for our lunch. The weather was cool. The children were cheerful. It was a picture perfect cycle touring day. I’ll try to remember that for the next time we pound out twenty in the rain and everyone is whining!

Tonight we’re in a hotel in downtown Brno. Only the second of the trip since we left London. The website was massively misleading and we’re spending three times the price advertised on line. C’est la vie. The location is great: just down the street from where we toured with the Adams last week and ate Kentucky Fried Chicken under a street side umbrella. We found a pizzeria with a waiter with impeccable English, “I spent eleven years in North Carolina… but I’m from the former Yugoslavia.” “What gave his American influence away?” you ask? He offered us ice with our drinks. Shocking, I know, but uniquely American. It is the first ice we’ve been offered in months.

The evening was topped with a street festival complete with the kind of saxophone music known to make a person swoon. We ate turkish delight and watched a troop of deaf mimes (don’t laugh) before wandering back to our expensive hotel that Tony summed up as being, “Charming with something uniquely European that we haven’t tried yet.” What is it, you may ask? An elevator with no door… the inside of the shaft scrolls by the opening as it whisks us skyward. Studded pleather doors and carpeting running up the walls to about seven feet high. Toilets down the hall, but showers in little funky plastic tubs behind mustard yellow curtains in the rooms.

We’ve discovered a new application to the words of the Great Oz: “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” Worth every penny.