Saturday 8 October 2011

Czech Mate

Misha, Overlooking Prague
It must be said the Prague is one of the most fantastic cities in the whole of Europe. Certainly not the easiest to ride into with all the tram tracks, cars and people everywhere but friendly, beautiful and old as can be. From the hill top where I was staying we can look out over the towers and spires of this thriving city while throwing a disk around among this somewhat eclectic but brilliant group of fashion stylists, musicians and students to whom I have been befriended.

John Lennon Memorial wall
As I rode into Prague I was attending to my map when a lad of 20 some years rode over and asked if I needed some help finding my way. I had the address for Misha but no clue at all how to get there, and as it happens Michael did not either. What he did though was take me to his student residence where he produced a map and showed me where I needed to go.  It was not as straight forward as one would like so he insisted on biking with me to her house. Not only this but as we biked he gave me a quick overview of the areas I was in, stopping to point out things of interest and giving me a low down on some of the more interesting historical happenings in the past couple of hundred years.

Locks of Love! Lovers pad lock the iron grate and throw the key into the river for the key keeper to look after. Gross!! 
I know Misha from my days in England's south west and very soon upon arriving we were in the car and racing off to her home town of Chomutov, close to the Czech/Germany border. As seems to be the trend with meeting old friends, their friends are keen to meet me and find out what makes me tick, or at least what kind of a person bikes through Europe. And of course this is done over some great Czech renditions of well known American pop music. Take for example Grease Lightening in Czech.

A beautiful fall day full of daisys
Biking into the Cz Rep from Poland I was instantly greeted with quiet smooth roads that simply meandered through the most picturesque of vividly green rolling hills adorned with the vibrant reds, yellows and oranges of the fall that would rival the beauty found in Canada's east as the seasons change. Leaves floated to the ground as a breeze rusted through the trees and acorns fell in alarming numbers with strong gusts, making the going somewhat hazardous for young Doris and her fortunately helmeted rider. None the less, through such trying riding we made the destination in good time.

Andy's kid in Poland
As the seasons change and the snow begins to fall in the mountains it is now an unfortunate reality that I will no longer be able to acquire vast amounts of fresh fruits from the trees lining the sides of the road. A staple diet for most of the past 5 months I will now indulge in the hearty soups and stews that are designed to keep one warm and cozy. People are certainly surprised to find out my journey is continuing north and while I shrug away the suggestions that it may be too cold to bike I am looking forward to the challenge of such a eventuality. 

Found you Gina!! Trying to hide in Poland couldn't fool me
Currently I am sheltering from the drizzly rain here in the south west of Germany at my good friend Annette's flat. Annette also put me up for the night in Wellingtion on night one of the trip before moving back to her native Germany to follow an offer of work so we have come half a circle if you will. Off to Berlin in a couple of days before I head back into the east and into Poland tending north towards Estonia over the next month.

Love, sunshine and happiness.


  1. Hey Ben,

    Yesterday I went into the bike shop to have my wee bike tuned up and thought of you. The awesome man at Bike Otago showed me the latest in fancy pants biking technology, including a funny apparatus thing that goes around your wheel and motors you along - you can set how fast and how much "help" you get so you can pass cars going up hill. Or in my case, go up hill at all (not quite true - I can get home easily now). Other cool things include wing mirrors, alarms and these weird padded bike shorts. I think he was disappointed when I left the shop without anything, having decided perhaps old school is best. But, if you want to "pimp your ride" when you get back you know where to go. Also - I appreciated your title/pun and the pictures of the locked gate and John Lennons wall. Did you write anything?
    Love Pip

  2. You make me laugh. Classic Ben: Love = gross! :)

  3. I hope you stopped in at that bar Benjamin! Looks like a goody!