The past 3 1/2 days have seen us climbing one hill after another nonstop for about 280km. From Prague to Karlstejn to Tabor to Česke Budjevice and now to Česky Krumlov. Climb, descend, climb, descend and climb some more… None of the epic alpine climbs of France or Italy, but rather like the Appalacians. Small, steep and rugged mountains that never seem to let up. Each hill is precluded by the ubiquitous 12% grade sign. I’m not sure if they are 12% or greater, certainly not less, but still they are all marked as 12%.
So at least now our legs are well conditioned for our next push later this afternoon into Austria. We are resting a bit here in Česky Krumlov, taking half of yesterday and half of today off to do some ‘internetting’, laundry and stock up on a few things before we hit the road again. Česky Krumlov is a beautiful little baroque village tucked into the ever steepening hills of southern Czech Republic adorned with castles, church spires and quaint little streets that seems to twist and turn in every direction. We almost don’t want to leave.
Czech Cycling routes
One thing we knew about cycling Czech Republic was that the routes here are well marked and organized. We have for the most part been able to forgo the use of maps and GPS and rely on the route signage. One exception was leaving Prague. As usual leaving a city is harder than finding your way into it and being that Prague was our first day, and we ( OK, I ) are always a little anxious on the first day of a long bike tour. We got a little lost. Only a little.
So, we have followed the local and national cycle routes for the past 3 1/2 days. They mark the routes with a simple numerical system and that system is incorporated into international, national and regional networks. The better known international network, “the Prague-Vienna Greenway” has comprised most of the early part of our bike touring in Czech Republic. The national and international routes are marked 1 or 2 digit route numbers, while the regional and local routes have 4 digit numbers. We have taken some scenic bypasses along a few local routes and found them to be as pleasant and equally well marked as the national routes.
In addition to well-marked cycling routes, once we left Prague we have experienced nothing but courteous motorists and largely empty secondary roads upon which to cycle. It seems the well-built freeways are preferred by motorists even though the local roads are in great shape too. A few times we have both commented that it feels like we have the roads all to ourselves, sometimes not seeing a car for a couple of hours.
It has truly been a pleasure to cycle through Czech Republic. We are leaving this afternoon and already we can’t wait to return. There has been so much to see and enjoy that my meager words can hardly do it justice. The beautiful countryside, never ending farmlands rolling into mountains, wonderful people and great cycling resources make this place a perfect destination for any cycling vacation.