Climbing clock towers and sleeping in schools: Jindrichuv Hadrec to Tabor

We knew it was forecast to rain today so when we woke at about 7 and couldn’t hear the pitter-patter or rain on the tent, we hurried to pack up before the skies opened, but we weren’t quite fast enough and got totally soaked.  Undeterred, we  packed up the soggy tent and headed back onto the cycle greenway we’d been following all the way from Austria.

The roads and villages were no less beautiful than those of the previous days, but in the wind and rain with some angry looking skies looming over us, it wasn’t quite as serene as it had been.

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With only 39 miles to go, we stopped for a coffee at a grim looking place that smelled STRONGLY of stale cigarettes and gravy.  There were odd nicotine stained posters on the walls a faded nuddy calendar, circa 1985.

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We were the only customers except two large men sat hunched over pints of beer in the corner (it was pre-10 am).  They were sat in silence and every so often one of them, clutching a fly swatter in his right hand, would make a sudden whack on the table to swot one of the many files that were buzzing past.  It was as if we’d entered a cartoon caricature version of the greasy spoon Monte Carlo Café in Halifax.  Still, they understood the universal language of “cappuccino” and the coffee was cheap and strong, so we weren’t complaining.

As we left, a group of workmen, probably on their morning coffee (or beer) break, were trudging their way into the café.

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By lunchtime, we’d arrived in the amazing looking town of Tabor, with its ornate building facades and cobbled streets, it looked even more like a film set than the other towns and villages we’d passed.

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We went to the Tourist Information Centre for a town map and directions to a hostel, which was strangely part of the town school, and you could tell – it was all empty corridors and had a really clinical feel to it, but it felt as if we had rented our own personal studio apartment.  We were the only guests and had our own private living room area complete with TV and kitchenette in the corner.

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After a broccoli pizza for lunch (yum)…

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Thankfully, we had more luck at the chocolate museum.

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We also walked up the impressive clock tower which was a health and safety disaster waiting to happen, with rickety worn wooden steps that turned into an obstacle course at one point when we had to crawl under two massive bells!

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At the top, we were congratulated on our achievement by a sign and, as well as the awesome views, we found a little room with a stamp collector in it.

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Wanting to make the most of our school-based apartment, we got an Indian takeaway in the evening and ate it in our living room whilst watching a bonkers Czech TV quiz show where (I kid you not) the contestants had to wee onto a buzzer in order to answer questions.  Ahh, it was as cosy as home sweet home.

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