Leaving the movie-set-perfect town of Tabor and our cosy school dorm behind, we continued making our way along the hilly cycle route towards Prague.
The weather was definitely taking a turn for the worst; it started raining after a few hours on the road and was bloody freezing too!
We put on our (totally inadequate for cold weather) jackets, got our heads down and ploughed onwards, stopping briefly for lunch at a small village mini-market.
Sitting outside the mini-market eating our (stale) bread and jam, we were passed by a staring grown man riding a purple ladies bicycle. We started getting a little unnerved by the sixth time he cycled past us and thought we’d better leave before he circled us again.
We also passed through a town called Divorce, well… close enough…
…where they had an interesting method of dealing with pot holes.
We had to do a double-take when we whizzed past a lake and saw an odd looking man sat at the water’s edge which turned out to be a slightly creepy fake fisherman in a suit.
Needless to say, we did not stop at that particular village, but we did stop at the next town, Neveklov, for a hot drink to warm our hands. That’s where we met the rudest café owner on the planet. Fair enough, I don’t speak Czech, but I did my usual “two cappuccinos please” accompanied by appropriate hand gestures and my friendliest smile, which has worked pretty well so far all over Europe, but she just looked at me in disgust and shook her head, no. I could see they definitely had coffee behind the counter, so I tried, a little more desperately this time, “coffee?”, at which she just grunted “no” and walked off. Oh.
We had better luck at the Cukrarna across the road which I think translates as “sweet shop”. We’ve been in a few now in the Czech Republic and they all follow pretty much the same format: a café with lots of patisserie style cakes and treats as well as actual sweeties and a few seemingly random groceries.
Back on our bikes and about 50 miles and 5 hours in, we saw a “road closed” sign ahead and decided to take a different route, which turned out to be a lot less easy riding than the road!
In the middle of nowhere, just as the rain started coming down a bit too heavy, we noticed a blackboard on the side of the track advertising beer and pointing down at a barn. We hesitantly made our way to the barn surrounded by fields and many, many cows.
To our surprise, it was indeed a bar and we hid in there from the rain with another hot drink and asked the bar keep where the nearest place to stay was. He gave us a map and pointed out the next village.
After a few more miles and a slight de-tour to check out “Hotel Dolly” that we’d seen advertised from the road (a massive pink decrepit building that was clearly no longer a hotel), we came across a farm and asked at reception if they had a bed for the night. Luckily, the lady spoke a little English and must have noticed our eyes widen when she said the price of 900kc (about 40 EUROS) for a room and quickly added that we could, instead, sleep in the “dorm” for 170kc (about 6.50 EUROS) if we had our own bedding. That sounded more like it! The dorm turned out to be a room in the top of the barn with bunk beds in it. Perfect.
She’d told us we could get food at the “big yellow house” in the village but when we walked there (pouring rain), it was closed and showed no signs of opening any time soon. We went back to reception to beg for some food and/or get some change for the vending machine, but that was closed too. With only half a bag of pasta, four laughing cow triangles and 3 Strepsils for pudding, it was our poorest tea yet and I wasn’t at all happy about it.
Still, it was pretty cosy if not a little strange in the barn and we were more than happy not to be in our tent in the rain for once.