It’s time for a new blog …

The fun is about to begin again … my new blog is sueuonholidays2019.travel.blog

Follow us on our adventures cycling in Japan.

 

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Prague to Perth – 23 July

Thanks umpires, balls boys and readers …

Today marks the end of another great tour biking holiday. We haven’t done a 10 weeker before so it was a bit of a test.

3503km on the bike;

Trains

  • Airport to Brussels city
  • Bad Ragaz to Andermatt – to get to source of the Rhine;
  • Bag Ragaz to Au – to pick where we left off;
  • Mainz to Berlin
  • Berlin to Potsdam (compliments of hotel)

Countries

  • Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France, Czech Republic.

Rivers

  • too many to mention – ‘confluence’ was the buzzword at times.

We prefer the smaller towns/villages to big cities … too many tourists there.

We still have a weird tendancy to walk in the middle of the road.

The route was great and every day seemed to be different in terms of landscape which made it continue to be exciting. Lovely fairytale towns and villages kept us in awe. The break in the Rhine to do the Romantic Road worked well with part on the Main River bike path.

We mixed up accommodation from hotels, pensions, a hostel to the ‘little old lady who rents out a room’ – and of course not to mention the CityHub at Rotterdam the GenY place to stay not BabyBoomers!! Beware – check your prices – some hostels are more expensive than a hotel.

Most accommodation was booked ‘on the fly’ through booking.com or from the ever helpful staff at the local tourist offices – not much in advance as we never knew where we would stop for the night.

I started to use the offline version of OsmAnd+ I found it too clunky – probably my fault – I didn’t practice at home. I did download Kamoot but didn’t use it – I think it is a better product and more ‘Sue friendly’. I had offline versions of Google maps that came in handy at times.

All in all the cycle signs on the bike paths were exceptional when we were on a designated cycle route ie. Rhine River and Romantic Road.

The bikes continued to hold up well – the housing for my stand broke so will have to be rewelded. No punctures. We put air in the tyres once – because we found a pump. I oiled the chains, a couple of times – should have been more often – it was pretty dry and dusty at times.

The surfaces varied from great to very rough and narrow – thankfully the good well out weighed the bad.

I don’t like hills but some of the hill sections were the best particularly in Switzerland.

We met lots of lovely tour bikers and others not biking along the way who I hope we will see in the future. The purchase of business cards before we left was a great idea.

The weather has been very kind to us – although they could do with a lot of rain in this region. About 4 half days of rain.

I thank you … my followers, who have been encouraging and kept me going with the blog over the years … you don’t know how much I like the odd comment or email – my kids have kept me up to date with home and family issues.

Dodgy internet in hotels is my only stressful time … when I have to get the blog out … I have a deadline. Once I was at McDonalds with a coffee late at night to upload pics to post a blog.

The Image Size app came in very useful when I blew out my photo allowance on wordpress and desperately erased about 10 days of photos – to be repaired when I get home.

My phone has been my life line – it’s all I use for camera and blog.

… and of course John for putting up with me storming off if we’d gone the wrong way or read the map wrong to make up for lost time … haha

Thanks heaps again … now to the drawing board to plan another cycling adventure.

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Prague – 22 July

Making the most of it ...

There’s a lot to like about Prague – we have had a 5 night stay; too long for us between towns but you never know what is in store if you have to get bike boxes and pack up bikes. You have to allow extra time … just in case.

Nevertheless Prague has a certain charm … there are many districts – we are in No. 1 and close to the New Town (Wenceslas Square) a happy medium.

Far enough away from the crowds of the Old Town (Charles Bridge area) where it gets chaotic at times.

I’m particularly attracted to the little arcades here from 1920 era. Lucerna arcade joins Novak and many other branches under the buildings. They are very quaint.

We have a pizza for lunch at Caffetteria Torino again – great venue for people watching. I’m envious when we see some touring bikes all kitted out with panniers (don’t be stupid you have been 10 weeks on your bike!!!) I could do this every day of my life.

John watches TdF while I go for a further browse in arcades and find some more sculptures.

Our last night in Prague – we cross the river and venture up the hill to the Beer Garden it’s busy but not ridiculous no waiting for drinks or food … nice to have chicken and chips and a beer. It looks more like a local hangout than a tourist precinct. 7:30pm – the sun is far from setting here. Furtheron the Metronome has crowds enjoying a drink. Down the hill we walk along the river to the Charles Bridge and enjoy people watching, the buskers, artists and the view of the city and river.

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Prague – 21 July

We are winding down … but not Prague

A walk through the shops today … I’m not a shopper and John is worse. It was quite nice down in the New Town and Wenceslas Square through the malls and discovering alleys and arcades. Most interesting is Lucerna Palace – an art nouveau building dating back to 1920. In the arcade a monument of Duke Wenceslas riding on a dead/upside down horse – the sculptor is David Cerny, a local controversial artist, other of his works can be seen around the city.

Also the arcade houses a fully functioning Paternoster https://www.tasteofprague.com/pragueblog/pater-noster-elevators

An old timer elevator. I saw it 2 days ago then had to go back for another look.

Back down to the Old Town Square – the tourists are out and about along with the buskers – the statue people (men coloured in gold as a statue … that sort of thing) are plentiful.

A huge noise attracts our attention – the “Prague Folklore Days” parade is in full swing. 60 groups representing countries within Europe – and Taiwan and Thailand. They are choirs, dancers and bands all in traditional costume. The folk from Switzerland were a bit rebellious with the huge cowbells ringing through the streets – they were deafening to say the least.

During the course of the weekend the groups strutt their stuff in the many squares of the town.

It’s getting warm 30°C, nice thing here – the wide pavements and tall buildings provide shade and a little breeze cools things down. A water tanker in the street near the museum is spraying water – to cool things – some alfesco restaurants have the mist fans running.

We settle to share a pizza at Torino restaurant – there is some other treat we must try before we go home.

A Chimney Cake, a rolled cake pastry usually filled different ways. I chose the Chimney Devil – filled with black icecream and coconut on the outside of the pastry. We actually saw them in Budapest so they are not authentic to Prague – just authentic to tourists! To be honest I’m glad we shared as they are overrated! Tick, tick.

I have to remind myself I haven’t ridden in excess of 50km today.

A pedicure on the way back to the hotel – John will settle into the TdF … haha he’s asleep when I returned.

A tradition meal tonight – good reviews from TripAdvisor only 450m from our hotel.

John was after a goulash. Mine was so so – apple strudel was delicious.

I also love this sculpture.

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Prague – 20 July

Surprisingly Prague is not a cycle friendly city – we persist on our bikes and do our own castle tour – we are really getting the hang of this city – 9:30am start and we quickly navigate our way to the bridge to lead us towards the castle precinct near Letna Park, a lovely grassed park; lots of trees, childrens play ground, swimming pool, tennis courts, lots of benches for sitting – people are taking photos of the amazing views of the river, bridges and city skyline.

We pass the gigantic Metronome it occupies a symbolic spot on the map of Prague. It was directly on this spot that a gigantic monument to Joseph Stalin overlooked the city. It was demolished by dynamite in 1962, many years after his death. The seven-ton Metronome was installed in 1991 and was meant to be a symbol of the new era.

At the Castle precinct we go through a security check … more manicured gardens and shady trees and then we catch up with ‘tourists’ umm … all swarming upon the cathedral … luckily there is a steady stream on entry and exit no waiting time. A Chinese couple are posing for their pre-wedding photos all in full elaborate wedding dress with a team of 3 professional photographers. They are attracting quite a crowd of unlookers – John suggested … “if they put out a hat”…

Back past security and through to the other end of the park. The beer garden is open and attracting a few people taking advantage of the shade with a beverage – it’s very peaceful at the moment; however the heat turns up on weekends and later on up to the evening. We have a lovely chat to a couple from Miami, Florida staying in Prague for 5 weeks and going to various other destinations around Europe and UK – they are escaping the oppressive heat of their home town. What a life!

Back down the hill we have some business to do – packing tape and cable ties – a great hardware shop nearby thanks to a google search. Just like hardware used to be – you can purchase single items – they are not packaged in 6’s or 50’s – single cable ties … can I take the shop home?

Tour de France occupies us for the afternoon – after 10 weeks we are starting to unwind.

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Prague – 19 July

We couldn’t stay off the bikes today. A City bike tour this morning to many highlights coupled with history. Surprisingly in the group of 12 – we were the only native English speaking the others were from the Netherlands.

Off to find bike boxes – we were lucky with the first bike shop and with contacts for transport to the airport.

Tour de France is on TV – that keeps John busy for a while.

We caught up with Elisabeth and Sturla from Norway for drinks and dinner before they return home tomorrow. We first met them in Bad Belzig at the castle stay and have been crossing paths since then; meeting up in Dresden and tonight. Such a lovely evening at a French restaurant.

Prague is quite magical by night as the buildings become illuminated.

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Melnik to Prague – 18 July

Slow down … I don’t want it to end …

A lovely exit to Melnik … down the switchback hill amongst the vineyards at the foot of the palace. This area is renowned for quality wines along with beer. The last 2 days we have seen many fields of hops.

Lovely path through villages – a river crossing – I’m still intrigued at the barge crossings – ring a bell and the ferryman appears – we arrive after a family of four; then another single cyclist. Seven touring cyclists in all @ €1 or 50 koruna each. The barge moves across the river with no power just a rudder; cables keep it in place and the current of the river gives the power.

With the highway of cyclists today – the ferryman will be busy.

School holidays are in full swing we see lots of families tour cycling – today a Dutch family of four: 2 little tackers – junior school age with their little bikes and rear panniers, they were camping. Yesterday a family of 6 from Montreal, Canada tour cycling on a self guided tour. Many self guided group cycle tours cross us.

We rode through woods; up a great hill – an ascent that was very doable about 5-6% for a couple of kms – the descent was very nice as we approach Prague.

We came across 2 canoe slalom courses on our travels which looked like fun.

Prague was easy to enter just along the river – we ventured into the old town – a bit swishy with the bikes – our hotel is in the ‘New Town’ nice to be out of the hustle and bustle but close enough to walk to the busy stuff.

A late lunch to celebrate. John is happy TdF is on.

A walk to the old town – thankfully the crowds have dissipated. Charles Bridge area seems to be the tourist hub … a lovely balmy evening – buskers in the square. The starting to set sun illuminates the buildings – we walk across the bridge – it is a photographers paradise – either side of the river attracts a good photo and of course many selfie sticks are working overtime. Every few metres an artist displaying his wares to have a portrait drawn.

There is a nice feel to this city.

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