I woke up with trepidation, given that the weather forecast was for rain the whole day today, and it had been raining the whole night.
We had an early start, packing before the 7 am hotel breakfast and on the road before 8 am.
Happily the rain cleared up just as we left and it was a beautiful fresh morning ride, through gently undulating green Czech countryside.
The cycle route 3 was mainly along secondary roads, with much better condition (ie fewer potholes) than previous days. The little yellow route signs were also easier to follow. I had downloaded a new app the night before (called PhoneMaps) that I saw advertised in the Czech tourist board literature. This app actually has bike routes marked on the maps, so that also helped in one or two spots where the signage was ambiguous.
The two main towns we passed through were Řevnice and Černošice. Our entry into Prague was alongside the Vitava River, and would have been lovely if it hadn’t begun to rain quite heavily for the last 8km or so (sorry, no photos of this part, too wet).
There was no shelter along the river so we just rode on in the rain until we reached the centre and found a dry spot to regroup and look at the GPS. Then Kris led us through chaotic, wet streets, full of traffic, tourists and big puddles. The place is full of tourists even in the rain, for example groups of Japanese being ushered around all holding umbrellas.
We arrived at tourist info looking like drowned rats. They gave us a good cycling map of Prague, but not such good help on accommodation. Unlike the other Czech tourist info offices that keep lists of local hotels, this guy just referred us back to Booking.com (too many hotels in Prague?). He did a bit of a search for us and then I jumped onto their wifi with my phone and made the booking. First time I have used the app to book a hotel. We booked for three nights, to allow for some sightseeing and rest time.
The hotel we chose is around 7km from the centre, to the north. We wanted something a bit out of town and in the direction we would be leaving for the rest of our journey. Getting there proved a challenge and took the rest of the afternoon. We first drank some coffee and drew some more money in the centre (drip drying in the warm cafe). Kris took the most direct route, along cycle roads with little or no traffic. However the landscape and roads were not what we expected. We had to cross the river twice to get over an s bend in the river. On the S bend, we went through a little park – it was surprising how steep it was (we expected a flat landscape in a s bend). We waited for the rain to abate for a while in a little cafe in the middle of the park – drinking more coffee and having some snacks – waffle and fried Camembert (not very good). On the second crossing (off the S bend) the bicycle route took us over an island in the river. On the one side was a bridge and on the other a ferry. It turned out that the ferry was free – we were the only passengers for the crossing. On the other end we had to finally conquer some more steep hill climbs, at one point we had to push our bicycles up about 300 m up a small road. I think in the future we will use the roads on the other side. We were definitely out of the city now, riding past houses and apartment blocks. Finally we found our hotel. Thankfully we got a friendly welcome and the room is basic but comfortable. The best thing about it is it has a bath! So we were able to warm up properly with a long hot soak.
In the evening we walked down the hill (in the other direction) to a nearby pizza place and enjoyed some pizza and Tiramisu.