We were the only guests at our Czech hotel and we had an interesting time talking with owner. He was in the military, mainly with the Russians, so he says he speaks good Russian. He speaks a little German, which he has learnt to talk with German hotel guests, but only a few phrases of English. He was involved in supporting the Angolans against the SA troops. He likes the Russians but knows that politics have changed and he is now allied with the Americans (why not with Europeans?). He also has a house in Auckland – but no interest in visiting NZ!
We were well of the beaten tourist track today, we only saw one other cycle touring couple the whole day. There were also lots of hills!
The first 5km was uphill and hard going, especially on a busy road. Then we had a long downhill run, with through green hills, with blue hills in the distance. The next 4km were up and down through the countryside into Ceska Kamenice, where we saw an 18th century baroque chapel (Chapel of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary) in disrepair.
After this we turned off onto what was supposed to be a smaller road (263) but which still had a lot of trucks on it. It went through forests from time to time and more hills up and down for next 8km.
We stopped at small village called Chribska for Kris to look at the maps – there were some woman with babies sitting by the village fountain.
A steep uphill out of the village again (getting pretty tired of the hills by this time). We passed through the outskirts of Warnsdorf and stopped at a supermarket for pastries, so that Kris could get rid of his Czech money before we crossing the border.
When we crossed the border back into Germany it was just a sign on the street with a woman hanging washing in the garden opposite – Kris asked her if she was German or Czech and she adamantly stated that she was German. It was noticeable that the villages were much neater again once we were back in Germany.
We coasted into Zittau – which was quite a busy little town and had a look around the old town. There was a bit of construction happening in the main square, otherwise it was very neat with beautiful old buildings (the usual churches, museums etc). We ate an ice cream at a cafe near the centre and talked to a curious old man who passed by.
As we were leaving town the weather suddenly began to change with dark clouds overhead and it began to rain. You could smell the hot dust as it came down. We stopped at a supermarket just in time to avoid the major downpour and bought some food for the evening.
Then we had a magic ride along the Lausitzer river to Ostritz. The ride is on a tarred bicycle road through a forest with Germany on one side and Poland on other. The two countries are identified periodically by poles painted in national colours. The only downside was lots of little miggies (flying insects) – meaning that you had to keep your mouth closed if you didn’t want extra protein.
We reached the Kloster St Marienthal at around 5pm, having done 76km in all.
We stayed overnight at the cloister, which was not such a good decision. I wanted to stay because it was so beautiful, however there was no wifi or breakfast and the accommodation was very basic for the price (E66)