After so many perfect days of cycling something was bound to give and it happened today. We set off under overcast but dry skies and, once again soon found ourselves passing numerous deserted buildings. Some of these were quite huge and started me wondeing just how they came to be abandoned. It would have been fascinating to explore some of these to see just how much of their former glory remained. Would they still contain decaying furniture and rotting curtains ?
We followed some quiet but rather rough riverside paths before suffering our first puncture of the day. While the puncture was being repaired we were surrounded by a small family of curious cats. To them I suspect we were the most fascinating objects that they had ever seen. After about 20 mins we were on our way again, this time under steadily darkening skies.
A short distance further on we reached the so called Terror Castle, however the access was restricted because of a major marathon race being conducted in that area. The detour sent us puffing up a steep climb before descending through a series a bleak factories and tenement buildings that looked like they belonged in another age. After fighting our way through several more detours and suffering another puncture, we reached the town of Usti, where we found both a bakery and a Burger king ! Indeed something for everyone.
By the time we had finished lunch the threatening skies opened up and left us on the horns of a dilemma. Although we would have prefered to keep riding, the fact that we would be following a busy road in pouring rain was not a prospect we savoured. Taking into account the safety issue (and of course the other factor – that we get wet) we decided to take the coward’s option and catch the train the remaining 20 km to Decin. It is not easy to buy tickets when you don’t speak a word of the local language and it is even harder to manhandle 10 bikes onto a crowded carriage when the conductor is trying to get the train underway on time.
Czech trains are certainly a long way behind German and Austrian trains (about 50 years), but we did safely all make it to Decin which was to be our last overnight pitstop in the Czech Republic. Tomorrow’s ride will take us back over the border into Germany.