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The Czech Republic is an unitary parliamentary constitutional republic, covering 78.866 square kilometres. It has 10.553.948 citizens of which the major part seem to have no clear religion while 12,5% are Christians. Never the less, they do have a lot of old churches, even some 1500 wooden ones.
The currency is Czech koruna (CZK) with are worth 0,28 Danish Krone and €0,037. The GDP is US$189.982 billion.
The climate is a temperate continental climate, although the high mountains are Alpine.
Among the more interesting larger mammals are the Wildcat (Felis silvestris), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), Gray wolf (Canis lupus), Golden jackal (Canis aureus), Brown bear (Ursus arctos), European otter (Lutra lutra) and Moose (Alces alces).
The flora is, like the climate pretty diverse. However, I fail to find any I will look for in particular.
I soon reach the big river of Dyje, and follow it for some time, way up on a hillside. It have not rained for some time to judge from the dust the farmer make on his field, but everything look nicely lush and green. Here are a lot of small crosses with a Jesus figure on, along the small roads. Every village have a small church, and every abandon chimney a stork's nest. There are numerous small and bigger lakes everywhere.
Then I reach Telc, and that is another story. It is a big town, and it have not only had a former glory, it still look good. Here are several big churches and castles, and especially the large square, surrounded by nice buildings is impressive. I do a long walk, and see the old town. Here are many restaurants, but I see no foreigners. Might be too early on the season?
As I head on through the farmland, it does seem richer. Better roads, better maintained houses. I try to find a camp along the road, but they are real small and does look closed for now. Finally, I find one, and as I have no Czech koruna, he agree on €5. So far, it have been such a nice country, and I look forward for tomorrow! The south and Tlec town
12/5. I set the GPS for Holasovice, and lean back and enjoy the ride. Yet another perfect summer day, a perfect landscape and I drive on the narrow roads right through it. It is a perfect mix of forest, fields and lakes, connected by rivers. On several fields, gees are grassing. I see a few deer around, but not many.
flat areas have a almost sandy soil, but only a few are growing potatoes on
it. Wheat is the most common around here. To judge from the stacks, everyone
heat their houses with firewood, and the winters are cold!
Holasovice, and it is a fine little
village. The houses are in two lines along the rather big square - or field.
It even have a pond. Each house have a wooden water-pump in front, and most are
real well maintained.
It is through even more beautiful landscapes, reminding me of the golden age in painting. The next stop is Hluboka Nad Vltavou; a "fine village with a château ". Well, the village is a rather dull town, but the château is extreme. It look like it was build yesterday from 300 years old drawings - or by Disney.
I try desperately to capture it, but I can't get fare enough away due to the surounding trees, and the sun is not helping. I find it strange, I haven't seen it in a movie, but maybe it have just been restored? I am sure one can get to see the inside as well, but I have seen enough. I try to get some good pictures from the town, but that is hard after the château.
I head down to the Austrian border, then up along the German. It is generally farmland, but I do pass a few larger cities. Ceske Krumlov look like a fine old town with many towers, while Ceske Budeiovice seems rather modern with factories. I just pass through, except from a small photo-stop in Ceske Krumlov, as I have other sights in mind.
The first is Rožmberk nad Vltavou, but 18,5 kilometres before, signs are warning about it is a blind road. And there are 18 kilometres to Rožmberk nad Vltavou! Well, unless a bridge is missing, I fail to see how they will stop me and my Lupo! I experienced the same yesterday, and got through. The landscape changes a bit into more hilly, almost mountain like.
Here are still some small towns, with a strange mix of beautiful old buildings and square boxes from the USSR-era. I follow the little river Vltova, mainly through forest. Here are a nice mix of conifers and beach, mixed with a bit of oak - and everything else.
The castle of Rožmberk nad Vltavou is seen on a hilltop, and then a sign tells: The road is closed. But it kind of isn't, and I pass a German, looking at the sign. The road leads nicely into town, where the central square is being renovated. But I have been driving more challenging areas in Africa, and get through easily.
Here are a lot of nice old houses, most with a restaurant in. The river runs right through town, and create some great motives. I start the assent to the castle along with several others, but when I reach it, I am disappointed. It look great from a distance, but more like a film-set close by. I try to find some lunch, but it is meat and gravy all around. Well, I have chocolate biscuits for these occasions, and I'm not afraid to eat them.
I continues along the German border, and this is not a rich part of Czech. Here are a few factories, but forestry and farming seem to be the main income. Some areas have quite some supermarkets; Coop, Flop, Litl, and Penny the most common.
In the areas along lakes and rivers, numerous restaurants, hotels, camps and pensions are found. Canoeing seems to be the thing to do in the weekend. I pass an enclosure with Emus - I think, but most are with cows. The deep blue sky and the perfect lamb-clouds make any photo great. Then the horizon start to get darker and darker, as I approach the forest of Sumava.
It is up-hill, and with more and more forest. Then, just before I reach the dense forest of Sumava, the sky opens. The bicycle-riders don't seem so cheerful any more, and at one point, I find a place to park, as I can't see the road. I did try to find some new tires earlier, but they did not have the right size on stock. Now, I could use the grit!
The rain have slowed down a bit, when I reach the spot in the forest I was aiming for, and I get the umbrella and head into to it. It look just like a Danish forest, and it does not take me long to have seen enough. I cross the road to see the shallow river, which look like tea. Then I set the GPS for the next sight, knowing I won't make it today.
The road start descending, and slowly, the weather clears up. I reach some villages which really need a lot of plaster and paint. Back in the lowlands, the sun is shining, and it haven't rained for a long time. Never the less, everything is lush and green. The amount of almost ripe dandelions are amassing. Some fields have only flowering plants while others are only white fruits.
After a lot of real nice farmland, I reach the big city of Plzen. Here are some impressing buildings, trams and factories. Then, just as soon as it started, it ends, and I'm back in the farmlands. I reach an area with flowering rape, and as always, I try to capture the brightness in the colour - and fails.
I have found a pension near next sight, but I rather have a camp. The GPS know one, and I give it a try. It is a lot of barracks, almost military-like, but I get to park and use the bathroom in one of them. No internet again, but as long as here are hot water. He don't understand why I won't pay for a room, I can't understand anyone can breath in that mouldy air it have. Landscape, Holasovice, Hluboka nad Vltavou, Rožmberk nad Vltavou, Sumava, Plzen
13/5. I head straight for the town of Loket Nad Ohre, and reach it before anyone else is awake. But they leave the houses outside a night, and I get to see what I want. The misty morning turns into yet another perfect summer day, and when I have see enough of the fine old houses and the impressive fortress, I head out in the countryside again.
It is rather flat, but here are still a lot of forest patches along the farmland. Here start to be quite some hob on the fields. Or at least the giant constructions to support it, later in the season. Just eight kilometres before the centre, Prague start with the airport, a few factories and then the older town.
I park right outside the fortress, among some real long vintage cars, which must be Czechs. The fortress is the worlds biggest, and the buildings real impressive. The church is like Notre Dame in Paris - just bigger. I head into the fortress, and try to find my way around in the narrow streets. When I have seen it all, but the museums, I head back out and find Neruda Street with the old and very nice houses. It is a real nice city, and I might return one day with the right friend, to explore more.
Next target is Kokorinsko, only 50 kilometres further north, but real rural! The farmland starts real soon, and turn into some real beautiful countryside. Here are some limestone mountains, more or less buried in forest. I stop several times a do small walks, sometimes at the small idyllic lakes.
I head further up north, and many houses are timber huts with white lines. Others are brick houses, which might have had a layer of plaster, way back then. It turns more hilly, and eventually, I reach Decin. I'm not sure what the target was, but the drive was great, and I return, and then head east towards Cesky Raj.
This area have sandstone, and especially in Prachovske Skaly, it is in some awesome formations. Some call it a sandstone town, I would call it pinnacles. I do a long walk in the pine forest and especially among the tall sandstone formations. A bit hard to get photos of, but a thrill to experience.
From here, it is a three hour drive to next sight, and I set the GPS and hope for a camp on the way. I find one half pass six, and it is almost open. I get to sleep here, and everything works fine. Loket Nad Ohre, Prague, Kokorinsko, Decin and Prachovske Skaly
14/5. I get up early and sit and work with some old diaries from Facebook, until I can pay for the camp. Then I set the GPS for the long drive to Pernštejn Castle. It is a beautiful landscape, although it is so close to Denmark and southern Sweden. Huge fields, scattered forests and a few rivers and small lakes.
I passes bye a few larger cities to find new tires, but the few shops I find, don't have the right size. They claim it should have 185/65-14 tires - which they happen to have, but it is borne with 155/65-14, which are three centimetres more narrow. Well, there are still several layers of cotton back....
I enjoy the three hour drive and the sun, but get a bit suspicious when the parking is free. I walk all the way up on the top of the mountain to the Pernštejn Castle, just to discover; it is only open in the weekends. I might be hard to keep out in situations like this, but a fortress on a mountaintop - watched closely by a watchman - is a challenge. And I'm not really interested anyway: I skipped most of the others anyway.
I enjoy the forest on the way down, brew some tea and start the long drive to Stramberk Village and its castle, in the eastern Czech. The landscape is fertile and flat, and here are only a few larger towns - none with tires to fit. The houses in the villages are generally badly maintained, but some look real nice. In many places, the roads are being fixed, and long parts are brand new and real smooth.
I reach Stramberk, and the first one notes, is the blacken timber houses. It is fare from all, but the rest are quite little homes as well. I park the car outside the old town, and start seeing the square with the church. It seems like the carnival is coming to town, but right now, it is quiet.
I see some of the narrow alleys and the nice gardens. The sealing is natural rocks, the angle steep. Then I find the way up to the little castle, almost only consisting of the big tower. There is a great view to the surounding lowlands and forest on this clear day.
head down again, and seek some of the old timber huts along the old road. It
is on a hillside, and the roof touches the copplestones on the backside of
the huts. It is real hard to get any photos, as the houses are almost black
by age, and the alleys narrow. But it is a great sight and adventure to walk
My next target is yet another long drive away, and in Slovakia. It remains a flat and fertile landscape until close to the border. Then some forest covered mountains raises, and only by paying real attention, I see the border sign.
Czech have been a great experience, and fairly cheap on top of that. I have driven 1366 kilometres, taken 1020 photos and spend €102. Next up is Slovakia. The last photo: Pernštejn Castle, Western farmland, Stramberk Village.