Cycling to Karlštejn

On Saturday, 7 of us cycled from Prague to Karlštejn, a small town about half an hour train ride from Prague. We had reserved our bikes from a local cycle shop and collected them with ease, before starting our journey. It was a lovely hot day, and we started the route cycling through Old Town Square, Palecko Namesti, and along the river, where there was a sailing regatta event going on. We also cycled past one of my školkas, which was strange to pass on a day I wasn’t teaching!

We soon left the main city and entered into more of the urban area, and I discovered just how active the Czechs are. As the weather has been getting nicer, I’d noticed more rollerbladers, runners, and cyclists colouring the streets in their neon wear. But they were all out in full force along the route we took, and I felt that I could finally be part of that! There were tons of rollerbladers, runners, cyclists, skateboarders, horseriders, and walkers on land. And then on the river…. well, I’d mentioned the yachts, but along the quieter parts of the river there were jet-skis, kayakers, rowers, paddleboarders, swimmers… any way of the Czechs being active, and they were doing it! It seemed such a contrast from what I’m used to back home; we have keen swimmers and sailors, and runners and cyclists, but not quite as many as I saw yesterday. The route took us through the countryside, following the train tracks for a while which I’ve always noticed took us through some nice areas. So it was good to finally be in that area!

The cycle from Prague to Karlšteijn was 35km, but we stopped at a couple of beer gardens along the way. I know we set off at 10.30am, and reached our final destination point around 4pm, but this was after a few stops along the way. It was mostly a flat course, although there were a few steep hills leading to bridges that certainly pumped my legs into action. Oh yeah, there were also bungee jumpers lining the bridge as well, I was very jealous of them! We stopped at one beer garden full of other cyclists, where we had a quick snack and pit stop. A small river was next to us, with old men fishing. It was amazing taking in all the scenery; the fields, the flowers, the spring smells, the hills, the rivers, the neatly-kept wendy-looking cottages where many Czechs retreat to at the weekends (in the nature). We later stopped at another beer garden, which was also heaving. It was a popular day to be cycling!

Karlšteijn has a castle which is a popular visit, however we just saw the top spires of the castle before crossing the bridge and going to the Greek restaurant! After a well deserved meal and rest, we cycled the short distance to the train station and caught the train back. There were 6 bikes and 6 of us in one small carriage, and for a good chunk of the journey my foot was jammed between two pedals, I was sat on some part of someone else’s bike, and I had a wheel in my face. Half an hour later, we got off at Praha Hlavni Nadrazi (the main train station), and cycled back down Wenceslas Square, ringing our bells persistently at the tourists (and also because we liked the sound of it, much to many people’s annoyance 🙂 ) and returned our bikes.

To celebrate our successful day, we headed to a beer garden, which was nice until it began to lightly rain. Falling into bed at the end of the night was such a good feeling! And today, Sunday, we had our Book Club- this month we read ‘The Line of Beauty’, a novel by Alan Hollingsworth about a young gay man living with a Tory MP family in the 1980’s. It’s a really good book, very funny and I love the way it’s written, it reminds me of a sort-of Great Gatsby with Nick, the protagonist, as an ‘outsider’ looking in on the rich inner circle but still partly included in on things. Sam hosted the book club and held a yuppie-themed party, with pictures of Margeret Thatcher and ‘greed is good’ ‘f*ck the miners’ posters pinned around the walls. Some of us dressed up too, wearing blue and lots of pearls and generally fulfilling the yuppie stereotype!

All in all, it’s been a great weekend and I sort of caught a tan. Next weekend I’m off to Vienna, so stay tuned for the next post! 🙂

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