With time counting down I decided I needed to up my pace – so in the space of the last fortnight I’ve been in Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany again, France and now I’ve arrived in Spain.
Poland was my first stop after Germany – only a flying visit and only staying overnight in one town – but enough to know its worth coming back. Looks like an interesting halfway house between Europe and Russia in its attitudes and some of its developments. In many places it looks like what I think Germany around East Berlin might have looked like 10-15 years ago.
Riding around was fun quiet but interesting roads and lots of small villages
- and many with a huge church or castle or something interesting.
From Poland it was on to the Czech Republic and Prague.
The main reason to visit Prague was to get a taste of the changes that happened there since 1983 when I hitch hiked there as part of my trip that eventually finished in Australia. I remember Prague as a beautiful, uncrowded city. Well its still beautiful but the uncrowded has gone – even in what is the low season you could hardly move in the old city (and some of the beauty is now well hidden under the selling of universal tourist tat). A worthwhile experience but after a few days I was ready to move on.
Near Prague is Kutna Hora what is now a smallish town but 500 years ago apparently outshone Prague. Because of that it has more than its fair share of huge churches and the like.
But what draws people there are not the cathederals – but a bone ossurary (place where the bones which are removed from graves when they are re-cycled are stored). Ossuraries are apparently reasonably common in Europe – but what is special about Kutna Hora’s is the way its bones have been used to decorate the crypt of a small church:
And if you think the above looks familiar – yes this place featured in the “Long way round” video.
After several weeks of being cold I decided it was now time to get warm – so decided to go to Spain. Eighteen hundred kilometres in 3 days and that was achieved. The first part of the trip was German motorways very efficient, straight and boring and lots of fog then onto the French equivalent which were lots more scenic (and enlivened by sometimes being beside the TGV train track – and when comes past at 250km hour its worth seeing).
The only flaw in the plan is almost as I reached the Spanish border I kept seeing electronic warning signs saying something I couldn’t - but was obviously to do with the weather – I found out as I was enveloped in a massive thunderstorm – thunder and lightning crashing around, rain at the “where’s the road” level etc..
And then next day it was on to sunshine and Spain – but that will be my next post.