Day 26, 22 6 2104, Sonnen to Ceske Budejovice

Today is the longest day of the year, so it is fitting to reflect on the very large amount of solar generation in villages in Germany.  It varies a lot, but Sonnen is amongst the most endowed candidates we have seen so far.  Around 80% of the buildings on the village have solar panels, mostly large arrays.  In addition some of the barns have one side of their roof completely covered, perhaps 40 to 50KW of generating power.  So, if they can do it here, why can’t we do it in Australia which without doubt has the best conditions of anywhere in the world for widespread solar generation.

Sonnen is at 800m altitude, so we had an easy start to the day, dropping 200m vertical over about 10Km, before it got hard.  We hadn’t noticed that there was a very hard climb up to the Czech border, 330m vertical at about 10%.  There are easier ways of getting into the Czech Republic from the Danube than this one.

There was an immediate change in landscape once we got over the border.  We had become used to the very intensive dairy farms in these higher areas, where cows are confined to relatively small lush areas by electric fencing, adjoining paddocks are mowed for hay and silage, and finally sprayed with shit.  Shit-spraying is in full swing at the moment so all of the countries we have been travelling through smell pretty strongly.

But not the Czech Republic.  The land use we have seen is nowhere near as intensive, so the meadows have quite a different look.  The place smells a bit better too without the shit spraying.

After getting over the big ridge, the riding got a bit easier, but there was still a lot of climbing, and quite a bit of it was steep.

We rode into the city of Cesky Krumlov, as they were putting on some sort of show with drums, trumpets and a lot of dressing up. The costumes varied from pre-Elizabethan, with ruffled collars, to French revolutionary, but with blue jeans.  There were large numbers of tourists and a fabulous range of food stalls around the market square.  Of course there were a lot of tourists, but it all seemed like fun.

We rode on to Ceske Budejovice on the only logical road, which was very busy and quite narrow.  We looked for an alternative, but there didn’t seem to be one.  So we had 12Km of uneasy riding, more up and downhill, despite considerate drivers, before we could find an alternative road.  This is a problem we have struck before in the old east.  They have not yet completed a freeway system so that the old road is left for local traffic and people such as us.

We continue to have stunning weather, and it was a great day through interesting places and beautiful country, again.

92Km for the day, much of it not easy.


Roz says: It makes one weep to see what we missed out on as Australians. Solar technology was ours (ANU and UNSW) and our government (Howard) gave it away.  Now the whole of Europe and Scandinavia is roofed with solar panels and our government still thinks it is better to destroy our best agricultural land digging for COAL.  


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