Day 30, 26 6 2014, Melnik to Decin

I read on the internet, so it must be true, that the Elbe River cycle route is the most popular in Europe.  It runs in theory from Prague to Cuxhaven, near Hamburg, on the North Sea.

The Elbe does not actually pass through Prague, but the river that does, the Vitava, joins the Elbe at Melnik, where we stayed last night.

So, it came as something of a surprise today to see how few touring cyclists there were on the path today.  That is, until we checked in to our hotel in Decin tonight and found the room used to store guests’ bicycle must have had 40 bikes in it, and there are quite a few hotels in Decin.

When we got going this morning we turned onto the path, a fairly new and very smooth sealed surface, and my first thought was that this is not going to last long, But it did.

The paths we rode today was absolutely superb.  There are only a few kilometers of rough bits, some very rough, and even fewer on-road sections.  Most of the route is very high-quality sealed surface, and very well sign-posted.  I don’t know that I have seen better.  However, although the rough and steep sections are short, they would be a limitation on a road bike.

The route varies from following the river to meandering through the countryside and into the villages.  A vast amount of work has been done by the Czechs to create this part of the Elbe River cycle route and I hope it pays off for them.  I think it will.

The path has a few options, one of which was to go through the town of Terezin and surrounding area.  This was built in the late 18th century as a major defensive position and a garrison town.    It controlled entry to the Czech Republic down the Elbe River valley. There are bunkers, moats and garrision buildings over the extensive site, now a memorial.  It was used as a Jewish ghetto by the Nazis, and for holding political prisoners. 

Unfortunately many of the larger Czech towns have very ugly high-rise buildings dominating their skyline.  I understand that the construction of homogeneous urban cultures was part of communist ideology, another failure.

An easy and straightforward 110Km for the day.


Roz says:  Terezin was very confronting and very unexpected.  The Czech language rarely has any hints in the words to help you figure out what you are about to see.  A lovely guide approached us and we had a chat about the site and about life for his generation in post communism Czech.    Note the rough track was very rough, the steep bits were short but very steep and there were post barriers so be warned re baby carriages and wide trailers.  Cracked open the Bohemia Sekt in the bar fridge to celebrate the day!!

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