A Travellerspoint blog

September 2020

Sedlec Ossuary & Prague

"Dem bones, dem bones"

I had seen this on the "Long Way Round" TV programme where two actors and a large film crew and "fixers" and "minders" had ridden around the world on BMW R1150GS-Adventure motorcycles. Although I have been to the ČR many times, and had lived there for a year, I had never been here.

We were on the way home from our friends' house in Popůvky and our overnight was to be in Prague at a hotel we have stayed in many times since the mid-90's.

I had read about Kutna Hora in Czech booklets aimed at the business tourist and they seemed to be more interested in the area as the tobacco growling region of the ČR. In fact Philip Morris, the company that gave us the Marlboro Man (and him lung cancer) has a museum here.

Sedlec Ossuary is actually to the north-east of Kutna. The fame of the place has spread far and wide and finding somewhere to park wasn't easy. We ended up a street or two away and walked back. Once inside though and WOW! As you can see from the web link below, and the photos I took. WEIRD!

Church of Bones - Kutna Hora

Church of Bones - Kutna Hora

Church of Bones - Kutna Hora

Church of Bones - Kutna Hora

Church of Bones - Kutna Hora

Church of Bones - Kutna Hora

Church of Bones - Kutna Hora

Church of Bones - Kutna Hora

Church of Bones - Kutna Hora

Church of Bones - Kutna Hora

Church of Bones - Kutna Hora

Church of Bones - Kutna Hora

Church of Bones - Kutna Hora

Church of Bones - Kutna Hora

Church of Bones - Kutna Hora

Church of Bones - Kutna Hora

I guess once you are dead and only the bones are left you don't really care what happens to them? Maybe made into coat of arms design or stacked up with a few mates?

Once we had finished we set off to S2 and the run into Prague. One night again. I had booked the car-parking at the Hotel Extol Inn in Přístavni Prague 2. It's small and it makes it easier than messing about in the streets. Once parked it would stay there until we came to leave. Getting around Prague is much easier combining foot and tram.

I first stayed in the Extol when it was just coming put of the communist doldrums. It had been a hostel for water workers. A place for them to come to Prague and see the sights. When I say water I don't mean people generally with water, but those that worked in providing fresh water for drinking and of course, the opposite end of the water cycle. Okay. Sewage.

In the mid-90's is began to transform from a hostel into a hotel and for a while you could stay there cheaply with an International Youth Hostel card or pay more for a better room and hotel it. Either way the breakfast buffet was the same! And good it was too. it does make me a little annoyed when western teenagers brought up on the sausage and egg McMuffin culture moan and carp about local dishes. This trip we had a load of them on a coach trip bringing the good old Dixie religion to the pagan Czechs. Grrrr.

Anyway, once checked in to our room, we changed into walking out clothes and set off for the tram around the corner on Komunardů. A short ride into the city and a walk around all the places we have been before but wanted to experience again.

On my first visit to Prague in 1986 a lot of the centre was run down and in need of a coat of paint. It was also deserted. So much so that two Suzuki motorcycles with British registration plates attracted crowds. It was marginally better in May 1989 with a bit of a tidy up. Now it's like any other city with bright lights and the same stores that you find anywhere. Gone are the kiosks selling "smažené sýrové sendviče" (friend cheese sandwiches) or "párek v rohlíku" (Czech hotdogs) and there are McDonald's and other chain restaurants instead.

Although the párek they served at the kiosk at Brno railway station was a good of the very last resort. Whether there was any meat in it might be open to debate!

If anyone has read the Terry Pratchett Discworld books you may have come across a character called CMOT Dibbler. He would have been a purveyor of párek.

Anyway. Into the city and a digital camera flash bang wallop.

Praha - Václavské náměstí

Praha - Václavské náměstí

Prague - Powder Tower / Praha - Mihulka

Prague - Powder Tower / Praha - Mihulka

Praha - Václavské náměstí

Praha - Václavské náměstí

Praha - Vltava pohledu z Karlova mostu

Praha - Vltava pohledu z Karlova mostu

Praha - Vltava pohledu z Karlova mostu

Praha - Vltava pohledu z Karlova mostu

Praha - Vltava pohledu z Karlova mostu

Praha - Vltava pohledu z Karlova mostu

Praha Staroměstské náměstí Hodiny

Praha Staroměstské náměstí Hodiny

Prague

Prague

The journey home was less eventful. n autobahn slog through Germany and Belgium back to the Channel port.

But what a great trip and so many great sights.

Posted by InvictaMoto 10:05 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (2)

Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk

Zelená Hora / Žďár nad Sázavou

Not a long run from Brno this one. Mostly on the terribly rutted and truck laden D1/E50 northwest from Brno in the direction of Prague and then off on S37 to Zelená Hora.

The church stands on a hill. We parked on the side of the main road. it was quite a walk and then red faced we saw we could have turned off a little earlier and parked nearby. Still. We got to puff and pant in hot weather up the hill and back again. The nearby cafe was closed and so we couldn't get a drink or a coffee....

Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora

Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora

Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora

Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora

Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora

Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora

Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora

Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora

Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora

Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora

Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora

Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora

This is a UNESCO heritage site and if you are in the region it is worth the trip to see the architecture.

https://www.unesco-czech.cz/13_4444_zelena-hora-poutni-kostel-sv-jana-nepomuckeho-zdar-nad-sazavou/

Posted by InvictaMoto 10:00 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged pilgrimage_church_of_st_john_of zelená_hora žďár_nad_sázavou Comments (1)

Lednice & Mikulov

As we sat over breakfast at my friend Lilka's house in Popůvky we were thinking of places to go. that day.

We were staying with her and her family. Husband Jarek and son Tomas. When I taught in the grammar school in Zastávka u Brna in the 1990's, she had been a colleague. She is an engineer and she taught computer studies and I taught English!

We hit on the idea of driving a short distance towards Břeclav and maybe trying out some of the Moravian wine cellars. We then decided that that was more of an afternoon and evening this so we would go to Lednice Castle instead.

Popůvky is to the west of Brno and Lednice is to the south-east, a journey of about 65 kilometres. It took about 40 minutes on the highway to get there.

We took a long walk around the gardens and even extravagantly took a ride in a horse and carriage. Not something that my wallet usually stumps up for. But as usual Lilka had driven and we were living rent free for a few days as she won't take any money. usually we pay our way by taking gifts from UK, and paying for visits and meals out. Even then we have to be quick to beat Jarek from paying, often losing out!

I took a few photos as we walked around. The castle had been recently painted and the colour reminded me of a block of Lurpak butter. Not too yellow but awkward!

Lednice Castle - Castle facade

Lednice Castle - Castle facade

Lednice Castle - Castle facade

Lednice Castle - Castle facade

Lednice Castle - Castle facade

Lednice Castle - Castle facade

Lednice Castle - Minaret

Lednice Castle - Minaret

Lednice Castle - Greenhouse

Lednice Castle - Greenhouse

Lednice Castle - tourist boat

Lednice Castle - tourist boat

After that we needed lunch and we retired to an open air restaurant in the town centre to eat. Very nice to sit outside and eat and chat.

On the way back we went a different way via Mikulov. Mikulov is where the border with Austria starts. Back in the 90's I was a regular passer-through here as I made my way to Austria to buy an English newspaper.

It might sound sad now, but nowhere in Brno or the "okres" was that possible. However, at the bar just up the slope in Drasenhofen, Austria, it was possible to buy a two day old paper! Not every week but quite often. As I was on my Suzuki GT750A each time I became known to the border guards and customs. I used my British passport and my Czech foreigner pass each time. The ČR wasn't in the EU at the time and there was a hard border.

Mikulov has a castle and really nice old town and sits mostly on a hill commanding the plain as far as the Morava river and into Austria. We parked up and walked around, some photos got taken, some wine was bought from some of the many cellars/sellers. Tasting for another evening!

Mikulov

Mikulov

Mikulov

Mikulov

Mikulov

Mikulov

Mikulov - Dietrichstein Tomb

Mikulov - Dietrichstein Tomb

Mikulov Castle

Mikulov Castle

Mikulov - St. Sebastian Chapel on the Holy Hill

Mikulov - St. Sebastian Chapel on the Holy Hill

From Mikulov it was a quick journey up S52 to Brno and along to Popůvky.

A really nice day out. Where next?

Posted by InvictaMoto 08:33 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged brno lednice mikulov popůvky moravia Comments (0)

2021 - Possible trip

Czech SOC Rally or MotoGP

With the Covid-19 pandemic causing problems across the globe for travellers, or at least for travellers with some common sense, it looks as though 2020 is "on hold"!

I am looking at a quick trip to Czech to the local Suzuki Owners Club rally. At the moment I am waiting for confirmation from my friend in Brno, Ivan, for the details of where it will be. For a few years it has been at Bolešín to the north-west of Brno.

Planning also means working out how to get a couple of days in the week preceding the rally to travel over. The week after I am on half-term holiday anyway.

It also depends on what bike I am going to ride. My head says take the Rocket but my heart says to take the Kettle. The Kettle will be back (fingers crossed!) by then and it will be nice to go back there under Suzuki power.

An alternative trip would be to Brno again for the MotoGP, and to see friends from my teaching days, both ex teacher colleagues and students.

I have been a few times over the years and would love to take the Kettle on the ride over. That would be easier as I am on holiday in the weeks before and after the race weekend and could be more leisurely in both directions.

Posted by InvictaMoto 10:43 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged motorcycling czech_suzuki_owners_club Comments (0)

Jasná Trip 1992

It was August 1992. I was about to start work at the gymnázium in Zastávka.

It was my last big ride for the year. Once working I would have early starts and finish too late on weekdays to get away.

My partner Audrey had come with me. She was on her GSX750ES. I was on my 1977 Suzuki GT750A aka Kettle.

We decided to have a ride into Slovakia. Looking through the international youth hostel guide book we saw there was one up a dead end valley in Jasná.

We were staying in the youth building near the school. I locked the trailer inside and we set off early.

In the map it was about 250 miles. The Kettle uses far more petrol than the GSX! I should have filled up before we left Brno. The plans was basically
to head east. Stop for a fill up in Trenčín and then head across to Martin and then to Jasná

By the time we got to Trenčín I was running on fumes. Usually in those days as there was a shortage of private vehicles there was a shortage of fuel
stops, and they were pretty well signposted.

Not in Trenčín. We rode around for ages until we arrived at the bus stop. The pumps were behind it. I filled up. Grateful that I hadn't had to push
it.

Brno to Trenčín Is just about 100 miles. I hadn't expected to use so much fuel or I had miscalculated how much I had already used before we set off.

The next fuel stop was Martin. It was only about 75 miles but with a weekend coming along I wanted to have plenty of fuel.

brno-jasna

brno-jasna


We had two nights in the hotel. It wasn't a youth hostel any more but was still cheap. On the full day we were there we decided to walk up the local hill called "Chopok". It seemed like a good idea at the time and it was grassy all the way.

Apologies for the shirt and joggers!

Apologies for the shirt and joggers!

The ride "home" was better. Better fuel management. No further problems. I bought two stroke oil in an OMV station in Austria.

Audrey was going to ride home. We had one last few nights together in a small hotel in Bad Deutsch Altenburg, east of Vienna. Doing nothing but
eating and sitting in the sun. Who would have thought the Danube could be so hot!!

This was another 320kms.

large_b4e353d0-edd7-11ea-b12d-1725362f1b7b.jpg

We rode towards Vienna and stopped just past it on the autobahn for a coffee. Audrey went straight on and I turned off and headed north "home".

bad deutsch-zastavka

bad deutsch-zastavka

"Home" for a year.

In total I did around 850kms on that journey and Audrey did another 1400kms to get home to Bedfordshire.

Posted by InvictaMoto 04:16 Archived in Slovakia Tagged slovakia trencin suzuki_gt750a jasna Comments (0)

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