Bozi Dar, Czech Republic
After a nice rest in Berlin, I really felt like moving south in a hurry. The first 3 days were pretty uneventful with much the same forest scenery as earlier. Maybe a little bit less sand, which was welcome!
There were still a lot of obstacles though, and there was a lot of lifting over fallen trees. In some places, there had been a lot of lumber work, which left a lot of branches and smaller trees all over the place and the tractors and machinery had more or less destroyed or hidden the so-called track.
On the first night out, I found a nice campsite that was being looked after by a young couple and the guy had done most of the Trans Germany Bikepacking route himself. It was the first time I actually met somebody that had heard of it. The place was very quiet and the cafe was closed so dinner became 2 bottles of beer and a bag of peanuts.
I left early the next morning, pedaling along the canal and watching the steam rise from the water.
One sight I did get to see was an open-cut coal mine, not the prettiest sight even though there were great efforts being made to return the land to a usable state after the coal machinery passed through.
I spent the second night wild camping in Poland, close to a service station where I would be able to get my coffee in the morning. One thing that was very noticeable was that all the service stations were on the Polish side of the border. Petrol and especially cigarettes were much cheaper in Poland and there was a lot of smaller stores set up just on the Polish side, catering to the Germans that wanted to buy cheap smokes.
As I rode through the forest the next day I found a countless number of ruins amongst the trees. There was a huge amount, stretching over 5 or 10 kilometers. I suspect that they are old army fortifications and you could easily spend a week or two photographing the remains.
But it was onwards for me…
I tried some wild camping in Czech as well, hiding out behind some of the denser growth just in case.
By now the riding was no longer along flat ground. We had started climbing up into the mountains and there was more and more hike-a-bike as there was no way I had the strength to pedal up some of the long hills. Especially when the route was single -track.
There were some were nice sections that followed an old railway line, complete with tunnels, but that was the exception. More often than not, the track followed small, rough single-track trails through the forest.
I needed to take plenty of breaks to catch my breath, but at least the scenery was very nice.
It was not all that uncommon that the track deteriorated into a slightly cleared path through the trees that was overgrown with grass and bushes. There has a been a fair bit of hike-a-bike but even some carry-a-bike as I tried to navigate the GPS trail.
But it has been a beautiful trail and I would recommend anyone that wants to try some bikepacking to explore the border area between Germany and the Czech Republic.
You can’t see much in this picture, but one morning I came across a large group of wild pigs crossing the path. There are signs of them all over the place, but I had not seen so many of them before in one place.
Since I arrived in the mountains, the weather has been pretty poor. A fair bit of mist and some rain, along with strong winds. Difficult to dress for as I get soaked either from the rain and mist or from sweat if I wear rain gear.
My mileage has dropped way down as well, what with all the hike-a-bike I have had to do. I have had a couple of shorter days in order to try to recover properly but noticed that I did not have all that much in reserve even then.
Heading up to the highest point on this route, I got to follow the old bob track as it wound its way to the top. It would have been much more interesting going the other way!
Once I made it to the top, which is also just a bit more than half-way along the Trans Germany route, I celebrated with a hot cup of chocolate, knowing that I had close to 20 kilometers of descending ahead of me.
But after just 5 kilometers, the rain got worse and the wind was gusting more and more. After checking the weather forecast I decided that maybe it was time to take a rest day. Both in order to recover some strength and, hopefully, for the weather to improve.
Said and done, I got a room right on the border between Germany and the Czech Republic and have been trying to rest and get clothes both dry and clean again.
I did get a chance to help a fellow bike rider. A German man staying at the same place had got a puncture and did not have any way of fixing it. So I broke out the tools and patches and helped him get mobile again. In return, I got a beer and a schnapps! We even went out for dinner together in Bozi Dar (much cheaper on the Czech side) and we tried to communicate, with him not really knowing any English, and me trying to get by with my poor German.
It looks like the weather will be slightly better tomorrow, and I plan to get away as early as I can. But the day after, Monday, is supposed to bring with it a storm-front from the north. I really, really need to be much further south than I already am!