For the first time in a while we braved sleeping in the great outdoors. Our last night in the Czech republic was spent at a small family run campsite where the receptionist spoke very fluent English, this was a surprise this far into the country side but was a welcome one. Being only £3 a head it was also a welcome change for our wallets, with everything here being extraordinary cheap we have managed to turn this into an excuse to double up on things (particularly dinner). Not content with being just a campsite though, this little rest-stop also provided three other products. The first two were very honey based, one being a very delicious honey liquor the other being, well… honey. The third, but by far the most awesome, product were sheepskin rugs courtesy of the farm across the road. These very soft and very fluffy rugs became too irresistible to some of the members of the team who bought some to wrap around themselves on a cold night under the stars (not that we have had anything close to cold or even mild for a good week and a half).
What a view the night sky was all the way out in the middle of nowhere. With no major towns or roads we were able to see thousands of stars and the distinctive white band of our own milky way. With the assistance of google sky maps we were able to find some interesting things though I really wish we’d had a pair of binoculars just to capture the glimpses of something amazing. Alas we weren’t the only ones enjoying the warm night, after we ventured to bed some of the other campers decided to bring out an acoustic guitar for some campfire songs. As tuneful as they were we couldn’t help but curse them as they continued drunkenly singing well past midnight.
The following morning (Day 20) was fairly uneventful apart from a couple of the other campers asking us how we planned to add our new purchases to our already bursting panniers. A brief look at the elevation profile showed a general down hill trend for the day and inevitably Will and myself jumped to the conclusion that “It’s all down hill from here lads” though Tom was very quick to recommend that we don’t throw our pedals away quite yet. There were a few tough hills today but Fergus reassured us that they were nothing in comparison to what we encountered climbing to our highest peak of the trip. One of the highlights of the day was passing across another border (and knowing about it) into Austria which, being a German speaking country, made us feel more confident around the locals. Unfortunately this did mean saying goodbye to the cheap food and beer that the Czech Republic had so generously provided.
One thing we did have on our side throughout the day was the cloud cover which kept the searing heat from the sun at bay. Towards the end of the day however, the air started to get quite humid and the clouds darkened. This could only mean one thing, so we picked up the pace to the campsite and managed to pitch tent just before the rain fell, our luck holding out once again. Unlike the thunder storm we encountered back in Germany this ended up being only a 5 minute shower, but was enough to get us sufficiently wet transferring our kit to shelter. One hot shower and a few frankfurters later I’m now lying in the tent listening to the patter of spitting rain trying desperately not to touch the sides, hopefully this will mean the heat and humidity will be turned down a bit for the next day or two. This will be particularly nice for our day off in Vienna in 2 days time. Only 4 more cycling days until we reach our ultimate goal! But that corresponds to ~200 miles which my muscles aren’t so happy about. So at 9:30 on day 20 I’m heading to bed to give them a couple hours extra rest before tomorrow.
More road blockages
Meanwhile the sun explodes