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Eastern Europe Trip

A year of adventure and misfortune - the story of our Eastern Europe trip, the accident and subsequent recovery, and our lives up until September 2008... For the latest blog, click on Blogs in the header...

Friday, 17 August 2007


Day 8 – Cesky Krumlov to Brno (via Austria)

Another hot and sunny start to the day…

This morning we decided to take the opportunity afforded to us of being close to the Austrian border to visit another country for an hour or so. Once packed up, we hit the road, heading to the Austrian town of Rainbach im Muhkreis (it has lots of weird accents in the name, but I can’t figure out how to type them…). For some reason, we were both a little out of sorts from the get-go, a bit hot and sticky and generally not in the best of moods. Things didn’t get better when we pulled up at the side of the road for a fluid-adjustment break, only for Tracy to topple off her bike on the loose ground. Fortunately, there was no harm done to her or Lydia (her bike), save for an indicator which was quickly repaired with tape.

Once we set off again, we relaxed a bit more, and stopped for breakfast at a roadside café – where we both had fish and croquet potatoes. Not exactly great breakfast food, but it was the only think on the menu we liked the sound of. No sooner had we eaten and set off again, than we arrived at the Austrian border. Here we were waved through by the Czech border guards (who were surprised to have been disturbed from their tea-break) and rode into Austria without seeing any Austrian border guards.

Once again, the world did the remarkable border trick of dramatically changing the countryside. Where the Czech side had been miles of empty fields of burnt brown crops, we were now in a lush Alpine wilderness, with rolling green hills and forests of pine trees, interspersed with wooden cottages and signs for ski resorts (looked a little flat for skiing to me, but then again, I’m no expert). We followed the road that skirts the Czech border, through Karstift, Weitra and Heidenreichstein before heading back into the Czech Republic at Nova Bystrice. Here, the border was even more deserted, so we rode through unhindered by trying to get our passports out of pockets whilst wearing clumsy motorcycle gloves.

Back at the Czech border...

Once into Czech again, we hit our first minor problem – the sat nav didn’t know anything about any of the roads in this part of the country. This meant that we had to stop frequently to get the map out of the top-box, and probably took a longer route to Brno than was strictly necessary, but the sun was still shining, the roads were good and clear, and despite the discomfort from riding for so many days, all was well with the world.

That was, until arriving at the campsite. When I’d done the research into places to stay for the MotoGP race, I’d come across a campsite that was recommended by a number of people, and had made a reservation via email. We found Camping Radka without too much difficulty (I’d put the coordinates in the sat nav, and it had recovered its knowledge of the roads), but were both very disappointed with what we found. Perhaps it was made worse because a few miles down the road before we arrived were bars and restaurants by the side of the lake of the sort you normally find next to a big family campsite – the type that has a swimming pool, well-stocked shop, several restaurants and bars… what we found was a steep, dusty, small, packed campsite with no real facilities (just 2 toilets and 2 showers). The proprietor checked us in and asked us to pitch the tent in a very small area behind some other tents, as he was very busy (it being grand prix weekend…). So much for forward planning…

Deciding that it was too late to start looking for an alternative, and reasoning that we probably wouldn’t be able to get in anywhere else, we pitched up as instructed, and went in search of a cold beer…

After a couple of beers in the 2 nearest bars/restaurants, we returned and showered before heading back out again in the opposite direction to see if we could find somewhere nicer to eat. Needless to say, we didn’t, and so we returned to the bar closest to the campsite for dinner. The food was excellent, and with so much garlic on that I won’t need to worry about vampires for several months.

The final task for the day was for us to try and find somewhere to get tyres for Lydia. Before we set off we discussed whether she needed new boots or not, and being cheapskates thought that the ones she had would suffice. Whilst in Cesky Krumlov I looked again and noticed that they were both very worn, and that they had become noticeably squared-off from the 1,500miles we’d already ridden. With so many more miles to go, it seemed sensible to take advantage of being near a big city to get some new ones. But the anticipated cyber-café at the campsite was non-existent so we resorted to “phoning a friend”. We rang Colin, with whom I’d had a similar dilemma in Switzerland a few years ago. Then, Colin’s bike had been in desperate need of new tyres, and his brother came to the rescue by finding a tyre fitter nearby, all for the cost of a phone call. So, I called Colin, and asked him if he could find either a Ducati dealer (1st choice, Lydia being a Ducati), a BMW dealer (I could use my bike as the intro) or alternatively anyone who might supply and fit bike tyres. An hour or so later, I had a text message with the name, address and phone number (not that that would be much use with my grasp of the language!) of Dmoto – Brno’s Ducati dealership. Able to rest safe in the knowledge we could start our hunt for tyres there, we slept soundly…

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