It’s midday and hot and muggy when I push off, and the pressure and the clouds build up until, only 4 miles up the road from Havličkuv-Brod, the first, fat drops plop down. Just in time, I spot a bus shelter and dive in to do a daily draw then watch in fascination as it pelts down about 10minutes later. 10 minutes after that the heavens are spent and the clouds mumble and grumble their way West (behind me). It’s all steamy as I get going again, and smells of wet hay. The road lies up and down, which means the cooling, fun of the down is quickly over and the slog of the up is a slow, puff, puff, pant of eternity.
In Pribyslav I stop for an ice-cream. There’s always an ice-cream parlour in every town it seems – and here there’s three.
Last night, I looked up the train fare from Havličkuv-Brod to Brno – only about £5. I might consider this from the next major town, to get on to the Eurovelo 9 route – as Kathryn is plotting on coming to Vienna (if her passport arrives back in time) and Nina is meeting me in Slovenia for a skip in the Alpine Meadows on the 16th June. Deadlines to meet drive one on. The public transport system seems to work well and be popular in the Czech Republic – not only is there a comprehensive rail service but there are bus stops (Zastávka) in the most remote places with buses coming past regularly – with passengers on too.
I decide to follow a Czech cycling trail today – no. 19: A yellow rectangle, with a black border, an arrow and a picture of a bicycle with a no.19 on). This zig zags through some delightful, rolling farm country, with sheep grazing, and ponies next door to farm houses. I was shocked to turn around a corner and be confronted with a land-fill site. It looked like a spoon had taken a scoop out of one of the grass covered hills to reveal layers and layers of plastic and debris. There was also evidence of recycling going on – with different hills of debris down by a warehouse – and the sounds of machinery. I’ve noticed recycling centres in towns as I’ve passed through – for paper, plastic and glass. Today I saw large metal bins with ‘bloodpad’ written on, filled with garden compost. I sped on past the rubbish tip and ponders what lies beneath.
I’d have done well to ponder what lay beneath my feet when I stopped for a picnic of the rolls I’d made at breakfast time: when I went to repack Ro, I noticed a prickling around my ankles. Looking down I saw I was standing in a nest of those teensy, weensy ants which were now crawling all over my shoes, injecting what skin they could find with incy, wincy shots of formic acid and endeavouring to carry me off – the beggars! I had to dance on the spot and then sit down to remove my trainers to shake out all the dead bodies before moving on again.
When I got to Nova Dvory I realised what a zig I’d been doing so I continued along the more direct, but not half as pleasant, main road. Not much further along, I came to Sazara and saw a sign for “Hostelnik’, and wondered if that meant accommodation. Then, not a lot further again, I saw a sign to ‘Klostercise Sazara’ so I turned down the lane to have a look. I arrived at an outdoor swimming area with a small, sandy beach for children, a walled off paddling pool and diving platforms into what would be very murky water. There were also a row of flushable loos on site (the waste going directly into a huge covered cesspit next door- not at all smelly). There was a beer place with a covered verandah and picnic tables (closed up), a badminton court and a stage area. It looked like an excellent venue for the nearby town. The grass was cut short so I decided to camp right there – if I could find a place away from prying eyes.
When I had found a suitable spot, and was setting up camp, some dog walkers strolled in the other end of the park and sat down to enjoy the sunset on one of the benches – they took no notice of me at all. Few minutes after they’d gone, some children came along and went paddling on the beach part. Then, after they’d gone, a car turned up which was a tad alarming – but the driver parked outside the closed up beer place, took some crates from the building and then drove off again. I was beginning to think I’d picked the wrong place to stealth camp but there was a beautiful sunset and I had an undisturbed night’s kip.