Timeline: September 3rd – 6th
The next two days (we decided to stay one more night) would be devoted to enjoying Cesky’s beautiful outdoors and some predicted nice weather. We’d also take advantage of our warm and dry indoor conditions making use of the very slow Wi-Fi (with good coverage I can load a blog posts pictures in about ten minutes. Here it was taking me over an hour).
We arose on Friday the 5th and drove to a horse farm just outside of town for Joanna’s 10am riding appointment. I’d brought my bike and would ride while she was out enjoying her time with an equine friend. Her ride lasted about an hour (for the unheard of rate of $15 per hour) and took her to a viewpoint overlooking Cesky and the valley below. My ride consisted of an out and back on a single lane country road that followed the contours of the land, that is, many very steep ups and downs.
It was foggy and misty out, not great for taking pictures but ethereally beautiful. The effort I put into riding quickly warmed me up and I found myself stripping off layers of clothing. I finished up by getting a view of the city, then returning to the car just as Joanna and her ride partner were returning from their outing.
On the way back to camp we detoured to the other side of town to check out bike riding opportunities when we stumbled upon a bike shop. We stopped in and in broken English conversed with the owner, purchasing a map of local riding options, to inform our planned excursion the next day. We returned to camp, cleaned up, did a load of laundry and then returned to the outskirts of town for the first of what would be two separate dinners at Restaurant Rondo.
We started with a couple of beers and ordered the whole local fish for Joanna and grilled chicken with potato pancakes for me. Serving sizes were large, the food nicely prepared with sauces that complemented the meat. The place was jammed as it was a Friday night with nearly all of the tables booked. The Czech Republic hasn’t quite caught up to the rest of Europe in terms of not allowing smoking in the dining rooms so it harkened back to the days of smoke filled rooms. Nonetheless, the food was good, portions substantial and the total for the entire meal was a shade under $20.
Our plan for the next day was to park where we had for our tour and then ride up the mountain just outside of town to Klet Mountain, the tallest point in the vicinity. We started up through the suburb that sits at the bottom of the hill and began climbing. Pretty soon we came to a fork in the road with no signage, and as the fork to the right was incredibly steep and dirt, not paved, we opted for the left fork.
We rode for quite some time, mostly climbing until we found ourselves at a clearing with signposts indicating that we still had a few miles to go to the summit, with a lot more climbing involved. By this time we were baked and decided to quit that portion of the ride and descend to the bottom to pick up a route that followed the river.
Some sections of the descent were so steep that we thanked the gods of cycling that we both had disc brakes. Say what you will about the hassle they sometimes present (maintenance can be a pain), they stop your bike when you need it, with no fade or obvious signs of fatigue. We made it to the bottom and then followed the river for some distance, turning around and returning to the car for the trip back to camp, a decent for us 30 miles of riding.
Our return to Restaurace Rondo was a different scene this time around, a Saturday evening, much quieter. We sat out on the patio and again ordered beers to start, then main courses of white asparagus wrapped in thin slices of ham with melted cheese on top along with vegetables for Joanna while I ordered the Bear’s Paw, a pork cutlet stuffed with cheese and ham served with potato croquettes.
It was a lot of food, but we persevered, determine to finish so that we could order dessert, a treat Joanna had been missing for a number of meals as they had been so filling. We settled on the Bohemian Dumplings with Sesame Seeds, expecting a sweet and tasty treat.
What came to the table were little goose turd shaped pieces of cooked dough sprinkled with Sesame seeds and a non-descript vaguely sweet sauce. Don’t let the description fool you; it wasn’t as good as it sounds. We ate as much as we could hoping it wouldn’t get us kicked out of the country and settled up the bill, a whopping $26 (I’d ordered a third beer).
The dessert aside, it was another nice dining experience, one that along with the nice weather, beautiful location at camp and inexpensive trailer had us longing for more of Cesky. But Vienna was calling and the clock was ticking on our rendezvous in Munich with family and friends so we bade farewell to this delightful place, one that we will long remember. And hopefully return to someday.
Horseback Riding Club of Slupenec: http://www.jk-slupenec.cz/1/en/normal/home/
Restaurace Rondo: http://www.restauracerondo.cz/
Klet Mountain: http://www.ckrumlov.info/docs/en/atr335.xml