We have been in cycling heaven! Well signed (for the most part), mainly paved, very quiet, routes meandering through vineyards, small villages and the flat countryside of Southern Moravia. The larger towns are nearly all dominated by grand castles or palaces, dating back to the middle ages. A reminder of the strategic wealth and position of these lands in the time of The Holy Roman Empire and whilst under the rule of the Habsburg Austria Hungarian empire.
A two night stay in the town of Mikulov, with its own magnificent castle, afforded us a day to amble around the wine routes to visit the castles at Lednice and Valdice. Both magnificent buildings, with considerable parks and gardens, were home to the Lichtenstein family until they were driven out in 1945. We are both of the opinion that it is more tiring sightseeing than cycling.
Leaving Mikulov in a north westerly direction, largely following Euro Velo route 5, took us 45 miles through more vineyards, around and over lakes, to Moravia’s capital, Brno. Gavin managed to get an exceptional deal through Booking.com which resulted in us staying in a sumptuous appartment, complete with balcony, overlooking the main square. The front ediface has four Herculean sculptures holding the building up. The appartment was ideally located to explore this charming, friendly and history-filled city, Czech’s second largest after Prague.
To facilitate the next stage of our trip, following the Elbe river, we took a three hour train journey up into the central massif to the little town of Hlinsko. A stressful experience with the bikes given we had to change trains partway and the late departure of the train out of Brno resulted in us having to run to catch the, just departing, train along the branch line to Hlinsko. Some very nice Czech people were of great help lifting the bikes and bags onto the trains.