Trains and bones …

Our billet for the night in Hlsinko was in a reproduction of a traditional Czech house, mostly wooden construction, but very comfortable. Supper was interesting in this little town that is clearly not on the tourist route. The menu was in Czech only; might as well have been Martian for all the sense it made, there are virtually no common words with English. Thank heavens for Google translate which did helps us identify, chicken, mashed potato and chips! The food was excellent when it arrived.

St. Barbara’s Cathedral Kutna Hora

Our luck with the weather ran out the following day as we left Hslinko for Kutna Hora, some 45 miles to the north west. The only consolations were that the rain was mostly soft, it wasn’t cold, and lugging wet weather gear around was justified. The day was one of two halves, with the former very hilly and the run in to the, erstwhile silver mining town, of Kutna Hora largely downhill.

There is much more grassland in this region, most is cut in the fields and hauled to stock in the farmyards. However it was good to see a reasonably sized, mainly friesian, dairy herd out in one of the few fields that was fenced. There are no hedges here, which gives a much better view of the wider countryside than Devon lanes with their high hedges.

Once in Kutna Hora, we added about three miles on foot to see the various sights in this beautifully kept town with its cobbled streets and huge Cathedral, dedicated to St. Barbara, the patron saint of miners. Heading out this morning we stopped at another church which was ‘decorated’ in 1870 with the skulls and bones of circa 40,000 former residents, whose remains were found in the crypt. It was macabre and not very respectful in our opinion, but judging by the queue it certainly generates plenty of revenue.

Macabre bone sculptures at Kutna Hora

A steep road out of Kutna Hora tested our legs on the short run to the next sizable town, Kolin. Here we caught the first of two delightful local trains up into the Krkonose mountains on the border with Poland, a trip of two and a half hours covering 70 miles. The final stop left us with a ten mile uphill pedal to Spindleruv Myln, a ski resort in winter and source of the Elbe river.

A dinky little train on the branch line up the Elbe

The Elbe is the fourth longest river in Europe at 678 miles. Over the next couple of days we intend to follow the river down stream for a hundred miles or so

409 miles pedalled do far …

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