From Oloumac to the Polish border at Cesky Tesin is a distance of just over one hundred miles, which we rode over the weekend. Although following a series of rivers; the Trebuvka, the Bystrice and the Becva, the terrain was challenging with some very steep hills. The Beskydy mountains in this border country between the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland makes for very picturesque wooded hillsides. Many of which are topped with imposing castles.
The cycle routes and signage in Czech has been outstanding. It must be high on the leader board for the country with most dedicated bike routes anywhere in the world.
The Olza river separates the towns of Cesky Tesin on the Czech side from Cieszyn which lies in Poland and where we stayed on Sunday night. Yet again this town boasts a large cobbled Square at its heart.
Our first day’s cycling in Poland was a bit of a shock, the roads are busy, the drivers more aggressive and there are fewer dedicated bike routes. Those that exist are not well signed, so it is easy to go wrong and the surfaces leave quite a lot to be desired. Despite all this and circa 15°c drop in temperature we made the 57 miles to Oswiecim, on Monday, without mishap.
Today (Tuesday) has been a somber day; Oswiecim is renowned through out the world by its German name – Auschwitz. We visited both Auschwitz 1, a site of about 20 acres and Auschwitz-Birkenau, two miles out, which occupies a staggering 432 acres. I cannot put my thoughts into words so great and heinous were the atrocities here.