Days 54-56 of my cycling journey – June 23-25, 2022
Cycling from the campground in Sestajovice to Prague was theoretically child’s play, but the sprawling suburbs of the Czech capital had some nasty surprises and confusing cycleways to offer. Needing a half day for 28 km seems excessive but included a series of detours due to getting lost and surprisingly appearing stairways, which I couldn’t use. Two rest days in Prague gave me the possibility to meet old colleagues and friends for a reunion and get reacquainted with a city of such splendour that it is sad to leave it again.
I stayed as long in my tent as possible. I didn’t need to get going because the distance to the Carls Bridge in the centre of Prague was just 24 km. There I would meet some of my ex-colleagues from the battlefields of international plant health negotiations. People with whom I had discussed, worked, shared dinners, celebrated and sometimes battled. Unfortunately, the operators of the campground in Sestajovice had a check-out policy like a train station hotel: one had to vacate the place by 11:00 h. So, I needed to go early, and I had planned, in order to kill time, to have a nice lunch in a restaurant nearby and write some blog posts during the time in the restaurant. I cycled two kilometres when I found an appealing place and sat down inside because it was getting insufferably hot outside. After two hours I left and thought that three hours would be ample time to reach the city. Little did I know about the possible pitfalls to cycle into Prague.
I followed my Komoot app., which had pegged out the “perfect” cycle paths to get into the city. The sizzling heat of the afternoon made cycling a short-lived affair with a lot of breaks for cold drinks and ice-cream. After a while I reached the suburb of Cerny Most, a sprawling concoction of estate houses and shopping centres with beauty considerations clearly crushed by functionality deliberations. Here I ran into deep trouble. My app sent me on an international long cycle path which sudden stopped in front of a staircase going down 10 m in height. No way to go down here with my +55 kg bike. I tried to go to the metro station and use the elevator to go down with my bike, but the elevator was out of order. I tried to find a way around but again the cycle paths were blocked by impassable construction sites and stairways. I was getting desperate because the time was running away. Finally, I switched off my navigator and went by my own directional sense to get ahead. This worked beautifully and after I had cleared this monstrosity of a suburb, I switched on the navigation again and from that moment on cycled on beautiful cycleways into the old city of Prague. At 16:00 h I rode onto the Carls Bridge and met my welcoming committee. The first big destination of my trip was reached.
In Prague I spent the mid-summer weekend. For Finns, mid-summer is the most important public holiday, together with Christmas and May 1. Consequently, I was also happy to celebrate this weekend with several people I truly like and was happy being with. Going on extensive walking trips around this magnificent town, visiting a jazz concert, going into museums and having great dinners and lunches together turned this one into one of the great weekends of this trip. I do not go into the details of the city. Prague is truly glorious. It is in my opinion the most beautiful city in Europe I have seen. The splendour of the city is breath-taking, and it should be on the bucket list of everybody to visit it at least once in their life. I have had the pleasure to visit it multiple times, and every time I am enchanted anew by its beauty and ambiance.
The weekend went too fast, and I was sorry to see my friends and ex-colleagues depart to their respective homes. We did, however, agree to have a repeat mid-summer weekend in Finland, in 2030. I should be back from my journey by then, hopefully.