I woke up this morning feeling much worse, I had gone through two packets of tissues and couldn’t go for more than 15 minutes without coughing or needing water. The train to Usti Nad Labem would take an hour and cost 19 Euros, so I planned a day of non-strenuous sightseeing. First off was Zwinger Palace, a lot of it was being restored but the courtyards were free to the public and accompanied with buskers playing classical music. I asked about some museums and there were three in the palace and six in the building across the road. I visited the first two and their collections were spectacular. Cameras weren’t allowed, but the highlight for me was the 18th Century collection of still life paintings.
The old district had plenty of beautiful buildings to admire and I walked around for quite some time just staring at things.
Soon I was feeling hungry so I picked a cafe from the vast range of fancy looking restaurants. Most of them looked really busy so I turned down a laneway and came across this spot. It was a cafe and an antique shop, so the couch beside me was on sale for 450 Euros.
I headed back to the hostel and talked to two Americans who were on their own traveling adventures throughout Europe. It was really cool to see where people come from and catch a glimpse of their unique lives. Shortly after I had to leave for my train, which didn’t go so well. The train switched platforms so I missed it and had to wait two hours for the next one. I ended up going to find some free wifi and making origami wheels out of my old maps.
The train itself was comfortable and my stop in Usti Nad Labem lasted two minutes. In that time I threw my bags onto the platform and hauled my bike down the awkward steps, with 30 seconds to spare. My hotel was only a five minute ride, but it felt strange, it was super quiet and I got some really intense stares. I wasn’t sure if I drew attention due to my bike, my ethnicity or because I was wearing shorts in the evening. I pushed that aside and focused on picking a spot for dinner before sunset.
I originally planned to go to Strekov Castle, it was 5km away and at the top there’s a fancy restaurant. Unfortunately I didn’t have time for that so I went to the new castle, Vertruse, which was built around 1900. I took a cablecar to the top and took some photos before dining in.
The food was amazing and very well priced, approximately $9 AUD, plus it was a bonus to be eating real Czech food on my first night.
I didn’t have much to do after that, just plan my next day of riding. My day off was really useful to recharge myself physically and mentally, I had really underestimated the difficulty of the rides so far. Although my itinerary for NZ was similar, putting all the hard stuff at the start to almost break my spirit, then at least I’d know the rest would be easy. Fingers crossed tomorrow will be alright.