Greetings from Liberec, Czech Republic

Hot, hot, hot! We passed several temperature signs today and none were lower than 36C. We arrive at the end of the day soaked from the inside out. One good thing, I think the heat has burned my cold away. I am feeling much better.

Typical view along the Czech - Poland border

Typical view along the Czech – Poland border

A little catching up. We ended up staying in Novy Jicin two nights instead of one. Then through some beautiful countryside to a spa town in Poland called Polanica Zdroj. It is located in southern Poland in the jigsaw puzzle-shaped piece that juts into the Czech Republic. That town has got to be The Hamptons of Poland. Absolutely beautiful. Here is a Google Maps link: Street View of Polanica Zdroj. We ate at the round table on the left. Rotate the view 180 degrees and see the park in the middle of the city. We stayed in a house for $40 including breakfast. There are lots of E200/night places all over. This was the first time on this trip we have seen so many huge houses in one area. Just beautiful.

I think we are still in the Czech Republic

I think we are still in the Czech Republic

Our wiggly line has been quite the trip. Yesterday our ride started in Novy Jicin, then to Opava, Bruntal for a refreshment, and on to Rapotin. We definitely have to give a Catfish and SSJoanne Seal of Approval for Highway 11. Great ride. Then it was 44 north to Jesenik, 60 northwest back into Poland and Paczkow, and on to Klodsko and Polanica Zdroj. All fun riding, but 11 was just the best. Language note: Klodsko is not how it is spelled on road signs. On roadsigns, it is Ktodsko and the t is a lower-case size character with the cross part slanted up, left to right.

Views like this all along Highway 11

Views like this all along Highway 11

Today we missed a couple of turns so we spent some time in the flats with what seemed like a thousand truckers and a thousand round-abouts. We got free of that as soon as we could and turned back north for the hills. We had a very nice lunch in Vrchlabi. We continued on 14 in the deep shade along a river and it would have been perfect except for the 4 sections of one-way traffic lights. Stopping in the heat was not fun. Once we turned west to Tanvald and on to Liberec, it was a slog in the heat and afternoon traffic. Ugh.

My version of Windows 7 wallpaper

My version of Windows 7 wallpaper

But guess what? We are in the Hotel Praha again. Praha means park and I am told there are hundreds of Hotel Prahas in the Czech Republic. That’s 3 nights for us. This is an old hotel, originally built in 1906, right downtown and next to a nice square. The snack bar of the hotel is in the shade on the square so we had a cool drink and people-watched after our showers and before our naps.

I just like this one

I just like this one

Dinner tonight was in the newly-opened hotel restaurant. It is located on the second floor, which means it is about 30 feet up, and has huge windows all along two walls. A great view of the elegant buildings all around. Our waitress was new and very nervous, and her first act was to dump a bottle of tonic on our table. She was mortified, but did okay after that. Poor girl; new job and foreigners all at once. I left a nice tip. Dinner was good, not great, and about $40 for drinks, entrees, soup, dessert, and coffee. We are using Crowns now, but most tabs come listed in both Crowns and Euros.

Debb rides the Czech Republic

Debb rides the Czech Republic

The other day Debb and I passed some big cooling towers so I have been trading email with WetLeather’s Big Cooling Tower Guy, Brian C. There are some interesting effects to the high energy costs here. In many hotels, tho not any in Eastern Europe so far, there are switches you have to put your room key into before the lights work. Brian estimates electricity costs twice here than what it does where he lives. Those of us in the PNW get it even cheaper. The hotel owner in Novy Jicin told us if he turned on all of his antique chandeliers, even with half the bulbs not working, it would cost him about 25 Euros an hour. I found it interesting he said Euros, since his currency is Crowns. I wonder if he pays for energy in a different currency? Maybe he just thought I would know the value better.

A nice lunch in top of a hill with some other riders

A nice lunch on top of a hill with some other riders

There are light sensors everywhere. Most hallways and stairwells are dark until you walk into them. Public bathrooms is another. We had a room that had a sensor on the bathroom fan, not the light.

We haven't seen many wind turbines but there were quite a lot here

We haven’t seen many wind turbines but there were quite a lot here

Ice is another big difference. You can get it, but you usually have to ask. I have been served many soft drinks that were barely cooler than room temperature and no ice. Now I ask, but you only get 3 or 4 cubes. Once, I got charged per cube for 6 of them. Again, I’m sure it is energy costs. BTW, Coke and Pepsi are way different here than in the States. They seem much softer to me. Local taste, of course and also served warmer than in the US.

I think we are off to Prague in the morning. See you there.