I was very down on Saturday, with new developments in my home government. I won’t dwell on that, but I knew I needed to get out in the sunshine and move my body to cope. It was a beautiful day for a bike ride and did help me forget for a short while. What I didn’t expect was that I’d accidentally end up in another country.
My ride passed through a mass of birds. Seagulls, snowy egrets, and even swans. I’ve never seen anything like it. But there must have been a memo that went out – only wear your best white.
Before I was in the countryside, I passed these gardens that I can’t figure out. I keep seeing them in various places. At first I thought it was where poor people lived because the first few had mobile homes ala rusty train cars, plastic water tanks suspended in the air, and a fenced yard. But then I noticed the fenced yards contained gardens, many of them highly cultivated and many of the small “homes” were windowless sheds. Sometimes they had a porch attached with a couple chairs. But no real house. It was like a community garden except with really big plots and a place where people also sometimes hung out.
I’d say the bike path was lovely but not dramatic scenery. Certainly nice to get out of the city and ride along a river and through trees. I got to see a Czech campground which was fun, and passed by several small lakes. Every time I went under a road, the bridge is always really really low. Almost creepy like it would just crush you.
The path got very confusing very quickly – there were many side paths and lots of signs with names of towns I didn’t recognize. I biked into numerous tiny towns only to turn around and try again. My Google maps couldn’t figure out where I was and I’d forgotten to bring my paper bike trail map. Then suddenly the path just ended in a town called Bohumín. My first take of it was that it was old and sad. The buildings looked creaky and empty. There was a huge square with no one in it – mid-Saturday afternoon.
There were a couple cars and a couple people at a cafe, cyclists who looked like they were passing through. But then I ran into what looked like brand-new modern items supporting cyclists – a bike pump (which I needed) and bike storage units. This hinted there was more to this town than met the eye.
It took me a few times around the empty town before I found a trail running along side a road and suddenly I found myself passing the border into Poland! I can only assume that this is why the town caters to cyclists, as a border town. I sat in Poland, ate a snack in a park with a replica of some castle, and headed back. I may not have done much in Poland here, but there’s the element of surprise that lent it some intrigue. The featured photo for this post is standing on the bridge over the Oder River between the two countries and looking at the Czech Republic.
I took the very long way to get there – it was two hours of wandering. Then I was able to look up a straight-shot back and saw that my flat was only 6.6 miles from the border and I was home in a half hour.