Happy New Year from WINTER in Tuscany Italy!! The good news after about 8 weeks, I finally have my computer back from repairs in Austria… that was a long and difficult wait.. But now I hope to get to work and get this blog updated! I can tell you I have seen so much, met so many amazing people and had so much fun since my last entry.. so I hope you enjoy the upcoming photos and stories!
Since Berlin post a long time ago… I have been to Czech Republic
, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Italy. So!! With a lot of catching up to do, back to Germany
After visiting the Berlin Wall, I rode out of town feeling completely overwhelmed by the sheer amount of history in that one city. Which I expected to see, but I did not expect how modern, clean and fun it is as well!! And again, if I only had the time and not racing south to avoid the winter, I would have spent much more time there. I really do intend to go back.
But as I was riding through the German countryside toward Czech Republic, there was something else that really impressed me. I had noticed early on, that the German culture is a very GREEN culture. There is wind farm after wind farm. I know when I see them up ahead they must be strategically placed to catch ultimate wind, which then is my warning the wind is going to push me around on my bike. Bugger! There is nothing about my KTM that is aerodynamically designed, and the wind has picked up my front wheel while riding more than once.. even with the extra fuel tank up front!! ;-(
But I also pass farms that had every space of their huge barn roofs covered with solar panels… very expensive!! But good for the environment!! In order for you to drive a car or truck at least in the city of Berlin
, you have to have a high emissions control rating, or you get a fine. I never heard of that before, and it is such a blessing for a motorcycle rider not to have to be breathing in black cloudy exhaust from the trucks ahead. I really love Germany for this one point alone! But good for them, a really impressive country I found in Germany.
Or Germania, as most other people call it. I like Germania better, it sounds so much nicer! (Pronounce Ger like Gertrude, not like germs) Why do we English speaking people have to change the sound so dramatically? Who are we to change it!?
I find myself crossing the border into Czech Republic. It becomes apparent quickly they don’t have the same emissions control standards there. But it was just exciting to be in another country! The road signs are a different language, the money is different, here we go again!
We were diverted off the road I was traveling due to construction onto a highway.. I’m not a fan of the highway, but I was in Prague
in no time.
Luckily I had pre-planned and figured out an affordable place to stay ahead of time, so I aimed for Residence Tunich on my gps.
After the freedom in Berlin hostel to park my bike on the sidewalk outside the front door, I expected the same here.. no way!! It was very clear from the guy at the desk that not only do I not want to park my bike near the door, but don’t park it anywhere outside, it will get stolen! He showed me on a map several streets over a hotel that had underground parking. I could pay this crazy amount of money and walk several blocks back to the residence. I didn’t like that idea, so I set out on foot to knock on doors in an attempt to find somebody who could let my “little” bike stay safely in a corner somewhere. I found a place almost directly across the street. They were so nice, parked underground, and even gave me my own key.. Just ask!!
I finally got settled in and began my research of what I want to see in Prague the following day.. I looked at so many options and unusual for me, I decided to take a touristy tour. I was only there for the next day, and I really wanted to take in as much as I can, as quick as I can.
Have a look at this city! Where do you start??
From the tiny bit I had heard about Prague Czech Repubic is that it will be a dark gray depressing place to visit. I nearly didn’t ride here because of that! But glad I did make the effort. I found it to be a very vibrant and colourful city! Definitely in a different “condition” than that of the Germania I had just left.. but nowhere near as bad as I had imagined. They’ve had their economic struggles over the last years, but seem to be bouncing back from what I can tell.
On the tour, the guide explains to us that Prague was actually the wealthiest city in Europe before the wars. And you can see evidence of that everywhere.
The Prague Castle above is a highlight for many visitors. It was gorgeous inside the cathedral. as this one had spectacular stained glass.
Now you see what they mean when they say somebody from above must be watching over us.
Back out on to the street to finish the tour…
Away from the art and the gold and instead a good view of roasting street meat..
I spent the tour with two retired Australian couples from Sydney who adopted me for the day as they were finishing their complete tour of Europe. They were hilarious, we had a good time and it was good to be speaking English and enjoying good ol’ Aussie humor again. And then I am on my own to explore the rest.
My fascination for the city diverted to street cars.. I don’t know why.. but I thought they were cool and a view into the more normal daily life in Prague. I hadn’t originally planned to come here, and again, I was pleasantly surprised by this amazing place.
One last look over the city before I start wandering back
The good news, is I am only in Czech Republic a whopping two days. So I have already caught up my blog for one whole country! The bad news, as you can see, Prague is a humongous city, and deserves more time to get to know it. And for me to get to know a country, I also like to explore the countryside more and see how people live beyond the common tourist places. But I am happy with what I saw today.. The tour guide said I was lucky to be here at this time, because the same time last year was already freezing cold and snowy.
Which was my hint to stay on course and start heading toward Austria in the morning.
Glad to be back, next blog entry coming soon!
Wishing you all an exciting 2011 full of fun and adventure!!