Last year I enjoyed a holiday in a bike saddle in somewhat remote places. So even if this year I had just two weaks off, I went to Kyrgyzstan, which again promised both remoteness and travelling in saddles. In addition to it I found here a landscape that is worth visiting due to its variability – from the hot valley around Bishkek, around local “see” Issyk-kul, through steppe plateaus with grazing horses and cattle, green mountain valleys all the way to snow-covered tips of local peaks reaching over 7000 m. The capital city itself does not offer many attractions. However, just south of it already raise the mountains – here Ala Archa and a route around the stream of Ak Say to the mountain camp of Racek under the Pik…
During two July weekends I was attracted towards the Ohře river. First time I went by train to the industrial town of Lovosice and from there I trekked through the green Oparno valley, visited the castle ruin Oparno, Lovoš hill with beautiful vistas all around and then another ruin Košťál, again providing views all the way to the river Ohře, the legendary peak Říp and Elbe river and beyond. The second time I went by bike from Roudnice nad Labem, took a pleasant cycle path around Ohře to the Nechranice dam, where I spent the evening by the water and the next day returned back home via Rakovník.
During Easter, the forecast promised irresistibly beautiful weather. And it was true – no wind or tailwind, sunny, warm but not too hot, cloudless sky. Such weather had to be used for a bike trip. So I set out to admire the sights of South Bohemia – through Písek, Týn, Temelín and Hluboká to Třeboň, where I wandered around the ponds and branching streams of river Lužnice and thereafter back through Choustník and Chýnov.
The top of the trip (in metres above sea level) was the crossing of the Splügen pass. On my way there, I avoided Milan and passed through the valley of several the lakes: Lago di Garlati as the appetizer, Lago di Como as the main course and Lago di Mezzola as the dessert.
From Pisa it takes only a short distance to the sea, this time to the Tyrrhenian. The entry point to the sea is the harbour of Viareggio, with moored small boats as well as luxury yachts, which also have their service station here.
In Rome I turned back north, passing three lakes in former craters. This turned out to be a very strategic choice – as temperatures started to attack 40°C in the afternoon, I quickly replaced cycling for bathing.
I reached the center of Rome around Roma Termini and the first impression, after a time spent in nature and in the picturesque medieval towns, was quite terrible: floods of litter, garbage and dirt of all kinds, noise, soldiers in armored vehicles with machine guns, suspicious idividuals of all nationalities, incl. e.g. one older lady just hand-measuring her black favourite as he counted the money, with other guy preparing his shot nearby… But it was enough to walk the marble pavements towards the historical centre, and the Eternal City has much more to offer.
In San Mauro a Mare I left the sea behind and soon I came across the first hill after a long time – and on the top of it the castle in Santarcangelo di Romagna. This was supposed to become a pattern. Behind the first hill followed the landscape I fell in love with. Beautiful landscape, on every hill a village or a town looking like it was just made ready for a medieval movie, narrow little streets, stone houses, marble, fortification around.
By an easy ride through the valley, via Gmünd and then around the Drau river, I reached Villach and from there, from the Austrian side with an effort smaller than expected, I got up on the Austro-Italian border pass.