wwA bike tour in the Czech Republic and Austria / © 2005 by Brian Wasson

   

A BIKE TRIP THROUGH THE CZECH REPUBLIC, AUSTRIA, AND GERMANY
MAY 2004

INTRODUCTION

Cast of characters: Brian and Ginny Wasson, a married couple in their late 30s from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA). This was our fourth unsupported bike tour in Europe together on our tandem, and Brian has toured a few times in Europe and the USA on his single bike. We've toured in Germany, Austria, and France, but this was our first trip to the Czech Republic. Ginny was a bit over three months pregnant during the trip, so we tried to keep the daily mileage reasonable (Matthew was born in November 2004, if you are curious; we've already bought him his first bike helmet!).

The route: By air to Munich, Germany. By train to Prague, Czech Republic (CZ). By train to Tabor, CZ. By bike to the CZ/Austrian border. By train to Zell am See, Austria. By bike round-trip from Zell am See to Krimml, Austria, then on to Salzburg, Austria, via the Tauern bike route and eastern Bavaria and Bad Reichenhall. By train to Munich, Germany. By car to the Bavarian Alps (Garmisch-Partenkirchen area) and back to Munich. By air to home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. All-told, on this trip we only rode about 256 miles on our bike. Much of the time was spent sightseeing, with major distances traveled by train. If you're just interested in the part of the trip where we biked, you'll only want to read the write up for days 1-11.

When: Friday, May 21 to Sunday, June 6, 2004.

Our preparation: We don't have a rigid schedule on our trips, preferring to be flexible and able to respond to weather, interesting scenery, and the like. However, we do a lot of research beforehand to know what our options are and things we might like to see. We usually only advance-book our first and last nights in a hotel. On this trip we were torn between riding the Via Claudia Augusta bike route from the Danube in Germany to Venice, Italy and doing a bike tour in the Czech Republic. Believe it or not, we still weren't sure which we were going to do until we landed in Germany, although we were leaning to the Czech Republic because we knew more about it from our reading. Because of this, we had no advance train bookings to Prague, or any place to stay for the first night. We did have tentative (cancelable) room reservations for a few nights in Prague, but apart from that we were on our own.

The bike: Santana Fusion tandem bicycle with S&S frame couplers. 27-speed drivetrain with 28-38-48 chainrings and an 11-34 cassette. Blackburn Expedition rear rack and a Tubus lowrider front rack. Ortlieb panniers front and rear, and an Ortlieb handlebar bag with the padded camera insert. We always bring along our mascot "Hans the Hase," a dollar-store bunny (Hase is German for rabbit); Hans has a Ziploc baggie for foul-weather protection. For transport on the airplane the bike was disassembled and packed in one S&S hard case and one S&S soft backpack case. When we unpacked the bike we put the soft case inside the hard case and stored it at the airport left-luggage counter at the Munich airport. See the trip pages for more detailed info on storing bike cases at the airport.

Notes:

1. This trip description is fairly long! I apologize in advance. I was going to edit it down a lot, but thought that maybe some piece of information that I thought was worthless might be useful to someone else who is planning a trip. Believe it or not, I wrote all of this in a tiny little memo book that we brought along. It didn't seem like so much at the time! Also, in most instances I will abbreviate Czech Republic with "CZ," to avoid typing it repeatedly.

2. Approximate currency conversions to US dollars are based on the exchange rate in June 2004 of 1 euro = 1.23 USD, and 1 Czech crown = .039 USD. As of early 2005 the euro is higher against the dollar, with one euro equal to around 1.30 USD. A useful currency conversion utility on the Web is at http://www.xe.com/ucc/.

3. Many links in this report will open in a new window. I usually don't like doing that, but I thought it would help keep the integrity of the trip report.

4. The larger-scale scanned maps on the site will open in reduced size on some browsers. To view them at higher resolution, usually all you have to do is click on them. They are large enough to view properly.

5. Please excuse the quality of the scans on this site. The lab developed the photos on matte paper, which is difficult to scan. When I get more time I'll rescan the negs to get cleaner images.

6. Do you see any mistakes, typos, or other things that need to be corrected? Please e-mail me and let me know!

ON TO THE TRIP REPORT! >

INDEX

Start page
Day 1: Munich airport to Pilsen, Czech Republic by train (2 miles by bike)
Day 2:
Pilsen to Prague, Czech Republic by train (4 miles by bike)

Day 3:
Prague, Czech Republic
Day 4: Prague to Tabor via train, Tabor to Hluboka nad Vltava via bike (38 miles by bike)

Day 5: Hluboka nad Vltava to Cesky Krumlov (via Ceske Budejovice) by bike (34 miles by bike)
Day 6:
Cesky Krumlov

Day 7:
Cesky Krumlov to Horni Dvoriste, CZ, by bike (28 miles +/-)
Day 8: Zell am See, Austria to Krimml, Austria (42 miles by bike)
Day 9:
Krimml to Zell am See
Austria (44 miles by bike)

Day 10: Zell am See, Austria to Bad Reichenhall, Germany (47 miles by bike)
Day 11: Bad Reichenhall, Germany, to Salzburg, Austria (17 miles by bike)
Day 12: Salzburg, Austria to Munich, Germany by train and on to Grainau, Germany by car
Days 13-16:
Auto touring to Austria and Italy; Munich; flight home.
Conclusion
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