Home > Uncategorized > I Should Have Packed My Hiking Boots?

I Should Have Packed My Hiking Boots?

As, Czech Republic to Mahring, Germany
16.7.2010


I got up early for breakfast at seven, eager to hit the road and put some distance between myself and As. The day was marvelously sunny and the morning light was enough to turn my feelings toward the city around, at least a little bit. I enjoyed a nice breakfast courtesy of the attentive innkeep, carried my bike out of a dusty basement, and was off before eight. With minimal trouble, I found the trail to Cheb-another steep, crazy gravel path that made me wish for my hiking boots. I have been very impressed with the Iron Curtain 3 guidebook, and it didn’t let me down today, as I navigated the woods with surprising ease to Liba. Here, I struggled up a 18% grade that featured, yes, stairs on the bike path. The road wound around the castle and up to a flat area with a shelter and map for travelers.

Here, I got a bit off from the directions, which I previously thought would spell certain doom on this section of the trail. However, I was still on a cycle path headed toward Cheb, and with a combination of extremely well placed maps, and my compass, I got back on the 214, a road that gave me one last blast from the Czech Republic in a spasm of casinos and bars in the middle of the forest before I passed a memorial to the victims of the Iron Curtain and crossed into Germany. A policeman smiled and waved me through the border inspection area and I would have held my arms up in triumph, except I would have fallen over. I was glad to be back in Germany.

I took a left in Hundesbach, feeling particularly fond of the big, yellow signs that point a traveler in the direction of the next villages. Before too long, I arrived in Neualbenreuth. I was tired and took a hard look at my travel plans. By today, it was clear that I was not going to make it to Aigen, or even Bayrisch Eisenstein, and instead, I needed to focus on getting to a town with a big enough railroad station where making a connection to Vienna would be relatively painless. The closest town on my route that met these requirements was Waldmünchen, about 100k to the south. Since I never know what the road is going to throw at me, I decided that it made sense to press on now.

So, I left the very attractive town of Neualbenreuth and began a hilly 11k, luckily on good roads, for the unknown village of Mahring, or beyond. I arrived relatively early, but I was completely gassed and liked the look of the town, so I made for Pension Beer, amused by the name of the place. There, the owner told me he didn’t have a room, but I followed him in his car as he drove across town to a friend’s pension that could accommodate me.

I decided to eat in the restaurant on the first floor and throughout the course of my meal, made friends with Tereza, the woman who owned the house. She made me spaghetti, I signed her guestbook, she brought me a huge helping of ice cream, for which she would not accept payment, we took each others’ pictures and exchanged email addresses, and then she let me use her computer and I was able to check my email. She spoke only German, but was patient with me and I understand most of what she said, even if I could only offer simple answers to her questions. I was really touched by her kindness and heartfelt concern, and felt completely at ease in her house. Later, I think most of the town gathered in the bar below my room, judging by the ruckus that was raised late into the night.

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