Bike Eastern Europe

See Eastern Europe in the Country section for more details on the countries this is more about the ride/

Ok so we started from Prague and ended in Buddapest and here is the story.

This was a REI bike trip through Eastern Europe and it was over the top.  See each section above for more detail.

Did we have fun or what above, wow over the top

It was a 12 day event with our add on in a small group of 12 people now friends below.

 

We started the event in Prague below

and ended in Budapest below.

Along the way we traveled through the heartland of Slovakia, Austria and Hungary on bikes

visiting many churches

and UNESCO sites like TELC below

attended many a fine concert

and dined on fine cuisine

all the while staying in fantastic hotels.  I must say without a doubt REI, the staff, the accommodations and everything went off in a most professional way – thank you REI and of course their reps: Monica, Bohmil and Andrew.  And Lastly I am grateful for our riding partners.  Ok on to the Check Republic and Prague.

 

 

Prague is the capital city and largest city of the Czech Republic. It is one of the largest cities of Central Europe and has served as the capital of the historic region of Bohemia for centuries.

This magical city of bridges, cathedrals, gold-tipped towers and church domes was almost undamaged by WWII, Prague’s medieval centre remains a wonderful mixture of cobbled lanes, walled courtyards, cathedrals and countless church spires all in the shadow of her majestic 9th century castle that looks eastward as the sun sets behind her. Prague is also a modern and vibrant city full of energy, music, cultural art, fine dining and special events catering to the independent traveller’s thirst for adventure. In 1992, its historic centre was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In 1993, Czechoslovakia split into two countries and Prague became capital city of the new Czech Republic.

Prague Castle . This, the biggest ancient castle in the world, according to Guinness World Records, rises like a dream above the city offering beautiful views of the areas below. Also on site is the St. Vitus Cathedral with its lookout tower, the Castle Picture Gallery , several palaces and museums and the beautiful Royal Garden, among others. You can also watch the Presidential Guard, and the changeover of the guards on duty on the hour.

Charles Bridge  connects Old Town with Lesser Town. Its construction started in the 14th century and it is one of Prague’s most beautiful structures. During the day, it is a bustling place of trade and entertainment, as musicians busk and artists sell their paintings and jewelry.

 

The Astronomical Clock Old Town; Prague’s historic centre includes numerous historic buildings and monuments, most notably the famed Astronomical Clock, the pure GothicTýn Church, the mural-covered Storch building, and the Jan Hus monument. Nearby, the Estate Theatre is a neoclassical theatre where Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni was first performed. Old Town features many historical churches and some other interesting historical buildings like the Old Town Hall.

 

Josefov; this historic Jewish ghetto is interesting for its well preserved synagogues

 

TELC

Telč is a town in southern Moravia, , in the Czech Republic. The town was founded in 13th century as a royal water fort on the crossroads of busy merchant routes between Bohemia, Moravia and Austria.

 

Besides the monumental 17th century Renaissance chateau with an English-style park the most significant sight is the town square, a unique complex of long urban plaza with well-conserved Renaissance and Baroque houses with high gables and arcades; since 1992 all of this has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

The Gothic castle was built in the second half of the 14th century. At the end of the 15th century the castle fortifications were strengthened and a new gate-tower built. In the middle of the 16th century the medieval castle no longer satisfied Renaissance nobleman Zachariáš of Hradec, who had the castle altered in the Renaissance style. The ground floor was vaulted anew, the facade decorated with sgraffito, and the state apartments and living quarters received stucco ornamentation together with trompe l’oeil and chiaroscuro paintings in 1553. The counter-reformation brought the Jesuits to the town, who built the church of Name of Jesus in 1666-1667, according to the plans of Domenico Orsi. The column of the Virgin and the fountain in the centre of the square date from the 18th century.

Ok on to the ride:

Wow over the top. Imagine, Frost or  Stevenson ” the path less traveled” drifting down spindly country lanes, that snake their way over rolling hills, dales and brook. The golden sun above washes the landscapes in hues of golds and yellows while voluminous white clouds silently drift by overhead with the wind to the horizon. The soft wind caresses your face like a lovers hand and she also brings sweet melodies from the crickets and birds that live in the farm fields that surround us. The wheat is amber and about to be harvested and the dark green corn is reaching for the heavens while hawks silently drift overhead in arcing paths in search of their next kill This is the heartland of farms and field.  flowers, shrub and scented pines line the narrow lanes we pass through and at times we pass through ancient forests whose old growth forest hold memories from times forgotten. We are staying in very ancient villages with castles and motes in which times has passed it by. We dine on fine foods from the small farms and fine Wines in terraced porches overlooking the castles

 

 

Lednice  is a village in South Moravia in the Czech Republic. In 1996 it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List (together with the twin manor of Valtice) as “an exceptional example of the designed landscape that evolved in the Enlightenment and afterwards under the care of a single family.” It contains a palace and the largest park in the country, which covers 200 km².

 

Since Lednice first passed into the hands of the House of Liechtenstein in the mid-13th century, its fortunes had been tied inseparably to those of that noble family. The palace of Lednice began its life as a Renaissance villa; in the 17th century it became a summer residence of the ruling Princes of Liechtenstein.

The surrounding park is laid out in an English garden style and contains a range of Romantic follies by Joseph Hardtmuth, including the artificial ruins of a medieval castle on the bank of the Thaya/Dyje River (1801) and a solitary sixty-metre minaret, reputedly the tallest outside the Muslim world at the time of its construction

 

The princely family lost all its privileges with the collapse of their protectors the Habsburg Empire and by the then newly established state of Czechoslovakia in 1918, the predecessor of the Czech Republic; and the castle was confiscated after World War II, when the Communists took power.

 

Hlohavec Castle:  Stayed there

 

— — —

 

Slovakia

Devin Castle

Devín Castle (Slovak: hrad Devín or Devínsky hrad, Hungarian: Dévényi vár, German: Burg Theben) is a castle in Devín, which is a borough of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.

 

Owing to its strategic position, the cliff (altitude of 212 meters) at the confluence of the Danube and Morava rivers was an ideal place for a fort. Its owner could control the important trade route along the Danube as well as one branch of the Amber Road. That is why the site has been settled since the Neolithic and fortified since the Bronze and Iron Age. Later, both the Celts and the Romans built strong fortresses there. In the Roman ruins, the first Christian church located North of the Danube has been identified.

 

The castle stands just inside Slovak territory on the frontier between Slovakia (previously part of Czechoslovakia) and Austria. The border runs from west to east along the Morava River and subsequently the Danube. Prior to 1989, the Iron Curtain between the Eastern Bloc and the West ran just in front of the castle. Although the castle was open to the public, the area surrounding it constituted a restricted military zone, and was heavily fortified with watchtowers and barbed wire. After the Velvet Revolution the area was demilitarised.

 

The most photogenic part of the castle is the tiny watchtower, seemingly not much bigger than a chess piece, known now as the Maiden Tower. Separated from the main castle, it balances perilously on a lone rock and has spawned countless legends concerning imprisoned lovelorn daughters leaping to their deaths.

 

Inside, the castle is a sprawling landscape of walls, staircases, open courtyards and gardens in various states of repair. They are all, however, made readily accessible by a continuing restoration and archaeological project conducted since the borough of Devín was reclaimed from Nazi Germany which had annexed it shortly before World War II.

 

 

Hungary

 

The Benedictine Pannonhalma Archabbey) is the most notable landmark in Pannonhalma and one of the oldest historical monuments in Hungary, founded in 996. It is located near the town, on top of a hill . Saint Martin of Tours is believed to have been born at the foot of this hill, hence its former name, Mount of Saint Martin from which the monastery occasionally took the alternative name of Márton-hegyi Apátság. This is the second largest abbey in the world, after the one in Monte Cassino. Its notable sights include the Basilica with the Crypt (built in the 13th century), the Cloisters, the monumental Library with 360,000 volumes, the Baroque Refectory (with several examples of trompe l’oeil) and the Archabbey Collection (the second biggest in the country). Today there are about 50 monks living in the monastery. The abbey is supplemented by the Benedictine High School, a boys’ boarding school.

 

 

 

 

Hungary

 

Buddapest: is the capital and the largest city of Hungary and one of the largest cities in the European Union. It is the country’s principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. The Budapest Commuter Area is home to 3.3 million people. Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with a unification on 17 November 1873 of west-bank Buda and Óbuda with east-bank Pest.

 

The history of Budapest began with Aquincum, originally a Celtic settlement[11][12] that became the Roman capital of Lower Pannonia.[11] Hungarians arrived in the territory[13] in the 9th century . Budapest was the focal point of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Hungarian Republic of Councils of 1919, Operation Panzerfaust in 1944, the Battle of Budapest in 1945, and the Revolution of 1956.

 

Cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe,its extensive World Heritage Site includes the banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter, Andrássy Avenue, Heroes’ Square and the Millennium Underground Railway, the second oldest in the world. Other highlights include a total of 80 geothermal springs, the world’s largest thermal water cave system, second largest synagogue, and third largest Parliament building. The city attracts about 4.3 million tourists a year, making it the 25th most popular city in the world (and the 6th in Europe)