Due to some poor interpretation of the triangulation of map, reality, and google maps, I've seen a bit more of upper Bohemia than expected today. But it's been fantastic.
For starters, Horace has some shiny new parts. Apart from giving him a good old clean up (probably in self defence!) the nice bike man replaced a chain link and the whole of the rear gear hub (is that what it's called?). How lovely it is to have silent and smooth gears! Yet another resolution - go on bike maintenance course. Although the whole shebang cost about 50 euros and was done before 9.30 this morning so I certainly don't begrudge the cost of expert Czech service.
I am loving the Czech Republic. It seems to me that the biggest irritations of the former eastern bloc states are drunk men and angry dogs, both of which are at a maximum on the outskirts of towns. But the Czech countryside is just beautiful, people are friendly, the young speak English (the older generation, German) and people, not just tourists, seem to be enjoying it - cycling, climbing, hiking.
Admittedly I've probably been in national park all day. It hasn't been high mountains as such, but lovely old deciduous forest and crazy conical hills and tower-like rock formations. Mixed in with high farmland, lots of small lakes, and odd bits of conifers. Lovely.
The legs feel OK - there hasn't been a lot of great long hills though there's been plenty of gentle uphill all day, and occasional steeper bits. But with judicious use of sugar, and (probably most important of all) the right mentality, I've really enjoyed it.
I am rather off-course to the east, but the well-marked cycle trails will take me back tomorrow I'm sure. The mapping is really super - the biggest issue I have is learning to trust it!