The kindness of strangers is a theme that many long distance bike tourists talk about. We have had many interactions with strangers that have made our lives on the road just a little more comfortable- just a little nicer. Some strangers become friends (Jen!).
It took us longer than we wanted to leave the sprawling city of Prague. The tall buildings often interferred with the GPS signal- we went South the best we could along cobbled roads, through rough neighborhoods, over train tracks, under highways and along water drainage canals. Two hours later, we popped out into the country side and sat down to regroup and get a cold drink at a small cafe.
Once out of the city we were able to locate the Prague-Vienna Greenway bike path. This path is different than following a river, it heads over the hills, through parks and on mostly B-roads. There is not a designated, seperate bike path- it simply connects the least traveled, most scenic route.
We stopped in Kamenice to stock up on food and inquire about camping. Two issues: 1. nobody we communicated with spoke English (and our Czech is terrible) and 2. there are no known campgrounds for at least 20 km. At least that is what we were able to interrupt from our animated attempts at conversations. The good news, you can wild camp in Prague- as long as you don’t have an open fire. So, we decided that we would look for a suitable place to wild camp along the route.
About 5 km out of Kamenice we were enjoying a downhill through the small village Cakovice when we spotted a sign that said Cyclo Nanuk with an arrow pointing to a house. We stopped to investigate- thinking maybe there might also be lodging (Nanuk is ice cream). We found a very cool shed with a freezer full of ice cream with an honor pay system. There were also drinks and other snacks. How cool is that!?
Once we realized that it wasn’t camping we were about to leave when I noticed a man in the yard behind the shed. I called him over and asked if he knew of any local camping. No, he said, nothing that he knows- but we could use his internet to locate a place. Thanking him for his offer, I stated that we thought the closest campground was over 20 km away. He looked away for a moment and turned back to us and said. Here, you can stay here.
After introductions, we set up camp in his lovely yard (or garden as Jen would say). Petr, our host for the night, let us know that we could use his washroom- and even provided towels. His lovely wife and two kids were a bit shy but enjoyed watching the shenanigans as we began to settle in for the night.
Petr joined us for a toast bringing his very own plum spirits, Slivovitz, a traditional central European distilled drink.
Our evening was very peaceful. We cooked dinner and had a small fire in his portable fire pit- a rare treat for us. Every so often we would look up to the second floor windows and see two little faces peering through the curtains with curiosity about the strangers in their yard.
If you are traveling through Cakovice, be sure to stop and have a Nanuk from the little shed and say hello to Petr for us! Cyclo-Nanuk – Added 8/15/14 – check out the nice post from Petr about our stay! http://cyklo-nanuk.webnode.cz/news/jak-u-nas-kempovali-opravdovi-cyklo-globetrotters/