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English2015

1712 The taste of coffee lies heavy on my tongue. I look down the narrow lane in the old city center which runs just a stone‘s throw past the café and disappears round the corner in the distance. Loket, and its castle with the same name, is a tranquil nice medieval town in the Karlovy Vary region. The green frills of a sunshade flutter excitedly in the corner of my eye. And I must admit, this was something not on my radar: the Czech Republic. Living in the southwest of Germany, visits to neighboring countries are usually in the other direction. It is just a short jump over the Rhine to France for someone living in Baden. Mo- torcyclists derive great pleasure riding through the Vosges, and if you are looking for a somewhat longer trip, there is always Switzerland with its high alpine and delightful routes for motorcycles. „Bad in the west, more friendly in the east“, that is the message from the weather forecasters on the Internet. Actually I had intended to visit the Ardennes in Belgium. But the weather map showed nothing but dark gray patches of clouds and rain. I am in two minds. Things look a lot better for the next few days behind the eastern border: Czech Re- public and western Bohemia. So why not ride in the opposite direction, throw the existing planned routes overboard and take a tour along the lines of one of Herbert Schwarz‘s travels: „No plan is a good plan.“ The friendly waitress brings the bill. One coffee and a large Coke light. „30 crowns please“, spoken in excellent German. I have difficulty believing my mental maths as I hand over the money. Roughly € 1.20. And I add a huge tip. I was totally surprised by the price differences, after all, we were only a few kilometers behind the border. So I took my time. It is nearly 13.00 hrs when I slowly walk towards my mo- torcycle. I mount, check the map and look for small and smallest roads. And

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