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1714 the single cylinder springs to life and powers me through gently undulating hilly landscapes. Fragrant woods fly past me, inter- rupted at regular intervals by extensive meadows. The yellow of the ever-present dandelions makes a bright contrast to the deep blue skies. My head keeps turning left to right, and back again. I can afford to take my time. Traffic? Negative. Only the numerous holes in the road and the warped tarmac remind me to concen- trate rather than just spend my time admiring Nature. After Bečov the wheels feel good grip. The road surface is brand new and my accelerator hand knows only one direction. I cruise through the alternating bends with radii of all sizes, cross lively streams over narrow bridges and forget for a moment, that the dynamics of my fully loaded BMW are more akin to a rolling wardrobe than an agi- le single-cylinder enduro. Within seconds I reach Teplá and stay on route 210. On the way to Krsy I pass numerous deserted farmhouses. Big stables standing em- pty. Instead of the thunder of hooves I can only hear wind whist- ling through broken windows. Agricultural machinery rusts away silently in man-high grass. Whether this was due to general mismanagement, a lack of agricultural subsidies or simply due to misfortune: the fat years have long left these farms.

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