For the stage planning I am constrained by towns that have lodging, and the next stage will take an entire day, so a half day seems in order.
Breakfast was – sweet angels – ready for me promptly at 8: two or three scrambled eggs and three thick slices of brown bread. Those I recognized. The coffee was a different story. At first I thought it was instant, which I have been served before (I could see the granules when I stirred). But these bits were not dissolving. It appears to be a version of what we call in the States “cowboy coffee”, where the boiling water is poured over coffee grounds and it brews right in the cup. So I added milk, stirred like crazy, and let the grounds settle. It actually worked out fairly well, as long as you didn’t get too greedy for that last sip!
The family running this pension are very sweet and friendly and trying hard to please, despite my language barrier. Frau did the cooking while Herr served the table. They are continuing to renovate this big old building (a former fire hall perhaps?) as I see new water heaters and stacks of insulation lying in the corners.
It is a sparkling clear morning as I set out, a perfect fine day for walking. The route comes off the bluff where sat the town, heading down and passing by a weir across the Berounka before heading back uphill through small houses with lovely views. As the morning warms, I shift over to shorts and sunglasses. Hallelujah! I’m finally back in full pilgrim uniform, working on my tan. It feels so good to not be cold!
And, it being Saturday morning, there are people out on their decks, enjoying the view and the sunshine and the newspaper. There are also several bicycling day-trippers as well as a couple ATVs passing me. A group of three hikers waves, all Czech men my age or older.
Finally we break out along the top of the ridge, with panoramic views across the valley, lush meadows, and for the first time in CZ, cows in the meadows.
After coming down to the river Berounka yet again, I find my lodgings midday. In my continuing effort to sample every type available in CZ, this time it is a camping-place that also has small huts for rent. Toilet and cold water sink are in the wash house next door, showers behind the restaurant on a coin timer. But beautifully situated right on the riverbank, lovely beer terrace to enjoy the view, and the wifi is free. The owner speaks English and the young fräulein at the counter speaks some German.
I treated myself to a full lunch: pan-fried boneless chicken breast in its own juice, boiled potatoes, salad (which means cabbage here, I have yet to see lettuce) and of course a beer.