Monday  Dateicon  13.8-2012  Tigericon  350km Total:3310km

It was dark like a sack of coal when we checked in to the hotel so we didn't really notice the surrounding so when I pulled the blinds in the morning I almost did a double take when I saw the view.
We get a hearty breakfast and start tunnelling towards Vienna.

In between the tunnels the view was magnificent and the riding was great, a good continuation from yesterday.
I'm not surprised we met loads of bikers along the way.

We get to the hotel in Vienna at 5.30PM and check in.
There where a lot of pamphlets in reception among which were plenty of orchestral concerts so we grabbed a handful along to the room.
The one with a Mozart concert at Wiener Musikverein got our attention.
Both because you can't really go wrong with Mozart and that particular music hall houses a new years concert on Swedish television every year so I would be cool to see it live.
Well there where a few obstacles to be scaled before we got there.

We booked and paid the tickets online, showered and put on the nicest clothes we had (which was a couple of Wacken t-shirts with skulls on them and for my part mud-splattered jeans and a Triumph jacket) and went to get the tickets.
We thought we'd get that out of the way and then get something to eat (starving as per usual).
We where met by a colossal cue to the register just to be told when we got there that we where in the wrong line.
At the front of the right line which took us another fifteen minutes we where told that the tickets we'd bought didn't exist as we'd needed to buy the tickets at least two days previous.
The webpage didn't state any of this information.
I guess the disappointment was easily read in our faces as the girl in the register offered to put us on a waiting list for this evenings concert.
We readily agreed and headed out in search of food, the faster the better!

We found a restaurant/café round the corner from the concert hall and asked the waiter what the quickest meal was and got offered goulash and beer.
I pretty much drank the soup with the beer as a chaser to get back to the concert hall which was a pity since the waiter started talking metal as soon as he saw our Wacken t-shirts and he was a biker as well so we had a pleasant but short conversation along with the meal.

To the concert hall!
The concert had by now already started so we asked if there was any way we possibly could get any tickets so we'd at least get to see some part of the concert.
We give her the whole sob-story of weary bikers just in town for the night with no time to see or do anything else in town.
If I interpreted it correctly the girl behind the register was the daughter of some kind of manager (there is probably some fancy title for it) of the place.
She tells him our story and asks if there's anything they can do.
He get back to us and hands us two standing tickets at the back of the hall and says there on the house because of all the complications.
I asked if we needed to wait until the intermission but the "manager" says to follow him and personally escorts us past all the guards and lets us in the hall while the concert is in full swing.
His comment about this being "very unusual" was surplus to requirements, I've never felt so VIP in my entire life!

The concert was just pure bliss and probably felt all the better because we'd swung back and forth between hope and despair all night.
At least I think that's why this was such a powerful experience, even though we saw some great band at Wacken this is no doubt the greatest musical experience of the year for me.
After the concert we had to head back to the hotel and sort out a hotel in Prague and ferry tickets back home so that was unfortunately the only thing we got to see in Vienna.
I can honestly say there was nothing I would rather have done.

 

I can think of many worse ways to start a day than this view.

Wien Musikverein and the Mozar concert (non flash photography was allowed)




I really felt I blended in well with my jeans, my Wacken t-shirt and my scorched skin.

 
 

Tuesday  Dateicon  14.8.2012  Tigericon  370km Total:3680km

Immediately as we crossed the Czech border the road surface deteriorated very noticeably.
Most highways are covered with concrete and not asphalt, the concrete surface is common in Germany as well.
The main difference with Germany is how the lanes are joined.
For a long length of time as we rode the joint between the lanes was a countersunk string of asphalt considerably lower than the main surface and just about the width of a motorcycle tire.
Changing lanes in highway speed took some planning.
The Czechs also drive a lot worse than the Germans, have worse discipline in cues and on the smaller roads the drive smack bang in the middle of the road.
Prejudice = confirmed.

We got to the first waypoint of the day, Sedlec Ossuary in Kutná Hora a church whose interior consists of the remains of somewhere between 40.000 and 70.000 people.
Very macabre but also strangely beautiful.
It's said that the main candelabra contains every bone in the human body.
We stayed in the crypt for a long time until we got some coffee to liven us up a bit for the last leg into Prague.

Navigating Prag the traffic was horrendous and there where a completely ridiculous amount of trams.
Well they didn't manage to kill us this time either so we got to the hotel check in and after the usual procedures we hit the town.

Seems we live in the part called "old town" built in the 800:s (in comparison to "new town" built in the 900:s I guess it's all relative).
So we wander around old old town and crawl weak and starving to an open-air restaurant.
If the prejudice about the traffic was confirmed than then prejudice about the Czechs ability to speak English was utterly destroyed, all waiters spoke excellent English.
After replenishing our reserves we wandered among narrow alleyways and hordes of tourists pretty aimlessly, we do manage to see the astronomical clock and got a local brew admiring the view of the Charles bridge and the castle before heading back to the hotel.
 

Kutná Hora Ossuary




Astrolonomical clock in Prague

Charles bridge and the castle.

 
 

Tuesday  Dateicon  15.8.2012  Tigericon  0km

Today we're presented with an unusual problem.
We have too many days left on the trip. Or to be precise, one day to many.
We'd already booked the ferry for Friday but we're set to leave Prague on Thursday.
We consulted the map and came to the conclusion that there really wasn't much to see on the way to Rostock so even though it really went against my nature we rebooked the ferry before heading out on the town.

First off we find a tourist agency and book a couple of guided tours, "Prag Communism and nuclear bunker tour” and ”Prag beer tour”.
After that we wander around town where we after a couple of detours end up on the Charles bridge and venture up in the tower.
Now it's about lunchtime which just by pure chance we get at the open air restaurant at the Franz Kafka museum.
We're really not the types for fine literature so that's about as close to Kafka as we're going to get.

Ever the time optimists we're now in a bit of a rush to get to the Communist tour so like Moses parted the red sea we need to make our way through oceans of tourist.
The guide takes us to some of the key points and monuments around the city but was very disinterested and just droned his rehearsed lines which really made the whole tour pretty boring.
I realize he's probably saying the same things at least four times a day but if you've taken a job you should do it well.
But I guess it wasn't a complete a waste of time as I still remember the guide saying that Prague had the biggest Stalin-statue in the whole eastern block, it was even bigger than the Jesus-statue in Rio.

BUT where the communist-guide lacked commitment to his subject, the beer guide was all the more passionate about his.
He took us to some of Prague's "microbreweries" where they brew beer in extremely small batches and shared his extensive knowledge in the noble art of beer brewing.
It might be that we got a taste at every one of the places we went that I have so fond memories of the tour but I was a great experience.

Since we've seen the rich representation of Absinth all around the city it seemed logical to explore that further and that meant going to the "Absinth-Museum".
Which wasn't a museum at all but just simply a niché bar which purpose was to sell and not enlighten.
But since we were there it seemed stupid not to so we went ahead and order our "one way tickets to the looney bin" as they claim to have called it at some point.
With a percentage of 70% even breathing the fumes in through the nose was almost painful but since I like to breathe, it's kind of a hobby of mine and I can't really stop doing it I made the stupid mistake of breathing in through my mouth as I took a sip of the "devils elixir".
I pretty much inhaled 70% alcohol straight down my lungs, the reaction was far from gentlemanly as it hurt like hell.
I could still feel it in my throat the day after.

On our way back to the hotel we stopped at a shop and bought ourselves a bottle of the stuff so I can't claim to learn from my mistakes.

 

City walk in Prague, some of the building have a distinct Disney feel about them.


Charles bridge and the castle.

The Kafka museum

The communism and bunker tour

The beer tour and our beer connoisseur.


The Absinterie