Day 13: Slup, Czech Republic to Poysdorf, Austria

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Start: Slup, Czech Republic
End: Poysdorf, Austria
Distance: 80.1km
Elevation Gain: 2120ft
Elevation Loss: 2245ft
Time: 8h23m
Reading Material: A History of the Jews – Paul Johnson; Attempting Normal – Marc Maron
Audio Material: Marketplace; Channel Orange – Frank Ocean; West – Lucinda Williams

I’m getting my sea legs under me. Probably should have trained a bit before starting, but these first 12 days have done the trick. I covered 50km before lunch, aided by flat beautiful asphalt track. Supposedly, these narrow and straight tracks were created by the Soviets as a means to enforce the Czech border zone but someone has been spending time and money keeping them in great shape.

In addition to making it easy to spot humans, the tracks are favorite hangout spots for large bunny rabbits and snails. The bunnies are adept at running away from bicycles, I can’t say the same about the snails.

Transcendental moment zooming along at 35km/hr, listening to Lucinda Williams and turning my head to watch stands of trees covered in yellow leaves blur.

Stopped in Mikuluv for lunch and a quick tour of the local sights. After Prague, Mikuluv was the second largest Jewish community in Czech lands — nearly 50% of the town was Jewish in the 1750s. A few buildings remain along with a giant cemetery with its final burials coming from inhabitants killed in WWII.

Crossed the border into Austria where the crossing (thanks to Schengen) has been dismantled and only a few abandoned buildings and a sad museum remain. European border crossings no longer involve document checks (or electrified fence, for that matter) but now they require SIM card switches and ATM runs. Accomplished both at Poysdorf, a Napa Valley for Lower Austria, before finding a place for the night.

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