Czech holiday continued

August 21, 2008 - Halifax, United Kingdom

After our enjoyable few days in Prague we decided to head up north to experience the Czech countryside.  We only had 2 days before needing to be in Brno for the MotoGP so we choose to head to the mountain region to Adrspach-Teplice Rocks, a protected landscaped region close to the Polish border.

We had no problems navigating our way there and the Lonely Planet guidebook that Deb rented from the library in Halifax came in handy in pointing us in the direction of the main sights.   The "rock towns" were a series of sandstone pillars eroded over the years.  There were literally hundreds of them scattered throughout a pine forest.  We paid a small fee to walk on trails through the park and the trails zigzagged their way through a labyrinth of rock pillars, through narrow gorges and up to panaramic viewpoints.  It wound its way up and down for about  5-6kms and we both really enjoyed ourselves.  Although it was filled to the brim with other tourists it was nice to see it so accessible for everybody including elderly people and parents with pushchairs.

We then drove back down south towards the city of Brno.  We wanted to give ourselves enough time to locate the race track campsite as we didn't have directions.  We needn't have worried though as we had no problems as it was very well signposted.   We arrived and it was steaming hot and dusty and we were very impressed that we managed to score what we thought was a top campsite location under a shady tree.  We got our tent up and watched the spectacular sunset thinking how fortunate we were to nab this peaceful spot before anyone did.  And then...things changed.  You have NO idea how much things can change!  Unless you have been to a motorbike Grandprix in Europe, you will not understand the level of noise you have to endure.  If someone was playing ACDC next to my tent at extremely loud decibels we would have been quite delighted with that.  But instead these Europeans, mainly Germans, bring old motorbikes and car engines and mount them on the back of pickup trucks, remove the mufflers and any sort of silence parts there may be on an engine, and proceed to rev the living shithouse out of it until it blows.  These engines take a minimum of 2 days to explode.  There was probably, no joke, 50 of them being revved at one time all day...all night...nonstop.  On top of this, we had the bikkies revving their own bikes, and every second tent seemed to have it's own generator and having it's own party, and playing their own stereos as loud as they could to drown out the next campsites noise.  Then add to this lovely sound mix, we got fireworks, airhorns, screaming people etc.  You would think that they might get tired at around 2am-3am and go to bed, but quite the opposite.  These guys partied this hard and harder till 7-8am and then would proceed to go to the race and continue drinking there and then start again that night.  Even at the track the staff were drinking at 8am.  All this may have been abit more bearable if the heavens hadn't decided to open and rain heavily for days turning the place into a mudbath which the revheads used as a monster trailbike course.  One group had rigged up a billycart behind a quadbike which they towed around and the quadbike flicked up enormous ammounts of mud covering the entire body of the person riding on the cart .  They did laps around the campground being encouraged by 10,000 Euros' cheering them on (I think Ed might have been abit involved in this cheering at one point!). 

Anyway to the GrandPrix.  We had tickets for three days.  The first two days were practice and time trials.  It was raining both of these days so it made it slightly miserable to stand around in, although as a result of the wet track we had some quite exciting bike spills to watch.  Casey Stoner, the Australian rider, was the fastest person in time trials consistantly over the two days.  Consequently he started the race in pole position.  The race started, Stoner got a commanding lead from the beginning.  He was leading the race with no chance of being caught by Valentino Rossey (the Italian).  The other competetors in the race were already 10+ seconds behind which on a motorcycle is an awful long way behind.  After 6 laps Stoner halfway round a corner lost the front end of his bike and unfortunately came off.  By this time, they were 15 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.  It was a shame, one because he didn't win but two, Rossey was so far ahead that it was a no race and kind of boring for us spectators.  The result was such a given that after Stoner came off some of the Italian supporters got up and left.   The atmosphere over the few days was excellent.  We met some great people and what we liked about it was the friendly rivalry and atmosphere in both the campground and the track.   Very surprisingly, considering the ammount of drinking going on, there was no fights or problems at all and everyone was in fine form.

On one of the race practise days, Deb went into Brno city for a look around.  The Grand Prix organised free bus shuttles during the race days which made it easy.  She spent the day wandering about the city, which is the second largest city in Czech.  It was not as photogenic as Prague and not many sights to see however it was worth the trip in.  The main shopping streets are pedestrianised and there is a main square at the heart of this area.  The square issurrounded by buildings with a variety of archtectural styles however myfavourite is the building whose is adorned by four larger thanlife-size figures each holding up the building with one hand while withthe other hand they hold up their underpants.   Probably the biggest drawcard to Brno is the Capuchin Monk Monastry which holds about 150 mummies in it's Crypt.  None of the monks were embalmed or wrapped but due to the ventilation in the crypt it preserved the bodies.  Now they have turned it into a gory sort of museum which you walk around and view all these mummies.  I found it morbidly fascinating though.  You don't want to look, yet you are compelled to stare.  Some of them still have boots or clothes, some you can make out facial features and finger nails and one was a poor women who they believe may have been buried alive.  She lies in a cramped position with contorted arms and legs and they think she might have been wrongly diagnosed as dead when she was actually only unconscious.   At one end was a whole pile of monks who were still dressed in their robes and habits.  Apparently they used to be brought down to the crypt in a coffin with a removable bottom so the coffin could then be taken back upstairs and reused. 

We are now back in the UK and at work.  It was a very unique experience for us to actually be on a paid holiday for a change!  We had almost forgotten what this felt like as normally we've taken months off unpaid and then spend a few weeks looking for a job to pay for it.  This weekend Debbie and Tania are heading up to Scotland and are going to attempt to climb Ben Nevis which is the highest mountain in the UK.  The weather forecast is attrocious though so we are desperately hoping it clears up in the next few days so we can attempt it.  Wish us luck.

1 Comment

p grabham:
August 22, 2008
I wonder who you were thinking of when you said the rock cities are accessible to elderly people
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