The Elbe Cycle Path (part 1) – A rough ride along the rivers Moldau and Elbe

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Prague is the starting point for the Elbe Cycle path to Cuxhaven. Strictly speaking the river Elbe does not flow through Prague, but the river Moldau. So we will follow the Moldau for about 40 km to the confluence with the Elbe near the small town of Melnik.

„Did you try the Absinth ice cream?,“ we overhear a tourist asking his friend at the Charles bridge. The friend did not, but we did. It was green, soft and tasted slightly of alcohol. Prague was the starting point for our one week cycle trip along the river Elbe, or Labe in Czech.

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Bag overboard

The path runs along the Moldau River (in Czech: Vltava) for about 40 km before joining the Elbe in Melnik. The first day we took a very small old tow path along the Moldau over bumpy tree roots. Bouncing over one particularly big root, one of our saddle bags got loose and we could watch it roll down the slope. For a moment it seemed to come to a halt before it dropped hesitantly into the river. Fortunately the Moldau is a slow-flowing river and wasn’t too cold that day. We were able to fish the bag out with a long stick – and all the sleeping bags inside where still dry. Gear-test passed…

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Cute villages and towns

Overall, the cycling route was rougher and less nicely paved on the Czech side, but it was also very charming and nostalgic, passing through several cute villages and towns such as Melnik, Roudnice, Litoměřice and Dečin, all with pretty market squares and Renaissance and Baroque town houses. Soon we began looking for the bakery in every settlement in preparation of the next bumpy trail, tasting our way through sweet Bohemian specialties, most of them involving yeasty dough, poppy seeds and curd. As the area is also a wine growing area we tried the Czech versions of Grüner Veltliner (a popular Austrian variety) and red St. Laurent wine.

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The river Elbe near Decin

For the first two days the weather was sunny with temperatures close to 30 °C. On the third day, temperatures went down to frosty 10 °C, and around noon we passed the Czech-German border near Bad Schandau.

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Follow our adventures on the Elbe Cycle Path!

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