which is the direction pointing home? Is there one? What do we call home? Is home the walls that protect ”us” and our belongings from ”others”? Might be the memories of our childhood or family? Is it an isolated cottage in the countryside, a mountain top or a tiny small apartment surviving the busy rhythms of a restless, never – sleeping city? Is it a place of wealth and comfort, serurity or peace? Is it our country, a culture and the borders surrounding it? Is it a continent? Is it nature’s or man’s making? Is it a place that we left from and will always come back to meet it again with fresh eyes? Is home the people we love? Is it something we are in search of? Is it something we never had? Is it a tiny small planet within this infinite universe, or a unique reflection of it all, so different inside every single one of us? Are we all ”home” or are we getting ”there”?
For the first time in my life, I have everything and absolutely nothing to call ”home”.
For the first time in my life, I truly realise that ”home” has always been where my heart is … ”
MY FEET THE ROOTS OF TREES, MY HEART THE TREMBLING LEAVES, MY LUNGS THE OPEN SKIES… HOME IS WHERE MY HEART LIES
”Wild camping in Vranov’s forests. 05:00 am”
When I opened my eyes It was still early. The sun was not up yet and neither was I willing to, still freezing from last nights temperatures. I wanted to take advantage of some extra moments of ”warmth” rolled deep inside my sleeping bag. From the little hole I had left open to breathe, I took some time watching the little misty trails forming out of my mouth as I was exhaling again and again, breath after breath. Those first conscious moments reminding me of my presence, knowing of ” being alive”, noticing this simple thing, this movement connecting me to this very moment. Allowing me to be here and experience one more day on this planet. ” I am still here” I said to myself smiling.
Finding the courage to unzip my sleeping bag and my tent felt like a mission. But as soon as I stepped out in this breathtaking surrounding and felt the fresh morning breeze on my face, I instantly tuned with the sound of everything waking up around with me. I was wide awake and amazed.
Yesterday, early evening, I had managed to reach Vranov’s borders and by pushing Jack up, I climbed on top of the hill, setting up my tent in a secluded place within this beautiful pine forest. The route that had brought me there from Horni Ujezd and on my way to Brno had offered nothing less than green landscapes, forests and playful rivers going through and around them.
My eyes hadn’t rest for a moment, afraid to blink and lose a frame of beauty.
Not really trying hard to get into meditation mode, I sat down to go through my morning practice before my breakfast – routine and preparation. With the last bites of my warm porridge and last sips of my turmeric – black pepper tea, I had to pack and say goodbye to this little place on Earth that had so generously hosted me the night before. If I could, I would have stayed longer, just to rest in silence, but afraid of my cycling condition, I had to keep on going for the following week and get further ahead. A little part of my heart was left behind as I was walking down the woods with Jack. Since I remember myself I’ve always felt that there is no better place to remind me of my ”roots” and where I come from, than a place amongst the company of trees.
IVO AND MARIA: A ”HOME” AWAY FROM ”HOME”
FROM THEIR GARDEN, TO THEIR CITY… AND A CAMPER OF ADVENTURES!
It was just the day before, that passing through Zbraslavec, Ivo and Maria’s village, this lovely couple invited me to spend the night, camping in their cottage’s garden that they use as a ”get away” from the busy city life. Ivo and Maria are not only working hard running their little shop in Brno, but are also busy with cycling, sporting and exploring activities whenever they get the time to go on a long or short escape. Maria is a very active runner, chasing marathon after marathon, and had a lot of advice for me as well. Their camper, have literally carried them everywhere around Europe, but luckily not in Greece … yet 🙂
I was so happy and looking forward to see them again in Brno where they offered to host me again at their house and show me the beauty of this cultural and historical diamond, the best way they could: Through their heart.
Located South – East of Czech republic, close to the Austrian, Hungarian and Slovakian borders, Brno is definitely a cultural central meeting point. Theatre, art, dance, exhibitions, music, and intense history, blended with religious interesting mystery, covers the city like a beautiful, intriguing veil, left me with nothing but excitement and awe.
If you are planning on visiting Brno, bare in mind that it might captivate you and demand more of your time to be discovered! To get a better taste of it, it is strongly advised that … you already extend your stay 😉
Ivo and Maria, I cannot thank you enough for planting a seed of love into my heart for your city, and for making me feel I have a ”home” away from ”home” !
I will be looking forward to see you again and, I will be expecting you in my motherland Greece and anywhere else around the world to show you around, and make you feel welcomed! Thank you for following and supporting my journey and for keeping in touch with me! 🙂 Much love!
Being an off – season traveller through otherwise busy cross – country cycling trails, is a bitter sweet almond. Sometimes it makes me feel a bit lonely since I have encountered absolutely zero cycle tourists, but on the other hand, I can really enjoy the landscape, wild camp spots, peace and quiet of the road, while getting really nice prices for some indoor stay as well.
There are a lot of villages going along those cycling ”greenway” paths that are actually making a living from cycle tourism without trying to get advantage or rip – off our tight travelling budget. Even if I had a million euros, I would still prefer my bike and tent outdoors in nature than anything else in the world, but to be honest most of us living a nomad’s life, are really trying to be less large on how we spend our money while cycling and being on the road for a prolonged period of time.
Here it would be really unfair not to mention Hana and her little comfy pension ”Palava” , where I got to rent a room (but enjoyed the whole place all by myself since I was the only one there!) for a very low price. If you ever get the chance to cycle though Brno on your way to Bratislava, head for Strachotin and Palava lake. This lady will treat you with respect, hospitality and a bottle of wine when you leave, as the area is very famous for it’s wine production and taste. Thank you Hana!
CYCLING THROUGH HISTORY : THE ”IRON CURTAIN” TRAIL .
The route from there onwards will take you from Palava … alongside Dyje river, that soon after meeting with Morava, your trail runs down their marriage to take you through vast natural protected areas to the heart of Bratislava in Slovakia. Before entering the area the signs require great respect towards nature, animals and birds, and you are kindly reminded not to disturb the balance of the eco – system in any way… of course hunting and all ”dirty deeds” of this kind is ABSOLUTELY forbidden.This time of year I hardly encountered any soul on the way. Be prepared for wild camping , since there are plenty of spots suitable for it like this little complex of wooden cabins I found close to Zahorska Ves…
Apart from the fact that this route is really peaceful, serene and has beautiful scenery and nature, it also gives you the opportunity for some time travelling back in history and ”food for thought”’, as you are literally cycling World War’s II ”Iron Curtain”, the name for the boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II in 1945 until, the end of the Cold War. A few remnants of it and historical signs, will provide you not only with plenty of information about those times but with plenty of goosebumps as well…
BRATISLAVA – MEET AND GREET.
The sun was shinning and I was so lucky to be in Bratislava’s busy centre, again the right time the right place! As I was looking around, finding my map’s coordinates to head towards Danube , with the corner of my eye, I spotted a nice coffee place, with the sign ”Soja Cappucino” outside …
It has been a long time since I had a proper vegan cappuccino and not just a black coffee blended with my buckwheat powder … so the moment felt priceless 🙂
As I took my coffee and sat out on the table by myself I heard a familiar language … and that was the moment I met Fay, a Greek girl and her Italian friend Andrea.
They invited me over to spend time with them, meet and talk, and made my coffee break, worthwhile remembering. Thank you guys!
Soon I was crossing the bridge to the other side of Danube … following Eurovelo 6 that would easily let me ”cruise” playfully down the river towards the green Hungarian awaiting lands! Excited for the adventures waiting ahead of me and a nice anticipated reunion with friends down the road in beautiful Budapest …It would be only a 3 day ride, and with the weather on my side, wind on my back, and no unexpected surprises, hopefully a lovely and easy one …This entry was posted in Cycling Sutras