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Camping on the Sly in a Wheat Field

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Camping on the Sly in a Wheat Field – Bicycle Journey Day 1 Part 3

I arrived in Kromeriz late at night after a day full of minor misadventures. I had finally left Olomouc, fixed a flat tire, rigged up the bent up rear wheel of the bike so that it would some how go, figured out the bicycle trails of the Czech Republic, and dodged lurking Gypsies in the forest. Upon entering the city I saw a sign that said, “cyclokemp.” I looked at it puzzled for a moment, and then the light shown down upon me that it was a campground reserved for bicyclers who are riding the trails through the Czech Republic. Not bad. I was weary – I was very weary – and I just wanted an easy place to sleep. So I followed the arrow that was suppose to show the way to the cyclokemp and ended up in the central area of Kromeriz.

Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
in Hondonin, Moravia, Czech Republic- Late June 2008
Travelogue Travel Photos

Even in the dark of night, I could tell that this was an interesting little city. Tall clock towers rose to the sky, church bell towers presided over the main square that was pebbled with meticulously placed cobblestones. But I could not fully take in this scene as I needed a place to sleep.

Sign that demarkates the bike routes that go all through the Czech Republic. This is truly a great country for biking.

It clearly became obvious that I could not find the cyclokemp in the dark, and I did not feel like riding all around the town center at midnight like a fool. So, upon spotting a couple of policemen walking with coffees in hand, I rode up to them waving and greeting them with calls of “ahoy, ahoy,” which is how the Czechs say hello. The policemen became nervous and stepped back from my approach. I noticed that they were resting their hands that were not full of coffee on their firearms. I said, “cyclokemp, cyclokemp?” in hopes that they would realized that I was just a silly tourists and not a foreign lunatic on two wheels. At this they seemed to realize my intentions and acted just slightly pensive about me interrupting their all night long coffee break. I then pulled out my notebook and showed them the page where I had copied down the name of the cyclokemp from the sign. They did not seem to know where it was and asked if I could speak German. I said no and asked them if they could speak Spanish. They said no and gave me mock directions to the cyclo-kemp in Czech, with all the officiousness and pomp of the police the world over.

I did not want to bother following these face-saving directions to nowhere, so I returned to the bicycle trail and rode out of the city. It looked as if I would be sleeping with the crickets on this first day of bicycle travel in the Czech Republic. Once out in the country side, I returned to my search for a place to sleep in the gentle light of a starry night. I rode passed a large wheat field and it seemed like a welcoming enough bed, so I dismounted my steed and together we ran into the middle of the field along a farm road, and then collapsed in the middle of a nice bed of wheat. I then quickly laid down my poncho, put my sleeping back on top of it, and then wrapped myself into it all with my father’s old Carhartt jacket around me.

Clock tower in Kromeriz, Czech Republic.

It was a good bed, and I looked up into the starry sky and thought glorious thoughts of adventure, beautiful nights, and all those other reminders of your own past history that come to you when you are all alone with only the crickets to keep you company.

This traveling was good.

First night of my bicycle journey came to a close in the beauty of camping on the sly under glistening stars upon a perfect bed of summer wheat.

Links to previous posts:
Photos from Prague Czech Republic
Czech Republic Bike Trails
Bicycling Czech Republic

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Filed under: Adventure, Bicycle Travel, Czech Republic, Eastern Europe, Europe

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3136 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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