Saturday, September 27, 2008

Valtice to Vienna

The Greenway Trail from Prague to Vienna travels through Valtice, Moravia, the site of the baroque winter palace of the Leichenstein family. A side bike trail loops 7 kilometers north to Lednice, site of the family's summer palace and fabulous gardens and lakes. One of the Leichenstein's, a general in the Czech Army fighting against Napolean's Army, had his minions back at the summer palace in the 1800's build a series of Follies in the wooded park surrounding the palace. The Three Graces, a Roman Arch of Triumph cum hunting lodge, an Apollo statue, among others are along the trail hidden in the woods. I imagined as we rode our bikes along the trail, a Leichenstein gentleman trotting a horse with a companion and coming upon the Three Graces, and in a surprised tone, "Oh, my dear, there are the three graces! What d'ya think they are doing here?"

After pedaling the 20 miles through the gardens and wooded park, we ended up at the railstation in Breclav to board a train for the 94 kilometers to Vienna to make up for days lost due to rain.

Vienna is a totally different city that any Czech city, including Prague. Grander buildings, more crowded shops and resturants, and double to triple the price of everything. Austria is on the Euro, while Czech is still on the kroner. EU investment funds in Czech are obvious with the rail station upgrades to platforms and the new train cars on some runs.

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