Leaving Cieszyn we soon realized that the landscape was changing and the horizon were covered by mountains. As we were on an mission to get to Croatia on time to meet Carolinas family we had to cover more ground every day. The midday temperature also meant we had to get out of our sleeping bags early to cycle for a few hours before the sun got to high in the sky. A long siesta was crucial around lunchtime and when the temperature dropped in the afternoon we got on our bikes and cycled until the sun set behind the mountains. We had some really beautiful days in the saddle with amazing views as our reward. In the beginning we were mostly amazed by the beauty of the mountains, even if we realized that it soon would give us some really steep climbs. Also as we are getting used to by now, we met more truly amazing people. We met helping hands along the way at the time when we needed them the most.
To fully enjoy the beauty of Czech republic, Slovakia, Austria and Slovenia we should have spent a few more days getting to Croatia. Most of the time we were to tired to stop and take photos of the amazing views. Day two in Czech republic when our legs was already burning from the steep terrain, we met an old man that gladly told us that from here you have a 4,5km really steep climb ahead of you, and then it´s up and down all the way to Slovenia, and in Slovenia it´s very hard, don´t go there. The next true words of encouragement we received in a small village in Austria. After almost a full day in the saddle we cycled what we believed was the last climb of the day until a nice lady told us that there was no shop of restaurant in the village and that after about 7km uphill you will find a restaurant, turned out that the first restaurant with sober staff was 9,5km away and in that village we even found a garden to camp in. We learned that day to never run out on food and snacks. You just don´t know when you need to stop and pitch your tent for the night.
That does´nt mean we did´nt enjoy our time in those countries, we really did. Our accommodation for this leg of the trip was a good mix of wild camping, cheap hotels and invites from people we met on the road. As usual the best nights we spent when camping in someones garden or slept in the house. The day we left Cieszyn we met two brother with their family in a restaurant. They let us sleep in the garden of their parents. The house were situated in the forest on a hillside, a lovely garden where we shared stories and had Cofola with rum around the campfire. Also when we entered Austria we were lucky to meet Silvia by the side of the road when she was trimming rosebushes. We couldn’t have been luckier, she offered us a room for the night and a breakfast in the morning that beats every hotel breakfast in the world. The kitchen table couldn’t fit all the delicious things she served us. In the evening we got a tray full of tea and snacks and that night we slept like two logs. She also had a beautiful garden with a lot of cats, Carolina said she wold like to stay forever. Amazing. Even Slovenia showed us great hospitality when we needed it the most. One late evening when the sun had set we pedaled on to find a place to pitch out tent, that was easier said the done in rural Slovenia where there was just farms, towns and villages mile after mile. But as usual a helping hand is offered when we need it the most. We met a family returning from their weekend cycling trip and they took us to the wives mothers place. They cooked a delicious vegetarian dinner for us and gave us a room for the night. The first weeks of the trip we thought were very lucky to meet friendly people who helped us and offered us food and accommodation but we are slowly starting to realize that generosity and helpfulness is out there, wherever you are, you just need to get out and find it with an open mind and sometimes just ask for help.
Sometimes we feel so lucky that we start to believe in destiny. Like when we entered Ljubljana. To figure out the best possible route to cross the city we asked a woman on bicycle for directions. She offered to guide us a few kilometers and then write down the fastest way on a paper. When we took off it started raining, so she said we could take a cup of coffee in her place that was close by, so we did. When we got into her kitchen we found a pack of snus (amazing swedish tobacco) that I had been looking for the whole way, and its almost impossible to find outside Sweden. Her friends brought her snus as a gift from a holiday in Sweden and for some reason i can’t understand she didn’t like it, so she offered me the whole pack. In chock i accepted it and kept a big smile the whole day, actually all the way to Croatia when i finished the pack.