I’ve passed through the Czech Republic and I’m back in Poland. The Czech Republic reminded me of a cross between Poland and Slovakia. There were parts I liked and some I didn’t. It was the first place where not speaking any of the language was a hindrance. I met few people who spoke English which made me feel a little isolated. This meant that when I took a day off in Kutná Hora I longed for a conversation all day. Then when I returned to the campsite and could of tried to talk to the other people staying there, I couldn’t summon the energy to try.
The Czech Republic is fairly cheap, especially as I decided not to go to Prague where campsites were over double those in other towns. However my money did seem to disappear quickly which is probably more down to my terrible budgeting and spending habits. It was the first place where I managed to leave the country with exactly zero of the currency in my pocket though.
After being in Bratislava, Vienna, Znojmo and Kutná Hora all in quick succession I decided to I needed some time away from civilisation for a bit. So my route back into Poland deliberately went through the moutains to give me some ‘space’ as well as challenging cycling. It definitely did the job and the views were at times breathtaking. There is also nothing quite like a six mile long descent down a winding mountain road.
However I’m in Europe so we don’t really have wilderness. It’s pretty hard to really escape from civilisation and even when wildcamping it is all around you. Last night I could hear a nightclub somewhere pounding away despite being four or five miles from the nearest town. As I’m cycling on the road most nights you can hear the noise of traffic which I’ve grown accustomed to. In addition the noise of trains and aeroplanes at times seems to be everywhere and also unavoidable.
None of this bothers me it’s just an ever present reminder of humanity over the horizon. Nature itself is far from silent. The woods at the moment seem to literally hum with the sound of flies. I have to say I prefer this to the whine of mosquitoes and they don’t bite. Also larger animals in the woods tramp past the tent on occassion leaving you wondering what they were. Sleep is also bookended by the birds singing and calling away as the light fades and then the sun rises.
It actually makes me realise how much our homes with double glazing and insulation cut out the sounds that are present all around us. I’m not sure if this is good or bad. I’m someone who sleeps pretty much all year round with an open window due to getting too hot or finding central heating dries out my throat. I think I like the noise, the constant sound that connects me to the world outside my room or tent. So it will never be quiet, which is a good thing because a silent world is a dead world.