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J185 - Monday, April 19: Mnichovo Hradiste – Szklarska Poreba

75km  – 9H33’
Altitude : 502m

It’s a beautiful sunny day, with hills and more hills, « I love it when it’s uphill » says Serge, very appropriately,  at the top of an 888 m pass, on the Polish border at km 63.  

After Turnov, the scenery is gorgeous; the Czech mountains are splendid in the sunshine.

Serge runs with our two Polish runner friends: Jacek and Tomasz, for the whole stage and it will be the same all the way to the Lithuanian border.  Paulina is managing logistics for her team, as well as for future stages because she has organized the arrival in each city and we are relying on her road book.  She is swamped with telephone calls, which do not let up.  She says she is stressed and I sympathize and can’t understand why it reminds me of someone!

At the Polish border, 3 runners are waiting for Serge, among whom Robert, the organizer of the Karknoski Marathon, which is a mountain marathon.  He presents Serge with a nice stone medal from the race.

Five of them descend from the pass to the city of Szlarska Poreba (I have a serious problem with the pronunciation of these names, as I did in the Czech Republic). This morning we spend the last of our Czech crowns by filling up the fuel tanks and buying food.  Poland will not adopt the Euro  until 2012-2013.  From now on we will be using the Zloty, the Polish currency.

Yesterday, was the burial of the Polish President, who died tragically with a number of his compatriots, among whom were 2 candidates for the next presidential election, which was scheduled to take place next October but which will now be held in June.  The Poles are still in a state of shock and we feel for them in this tragedy which strikes their country.  We see some Polish flags to which a black ribbon has been added.

Town : Szklarska Poreba

GPS : N 50.49’54.0° E 015.33’23.6 °