June 27, 2019

As I had scouted yesterday afternoon, my start of the course went very well. In fact, my whole day was perfect, except for the food side… I met a young Austrian journalist, Roman Payer, with whom I had the pleasure of driving for a few hours and having lunch. He continued on his way with the reason that he wanted to finish his week-long vacation on Friday to spend time at home before returning to work. My I have no this type of problem. So we broke the crust in Slavonice, a wonderful medieval town, in a restaurant rather average to remain polite. I took a room at the Arkana hotel because I didn't want to drive in the heat. Here's the ride with Strava and some pictures of my ride.

The afternoon passed very quickly as I washed some laundry and took a nap. For dinner, I still wasted time looking for a good open restaurant and finally I stopped right outside my hotel… After the meal, I took a short walk to take pictures in the light of the end of the day when I saw a small art gallery in what appeared to be a house entrance. Upon examining the entrance, a woman (artist Martina Netakov) comes out of the back yard and begins to speak to me in Czech. When I told her that I only understand English and French she starts to speak to me in English. She explains that I can take a tour of the gallery for 30 kopecs and visit the works that are scattered all over the place including in very old catacombs but that must be careful not to hurt myself in the dark. So I give it 30 kopecs and I go around this atypical gallery that contains a wide variety of wood and metal sculptures of exceptional quality. I walk to the back yard to see if there are any other works but it's only the family having dessert. I express my appreciation for my visit and they start asking me where I come from and what I do. When I explain to them that I left Athens to go to Amsterdam they tell me that their son leaves the next day for Amsterdam by bike with a friend! What an extraordinary coincidence. So sir (the artist Jia Netok) introduces me to a glass of wine with a piece of cake and Madame tries to convince her son to come and talk to me. She returns with her cards, very well organized, detailing all the stages of her journey back and forth by a different path of course! Martina strongly suggested that I follow the same route as her son for the first day because the destination Krumlov would be a little Prague! Unfortunately I have not followed the same path and I will have to return to the Czech Republic. Here are some pictures of the sculptures and Slavonice. He and Martina Netakov are well-known Czech artists. See https://jirinetik.wixsite.com/sculptures and http://martina-sculptures.blogspot.com/

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