Friends of Czech Greenways  

  Tom's Trip

I am writing to give you feedback on our trip...

I was most impressed with the service that you provided. At every opportunity you exceeded our expectations. A few examples:
Upon our arrival you gave us a prepaid phone card. A great idea, and totally unexpected. Our Hotel in Telc was not only on the square, but we had their best room. Our special requests, a customized trip with double daily distance, our bike cases, were I know, more trouble than you expected and so many other issues were all dealt with with courtesy and efficiency and always with a smile and a great attitude.

I think that you could give a number of well run American companies a lesson in customer service.

Of all the bicycling trips we've done, this is could be the best location of them all for the following reasons:
  1. Scenery is spectacular; farmland, flowers, mountains and valleys, all greens and yellows as far as the eye can see.
  2. Clean; not a bit of trash on the roads or roadsides anywhere.
  3. Car safe; the first three days we were in Moravia (the Southern-most state) riding along the southern border (with Austria) for a good part of the time. Much of the time we were on military roads built by the Russians to keep the Czechs in. There are a lot of these roads, and not just along the border. They have been converted to what is now called called the "Czech Greenway." No cars, just an occasional farm tractor, bikes and hikers. They are mostly all paved and in very good condition. When we were on roads, we found the cars to be bicycle friendly, many people use bikes as their basic transportation.
  4. People are friendly enough, although almost no one speaks English (possibly not a language the USSR promoted in the school systems). Some speak German, maybe because East Germany was part of the Communist world.
  5. Value; outside of Prague a dinner entree, for instance, is usually $3 to $5. A half liter of great Pilsen beer, on draft is probably another 50¢.
  6. The beer; locally brewed in many towns and always good. And finally,
  7. The towns and castles, similar to Austria, there are castles all over the place that are 500 to 1,000 years old and towns with town squares as pretty as any we saw in Italy.
The routes were about the right distances for most people (your normal routes, not our double routes). Optional additional loops for those who want more cycling would be a plus, and are usually offered by other tour operators.

The one big disadvantage to self guided trips is the language issue. For English speaking guests it means not only getting lost easier, but also, not learning much about the area and the sights seen. For example, most of the castles do not have any tours in English. The tour of the mill was interesting, and educational. The man there provided us with an old audio tape and player to carry around. Otherwise we would have understood almost nothing about the mill.

The hotel in Valtice was very good. The only problem was the language barrier. This was especially an issue with meals. We pointed to items on the menu but basically had a big surprise when the food came...

The hotel in Drnholc was an excellent facility; rooms, bar, restaurant, etc. In addition, the owner and his wife both speak English. We could actually communicate there! The food was perhaps the best we had anywhere on the trip.

Anita's at Vranov is in a very beautiful location near the river. The food was very good, we had venison, although there was no choice, you eat what she's serving. This is typical for a fish camp, which is what this facility is. The bed was very uncomfortable, like sleeping on old, hard straw. Anita was very sweet and everyone was nice but communication was difficult due again to the language barrier.

The hotel at Telc was right on the square, we had the best room in the place, it was huge, and had a view of the square. At dinner, the lone waiter was assisted by the desk clerk and was extremely busy. The food was excellent, as was the service.

Arriving at Tabor was an experience; it is a big city and it took us a while to find the square where our hotel was located. The hotel was just off the square. We went to the back door of the retail store next door, as instructed, and were told to wait 5 or 10 minutes. The wait was worth it. This was a very comfortable apartment, with a living room, bedroom, bath and kitchenette. Dinner was at a local restaurant, the hotel manager personally walked us down there. The dinner was excellent, as was breakfast at the hotel

The driver contracted to take us out of Tabor, and later meet us and drive us into Praha, was timely and coordinated the pick-up, which came off without a hitch thanks to his cell phone...

Even though we have done both guided and unguided trips in the past, we knew this was an unguided trip, we chose it and, although we had a great time, we would have learned far more with a guided trip. For that reason I suggest guided trips would be far better.

Thanks for a great trip!

-Tom Sparks