Moped Misfortune in Czech Republic

Don't be fooled by our smiles. They were short lived.

Don’t be fooled by our smiles. They were short lived.

With Josh’s love for two wheels and a curiosity of what’s surrounding the city of Prague, we thought ‘hell, why not rent a moped and try to ride a total of 100+ miles in one day!’

You can probably imagine where this is going, but we very quickly learned that this was quite an ambitious goal. We had intentions of heading to the Sedlec Ossuary, a church decorated with bones in Kutna Hora, Bozi Dar, an old soviet village, the Kokorinsko Nature Reserve, and the Terezin Memorial, an old concentration camp used back in WWII.

Our journey began with renting a moped about 2 miles outside of Old Prague from Scooterrent.cz, and it’s not a normal company by any means. The guy’s name is Petr and he runs his business out of a small storage garage in the back of an industrial park, which was a little hard to find. We had to contact him and set up a time to meet him there because it is by appointment only as there is no office. If you’re ever interested in doing something similar, make sure to get in touch with him first! We chose a 125cc for 24 hours with unlimited kilometers (thank God). It cost us about $25 for the bike, and an extra $5 for another helmet, which was the cheapest deal we found.

The Lead Traveler himself figuring out where to go first.

The Lead Traveler himself figuring out where to go first.

Once we got our noble steed for the day, we headed east towards our first destination, Kutna Hora, a 12th century silver mining town about 50 miles east of Prague. Within the first 10 minutes of our journey, we realized we were in no way dressed warm enough for the cloudy brisk 50 degree day. This may feel warm when you’re walking around, but boy were we freezing as we zipped through the populated city in just jeans, sneakers, and a light jacket. Before we knew it, the city dissapeared and we instantly hit farmland, which became the most frequent scenery throughout our ride.

Miles and miles of farmland.

We almost decided to turn back about halfway to our first destination, but after a cup of coffee and a chance to warm our ice cold hands in a rest stop, we continued on our way and made it to Kutna Hora about two hours after we began. For some reason, we thought that the tourist destinations we were dying to see would just magically appear with giant signs in front of us once we arrived, but we were wrong. We ended up riding around aimlessly until we found a church, which happened to be the wrong church, but they had maps. We learned that we were about 2 miles away from where we were trying to go. This sort of thing tends to happen to us since we are usually relying on an offline map that likes to fail us when we really need it. We also didn’t mark down exact addresses, so maybe it was us and not the map. Ha.

Navigating through Kunta Hora.

Navigating through Kutna Hora.

The wrong, but beautiful Saint Barbara’s Church in Kutna Hora.

After stopping for a warm meal at what seemed like the only restaurant in town, we eventually made our way over to Sedlec Ossuary, better known as the bone church. The chapel is located beneath Cemetery Church of All Saints and is the final resting place of over 40,000 victims of the 1318 plague and the Hussite Wars. The chandelier hanging from the center of the room is adorned with almost every bone in the human body. The bones were cleaned of their flesh and then bleached to reach the desired color. A morbid thought, but after our two-hour drive in the freezing cold, our moods almost coincided with the atmosphere of the church.

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File Oct 20, 9 09 45 PM

Finished with exploring the town and church, we decided to stick it out and at least make an attempt to get to one more place on our day’s bucket list, Bozi Dar. Bozi Dar, not to be confused with the small ski town, is definitely not on the normal “touristy things to see in Prague” list. That’s because it’s a tiny abandoned Soviet Village that was once home to thousands of isolated Russians as well as a top-secret military base that stored nuclear weapons. The former inhabitants lived in complete isolation from the surrounding villages in old Communist-style complexes.

We had read articles on Daily Mail Online and Vice about an eerie abandoned ghost town that was now used mostly as a canvas for graffiti artists. Although we read this is an area you’re really not supposed to be walking around, we decided to go check it out anyways. I mean who doesn’t want to check out a creepy old abandoned Soviet-Era town?

So we continued our journey through empty farmland and headed north another 30 miles. We followed our GPS and when we finally arrived, we were almost in disbelief that a town could exist in the area that we were driving through. It was dead.

When we finally passed the small decaying sign marking the beginning of Bozi Dar, we were both excited and equally creeped out. It was a pretty cloudy day, which just added to the spine-chilling vibe of the whole town. We found the road blocked off by red tape and warning signs and we knew we were in the right place. We waited for cars and bicyclists to pass and then headed down the old road on our little scooter.

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The remnants of Bozi Dar.

Now here comes the crazy part.

Bozi Dar is gone. It is completely demolished except for a few buildings in the very beginning and the old empty airplane hangers at the end of the road. We headed further down the road in complete disbelief and utter dismay as we thought about how far we just drove to see the place. In a nutshell, we drove an extra hour through the freezing cold to see a bunch of piles of bricks that were once the abandoned Soviet town of Bozi Dar.

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Bozi Dar has been demolished.

If you’re as curious as we were about Bozi Dar, don’t waste your time. We’re hoping that other travelers see this because just Googling Bozi Dar won’t bring up anything about its demolition. We eventually found some YouTube videos of Czech news stations covering the story, but it took some serious digging through the interweb to even find a site that mentioned it’s destruction.

Discouraged, we began our journey back to Prague through the gloom. Dying to get back as fast as possible, we decided to take the highway home. I’m not sure how many of you have ridden a 125cc moped down a highway with a passenger on it, but being the passenger is not fun. The thing topped out at like 50 mph, while everyone around us was driving 70 plus. We were half driving in the breakdown lane for about 20 miles and to top it all off, about 15 miles into our drive down the highway from hell, the moped started bogging down and did not want to move. On the highway. In the middle of nowhere. We had to keep slowing down to 40 mph to get some sort of response from the bike before we could get back up to our blazing speed of 50 mph. Not good when you’re on a crowded highway traveling into the city during the evening’s rush hour high-speed traffic.

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The face of someone who’s been on a moped too long.

Well, we eventually made it back to Prague and we dropped off the motorbike the next day with an extra 250 kilometers on it. The moral of this story is: If you’re going to attempt to drive around a country when it’s freezing cold and cloudy, rent a car. Common sense may have already tipped you off on this, but if you’re overly ambitious like we were, just trust us on this one. But really, there are some pretty cool sights to see outside of Prague and this would have been a totally doable adventure if we had rented a car (pretty inexpensive in Prague) and maybe left around 7 or 8 am. Grab some friends you met at a hostel and make it a day’s road trip!

 

GoPro footage coming soon!

 

Happy Travels,

 

MM

 

 

 

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