“I’m sorry, I just have a bad sense of direction”… If this is you, I have a suggestion. Go to a city you’ve never been, in a country where you don’t speak the language, and rent a bike. Then learn that you do have a “sense of direction” after all, you just don’t have to use it very often!
It was a bit of a hassle to rent a bike in Loket. Very much untouched by tourists, especially English speaking ones, I was really glad that the people at the Pension were able to help me out. There are less than 3,000 residents in the 10 miles of the Loket township, and I think the only ones who speak English either work at the Pension or the castle. Czech people are very friendly, but when trying to negotiate a bike rental contract, some understanding is necessary. The train station in Loket has 5 off road bikes available for low cost day rentals. After a few errors in translation, I managed to get on a bike and start riding down the same dirt path I had taken two days before towards the outcropping of rocks along the Ohre River.
I knew from online research that the trail continued across the bridge on the other side and turned into roads as it neared Karlovy Vary. I followed some signs in Czech that identified the path and spent about an hour an a half biking over dirt and rocks then navigating some hills to arrive in Karlovy Vary at my intended destination, the Moser Factory, which is far removed from the city center. One would need to take a tour bus, cycle, or a taxi out to the factory from downtown Karlovy Vary. The bike ride between Loket and Karlovy Vary winds through Bohemian country side along the river and is absolutely gorgeous – however, I would only recommend it to adventurous and in shape travelers. Travelers with a fine tuned “sense of direction” will enjoy taking this path, those without a “sense of direction” would be better off taking the train or a taxi.
The day couldn’t have been more perfect for a bike ride, with only a small bit of cloud cover and temperatures hovering around 75 degrees (F). When I got to the Moser Factory, it was still early in the morning so no large tour groups had arrived yet. I got an audio guide and had the small display mostly to myself to look at different accomplishments made by the Moser Glass Studio over the past hundred years or so. Moser is an well-known international name for their crystal and glass vases, cups, and more. Thousands of gorgeous glass creations were on display in the museum along with detailed commentary about each one. Since I did not take a group tour, I didn’t get to see inside where the actual glass production was taking place. However, I saved lots of money by going it myself and still saw the videos of how the glass production process takes place.
After admiring the objects in the museum, I entered the showroom where countless hand made glass objects made onsite at the factory were for sale. Looking & not touching were in order, since most Moser glass is far outside of the budget of a 22 year old traveler. After visiting the Moser factory, I stopped back by Becherplatz for another traditional Czech lunch. Yes, it was touristy but the food was so delicious, the beer so cold and crisp, and the prices were so friendly that I couldn’t resist a second visit. Delicious beef goulash with sausage, egg, onion, and bacon dumplings cost only the equivalent of about 7 US dollars. It was the perfect thing to quench my appetite after my morning bike ride and fuel up for the rest of my day enjoying Karlovy Very and the Czech countryside.