The Exploding Skoda
Trip Start Aug 14, 2001
16Trip End Nov 07, 2002
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About 20 minutes down the freeway out of Brno we were crawling up a mild incline, slow and losing velocity rapidly. I was in the back seat with Katrinka and Michael, ears perked up and all senses on full alert... 'Hey, what's that funny noise?' 'Hmmm, oh probably nothing', replied Dan... 'You sure?' 'Yep, it's nothing, not to worry.' Thirty seconds passed and I heard another noise coming from the engine compartment (engine is in back) as we struggled to make the hill. 'Okay, maybe we'll stop somewhere ahead and check.' My guess was with five passengers and our two heavy packs in the front trunk, our friend's little Skoda car was well over-weighted.
Ten seconds later the engine screamed a funny scream, made a 'clickety-crunch' sound and suddenly quit. Dan rather quickly pulled the car onto the shoulder, narrowly missing 2 hitchhikers (who at first, were cheering gleefully at us thinking they had a ride!) They quickly dove out of the way as Dan frantically waved them over and we lurched to a stop...smoke pouring out the engine-lid.
It didn't take us long to discover the seriousness of the damage as Dan suddenly realized that the temperature gauge read way off the scale, past the red and into the 130's of the Celcius scale. There were other tell-tale signs too. All the water had boiled out of the radiator (the noises we heard) and the real kicker was how the spark-plug wires had melted off like strings of bubble gum!! Needless to say we weren't getting to Telc in any hurry!
A few cel-phone calls and an hour later, with the use of a climbing rope, we got a tow back into town from one of Dan's friends. Dan has since informed us that the car is, as suspected, officially dead. We send our condolences...(quite sincerely)
We took a bus instead and eventually made it to Telc. It's one of many quaint medevial towns found throughout the country of Czech Republic. We enjoyed 2 sunny and quiet days there. Katrinka painted in the square and we walked around the parks and ponds surrounding the town which form part of an ancient defence system.
After a horrible day of rain and a long ride in a duct-taped bus (think A-Team), we arrived in Tabor.
Most interesting in Tabor was the history involving it's origin and it's occupants the Hussites. Preacher and philosopher Jan Hus (whose giant statue can be found in Prague's main square) was martyred after beginning this movement in defiance of the Catholic Church who at the time was full of corruption and crushing the poor and common people. The Hussites became great, yet barbaric fighters as they learned to defend themselves against the King's Knights. Tabor was their fortress. In the museum in Tabor we saw their crazy weapons and learned of their great successes in battle. Underneath the streets were 14km of tunnels used as escape routes and what not, 300m of which is opened to the public under the town square which we walked through on a semi-english tour...
The whole town was laid out to confuse invaders as there wasn't a straight street or square block to be found.
Like invaders ourselves, it was easy to get lost.
Later that night, using our small portable stove and pots, we made soup in our room with the windows opened.