After breakfast, including a couple of extra coffees and a long hot shower to shake of the fuzziness from the night before (damn you festival beer…), we packed up and programmed Helga for a trip to Prague in the Czech Republic. At least the weather was nicer than the past few days so the drive was very pleasant. We both marvelled at how beautiful Bavaria is.
We decided that rather than taking the motorway into Czech Republic, we would take some of the back roads. Once again, true to form, Helga was struggling, although this time it wasn’t her fault
. A large section of the main road near Regen had been closed and all traffic was diverted onto the back country lanes. The poor people in these usually quiet villages having to put up with all the traffic coming through their quiet part of the world. Personally I’d be pretty upset because it was a beautiful corner of the country. We eventually made it back onto the main road and soon after had hit the border. Crossing the border was like crossing to the wrong side of the tracks. From Germany where the roads were smooth and everything was clean, to the Czech Republic where the roads were rough, the buildings run down and the road was littered with knick knacks stalls. The stalls ran for a few miles after crossing the border. Obviously there’s a fairly constant passing trade of people looking for ‘bargains’ from Germany. I just think ‘bargains’ and ‘knick knacks’ shouldn’t be used together and as we drove past I could see why. I said to Rach to keep an eye open for an ATM, since we were no longer using the Euro and needed to get some local currency (Czech Kronas). No ATMs to be found. No problem, there will surely be one between the border and Prague, over 150 km away.
After passing the knick knack alley, the countryside opened up and we descended from a high plateau into the valleys. The fields were covered in yellow rape seed interspersed with stands of dark green conifers set against a brilliant blue sky
. A perfect late spring day really. Plenty of motorcyclists and the odd pre communist truck slowly chugging along. When we got down into the valleys, the towns became more regular and the contrast between the villages here and in Germany be more stark. Looked like most things had been thriving on neglect. In order to avoid the motorways, which once again had a charge on them in Czech Republic, we wound our way through the back roads towards Prague. We made a few stops at towns and service stations in search of an ATM, still without luck. Surely there were some somewhere?? By about 4 o’clock, we had hit the outskirts of Prague and had our campsite programmed into Helga. Of course, Helga insisted up taking us through the heart of Prague, which was quite a sight seeing experience, except that it was rush hour on a Friday afternoon, so we crawled our way across the city and eventually found our way to the campground and pulled up outside. Rach was wondering why we weren’t checking in after such a long day of driving, until I reminded her that we had no local currency and still hadn’t seen an ATM. Fortunately, Helga has a function which shows ATM’s in the vicinity, which usually works. Helga found an ATM nearby so we drove the few minutes to the location to be confronted with hordes of people. Turns out, the ATM was at the zoo which was preparing to close for the day, hence all the people. Finally we had some local currency, no idea how much, but it was some currency. Loaded with another form of money, we went back to the campground and checked in
. Thankfully the sun was still out and the campsite was build up on cement tiles. Thank goodness. No more mud and a chance to dry out our shoes and towels and everything else that got wet over the last week. Rach got together our laundry and I went down to the reception office (as we had seen there was a laundry service. How decadent). On my way back from the reception office, the gentleman camped next to us came over to say hello. He was from Denmark and was travelling alone (a bit of a born again Christian if the number of fish stickers on his car and caravan were anything to go by). Rach came over and said hello before heading off to something else and the funny little Dane asked if she had a disability because she walked funny and it offended him. Now realising why he was travelling alone and not wanting to clobber our zealous Danish neighbour, thought it was best to end our conversation. I got Rach and we headed around to the small pub (attached to the reception office of the campground) and ordered a couple of the local brew, which was ridiculously cheap and proceeded to relate to Rach the conversation with the Dane regarding her wonky walk that was so offensive to Dane’s. Rach just about wanted to go and clobber him too, but we managed to contain ourselves (just not worth it…) and continued to relax with a few of the local brew, making our way across the taps. It was a lovely afternoon/evening and was about 9 o’clock by the time we went back to the van for some dinner before hitting the bed exhausted. Tomorrow its off to explore Prague.
We woke around our usual 9am to find a lovely clear sunny day. Seems a lot of people had taken the opportunity of the public holiday to have a long weekend as there were kids running around everywhere (as they do in caravan parks during holidays).