Day 12: Schwandorf, Germany to Stahlavy, Czech Republic.
After a night filled with rain and nightmares about the nearby river flooding and drowning us. I slept surprisingly well. As well as you can do when you’re on a slight downhill lean facing towards a river and imminent drowning. Strategically though, I thought about my escape. Roll Nat out of bed, get her to grab the snacks and my camera and some fresh underwear and through the vent in the bathroom roof we’d go. Thankfully we didn’t have to actually act this out, and we were still on the bank of the river when waking.
This morning we were greeted by blue skies and a scorching sun. What a delight! Probably Germany telling us to piss off now it’s got good weather. We were indeed heading out of Germany today for a slight detour towards Prague and the Czech Republic.
A lazier morning than usual and a double dose of coffee. Doris was ready and we were well on our way to her 3rd country (5th if you count Wales and England).
When driving in the Czech Republic you need a vignette sticker in your windscreen. It’s kind of like a road tax I presume. A prepaid one. It’s not all bad, but better to have one than not and end up facing €60 fine. That was first on our list and conveniently enough no sooner had Doris’ front wheels touched Czech soil there was a petrol station selling the vignette. It’s like a small milestone when we cross a border, it feels good to have gotten through Germany safely.
Doris’ new front sticker on and in place we filled her up with diesel. Stupidly enough I got excited at the £1.18 price and filled her to the brim. Novice mistake really. You should never fill a tank when on the motorway. Then no sooner had we driven off the motorway a petrol station. About £1.00 a litre. I might fill the water tank with diesel instead and just not shower for the next week or so.
Our planned stop for the evening was a small castle near a lake. I say a small castle, more a Manor House with very beautiful grounds. When we arrived there was a man on the car park, which confused us because on the Camper Contact app it was a simple overnight stop. A few lost words in translation and we were sent packing because we didn’t have the appropriate coins for the man. He was right, we didn’t have any coins whatsoever.
A quick detour and a Czech (see what I did there…) around a nearby town and we were goaded in by the chance of cheap pastries in Lidl. Our noses were right and our bank balance had butterflies. We brought a pizza, 2 ciders, 2.5l Coca-Cola, 6 chocolate bars, 4 pastries, 400g of chicken, 4 packs of noodles and some cordial juice for the whopping price of £11.
With some coinage in our pockets and a note written in Czech we were armed and ready to tackle the man at the car park. We had googled translated:
“Can we park here overnight please?”
Handed the note to the man, like a well written love letter, slipped him 50czk and we were in and set for the night.
We haven’t done a workout since we were in Holland so when it went quiet here we grabbed the bands and our sandbag and set to work on our upper bodies. Something simple with a few pushes and pulls but enough for a little sweat and to know we’ve worked out. It’ll make us feel better this week for sure.
Before tea we headed off towards the castle and around the lake. We couldn’t believe it. Beavers! Not just one, or two. But potentially 4 and their little kits (babies). It was such a lovely walk. Binoculars in hand we could see these fascinating mammals up close. They were a joy to watch.
One of them came close to the waters edge and kept diving to the bottom of the lake in search of aquatic plants or grass. Beavers don’t eat fish. He must have been less than 10ft away from us and stayed there fora good 15 minutes. We sat, with the sun setting, by a tree watching a beaver eat his tea. I don’t want to be boring or whatever, but it really was a special moment. Thanks Mr Beaver!
Tomorrow we’re heading into Prague early-ish in hope that we have a repeat of the sun from today.
Tonights camping location: Zamek Kozel, Stahlevy (CamperContact:67806)