Well, today really does feel “free” to start the 2014 adventure! Woke to dry day with cold breeze. Took motorway back to Passau, fuelled up €200 (ouch) had chocolate pretzel bun to celebrate beautiful pine forest country. Looped down into Czech Republic, our third country in a week. No border to cross except maybe financial - immediately poorer looking farms, roads and fences. "Pensions" with concrete cancer, aged wooden balconies, abandoned factory, collapsed bridge. Small cottage gardens, silver birch trees, plenty of grass for well-fed cows, fields full of yellow wildflowers and dandelions. Trees still autumn colours, some budding, Spring not fully arrived.
|River cruises alighting at Passau|
|Still has machine gun hatch atop the cabin!|
Drove into Cesky Krumlov, fascinating castle atop stone hill, overlooking the most picturesque Old Town surrounded by moat (complete with playful live bear!)
Still looks as though it’s in Middle Ages - pendants atop turrets, torture museum, cannons and balls (wrong size??) knight murals, women in medieval costume, archery complexes.
Peeked into St Vitus church, then St Stephen's with soaring nave. "No photos - Alarm!"
Old Town full of local product, Bohemian gifts, embroidery, wooden toys, marionettes, jewellery (deep red/black garnets like marquisette, ugly green moldovite, but beautiful ambers). Such a pleasure to browse amongst items not mass-manufactured, but managed to restrict purchases to local gingerbread and intricately woven corn dolly....
Walked up steep path rewarded by a maze, fountains and sculpted gardens. Ate tender veal with cranberries and cream - dinner and desert in one!
Getting colder by minute so returned to Ozzie. Passed sign for graphite mine (used to be for pencils, grease - what now?) found camping ground under banks of solar panels, shame we have no electrical appliances! Used free washing machine, but clothes will have to dry inside as we travel along. Sadly can't use showers - need Czech coins not euros. Fireworks? cannons? as night fell.