Sat 24th Aug.
I left early in case anyone was working at the plant, I didn’t want to have to explain anything. Even though the summer was nearly over camping temperatures were still nice. Not too mild. It was hard to believe three weeks ago I was getting into some real problems because of the heat and now I was facing September.
I stopped in a little canteen style food place for coffee, the black drug, although on this occasion I got it from a machine which used cream instead of milk and frothed it for the cappuccino. It was perfect. I nice rich caffeine hit to set me off for the day. I contemplated getting a second but didn’t.
I went into the town this canteen thing was part of to look around. I wouldn’t say this town felt french, but there was a good atmosphere, as some kind of fete was being setup in the town centre. Everyone in the town was there. The kids who loved it, the grumpy teens who didn’t want to be involved, but had nowhere better to be, then adults and old people. They were testing the speakers when I left.
I was fortunate to have more green surroundings on the quieter roads as I headed to the next town. If I made good time I could be in Prague today, possibly latch on to a stag do and celebrate the factor I was one major city away from my destination. But that meant a lot of distance and realistically I wouldn’t make it.
I got to another town and raided their supermarket. It was at this point that I started to notice the obscene amount of Skoda’s in this country. About one in every four cars seemed to be a Skoda. I noticed a few other patterns in other countries, namely Subaru, Chevrolet and Harley Davidson in Switzerland. Fiat Panda’s (tiny 4×4 cars) all over the Pyrenees and popular in Italy. Now Skodas, from Zagreb to Czech Republic. I had heard something about Skoda sponsoring the Olympics or something like that a few years ago, but this was an unusual amount. Maybe they were cheap here.
I left the town and by now I was onto strapping the iPad into the mesh on the back rack and listening to podcasts through that. I was well into a podcast, when I realised the sun was in the wrong place, meaning I was heading the wrong way. I really didn’t want to be losing time out here. I stopped and checked the compass on the iPad (which works without internet, I don’t know how) and it indicated my suspicions were correct. I had to go back into the last town and go a different way out. I didn’t mess up that often, but when I did it was infuriating. It was no major loss though and I was glad I rectified this quickly.
I got onto another highway and more long roads before the landscape really changed again. This time it felt really different. Really quiet and peaceful. I was high up on the road and I could see far around, a river and a lake, houses dotted round in this beautiful location, back in some forest. I was away from all the big roads and trucks and could barely hear anything except the occasional bird. The road went down and around, then up through a heavily forested area. Now there was a build up of cars, but it was still a tranquil and beautiful area. I was grateful for the variation in surroundings as they really make up a large part of your enjoyment of the trip.
Once I was out of the wooded haven, I was in another town. I was feeling tired from a lack of food. I checked my bearings and realised I was within reach of Prague if I pushed it, but I didn’t need to. I left the town and got to another smaller town nearby. I stopped here for a beer to celebrate another friends birthday back at home and also to get me off to bed a bit easier that night. I went uphill through the town and found a load of fields just outside the town. I’m sure they were farmers fields, but I didn’t care. I got a good enough spot just off a public footpath and setup. I heard people out walking in the evening a few times throughout the night, but it didn’t bother me. Tomorrow I would be in Prague.