Tuesday, November 12, 2013

and beyond

Europe Trip, Part 7

Our road trip had begun. Destination: Prague. After that, Salzburg, then, well, we weren't quite sure which route to take to southern France, but the answer would be clear after our first night camping.

It was after our second day of travel, just inside the Czech border from Poland. We'd found a campground on the map. It was well after dark when we drove through an open gate and along a road. Saw camper vans, caravans parked. We set up the tent (yes, unfamiliar tent, in the dark, one flashlight) in the grass under some trees then pulled out the stove. We heated water for tea, pulled out the bread, cheese and other food to make our evening meal. The night was cold, almost freezing, and my sleep restless on the hard ground. In the morning we found that the campers lined the banks of a lake bumper to hitch, leaving little view for those not on the water.

We packed up and with nobody to take our fee, we left the campground and headed for Prague.
On the way to Prague, a stop in a castle town.

Upon entering Prague on a busy Saturday afternoon, we arrived at Prague Castle.

So many gargoyles!

I love small details like this rain gutter.

We found a place to stay, then spent the evening wandering the old part of the city. The city was packed with tourists and locals. We soon learned it was Saint Wenceslas Day, an important holiday (both secular and Christian) for Prague and the rest of the nation.
Astrological clock.
The next day we explored, criss-crossed the Vitava River, wondered at sites.

Looking across the Vitava at the Prague Castle.

Boat restaurant had fantastic Italian food!
The Dancing Building, aka: Fred and Ginger.

In Wenceslas Square, site of sadness and joy; protests and celebrations.
After seeing signs for it, we finally arrived at the Museum of Communism. Yes, upstairs from McDonald's and next to the casino. It's a small museum, but worth the visit. (Yes, they made gas masks in youth sizes.) A film gave some of the history, documenting policies that hurt lots of people (including toxins in the food supply) and documenting events that led to the 1989 Velvet Revolution.
Post WWII Communist artwork, at the Museum of Communism.
After another full day in Prague, we found a restaurant offering modern Czech food, sank into comfortable armchairs and enjoyed a meal without a worry about what we would see next. What is modern Czech food? I'm not sure, but Jon had pork wrapped in bacon, with a side of lentils. All our food was delicious and we lingered over wine, then dessert. Ahead of us would be a walk back to our hotel and some much-needed sleep.

The next day, it was on to Salzburg to see the castle.

We rode the funicular up to the castle, then opted for the audio tour.

Safe from our high vantage point.
From a high tower.
Castle museum reveals the ancient walls behind plaster.
Love the doors within doors.
We left the castle and walked down to the city, looking for food (always looking for food) and found a little burger stand that made a simple cheeseburger and fries. From there we planned our next stop, hoping the campground would be easy enough to find. Well, it wasn't, but we found one eventually. Again, the only tent in a couple of rows of caravans, some looking like they had been parked in one spot for years with their little gravel "yards" and potted plants. Maybe it was a good thing we were setting up in the dark because in the daylight our campsite looked pretty sad. But that wasn't what worried us.

In the morning, the gate through which we'd entered was closed. We hoped that by the time we were packed up and ready to leave someone would have arrived to open it. No luck, and with no way to contact anyone we did the only thing we could. Looked for another way out. Finding none, Jon took a chance. Sure enough, he simply lifted the gate high enough for Janis to drive through. Free camping, once again! We were now on our way to Italy.

Some photos taken by Jon.

1 comment:

Alaska's Dirt said...

Rose - I have been enjoying your travels. SO impressed that you camped out! Good for you. Anyway, I love the pictures, color and architecture. I miss antiquity and I miss these daily eye treats in our environment, but guess we get another view of the world too, another grass is always greener scenario I guess…..? Ciao! Katherine