Travelling by Horse-Drawn Wagon #2 – My First Day in the Czech Republic

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This is the first time I visit this “new country“. It originated with the voluntary and peaceful separation of “Czechia” from “Slovakia”. I already experienced Slovakia during several bike tours, among others that to the “Black Sea“. The Czech Republic, however, is totally new territory for me!

We are staying in a rural area and the radius of our outings is limited because of the means of transportation we chose: horse-drawn wagons and bicycles. Consequently, the impressions we get will not be suitable standard models.

Without exception, we met very friendly and always helpful people. Often, it was hard to communicate, regardless of the area we are travelling through having formerly been bi-lingual (Czech and German) and the fact that the places are described in Wikipedia under their former German names.

Here, only very few people speak German. Even among the younger persons, trying English or French is not much of a success. It seems that the education at school in this region is basically restricted to one language.
On our first evening, we found a restaurant that had not closed (which was no easy thing). Ordering dinner was even more difficult.

But it seems that many Anglicisms found their way into the Czech language, such as “Kola” and “Pommfrits”. Thus, at least the children, daughter Maresa (16 years old) and her girl-friend Susanne (18 years old), were able to order something familiar on this first dinner of theirs in the foreign country.
The three “grown-ups” (Gudrun from Stralsund, Barbara and yours truly) ordered their dinner blindly and were pleasantly surprised to see what they were brought.

We were, for instance, brought “fried dumpling slices with cheese” or “baked cheese with potatoes”. But it was virtually impossible to order salad. I have no idea if this was because they did not understand what we said or because they just did not have it.

If you come from a EURO country, you will find the country very economically priced. That is perhaps even more true for persons from southern European countries than for Germans. You can feed five persons in a small restaurant for 600 Czech Crowns, which equals about 25 Euros.  Two months ago, we ate pizza at Palermo for even more than it would have cost in the “high-price country” Bavaria.

Mind you, we are talking this price even though the three “grown-ups“ each had two half litres of the Gambrinus we already knew from the Pilsen railway station and the two kids each had a “Czech Kola”. It seems that countries with their own currency always still have their own local Kola. It is also cheaper than the imported equivalent.

Yet the incomes seem to be so low that life is all but cheap for the people. By their standards, prices in shops like Lidl, Billa and Kaufland (all owned by “western” concerns) are very high.

The shops we saw most often were the “Konzum” shops. So it seems that some of the commerce is still Czech owned.

Our farm is owned and run by a Swiss couple. They keep the compound small on purpose. On a very large area, all you will find is five covered wagons for guests. Four of them are occupied by families with several small or fairly young children. Consequently, everything is very agreeable and straightforward.

Behind the camp, you will find a biggish lake where you can go for a swim and steer a boat.

Today, we plan a long tour (15 kilometres) and Barbara, our coachman, will be permitted to drive the wagon by herself, with just a little help by the rest of us. And tomorrow, we will go on to another camp – where we will spend the night.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
This article was created with self-produced solar energy, provided by the very nice Czech sun. I got some extra inspiration from a cup of Becherova.
And here is the link to the horse camp!

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