Episode 19

Trip Start Apr 03, 2013
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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Thursday, November 7, 2013

Episode 19

We had about 4 weeks back in Arundel while David worked on the car and Lyn did very little, and I sat on the sofa and did even less. David did a lot of research on the internet trying to find solutions or at least some ideas about how to fix the many car problems.  Some got solved relatively easily while others even now still persist.

There was a great deal of hair pulling and swearing during this period and a vast number of parcels delivered bearing car parts.  All three of us were charged with caring for Trevor, Heather's elderly cat, while she and friend Dawn went off to Sicily for a week.  All of us including Trevor survived; always a relief:

So, with the car going again we set off for a few days travelling in England to see how things worked, or not as the case may be.  It was going to be for a couple of weeks initially but that had got shortened for various reasons and it ended up only 6 days.

The trip took us to the New Forest in the Southampton areas where we camped for a night.  Then we visited the 'prettiest village in England’ supposedly, Castle Combe.  It is certainly pretty with the stone houses along a narrow road, a village church and the market cross outside a very popular pub.  At the bottom of the street is a babbling brook and in amongst the trees we found an old stone bridge over the brook.  The summer flowers were still doing their best and put on a nice display whilst the trees had started showing their autumn glory.

Sadly the ascetics were somehow spoiled when it come to taking photos, there was scaffolding around a building right in the centre of the village and in another area several large dumpsters dominated the scene.

Further north not far from Glouchester we visited some ancient barrows.  One called Hetty Pegglers Tump is still intact and my humans crawled inside to have a look.  The interior is divided into 4 rooms, the walls being made of large flat stones placed upright and some dry stone pieces of wall.  There is a roof also of large flat stones and the whole thing is covered in soil.  Some bone had been found in this barrow showing that the bodies of humans had been placed there.  Whilst some had been cremated others had not.

In a popular picnic spot that is also a high point and overlooks the Severn valley we watched some paragliders take off.  We quickly lost sight of them once they were airborne.

We passed through Glouchester and headed for Wales where we wandered about on some very narrow roads on the edge of the Brecon Beacons.  We hiked up one of the trails that lead in a series of steps up and up over little rocky knolls that hid the next rocky knoll from view until you almost reached the top, thus fooling you into believing you might be getting there only to find out that you weren’t.  This was almost a razor back, so narrow was the ridge and it eventually joined the main part of the Beacons. The view was extensive but we didn’t linger because a heavy bank of fog was quickly rolling over the Beacons towards us. We also meandered around the crumbing castle ruin at Longtown.

David wanted to get another wheel for the car from a place near Bath so after we had collected that we went on to Wells and visited Cheddar gorge.  However that day it rain heavily continuously so we didn’t do much in sightseeing.  Everything was prepared to partake of a walk through the Ebbor gorge too but with the rain tipping down as it was my humans chickened out.

We made our way back towards Arundel stopping to see the Cherhill ‘white horse’, one of many such ‘drawings’ that can be found on the hillsides of the downs.  This one is not all that old, only from the 1700’s.

Not far away though is something much older, the stone avenue and stone circles of Avesbury.  The avenue extends for a couple of kilometres, and the stone circles must have had quite a large circumference though only parts of them remain.  Alongside them runs a dyke.  It is quite deep and represents a great deal of work for whoever dug it using very primitive stone or iron tools. This is said to be about 5000 years old.

Once we got back to Arundel we had only one night before we were off again, this time back across the Chanel to France then on to the Czech Republic where David was going to get some dental work done.  He had nearly had a heart attack at what the dentist he’d gone to in Littlehampton had quoted.  After doing research on the internet he had chosen a dentist in Prague who advertised prices less half of that of the Littlehampton dentist.  However, just before leaving he had got an e-mail from this dentist with a quote that was more expensive than the English one.  Still, as the ferry had been booked we went off anyway.

It was wet when we left Arundel and still wet as we drove across France, Belguim, tipping down in Luxembourg, and wet again in Germany.  It wasn’t until the 3rd or maybe the 4th day, that we eventually saw some sunshine, even then it was only temporary.  The rain seemed to plague us, ah well it is October after all.  When the rain did ease and the cloud lift occasionally the woods and forests can be seen to be ablaze with the rich golds and russets of autumn, a magical season of gentle hues.

Once we got to Prague David checked with that dentist that he had booked online and assured that the quote was right, so we set out to look for another and quickly found one right about the parking station where we’d put the car.  This dentist had similar prices to that of the first one so he got an appointment here but not until Friday so we had a few days to fill in.

To begin with we took a stroll around Prague, it wasn’t raining at this point, we admired many of the fine buildings of this world Heritage listed city.  It is a well deserved honour:  We watched the clock on the town hall do it’s thing with the 12 apostles, but it was 3pm, the midday show is the best.  My humans had seen that when they last visited Prague in 98.  Considering it is October and far past the height of the tourist season the square in front of the townhall was packed to capacity.  God only knows what it must be like in summer.  Not even me, the stuffed toy, wants to be here at that time.

A walk over the Charles bridge is a must for any visitor to Prague.  It crosses the Vltava River and connects the old city with the 13th century lesser quarter and the castle that sits high on the hill overlooking the lot.  This bridge is only open to pedestrians and bicyclists.  It was the place to see all the best buskers but they seem now to have been replaced by artists who each display their paintings for sale. 

Again with some days to fill in we visited some castles outside Prague and took walks through the woods trampling on the carpet of golden leaves as the trees shed more and more of their colour with each gently breeze. Meandering along narrow country roads past fields still very green with many crops, through small villages with picturesque churches surrounded by well tended grave yards dominating the town.  Many with a crumbling castle hidden behind houses and under foliage:

The only castle that we visited inside is Karlistejn, above the village of the same name.  It dates from the mid 14th century and was built by Charles 4th, who was the son of King Wenceslas 2nd (I think I’ve got that right but not too sure).  There really wasn’t much to see inside and we weren’t supposed to take photos but L got one snap before she was told otherwise, the exterior is much more impressive.

We spent a day in the very pretty town of Kutna Hora, a miniature version of Prague with an impressive Cathedral of St Barbara, the patron saint of miners.  This is an ancient silver mining town, the silver run out in the 17th century.  Another pretty church that has recently been somewhat restored is the church of St John of Nepumul.  The columns and much of the walls are made of pink marble and considering that it was used by the military for various purposes, during communist times, it has survived rather well.

David got to see the dentist on Friday and has another appointment next Friday so now we are enjoying more of the Czech countryside and for once we have had a lovely warm sunny day after a 0⁰C start.  Just what we shall do after next Friday is quite uncertain.  The car is not running like it should, for some reason the fuel consumption has gone up considerably, not good when you consider the price of fuel here, the air suspension is still not right, and the gearbox is not right though much better than it was.  So you will have to wait for the next episode to see what we do.

Lynette Regan 19th October 2013
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