another day welcomes us with brilliant sunlight. still stunningly large, our rooms seem even bigger when bathed in sunlight. check out the third room of my already large suite:
everything in this hotel is large – even the smaller windows in the lobby seem like they were sourced from a church.
on checking out, i was asked if i had seen the minibar policy… no, was my answer, until it was pointed out to me. 🙂
we leave legnica and follow small roads towards the czech border. slowly hills move into view and we’re really looking forward to some less monotonous driving today.
we start climbing our first hills and after just 20 more minutes, arrive at the czech border. welcome, or better: ahoj, Česká republika!
we were looking forward to our drive across the czech republic. not only because we were looking forward to some hills at the beginning and end of the day but also to cross along a line that was not along the usual travel routes of any truck or tourist.
… yet another drive-by video:
but not all was good:
at least we got to see some really cool stuff here:
our tried and tested concept of following our single lane roads to nowhere somehow didn’t work here. our roads just ended, again and again, seeing us spend lots of time backtracking and trying to find other options. adding to these challenges was the fact that road surfaces were generally very, very bad and TW560 was beginning to make sounds like during our trip in india.
after nearly half a day of this, i decided i’d rather spend a full non-driving day tomorrow than just half a day – with this we switched to max-range travel mode and off we went, ignoring smaller roads. our challenge with this was that our destination for today was not really supported by czech road infrastructure, since we were crossing all the country’s main roads (see map above).
with us back on larger roads, we get to see the bigger sights 🙂
our first charge was a breeze: 55 mins with about 1 minute to get permission to charge.
then, we’re back on the road again.
driving is a relaxed affair. km after km counts down until we get to kutna hora and we need, yet again, some electricity.
we drive to a renault garage, since with renault’s zero emission initiative and electric car portfolio it would be ideally suited to appreciate the needs of an ev.
ha! yet again, we are to be surprised by the power of marketing and what is left over in the field…
like north korean-style negotiations, we start with an underling, who says, yes, no problem. we start to move TW560 towards the plug, when he suddenly is unsure, stops us and gets a manager, who himself does not know what is going on. lets his underling explain everything, then asks us the same questions again. (15 mins have passed). he then leaves us and asks us to wait. after another 10 minutes, we are told that yes, we could charge. but we should wait quickly for yet another manager (we’re talking of a normal car dealership, not some kind of headquarter setting here). after another 5 minutes he arrives and tells us that for every 60 minutes charging he would be charging us €20. adding to this statement he let us know that this price was a special offer, extended only because we were pioneering travelling by means of electric propulsion.
we thanked him for his consideration and drove off, fuming that we had, again, wasted 30 minutes of our precious trip, and, indeed, of our life, with such ignorant people.
anyway: 200 metres down the road, the guys from Škoda Unikom were extremely friendly and curious. we were charging within 1 minute and they were taking pictures and asking questions. thanks guys!
after 1 hour friendly chatting and (for me) exploring the immediate area we were back on the road and set out to our next stop, tudor.
we arrive in tudor and find perfect charging infrastructure waiting for us:
again, we find this new symbol…of which men seem to be dreaming of 🙂
we press onwards to budweis and arrive just 50 mins later – we only need to go another 50kms. under normal circumstances, we would not need to charge to cover this distance, but since i know the geography pretty well from here onwards (more on why this is the case – read tomorrow’s entry) we will be needing about 2kWh more energy than we have in the battery, since we will be climbing 500m on these 50kms.
e-on has a charging station in budweis in a shopping centre parking. according to my information, charging should be free and the subterranean parking open and accessible.
since we don’t have any czech krones, we’ll have to sort out how to get out of the parking without needing money when we’re done charging.
we arrive at the charging station just to find it to be one with one of these awful rfid card activation systems. everything is in czech and underground on edge, google’s cool image translation magic doesn’t work.
we still need the energy and start creatively sourcing some electricity by unplugging some machinery.
…about 2 minutes later a guard comes towards us, looks at us crossly, tells us off in rapid czech (add a language-independent globally recognizable pissed off tone) and gestures us that we are to disconnect our vehicle immediately.
obviously, we comply immediately and start packing our cables – just to be exposed to another barrage of rapid czech and some gestures to follow him. surprisingly, he takes us to the charging station and with a smile, produces the magic rfid card required to activate the station. furthermore, he then discovers that we’re from switzerland and starts speaking to us in passable german.
after just 20 minutes, we’re ready to set out for our last 50 kms today. we’re packing and i am furiously thinking how to lose the guy in order for us to sort our exit, he tells us to meet him at the exit – since for us, today, parking would be free!
i always wonder how these things happen to me/us, problems just solve themselves without us needing to intervene. thanks, yet again, universe!
under an hour later, we arrive in austria and drive to the summer residence of part of my austrian family – and where i spent many summers as a child.
we are welcomed by my family and are treated to good wine and food.
tomorrow will be our second non-driving day of our TDB2015-trip. dedicated to relaxation, chatting, eating and having a good time.