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People talk about the Czech Republic, when they really mean Prague. Prague is like most major cities in Europe, its big, beautiful, and has its own certain cultures to attract tourists, it is however, too commercial for my liking (read my other reviews about what I do, and where I go)
I favour the other side of the coin, and my journey\'s reflect that.
Flying to the Czech Republic is easy, and many do it using it at as a lilly pad to hop to another country, but for me, the only way to experience the world, is by road.
Entering at the German border from Annaberg Buchholz, south ish of Germany, I crossed over to Bozi dar, the same entry point Adolf Hitler used.
The border is as sureal as it gets, on the one side are the German Polizei with their new Police cars, surrounded by oppulence and large old cold war observation points, the check points are concrete and air conditioned and they just wave you through, as you go through 200 meters of no mans land, you find the Czech check points (I should have just called them Czech points!)
These are wooden huts usually with some bedraggled old had with warts and facial hair, sitting inside in some soviet style uniform, I missed the window, and had this very lady scream and run after me, I soon stopped and showed my passport.
The drive down to Bozi dar is not long, but before we go there, there is a small village, with a new tourist shop, which is nice, but no cash machine, they did take dollars and euros though.
The road from here is a winding one, with small stall holders all trying to sell their wares. I diddnt stop. A few mushroom pickers later, and Im back into 1945.
The first thing that strikes you is that this probably used to be a mining town, to your left is a glorius orthadox church, the rest is extremely run down, but as with my other travels, the people cope and manage, it is only run down to a westerners standards, and still serves a purpose.
Here you will find your cash machines, and development in the town is making it more prosperous. I stayed in a hotel here, which was nice, yet my car got broken into, causing my first real involvement with the Czech people.
The hotel night watchman told me about it, he banged on my door all night, when I opened, this 70 yr old man was apologetic, (it would seem most Czechs speak German, as do I). My window had been smashed in, and he just hid, I reasured him, that it was better than him getting \"smashed in\" all my cds, and centre console would you believe it of my New Toyota Avensis, had gone.
The next day I was interviewed by the Police, they used the last of the milk for my coffee, and the last of the sugar too - this is a symbol of the real Czechs, they would give you the last of what little they have.
My car had been broken in undoubtedly to feed someones alchohol addiction, or, what I would prefer to believe, to feed someones family, as poverty is in the extreme in this country.
Window and Stereo less I drove on, to the industrial town of Most. There is nothing to do, or see there, its just oil pipe lines - dissapointing, but neccesary.
I went to Prague, but anyone else can give an account of this place, its the same as Vienna for me, so I decided to pick a point on the map, and drive there. I picked Potcatky in the south.
Most major roads werent built on my visit (2003), well from the south of Prague down, but I finally found my reason of travel after leaving prague, I was back in1945.
The small towns and villages I travelled through still had signs of wear and tare from the last war, occasionally I would come upon an upturned tank, with inhabitant (Some of these are used as homes) .
The people, and their culture were most inviting, I did not dare to speak German to them, and just pressed on with sign language, but before I knew it, I was being wined and dined, and the night flew away.
In the morning, instead of waking up in a bath of ice, with my liver removed, I woke up in some family home, with a lady, I would like to call Oma, giving me the foulest tasting tea in the world, but its the thought that counts. A round trip later, and I was in Austria.
The Czech republic has built a poor reputation for itself, with Fat Germans using it as a cheap brothel, there is a huge proportion of child prostitution in certain parts of the country, which the Czech republic ignores (my third experience of such things, the others being Iraq and Kenya).
But on being offered these things, the children are often shocked, yet relieved when I say no, and give them some candy, telling them to go home. Sad, Aweful, but should not be ignored.
Those travelling to this country for the reasons of exploitation should be aware, the police take a dim view of these activities, and I wouldnt be supprised if you dissapear at some point, but who cares about you, not I !
With a Wealth of culture, just waiting to be explored, this is a place to go to again and again.