After our late start due to the flat battery we finally left Bratislava and headed north stopping for lunch near a McDonalds to catch up with some internet. We found a campsite along the way which was only 12 euros. It was a large site but only had a few people staying there, probably because the facilities were old and decrepit with the only redeeming things in its favour were that it was quiet and the showers had good pressure and were hot.
We left in the morning and it seemed everyone else did as well, the only caravan left were people setting up scaffolding for a concert. After investigating another campsite near the town of Trencin which looked pretty woeful and was expensive with few facilities we decided to press on and cross border and enter the Czech Republic. We stopped at a town called Uhersky Brod where we knew there was a couple of designated motorhome parks near the aquatic centre. Driving around the car park we were stumped as no motorhome car parks were in sight. Ewout got out and had a look around and finally found them around a corner behind the centre. The afternoon was spent exploring the small town before shopping at the Lidl and spending a quiet night watching a movie. The place had two parks for motorhomes and we were the only ones there.
In the morning we drove to the town of Olomouc where first went to a large shopping centre for a coffee and to buy a sim card for internet in the Czech Republic. The salesman spoke excellent English and the sim card was only $10 Australia or 6€ and is supposed to have half a gig of data with 12 months to use it. In other countries to get a sim card we have had to provide our passports, not so here, all they wanted was an email address. The price seems very cheap and we will see how what performance it gives us.
After lunch we headed to the old part of town and easily found a park next to the river and a short walk to the centre of town. Olomouc was once the capital of this region and the write ups we read gave it a good rating so we were keen to explore the sights. We were not disappointed as the town had many interesting squares, fountains, churches and places of interest. After getting a map from the tourist info. office we sat down to a drink in the square and plotted a walking route.
Several hours later it was getting late and as we returned back to the “Bunyip” we stopped at a Chinese takeaway along the way. For $11 Australian or 7€ we dined on spring rolls, noodles with chicken and calamari with vegetables. Good value and very tasty. We had thought about staying overnight where we were parked until we heard several busses wiz by. Deciding to move on we drove to a car park near Blansco in the hills which was for the nearby caves, abyss and walking trails.
Oh no not another cave you may say! Yes we are suckers for caves and this one was different as for most of the way you ride a boat through the river inside the cave. In the morning after a very quiet night I went to the car park lady and bought a ticket for the day’s park, the overnight stay was free. She advised me to buy our tickets for the caves straight away as it was Saturday and they would sell out very quickly. The ticket office was only a couple of minutes’ walk and already they had sold until 3.40 in the afternoon. We had come this far so I bought the tickets and went back to tell Jenny that we would be spending the day there until later in the afternoon.
The morning was spent planning what our route would be for the next few days in the Czech Republic. As we had internet via our new sim card we could google places and get information. So far the sim card is working well. After lunch we packed a backpack as we were not sure what the weather was going to be and some warm clothes for the cave tour. Near the ticket office there is a large abyss which we looked at from the top and then walked down to see it from another vantage point. The entrance to the cave was 2 kilometres away and having plenty of time we opted to walk down rather than take the Gondola. A pleasant walk through the forest on a winding sloping track, which at times was slippery due to rain and slippery rocks.
The cave tour had no English language but we did receive a pamphlet explaining each section we were passing through, this is more information the previous caves visited. After walking the first section were put into boats and completed the last section on the river. It was an interesting cave and it took us over an hour before we reached the exit. We didn’t walk back up the hill but took the Gondola ride to the top.
The next town we had planned to see was not far off [or so we thought] and we had planned to stay in a car park near to the Basilica in Trebic. Our drive was hindered by roadwork’s which took us out of our way almost twice the original distance before we were back on the right road. At one point we drove for 20 minutes and the Tom Tom told us we were 4 kilometres further from our destination, very frustrating. It was dark when we finally reached Trebic there were people lining the centre of town and police everywhere. (We thought they were out to welcome us lol.) They didn’t stop us and we found the parking place easily and parked up in the bus parking area. We found out later that the town was celebrating the Unesco sites in the town, and later we watched as fireworks erupted near the basilica. The night was not peaceful as the local bar/restaurant was having an oldies music night which lasted until 3 in the morning. With earplugs we had a reasonable night’s sleep waking up after 9 in the morning.
The town Of Trebic has Unesco world heritage listing for three sites. The Basilica, the Jewish cemetery and the Jewish Quarter of town. After our sleep in we ventured off to investigate. The basilica was only a couple of hundred metres from our park but as it was Sunday they were having a service inside. The only way to look inside was via a tour in the afternoon. Having seen more churches than we can remember we only had a look from the outside. Our walk took us to the town square before heading up the hill to the Jewish cemetery.
As you would expect many of the headstones had dates around the mid 40’s as a result of the Nazi death camps. All the Jewish citizens were rounded up and taken to internment camps, none returned. It was a different cemetery to visit with the obvious absence of crosses, the Star of David being prominent. The overgrown headstones on the sloping ground were overgrown with ivy and grasses and gave the area a surreal feel and we quite enjoyed the walk through this poignant reminder of our mortality.
The Jewish quarter was nearby and unfortunately the rain greeted us there, luckily we found a small coffee shop and waited till the rain stopped, or we thought it had, no sooner we left the rain came back with determination so we did get a bit wet. On days when we take our rain gear it doesn’t rain but today we left it behind and paid the price. We had been on the road for many days so it was time to find a good campsite to spend a couple of days catching up with cleaning and clothes washing. A Dutch run campsite came up only 25 kilometres away so we set our GPS and headed that way.