The last two days have been a pretty strong contrast, one with the other. Yesterday didn’t start to become fun until well into the afternoon, while today we really hit the jackpot in terms of a fantastic day.
After an early start yesterday (well earlyish really, we’ve discovered that with daylight from before 5am till after 10pm you need to pace yourself so breakfast is now nearer to 9am than 8) we headed to Munich airport which involved standing in a fullish train for 45 minutes. Then once we found the Budget rental car desk it had a queue which stretched 40 metres across the terminal. Forty minutes later a very nice girl offered us a choice of cars and we opted for a Fiat 500 convertible. We found the car on the fourth floor of a vast rental car parking building then held up the queue to get out of the building until I discovered that I was putting the card needed to lift the barrier into the machine upside down. Then I had to adapt to driving on the right and changing gear with my right hand. I managed ok but I know that Paulette was pretty nervous. We headed to Passau, on the Danube near the Austrian border stopping in two attractive small towns. At Passau after checking into a nice hotel we walked into the old town at the confluence of the Danube, the Inn and the Ilz rivers. It’s a nice place where most of the tourists come in on the river cruise boats, consequently it was pretty quiet so we had a look at St Stephens Dom (cathedral) which boasts of having the largest organ in the world. A walk around the water and a good meal and we went to bed much happier.
Today Paulette chalked up two new countries as we travelled across a corner of Austria, over a high mountain range, into the Czech Republic, across a lake on a ferry and to the amazing town of Cesky Krumlov. As a spectacular place this rates up with Venice and Dubrovnik in my opinion, the old town lies in the centre of a loop in the river, a vast castle looks down on the town from a nearby hill. The whole place tumbles over the hills with terracotta roofs and brightly coloured buildings. I managed a couple of sketches. The one above was done while we were eating a good meal, beef for me and pork for Paulette both with bohemian sliced dumplings, beer for me and wine for her then a strudel for dessert. This place is amazingly cheap, our meal cost about $30 NZ (534 Koruna) and our best hotel yet $68 NZ with breakfast.