/ Europe2017

We built this city on rock and coal

Another one of those "driving days". Three and half hours or so of driving doesn't sound much but it is strangely tiring. Not sure whether it is the concentration on foreign roads, signs, speed limits etc. or whether it's the bright sunlight. My eyesight is such that if I wear sunglasses I can't read the speed limit info off the Satnav, an essential check that I haven't inadvertently missed the signs. Also the heat doesn't help, it's been 26° today and that, in itself, is wearing.

Grumpy old git! Anyway I must have being doing something right - parked next to a police car at the petrol station and then followed through town by one for a good half-mile. Scarey!

It was actually a pleasant if unexciting drive. We elected to avoid the motorways and explore the back roads. We're in North Moravia now and the terrain is changing. Lots of gentle winding slopes up onto plateaus where you can see almost for ever, the skyline being corrugated by the distant Tatra mountains. Then swooping downhills with bends that need to be driven. Dense pine forest giving way to open fields, often planted with sweetcotn. In fact, for several miles we dallied with several tractors all bringing their harvest in. No MIG fighter today, but a couple of ostriches in a field were a little less than the norm.

Roads vary between excellent and a bit past their prime. Still there appears to be a huge road building project going on because roads are closed with gay abandon. At least 3 times today we were off the Satnav's route. And detours are barely signed, if at all. No, it's not just I don't recognise Czech detour signs - after following a a Czech reg Skoda for some distance along what we thought might be a sensible detour, he stops and flags us down asking, in Czech, for directions to his destination, a local town; sadly illiciting from us a muttered "Eeeengleesh" and shrug of shoulders. Anyway he flagged a lorry passing in the opposite direction and, with lots of "Thank you" gestures for stopping us, went his way, the opposite direction to us. 2 miles later I passed the sign to the town he was looking for. I hope he found it 

So to Ostranva, the third largest city in the Czech republic (we've already visited Prague and Brno, remember?). This is stolid blue collar city built on coal and steelworks. Driving through it appears as ugly as Prague is beautiful. Still it's turning its industrial heritage into museums and parks which is good. We're staying at one such, Landek on the N side of the city is a park with sports facilities and a video mining museum that includes trips to the coal face.

You've got to admit we've found some different campsites here in Czech land. The site has a couple of bars and a decent restaurant which was totally empty except for us. Late season, probably weekend and lunch trade only but the food was local (I had wild boar), filling, good and cheap. Actually the beer was similar.

Here's today's route: