We had seen a few Tesco superstores whilst driving through the Czech Republic so we checked online and, sure enough, there was one in Český Krumlov, and so that was our first stop of the day after leaving Chvalšiny.
Back in the UK we’ve been doing our supermarket shopping online for many years now, and we tend not to use Tesco so it’s been a long time, but walking into the Czech version did feel quite familiar. We didn’t think we’d bought much, but the shopping came to €80, which only included two bottles of wine.
From Český Krumlov, we drove through the beautiful undulating Bohemian hills and headed south to the Austrian border. Ours was a flying visit to the Czech Republic, but we’ve enjoyed it.
We stopped at a petrol station to fill the van up with enough diesel to use up all of our remaining Czech currency, and then had a bit of a faff finding where to return the road toll box, with the sat nav freezing up at just the wrong time. We ended up doing a u-turn 100 yards into Austria and driving back into the Czech Republic, but once we found the right place we were pleasantly surprised to find that the tolls charged for driving through the country came to just €7.
First stop over the border was a lay-by with a self-service GoBox machine. GoBoxes are Austria’s version of the Czech road toll box. Punching all the relevant information in on the screen, the machine gave us the box to stick to the windscreen. Annoyingly though, I will still have to take a photo of the V5 document and email this to some herbert at the road toll agency.
Back on the road, the terrain quickly became rather hilly, with some spectacular views as we crossed the peaks and, 80 km later, we arrived at the stellplatz at Waldhausen overlooking a lake on the outskirts of the village.
It was nice and peaceful and, best of all, the cost was just €3 for the night – the least we had paid since we had a free night in France over a month ago. Whilst it was a nice sunny day, winter is definitely on its way – we had the heating on, and also swapped the summer duvets for winter ones.
We left a cold, wet Waldhausen and drove the 80-odd miles to Vienna. Most of the journey was on the motorway, with the toll box beeping every time we passed under a gantry – hopefully it’s not going to cost a huge amount, but we won’t find out until we return the box next week. It chucked it down all the way, but we just chugged along at 80 kph (the speed limit for a van our size in Austria) and we arrived at the stellplatz at lunchtime.
The stellplatz is one of the better ones we’ve stayed on. With space for 180 vans, it cost €21 per night including electricity and showers, and the services are good. It’s also only 100 metres from the Perfektastraße U-Bahn station. It must be a gold mine as there are loads of vans here.
After a quick lunch in the van we walked in the cold air to the U-Bahn, and half an hour later we were at Stephansplatz in the centre of town. We found the tourist information to get ourselves a map, and once we’d used their free WiFi to download all our phone updates we set off to see the sights, with umbrellas up.
Whilst there were lots of fellow tourists walking around, it was a lot less busy than Prague. We’d wanted to go for a coffee at the Central Cafe – one of the traditional old coffee houses from the 1870’s – but there was a long queue which wasn’t moving so we gave up. We then walked through the museum quarter, with its grand old buildings, but didn’t visit any as none of them particularly appealed.
After dinner in a fish restaurant, we went to the Sacher Cafe for dessert, and ate a Sacher-Torte, so that’s another item crossed off the to-do list. We then called it a day and made the journey back to the van.
Last night it was chucking it down, so we went to sleep to the sound of rain on the roof of the van, and we awoke to the same sound this morning.
With brollies up we took the U-Bahn back into town this morning to go on one of those free walking tours where you leave a tip at the end rather than pay a set amount. The tour leader was very good, speaking excellent English and clearly passionate about her city, and it was great to learn some of the history of the place.
We’d spotted a Turkish cafe on the walk and found our way back there for lunch – a doner kebab each which was lush (a proper doner that is, made up of chunks of lamb!). From there we went to see if we could get in the Central Cafe, but again there was a huge queue so we instead went to a lovely cafe by the opera house for coffee and a cake.
By now we had walked several miles and were feeling knackered. Having seen all we’d wanted to see, we headed back to the van. For dinner I knocked up a chicken one-pot dish, and I can see us eating more of these dinners now that the weather has turned.
Thanks for the comments and messages about how photos are displayed. The overwhelming preference is for full-sized rather than thumbnails, so I’ll carry on with the full-sized pics.
Tomorrow, we will make our way towards Graz, Austria’s second city.