Travelled : 80 kilometres from Bastei, Germany to Chabarovice in the Czech Republic. Then 220 kilometres from Chabarovice, to Zwickau in Germany.
Visited : The August Horch Museum, Zwickau. €14 double
Stayed : HVZ Camping, Chabarovice. €11.30 including all the usual + free washing machine and fast internet. N50.68238 E13.93294. Then Centrum Carpark, Zwickau. €2, no services, but a good spot, because its free on Sunday. N50.72450 E12.48878
Budget : 74 days @ €74 per day.
After a great couple of days in the Sachsische Schweiz (Saxon Switzerland) we feel enthused about maybe a day or two in the Czech Republic, just to get the feel of the place. So we pack up the bikes and follow the Elbe into the Czech Republic. With no real plan we just spend the late afternoon following the river thinking we will see a campsite, but alas all we see are non-descript towns and lots of industrial complexes.
The Hymer gets a bit nervous when we cross the frontier into a new country. Maybe it was about the narrow road and the buses coming the other way or perhaps it was the drivers’ lack of local knowledge of the road rules and warning signs that made him nervous. That’s the cycle way not the road, but they were both about the same width.
Don’t get the wrong impression, the Czech roads are very good and we cruise along easily. The hills on either side of the river get larger and we see the odd old castle or church but it’s time to set up camp and that’s our focus. The GPS comes to our rescue, an Archies symbol pops up and we turn finding a small campsite. We rarely stay in formal campsites but here we are. He cannot speak a word of English and I have only been working on my Czech for a few minutes. I am not sure if he has emphysema or the wheeze is some part of the language, but he is a helpful fellow and after some sign language we settle in.
We get a couple of loads of washing done, Pam has a 40 minute shower and I have done the IOS updates on all our iThis and iThat, so we are happy campers. Laying in bed I hear a few drops of rain and jump up and bring the washing in. Its still raining in the morning and it doesn’t seem in a hurry to stop.
By mid-morning we have a choice between calling it a rest day or hitting the road. We decide on the road and set the GPS for Karlovy Vary a old spar town on the upper reaches of the Ohre River. Stops raining just in time for me to jump out and get this photo.
Arriving at Karlovy Vary, we find the stellplatz is closed for the day ! Its on private property behind a house adjoining a reserve, just below the altstadt. Not sure what’s happening, maybe it’s the weather. It’s still pouring rain. We drive up town to a large carpark, have a campercar lunch and look at our options. Seems little use sitting here in the rain so we opt to drive back into Germany and try our luck in Zwickau. The GPS shows the shortest trip is on the B roads across the Iron Mountains. Its a slow trip, the road is a little narrow, the weather atrocious and there is a heavy afternoon mist just to add to the adventure. There is little traffic however and we arrive safely in Zwickau. There is no stellplatz but motorhomes can overnight in the towns central carpark. There are a few other motorhomes already parked, this will do nicely.
Zwickau is a car town. Volkswagen have a major car assemble plant on the edge of town and numerous suppliers are also based here. This heritage started in 1904 when August Horch started building cars here.
Horch automobiles proved popular, Horch built a large factory and production increased. However its seems his business skills did not match his design and engineering expertise. Hence he lost the business to his financial backers.
Horch built a new factory across the road and started building cars again, using a new name, Audi. Horch is the German term for listen, Audi is the latin term for listen. That could be a trivia question next week ?
The rest is history, Audi would go on to consume DKW, Wanderer and Horch forming the Auto Union marque. The four rings of Audi. Anyway of course all this would come to an end in 1945. There is an interesting collection of military vehicles, although we were careful not to mention the war. Pictured above, an AutoUnion V16, similar to those holding the speed records during the late 1930’s.
After the war the GDR commenced production of the legendary Trabant here at what remained of the Audi factory in Zwickau, turning out 3 million of the ugly little thing before the re-unification. The rest is history, Volkswagen would go on to consume Audi, build a new Audi factory in Bavaria and the name continues. Pictured is not a Trabant, but an Audi single seat roadstar (front wheel drive).
Just in case you haven’t seen or don’t remember, this is a Trabant. A 601 pictured thanks to Google, made from recycle metals and duroplast (a flexible fireglass) powered by a 2 cylinder, 2 stoke engine developing 18 hp. Arguable the most pollution generating vehicle of all time. Believe it or not we saw hundreds of them in Berlin, they are the in car with kids.
Travelling you meet some odd people. We had the misfortune to walk into the museum at the same time as this guy. He took a selfie in front on every bike, car, truck and more. After a while I started taking photos of him, taking photos of himself. He was a little concerned and said ‘no photos please’.
It’s not a selfie if you use a mirror, is it ?
The Dom Saint Marien, Zwickau. Dating back to the 13th century, it is under extensive restoration. All the small statues on the exterior have been recently replaced. However something must be amiss as the rear wall has had some extensive retaining props added.
It was so dark inside the church I could not get a reasonable picture of the alter which was particularly special. But we enjoyed our visit all the same.
Some puppeteers practicing a performance with an elephant outside the Rathaus in Zwickau. We manage to avoid the rain, till we get back to the Hymer. Then it starts again.