The Czech Kombi Club

24 08 2012

I learnt from a car sticker on a pimped red T4 VW bus on the market square in Budweis that there is a Czech kombi club. It is called Transporter Club and can be found under transporterclub.cz. I do not understand any Czech, but there are beautiful bus photos on the web page, amongst them the snapshot below, a screen shot from the site. Beautiful family photo of T1, T2a, T3, and T4! Anyway, there is also a bulletin board where kind Czech bus drivers answer in German (and probably also English) when you cannot speak the language and look for help/information in the Czech Republic. Nice Club logo, too: Silhouettes of a T1 and the “New Microbus” (in Germany at the time called the “New Bulli”) presented around 2001 as a functional T5-based prototype which later never made it to the market.

Type 2 family snapshot! (Photo taken from http://www.transporterclub.cz)

Logo of the Czech VW Bus club (taken from http://www.transporterclub.cz)





Travelling the Czech Republic (Part Two)

22 08 2012

We took our one week in the Czech Republic easy and were not too busy doing touristy things. But it did turn out that the small town next door, Český Krumlov (German: Böhmisch Krumau), was quite an impressive view and worth having a closer look. I had never heard of it before, but it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and you understand why when you see the set-up of the town. The old town is nestled into an almost 360° turn of the Vltava river and overshadowed by an unusually large fortress/castle structure high up on a rock rising steeply on the outer side of the river. The architecture in the Old Town is a mix of medieval/gothic, baroque and renaissance, so there must have been some wealth in this town over a very long period of time. We also visited a beautiful museum for the painter Egon Schiele who had lived and worked here in the early 20th century.

Viaduct connecting two parts of the castle in Ceske Krumlov.

Part of the Castle above Ceske Krumlov.

Market Square.

Aerial View of Ceske Krumlov.

Taiga Lily at the Viaduct of Ceske Krumlov Castle.

We visited Český Krumlov twice, then did a day trip to České Budějovice (German: Böhmisch Budweis), a small town with a less spectacular but still lovely renaissance / baroque town center and the Budweiser Budvar Brewery. And otherwise spent several days at the hotel, doing not much and playing with the kids. On Sunday we made the long ride back. It took us again around 9 to 10 hours for the now 540 km. The day was probably the hottest of this summer, with temperatures around 34°C in the shade and 46°C on the road as signs along the way pointed out. Not so good when you need this air to cool down an air-cooled engine. We had to slow down to 85-90 km/h for most of the way to keep the engine temperature below or at 100°C.

Having a Budweiser at the market square of Budweis/České Budějovice.





On The Road in the Czech Republic

13 08 2012

We decided quite spontaneously to join friends on a week of holidays in the Czech Republic. So we all hopped on the bus yesterday and went southwards. We had a moment of worry when at a rest place smoke was coming out of the air inlets in the back. Turned out the wax sealing pumped into the frame around the engine three months ago now had started to melt, and some wax had probably dropped onto hot exhaust parts and started smoking. Somehow the smoke had gone into the air vents and then came out of the fan of the old aditional petrol heating system, in the engine bay. It all stopped when we drove a little slower (90 to 100 km/h instead of 105 to 115 km/h) where the engine temperature was more around 80 to 90 than 100°C. We passed the German-Czech border after 240 km and 3.5 hours from Berlin. The border is fully open and we only had to stop for a moment to buy a vignette for the Czech highways. A fantastic sunny summer day, but again a bit of a stressful ride, with the baby not being too happy to sit in her capsule for hours, and still no window in the back that can be opened. We reached Prague after five hours and about 350 km. We noticed a bit too late that Google Maps was taking us actually through the Old Town of Prague and not around via the ring road. On the plus side we got a first view of the beautiful city of Prague on a sunny early summer evening. After about nine hours and 540 km we arrived in Kaplice, near České Budějovice/Budweis (where the Budweiser Budvar beer comes from) and already close to the Czech-Austrian border. Hotel Zamicek is a restored large villa originally built as the estate of a German industrialist at the turn of the 19th century. It is about two kilometers outside Kaplice, in a forest-covered and hilly region of South Bohemia. This morning we had a first nice walk with three kids and two dogs along the creek which passes the hotel. All quite lovely and relaxing.

Taiga Lily proudly carrying her new Czech Autobahn Vignette

Hotel Zamecek, an old villa in Kaplice in South Bohemia.

Leon enjoying the summer.