17 June – Frustrated with the disappointments of yesterday, we decided to visit the Czech Republic, especially since it’s so close. First, we headed south-east to Jelenia Gora. When we got there, we couldn’t find the centre of town, so we pressed on. As we neared the border, the soft, green undulations of south-west Poland gave way to a more mountainous landscape, carpeted by 30 metre high fir trees, packed tightly together, with long, thin trunks that followed the motorist along the windy roads. It was like driving through a beautiful, green tunnel of a thousand giant Christmas trees without the decorations. Here, we stopped at Szklarska Poreba, a lovely spot which reminded us of Betws-y-Coed in Wales. One shit coffee and tasteless tea later, we soon passed an abandoned border post, and found ourselves in the Czech Republic, country number 41 for me.
Further on, the Czech police flagged us down. Uh oh, we thought. But all they wanted was that we turn our headlights on. In broad daylight? OK.
We stopped in one town, but it looked like a real dive. We pressed on along Road 14 through Tanvald, Jablonic, around Liberec, and made our way to Frydlant, which sounded nice and looked good on the map. But it was another dive. We headed west into Poland again, turned right at Bogatynia, and drove north-east to Luban, and south-east back to our hotel. A round trip of a couple of hundred k’s at most. Arguably quite pointless, really.