After 12 weeks exploring Europe and Great Britain, I have learnt a few things. Here are some of them in no particular order.
- Europe and Great Britain are beautiful
- There are lovely people everywhere
- A tube of toothpaste can last 3 months
- A toothbrush cannot last 3 months
- British toilets are the most difficult to flush
- German drivers are crazy
- You need to buy a ticket for toll roads or you will get fined
- Most European countries could solve their budget issues if they collected fines for speeding
- If you are doing 130kph, you had better be in the slow lane
- Trucks are not allowed to drive on the freeways in Germany on Sundays
- Most European freeways don’t have billboards
- Billboards in the Czech Republic are Czech flags
- Ordering coffee is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get
- Almost everyone in Europe smokes
- People appreciate it if you try to speak their language
- Cheese is delicious
- French bread is best
- Everyone takes their own plastic bags to the supermarket. They banned single-use plastic bags years ago
- The history of Europe and Great Britain is sad and violent
- 3 months is too long to be away from home
I’ve probably learnt a few other things too. I’ve certainly enjoyed this experience.
So it ends. To paraphrase the song, “You take the highway and we’ll take the slow road” because there was no need to rush today. Orly airport is about 300 km from Puxe, about 3 hours by autoroute with tolls or a little longer by the country roads. Our first flight, BA337 to London where we join Qantas QF2, leaves at 7:30 pm so, even allowing a generous safety margin getting to the airport by 4:00 pm seemed soon enough.
In planning our 3 day return from Prague to Paris I wanted to make the driving distances close to equal with the third day possibly a little shorter to allow some flexibility. I avoided overnight stays in large cities to simplify parking and allow us to see some more interesting locations in the countryside. Like Dürrwangen, Puxe was not somewhere I had heard of but it came up in Booking.com as Maison d’hôtes Le Château de Puxe. The title lent it a style that seemed right for the last night of our grand tour and the photographs supported the impression that we would be staying in a château.
Now we are on the homeward trail. Prague to Paris could be possible in a single 11 to 12 hour day of hard driving but on this trip I tried to limit driving to 4 hours per day wherever possible. That came down to roughly 4 hours today, 4 tomorrow, and a short final push on Monday. Hotel-Gasthof zum Hirschen in Dürrwangen came up in my search on booking.com but I really was not sure what we would find here other than a bed for the night.
One reason we are travelling independently rather than on a group tour is that we are not good conventional tourists and prefer to do our own thing. We arrived in Prague early enough yesterday to be able to visit several of the well known locations and had decided that we did not want to visit the castle or churches. Our public transport passes would allow us to get around so the hop-on, hop-off tour was not needed. Majella had thought about a river cruise and there were some things we had passed yesterday that we thought we might visit.