Friday, June 28, 2024

The Bitch at the Border

 The Border – Entering Czechia

We find ourselves, day four of our eight day trip, cruising down the Autobahn, seemingly without a care in the world. At this point we are still blissfully unaware that we have or would soon violate the traffic laws of Deutschland.

We didn’t check out of the hotel in Berlin as we would be back the next day. It didn’t make sense to pack up everything just to unload it again less the 24 hours later (and we got the hotel in Prague with points, so we weren’t paying for two hotels).

As I mentioned in the last post, I knew that we needed to pay for our road tolls in Czechia and attempted to do so online before leaving Berlin.

Now we were approaching the border between Germany and Czechia. I was looking for any indication that we were approaching a place where we could pay the Czech road toll. I read that you might be able to pay at a gas station near or on the boarder, so when we saw the sign for a fuel stop, we exited the Autobahn and went in search of a toll booth.

There were plenty of signs telling us which way to go, but it turned out the gas station was over a mile off the Autobahn. When we finally arrived, there was a market, a small shopping area and the gas station. We decided to check out the grocery store and see what a typical Czech market looked like.

All the prices were listed in Czech koruna, so not speaking the language we just looked around and headed over to the gas station to attempt to get the toll pass.

I think it’s important to point out that so far on this trip, everyone had been very friendly and really helpful assisting us with directions, buying food, eating in restaurants. Everyone was really nice. That was about to change.

We walked through the parking lot, down a short hill and entered the office of the gas station.

In the US, the UK, Berlin and just about everywhere we have been, the gas stations have at least a small mini market. Maybe just snacks and drinks, but something. As we entered the “store” the walls were bare, no shelves, no snacks, not so much as a scrap of food. There was an old woman sitting behind a L-shaped counter. Everything was a dull white.

The old woman looked at us with what I can only describe as disgust. I tried to engage her with my best, friendly Hello and asked if she spoke any English. Visibly irritated she replied, “No only German.” I did think it a bit odd that she replied in pretty passable English, but sensing that she missed her Soviet Overlords, we decided it was best to just leave and try to find another place to get the toll pass.

We backtracked our way to the Autobahn and headed for the Czech border.