Tuesday 18th July- I Have Confidence in Sunshine
We checked out of our Dachau hostel at 7:30am on the dot (just as they opened reception). The plan today was to drive approx 2hrs to Salzburg (Austria) to hit up a few Sound of Music sites then continue 4hrs to Prague for the official Czech It Out party.
Traffic, traffic everywhere! Dachau proved to be a little hard to get out of. Everyone must drive to Munich from there for work because we got stuck in all their peak hour traffic. James nearly lost his shirt that he accidentally left on the roof as we drove away from the hostel. We pulled over to save it before it was lost forever.
Finally on the highway we attempted to floor it to Salzburg. Of course our little Panda can only reach 100km/hr so flooring it is an overstatement. We bought a vignette just before we crossed over the border. Vignettes have stung many a rally team in the past. They're a pass you buy for the car to drive on the highways, not having one can set you back a 200 euro fine so we definitely weren't risking that. Vignette in hand we continued over the border into beautiful Austria! The landscape changed to large sweeping hills and cute villages.
Once again our tiny but tall Panda was too large to fit in any underground car parks so we were forced to look for street parking. We struck gold again though and managed to find a perfect parking spot right on the river and only a five minute walk to Mirabell Gardens.
Doe, a deer, a female deer! We'd found the famous steps within Mirabell Gardens where Maria sings with the Sound of Music children. Bus loads of tourists had also unfortunately found the steps, so for ten minutes we stood in the hot sun attempting to take a photo. Just as Natalie was about to take hers a large group of grey nomads descended. They decided they'd sing Doe a Deer as they walked down the stairs which took them five minutes to manage.
We found the fountain the kids skip around as they sing and took another bunch of photos here. The gardens are amazing with hundreds of bright and colourful flowers. A well chosen stopover for team That's Not A Car! We walked over a nearby love lock bridge and found the main square where Maria sings I Have Confidence as she leaves the Abbey. By now our stomachs were getting a bit hangry with us so we found a restaurant right near the birthplace of Mozart and grabbed an Austrian meal for lunch. Haylee, Pat and Natalie braved a humongous Weiner schnitzel while James had fish. As it was a beautiful sunny day the locals were doing their best with the 'beach' they'd been provided and laying on grass beside the river. So long, farewell, Salzburg!
Onward our Panda took us to Praha. Roadworks on the highway meant we were detoured through some beautiful small Austrian towns. It was quite nice to get away from the boring freeway and actually see some of the local areas. Throughout the day we'd been checking the Mongol Rally Team Whatsapp page for updates. Other teams were saying the only campground near the Czech It Out party that night was super tiny and nearly full. We decided that when we drove into Prague we'd most likely need to find a hotel.
We arrived into Prague around 9pm and parked at a hotel right near the rally party. We decided to go into this super fancy hotel and see if they had any rooms, they didn't unfortunately and directed us to another hotel which we also found out had no rooms. Our last hope before we had to drive elsewhere was a place called Hotel Klara. The woman in the hotel spoke very broken English, she understood we wanted a room but kept saying "is only for the 3 peoples, one on sofa, other two on bed". We asked and used our best sign language if one of us could sleep on the floor. She said it was okay so we paid for only three people and went to go collect our bags.
We returned and checked into our room. Haylee, Patrick and James walked five mins to the nearby Czech It Out party and Natalie stayed back in the room to get some rest. Numerous teams had parked at the Czech It Out party which was a little annoying because we'd no idea you could actually park there. Teams had also set up camp on the small patches of grass, although we'd done alright getting our hotel because the noise at the party was crazy loud and no one there would be getting any sleep. Burgers and beers were on sale for all and cheap cocktails. Teams were scattered all around sitting on tables and looking at each other's lawnmower cars. Patrick and Haylee found Danny from team Mongol Knights and discussed travel routes. They were going to try and convoy with some others to the Romanian beach party. An incredible fire show was put on for all the ralliers and a massive tent had been set up with a DJ pumping tunes all night. James had set off early back to the hotel because there was a problem with the receptionist. She had told Natalie that we now needed to pay for four people despite James sleeping on the floor of the room. Natalie told her, no, we agreed with her to only pay for three otherwise she needed to give us another bed. She said we'd need to sort it out in the morning and pay for a fourth person. Patrick and Haylee did a lap of all the cars parked at the party before heading back, it looked like everyone's tin can had survived the first three days to arrive in one piece.