Soon after we entered the Czech Republic, we left the motorway for stunning windy roads across hills and lakes towards the first and only checkpoint during the rally, the Czechout party.
We arrived in almost exactly the same style as we began the rally: precariously riding the yak through a field will all the other rallyists looking on in bewilderment.
While it has been common to spot other teams on the road or at service stations so far, this has been the first, and will almost certainly be the only point during the rally in which all teams congregate together. This fact, coupled with the setting in the grounds of a castle made for a hectic night of revelry.
The Czechout party lives up to its prospects and is an ideal place to form travelling companions for the latter stages of the rally. As we left late and heavy headed the next morning, there were two other teams in out convoy, ‘The Rubber Ducks’, and 'Genghis Khan't Touch This'.
We headed south towards Vienna, although at no great pace; large convoys make haste a definite impossibility. Although it was only early evening, Austria was eerily quiet.
We passed through numerous ghost towns until we made the first bit of human contact at a service station on the outskirts of the nondescript town of Horn. This contact was unfortunately with two policemen, one of whom was a dead-ringer of Rutger Hauer. Apparently we required official documents for our yak to pass through Austria and our pleas of charity fell on dead ears: it was ‘of no interest to me’, insisted the grizzled officer. This was an outright lie as the cops couldn’t resist taking pictures of the yak.
Rutger did leave us with an important piece of knowledge: ‘while I do not know what you have in the UK, in Austria there is law and order!’, and on hearing this we made a rapid b-line out of Austria
All credit to them in some sense, because just after we crossed back into the Czech Republic, we stumbled across the most idyllic camping spot in a fishermen’s shelter on the banks of a lake.
Written and contributed by Jack R