17-Jun-2001 -- Never post your confluence intentions or planned visits to the Degree Confluence website! That's a lesson I learned when I paid a visit to the site on the morning of Sunday, June 17, 2001. WHAT!!! The imperialist oppressors of the Austro-Hungarian Empire had pre-empted my every move and in a week of territorial aggression had planted their flag in all the remaining confluences in the Czech Republic…bar one.
Infuriated by this dastardly breech of protocol and the blatant, pre-meditated attempt by the confluence hungry Austrians to reclaim the Czech lands that they lost centuries ago, I was fired up to visit the solitary confluence that had yet to be despoiled by the invading army from the south.** I did the first confluence and ... by Jove ... I was going to do the last! I booted-up Microsoft MapPoint, kick started the Garmin, loaded up with SmartMedia, pulled on my new waterproof HiTecs, grabbed a pile of recharged batteries, slung the tripod over my shoulder and was in the car within half an hour. An angry man is a hungry man! ;-)
The E65 took us on a north-easterly route out of Prague. I elected to take this particular road towards Mladá Boleslav as there was more highway than the alternative route via Ceská Lípa. I put the pedal to the metal and within an hour had passed through Liberec and reached the northerly village of Černousy just on the Polish border. We then drove west to the outskirts of the small village of Andělka at the neck of the Polish salient that lies between the Czech Republic and Germany.
The countryside was magnificent – pristine villages, well maintained churches, good infrastructure, hills and low mountains, streams, castles and endless yellow and green fields. I wished that I had come on my motorcycle, but I had not intended this to be a joy ride – Débra and I were on a mission, and that was to find the confluence of N51 E015 before the confluence raiders did!
Within an hour and a half of leaving Prague we were entering Andělka, and we stopped to shoot a photo of the village signpost at the entrance of a farm property. The GPS indicated that the confluence was only 70 meters away. Hmmm! There was no one around to grant us permission, so we walked into the farmyard and followed the Garmin’s pointer into the now hardened clay quagmire that lay before us. I was glad that it was summer and dry! It would have been a nightmare otherwise.
After 15 minutes of patiently refining our position we were on the sweet spot, and got a string of pictures of the GPS reading N51°00’00.0” E015°00’00.0”. Number seven – thank you! We took all the required photos, including 15 frames in a 360-degree pan (shot from the confluence) that I have strung together to form a great panoramic view of the site.
We did so just in time too – right after we had packed all the gear back into the car, the heavens opened up and an almighty thunderstorm was upon us. The drive back to Prague took a godforsaken three hours…road works, accidents and detours all the way. I was not a happy guy by the time we got back home ... but it had been worth it anyway!
Now ... I wonder if there are any confluences left in Austria that I can go and steal from under their noses! ;-))
** : Not to be taken seriously...I'm only joking guys!! :-D