So from Prague we redistributed passangers and got into the same car to get to a meditation convention in Heidelberg (back in Deutschland). At the convention I put together a band of Austrian All-Stars for a very well received performance for over 500 people.
Of course the journey from Prague had to start with a tire repair. That went fairly well, largely due to William (I call him Bill), our local Czech friend who found us a good shop and translated for us.
We headed in the wrong direction out of Prague for a while but we soon corrected ourselves. At our first gas stop I was to take the wheel, but before I got anywhere the Czech Police stopped us and fined us for not having a proper highway vignette. We dealt with what was probably the nicest police officer I ever met. He checked all our passports and asked us what we were doing in Prague (1 Canadian, 2 Germans, 1 Italian). I told him about the statue and the museum where the inauguration took place. He knew the museum, the museum owner and told us about other interesting places to see next time were were in time. We also discussed ice hockey, of course. Our two countries being superpowers in the subject and everything. Unfortunately he had fallen on one of only a dozen canadian males who doesn’t really keep track of hockey.
Anyway he gave us the smallest fine he could (500 Crowns) and said that he understood it wasn’t really my fault but that it was a little bit my fault because the driver is responsible for ensuring he has the proper docs for traveling. At that point I had driven about 30 meters from the gas pumps to the parking lot, but I was still the driver.
Once we made it back into Germany, I was driving and thinking I was on the awesome speed-limit-free
Autobahn so driving 130 or 140 kmh. That’s when the German police pulled us over. My Berliner colleague said “Ah no! it’s only 100kmh here!”. Oops. When I got talking to the very nice mustache-wearing plain-clothed officer driving a ghost Audi, I asked if I was speeding and he said that we had only just crossed into Germany and that this was a border spot-check. I said “Ah this is the Deutschland Welcome Commitee!”. He smiled and said yes and asked for all our passports. We are apparently all clean so on we went on towards our convention.
All was hunky-dory until we ran out of gas later. We were driving a former taxi that has a dual fuel system and I was quite confused with the different gauges. I thought that my German friends were keeping track, but apparently not.
Fortunately we were only about 2km from the next gas station. Roger put on his running gear and headed off with an empty bottle of Volvic water. About 25 minutes later (good run Roger!) we had enough Benzine to get to the gas station. Once at the gas station Roberto was fuelling and I went into the store to see if there were chips to buy or something. After my browsing I headed back to the car only to see that a Polizei car had corned our car and an officer was questioning Roberto. I couldn’t believe it!! Upon seeing this I just did a 180 and went back into the store. What could I do, without speaking German? I could only laugh! Apparently we had been spotted on the side of the road and it’s illegal to run out of gas in Germany. Like it’s a really fun thing to do for most people! Roberto talked us out of it with our dual-gas story.
So after this third police us 4 boys thought it was quite a hilarious day. By God’s grace none of the misfortunes ended up being too bad. We showed up a little late at our convention but with enough time to put together 2 (very) short rehearsals for our performance that evening. The band consisted of Usika on tampura, Kanala on sitar and guitar, Stefan and Thomas on vocals and myself on guitar and (my new) ukulele. I love my new Ukulele by the way. The crowd seemed to really dig our performance and it was a small dream come true for me, because I have had in mind to play at one of these European conventions for some time.
So the day ended well and the boys from the car thought that it was fun and memorable although we were happy it was over. But when we headed to our spot for the night, we were told that it was not quite over by the bright orange flash of a speed radar camera trap (or whatever they are called). Incredible!
P.S. if anynone reading took pictures of the performance in Heidelberg, please send an email to email@example.com. It would be much appreciated. Thanks!