Original YT playout date: 3 April 2010
“There’s a long border between Poland and the Czech Republic, winding its way over hills and along rivers, but as far as roads negotiable by cars is concerned, until the two countries entered Schengen a couple of years ago, they had manned check points. Now these are disused and there is no-one there to look at your documents, if you even have them. Their old booth has become a dumping ground for used food packaging, and nobody cleans it up. The Poles spent money building a nice road right up to the border, but the Czechs, with their almost 50% more GDP per head, simply allowed a dirt track to remain from the border. They simply do not care what the “”visit card”” of their coutry looks like, not to Poles anyway, (in fact it seems to me that in comparison with Poles, who always concern themselves with their international reputation, Czechs are singularly unruffled by what anyone – in their country or outside it – thinks of them) and they seem to have no desire to encourage the Poles to venture into their country very far, even though the cheaper prices at restaurants might be quite tempting, and the existence of a fine swimming pool not far off on the Czech side, which I heard about, but didn’t see. It looks as if they are in no major hurry to go out of their way to attract their Polish neighbours in for a cup of coffee. So Schengen may be in force, and you can cross that boundary without any checks if you feel like it, but they certainly aren’t making the free movement across it all that inviting right now on the Czech side.
Despite the dereliction of the duty area, there is a certain open beauty about the side. It looks quite wild and windswept under the marbled, part-melted snow. It is, of course, under agricultural usage, and food or biomass is being produced on all parts of it.”
Continue reading “This is border country!”