Škoda Car Factory, Mladá Boleslav, Czech Republic

Day 30, Tuesday,  September 24, 2019

We leave our bnb early this morning so that we will be in time for a tour of the Škoda Car Factory about an hour outside Prague.  We have our own personal guide for a three hour tour of the factory and museum, and it only costs us $6 CAD each!  Our guide was amazing,  She was a school teacher but has been a guide for the factory for six years as it pays much better than teaching.  She was incredibly knowledgeable and was able to answer our many questions.  This huge mural was on a building just outside the factory.No photos are allowed inside the factory but it is OK if I sketch.  It was tough to draw on the tour as we never stayed in one area very long.  Our guide Gabriela gave us directions, as we drove our car from one enormous factory building to another.

I wasn’t sure how interesting a car factory would be but it was fascinating.  I particularly loved the robots that assembled the car parts.  They were like dinosaurs the way they moved, twisting and turning as they manipulated the car parts, as they soldered and assembled them.  I ended up taking notes more than drawing.

The factory workers only get two five minute and one thirty minute break during a twelve hour shift!  It is also very noisy but no one wears ear protection.  We ask Gabriela about that and she says it is recommended but not enforced.  She said that in Germany ear protection would be mandatory.

The sketch on the second page is of self directed ‘travelling’ robots that move parts from one section of a building to another.  These robots follow magnetized lines painted on the floor.  We had to be careful to keep out of the way of these robots as well as the vehicles with human drivers.  I am actually surprised that there are not more stringent rules about where we can and can not walk.  After our two hour tour of the factory we have another hour tour of the museum where Gabriela talks about all the cars.  I am not a car enthusiast but I found it all quite interesting. Here are a few of the Škoda cars from the museum.  One area has cars four levels deep.  We also went into a special area with Škoda race cars, but we didn’t have the camera with us then. The museum used to be an old factory building.  You can still see some of the cranes and other machinery high above us. This was fun!  We put on virtual reality goggles and earphones and got to ‘drive’ one of the vehicles through early 19th century Prague.  Soon it was time to drive our rental Škoda to Prague and find our next Airbnb.

We were very lucky and found a parking spot right in front of our apartment to unload our stuff, but it was a resident’s only space.  After we unload, we drove around trying to find a spot where we could park our car for the night.  It was impossible!  We drove around for close to an hour and we weren’t able to find a parking space anywhere.

Bob finally decided that we should drive to the train station and park there, as that is where we will return the car tomorrow.  Then we need to walk home.  It is about a half hour walk, in the dark, uphill most of the way!  We are both tired and hungry by the time we get home, but happy that we found somewhere to leave the car. You really do not want to have a car in the central part of European cities unless you have a designated parking space!

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