Buy gas when you can – Pratt Tribune

By Brandon Case Special Pratt Columnist at the Tribune

Here’s the lesson from Vysoké Mýto, Czechia: never pass cheap petrol when you see it, even if you have to wait in line, and always listen to your wife, who suggested we stop anyway. I sometimes replied, “Oh no, we’ll find another cheap gas station down the road.”

It was nearly 200 kilometers ago, and we still hadn’t found gasoline at the same price per liter as in Vysoké Mýto. Now, however, there were more pressing questions to be answered, like, where are we going to stay tonight in Germany?

I had made reservations several months earlier for patron housing at the Freiberg Germany Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I should have read the email that we had to be there by 3:30 (or called to let someone know we would be late). Now it was almost 5 p.m., we were still in the Czech Republic and no one was answering the phone at the temple in Freiberg.

With the gas gauge pointing more and more to empty, I desperately searched on my Czech cell phone for Airbnbs near Freiberg, finding and booking a place near Reinsberg, DE.

Reinsberg, Germany is not a very big village. We arrived late in the evening, then drove through town, parked and walked around looking for a place to eat. Everything seemed to have stopped. We only saw a few people outside. We were killing time waiting for confirmation of our accommodation for the night.

We were also a bit nervous about burning off too much leftover gas. Since crossing the German border, we had not seen a gas station.

We had just resigned ourselves to driving all the way to Freiberg to try to find accommodation there when I checked my Airbnb inbox one last time. Hit. We had accommodation.

By the time we headed to the Airbnb – after supper in a nearby town – night had completely enveloped the German countryside.

When we arrived at the Airbnb we saw a huge empty building with overflowing lights but no humans. We walked several yards down a long driveway and shouted in the dark, “Hello. Is anyone here?” Silence.

After a minute or more, a barking dog broke the silence and Fritz came out of the darkness, followed by the dog.

Fritz can be described as an eccentric visionary/artist. He’s probably in his mid to late 40s and wears short dreadlocks. He immediately offered me a beer (we were in Germany, after all). I declined as it was not alcohol free. He then told us about the four buildings of the compound, which he had purchased in 1994 and had been working on ever since. “They were destroyed, no roofs,” he commented.

Fritz paved the way for our accommodation. First, we climbed a long exterior metal staircase, which had a handrail and led to a door at the top. Once inside, another very steep wooden staircase awaited us. This had no ramp and led to the attic: our bedroom. Once there, we still had three more steps, down this time, into the bedroom. Incidentally, the bathroom was downstairs.

After unboxing I had to pick up and Fritz as the Wi-Fi was not working. After he helped me solve this problem, the conversation turned to technology.

“People and their devices,” Fritz said, nodding. “But I am a birdman.” He then talked about the forest and a beautiful place nearby that he encouraged us to visit. He also explained to me how Germany puts sprinklers around the base of trees and told me that water should only be added there once a week. There was also a drought in Germany. Fritz spoke of his involvement in film, on occasion, and, noting our car with Czech tags, told me that the Barrandov Studios in Prague is where people in Europe go for historical props.

The next day the sun rose to reveal the beautiful quiet place where we had been staying. It was a chilly morning in Germany, the first day of September 2022. I watched a few horses calmly feed in a fenced area below.

Following our temple experience in Freiberg later in the day and having yet to see a gas station, we got directions to the nearest gas station from our waiter at the German restaurant, the Ratskellar, where we enjoyed a delicious lunch.

It was just prayer, I think, that got the vehicle to the gas station before it ran out of gas. When I turned on the vehicle, after our meal, a message appeared on the dashboard screen: “0 km left, buy gas now”.

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