Thursday 5th July to Saturday 7th July 2018
Leaving Kraków we head northwards towards Gdańsk on the Baltic coast, it’s a big old journey at approximately 700 kms, maybe I spoke too soon yesterday when I said we needed a day or two of nothingness! We are going to have at least 2 overnight stops before we get there. It is with mixed feelings that we left Krakow and didn’t visit Auschwitz which is nearby, I myself feel a little guilty about that but we were not ready to see it this time and that’s all I can say really, I’ve read many books on the horrors of the Holocaust so I do know we will be back next year when we head for Greece.
We got onto the A4 which was a good road as Polish roads go although stopping at the first toll the lady didn’t seem to know how much to charge us, looking down from her window at Pogos wheels and base she asks us a question, we’ve no idea what she is saying? Is it length? 6 metres Dave says, no that’s the wrong answer, I write down on a pad 6 metres and 3.5, meaning 3.5 Tonne, this has no effect either, next a guy appears and peers under Pogo, he speaks to us in Polish we respond in English, we’re not getting anywhere, they are obviously trying to decide what category we are in but we feel helpless not being able to communicate, they decide to charge us €10 and we are none the wiser! After the toll we get onto the A1 or E75 as it’s also known, this road was terrible! The tram tracks from lorries swaying us left and right, Dave does a great job keeping Pogo on the road at all! The many many lorries along here are driving half on the hard shoulder and half on the road so they can avoid them too only there are trees also that they need to avoid as they lean right! the worst part was Czestochowa to Lodz, we pass mile upon mile of fields of golden wheat and grain, the country is vast and there’s not much to see at all, the journey was approx. 4.5 hours and we were glad to get to a free overnight parking place we found on park4night (N51.69211,E19.44408), it was a lovely space next to a lakeside and many families were out exercising in the early evening sun, there’s a centre nearby called wake up and roll and there were many inline skaters about and children pootling around the lake. Dave fancies a walk, but I fancy lying down and doing absolutely nothing! so off he goes whilst I recline, aaah now that’s lovely.
Next morning after a very peaceful sleep we set off for another stop before we get to, Gdańsk it’s the Unesco City of Torun, more and more fields of wheat, more terrible roads, although there seems to be new roads under construction everywhere we go in Poland, evidence of the former Communist occupation in the drab buildings that appear now and then, massive bill boards also pop up reminding us of driving along a U.S. highway or the road from the Algarve Portugal to Lisbon on the west coast, that was a serious tumbleweed road with a total absence of anything to look at apart from bill boards.
A couple of kms from our chosen site at Torun (N52.99980,E18.60740) we come across a bridge, it says 3.3 metres, Dave’s a bit wary and nervous, he doesn’t trust the sign, Pogo is 3.16 with his cap on (satellite, which we don’t use) he drives on and the next bridge is even lower at 3.2, he drives on and into a Lidl and stops to check the map, the alternative route is taking us another 10 kms back the way we came and through some road works, I’m sure we’ll fit I say, you’ve got 14 cms spare! He gives me a look and say’s it’ll be my fault if we get stuck, am I going to walk in front and check we’re ok? I give him a look and say……………….! No dear, we drove slowly through but no awful scraping was to be heard, I don’t think we’ll ever get used to low bridges.
It’s about 2.30 pm once we’re all pitched up and we get a cheap meal at the campsite about €4 each and head off into Torun City crossing a huge bridge at least 1 km long over the wide river Wisla and we find 2 nice squares, the first of which was jam-packed with cafes and restaurants with live musicians playing or tv’s showing the football, we couldn’t find a seat, the next square we grabbed the only seats we could find next to a table with some guys on and they kindly moved over to allow us in, the only thing is we can’t get to the bar so before sitting down I headed over got Dave a large beer and a bottle of the cheapest white wine which I was happy to see was our favourite from Croatia Grasevina, Belgium came through against Brazil and Dave texts our new friends Patrick and Erna from Zeebrugge, they are having a big family football party at home.
Walking around the beautiful city of Torun taking photos late at night was really enjoyable, all the buildings lit up against the night sky, a pity we won’t be visiting tomorrow as we want to get to Gdańsk.
Saturday 7th July
After a breakfast outside of bacon and eggs squeezed up alongside a couple of bikers who must have arrived as we slept, I’d have offered them a bacon butty but they were already eating, we’ve still got at least 2 hours to drive to Gdańsk it has been a long journey north and we would never drive from Kraków to Gdansk again! Dave spots some Diesel for 4.99 zloty PER litre, £1 so fills up Pogos tank, typically we spot it 1 km later for 4.94! but it’s still cheap and no sooner are we on our way when we see a couple of young hitchhikers with a sign for Gdańsk , we managed to pull over and Mike and Paulina from Bratislava hop into Pogo, their big rucksacks filling the floor and no thanks they don’t need the loo or a drink, we make them comfy getting the seatbelts out from under the cushions and set off , they are on holiday for a week and they speak good English and Mike says he dreams of having a car like this one day and travelling like we are, he’s only 21 so there’s a good chance he will one day, Paulina admires the colourful crochet cushions that were made for us by our very good friend Vera, and their travelling Teddy bear gets a photo next to them.
Arriving at Camp Stogi Gdansk (N54.370371,E18.730261) on the Baltic coast Mike gets a picture of us and Teddy for their record, they’ve decided to camp here too.
Again, we arrive into a city and our first port of call is the football, we’ve got a bit of a theme going on here me thinks! This time it’s so packed we don’t think we can sit anywhere, we manage to see a bar outside the Radisson Blu with a TV, some English guys allow us to squeeze alongside their table, they all squish up for us and it’s tight but I’m partially blocking someone’s view from behind me, I squeeze over so she has a bigger gap but she won’t move to accommodate herself, I’m sorry I say but all of the bars are the same everyone is squeezing in where they can and with that she and her friends stomp off! Allowing another group of Swedish and Finnish ladies to sit down, grateful for the limited space.
There’s another bar 20 metres away and a swarm of yellow and blue shirts play with us throughout the game, playful banter, screaming and shouting when nothing is happening just to get us going, our bar has many people covering themselves in the red blankets the bar has provided as it’s got chilly and I’m sure they think we’re all England supporters, I actually felt sorry for them when they lost against England, well not that sorry obviously! Walking around the city afterwards we admired the beauty of the old town streets of Gdańsk and can’t wait to come tomorrow for a proper visit.