Monday 9th July 2018
We left Gdansk headed towards the German border I’m covered in red lumps, those bitey things at the camp bit me through my clothes! Two of the blighters got me on the backside through my leggings whilst I held the ladder for Dave, he’s on the roof sticking the middle skylight down with gaffa tape as its come away from one of the handles.
Running away from the mozzies!
We head for Debrzno which is south and west of Gdansk to camping Choznice (N.53.54287 E17.27299) it’s a campsite near a lake with great facilities and several fire pit areas and tennis and table tennis, we didn’t have the electric and it cost 39 zloty, approx €9 per night, whilst Dave washed some clothes at the outside sinks I cooked dinner outdoors, a Thai green vegetable curry, one of my best yet said Dave we were starving as we hadn’t eaten all day and we sat and chilled outside for the evening, no bitey bleeders here thankfully! And anyway, the Wi-Fi is rubbish on the camp so we are forced to chill out.
Next morning Tuesday 10th we went to Camp Marina Poland, (N53.39583, E.14 63647) near the German border here we watched Belgium vs France on a big screen in the bar and tasted some Polish food, stuffed cabbage with meaty sausage which was lovely and Pierogi which is a sort of little dumpling filled with various things, Dave chose cheese and potato.
We’ve not done much for the last 2 days apart from drive eat and watch football or relax, that’s because the roads from Gdansk are very boring and also we want to get some miles in so we can get further west, next morning the plan was indeed to head to Berlin but it was chucking it down here and also in Berlin, so we decided to stay to watch the England game, we were the only ones supporting us as everyone else was for Croatia, no other British on the site, so we blogged all day, Dave was supposed to be writing the Gdansk blog he started but didn’t find the motivation to finish and he was being grumpy about it, it’s not much fun when we are too behind as it’s difficult to play catch up and remember what we’ve done, even though Dave writes a basic diary every day there is still a lot to remember, we ended up arguing about it and then I stepped in as research assistant and together we got it done, he’s the photo man, we take hundreds of photos and they have to be sorted into categories and days, this alone takes a lot of time, he is better than me at that as I’m not very technical when it comes to the camera/download/resize/uploady stuff! the Wi-Fi is intermittent and Dave can’t wait to cross in to Germany to buy a SIM card. Rain finally stopped, and we headed into Berlin, the roads started badly, the Poles like their holes! They were digging a large section up, but you had to drive on it anyway at about 5kms per hour, there’s no contra flow here! We found a Stellplatz in the centre of Berlin, 4 kms north, Wohmobile Oase, it’s pricey at €27 for 6 metres and the price increases the bigger the motorhome plus there is a €2 per day per person charge for bathroom and showers but we don’t need them, so we don’t pay for it,
This Stellplatz is outside the environmental zone which is good for us as Pogo doesn’t qualify for the environmental zone sticker he’s got naughty emissions! First thing we need is a data sim card for Dave so it’s a 10-minute stroll to the shopping centre – Vodafone €25 – 30 day, – 3GB even better there’s an Aldi there too! So, food and beer bought, and we’re sorted for a few days.
That night we planned the city sights, no tea for us tonight as the drive was long to get here 200 kms and we stopped for a break at McDonalds, best coffee ever had in a McD
The stellplatz Wohmobile Oase (N52.548826,E13.383747) 200 m from the train station so is ideally placed for a visit into Berlin, Dave’s got a map from the guy at camp and is figuring out which line we need, he gets no help from me as it’s not my forte, he’s better at this and I need my glasses for reading, so they are on and off my face every 2 mins and it drives me mad, I do the research and he finds the route, it seems to work for us, we get the train to East Side gallery, the longest surviving section of the Berlin wall 1,316 m long with superb artistic graffiti painted by 100 artists from more than 20 countries, personally I really liked it, the messages a poignant reminder of the division that existed from its early construction as a barbed wire fence to the wall itself in 1961 and it’s eventual fall in 1989, I’m glad it was kept, what did surprise us was the height of the wall itself being only 12ft high, we expected it to be much higher, I tried to imagine how it would feel to be separated from family just a few metres on the other side.
We needed to find a loo so into the shopping centre nearby, most toilets in Europe charge to use them but this one wanted €1 each, a bit steep we thought so instead we went into McDonalds but they had latched on to this and charged 50 cents unless you were customer, we fancied a coffee anyway but we were savvy and bought one cup to share.
Onwards to museum Island on the river Spree, so-called as it’s a little island with 5 museums! Pergamon museum sounds really interesting but they’re quite expensive to go inside €18 for one of them and from what we’ve read it sounds very much like the V & A in London which we have visited a couple of times, if it was a one-off holiday we’d probably go in a couple but on a long trip like this you have to cherry pick the sights, as it is Dave has decided he’d like to pay to go into the imposing Cathedral, Berliner Dom.
Dave loves Cathedrals and old churches, he’s not a religious person but he loves the architecture, the paintings and the domes, he likes to sit a while and reflect on the life of the people who have spent time inside the buildings over hundreds of years and to reflect on his own life and how fortunate he is.
We walked through the Collonades surrounding the museums looking out to the courtyard, which is planted with tall sycamores and smaller greenery, and the outstanding architecture of the museums surrounding it, Dave spotted a ballerina posing for a photo in the Collonades hallway, she looked so beautiful and just like one of the statues in the grounds.
Walking on towards the Lustgarten a large park situated between the Cathedral and the Altes Museum a neoclassical building resembling the Pantheon in Rome, we sat on a bench to eat our sandwiches, I bought a Vegan garlic butter and chive filled pretzel to try and we sat listening to a guy playing guitar and singing Beatles songs, he was very good, we could have sat there for ages but we’ve lot’s to do also I was too hot as I mistakenly wore jeans, it looked cool this morning when we set off but now it was about 25 Degrees C, so it is into the cool interior of the Cathedral we go.
Inside the Neo Baroque Cathedral I got an audio guide for €3 and Dave wandered around taking photos which was allowed with no flash of course, I meet up with him when the audio guide plays organ music as I know he loves that too, so we sit quietly with one earpiece each looking up at the amazing domed ceiling, the interior was very elaborate and the pulpit made of handcrafted oak and gold looks like an old Prussian police helmet, there are many amazing statues adorning it’s octagonal shape.
Up 270 steps to the top of the Dom it was very steep as the Berliner Dom is over 100 metres high! for long reaching views over Berlin towards the very tall TV tower at Alexanderplatz and the Mosque.
It’s thirsty work this touring so we head to the Haskercher market area and find a nice place under a glass roof between hotels ,a very pleasant area with many restaurants and bars and we sit outside one of them which is showing the Wimbledon tennis, after an Aperol spritz I find myself nodding off so the decision is made to head back to Pogo, I cooked a Tikka masala vegetable curry and threw half a broccoli in as I don’t like to waste anything, we sat outside in the small space between the vans and I watched the live scores coming up from the men’s tennis Andersson and Isner 1.5 hours tie break! I’ve really missed the tennis this year as every tv we’ve come across has football on, we don’t watch TV in Pogo but we may consider it if we are to spend winters traveling.