A Travellerspoint blog

Intermezzo

reflections and mysteries on the road

When you spend (comment: small reflection only: is it spend or spent? Looked it up for this occasion. Probably will forget again, as many other things...) that much time on the road there is to time to think, reflect and wonder.

Right now have three for you;

1. EU union

You see it in Belgium/our regions but the number of European projects/funding increases as I follow this trip. Every 100 Km or so that I drive, at least one sign mentioning this or that road/bridge has been funded by Brussels. For no other reason than that there was another one small sign during my walk in Sopot, that I mention it here. Have no real comment on the sign itself - as I have not paid European taxes for quite some years - other than the simple question in my mind where all that money is coming from......
I guess the way things are going in Belgium , soon there will be signs around poor areas with signs of the Polish flag saying "this is funded by the Polish government, who have enough income from Europe and millions of hardworking plumbers all around Europe".

sign.jpg

P.S. do not ask me what the sign actually says, no clue. (see my comments on language later).

There is another small reason for putting this photo in. It explains with the small bottom signs what is locally called and refered to as TRIMIASTO (literally - the three cities). The combination of the cities of Gdansk - Gdynia - Sopot.
Gdansk the historical city (yes, Lech Walensa and the roots of Solidarnoc/fight for Polish independence)
Sopot the "Knokke" on the Baltic see, for over hunderd years prefered holiday place for Germans and Polish alike
Gdynia the more industrial city. My terminal was there but not planning to visit as "less interesting".

2. language

I like languages and we are so lucky in Belgium we get the opportunity to learn NL/E/F/D well and early in life. It certainly helped me in my professional life! During my stays in many foreign countries, I tried to pick up more (Spanish/Latvian/Romanian/Somali/Arabic) - even got formal lessons (usually abandoned very quickly .... (Russian/Polish) but it only resulted in a few jibberish words. Most of the time the locals are clueless if I use the occasional words I picked up. (Not like my friend Danilo who is really good and can tell some stories in Farsi (Iranian), Turkish and Arabic ...)
Anyway, my failures in Polish - read this and judge for yourselves.

The longest word in foreign language (as per Wikipedia, you can look it up);
a. Dutch = 40
- vervoerdersaansprakelijkheidsverzekering, "carriers' liability insurance";
- bestuurdersaansprakelijkheidsverzekering, "drivers' liability insurance"
b. English = 45
- pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is the longest English word that appears in a major dictionary
c. Polish = 54 (but see comment underneath)
- Dziewięćsetdziewięćdziesięciodziewięcionarodowościowego, 54 letters, is the genitive singular form of an adjective meaning roughly "of nine-hundred and ninety-nine nationalities" (comment - notice the word roughly?!)

I have purposely excluded what was also in Wikipedia under Polish heading, thinking it more than crazy for the sake of crazy: Dziewięćsetdziewięćdziesiątdziewięćmiliardówdziewięćsetdziewięćdziesiątdziewięćmilionówdziewięćsetdziewięćdziesiątdziewięćtysięcydziewięćsetdziewięćdziesięciodziewięcioletniego (176 letters, meaning "of 999,999,999,999 years old").

3. Polish women

No, there will be no sexist story about who is the fairest in the world etc. There is beauty everywhere and particularly in The Horn of Africa and most slavic countries, if you ask me.
But what is so exceptional in Poland is that the ratio of beauty of women is at least 5-6x to their (ugly) men.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder....

Comment: this is not done tongue-in-cheeck but genuine observations. I did not plan to upset anyone but for sure - and this is a test if she does read my stuff - my former secretary Daga (Dagmara) has very strong opinions and probably HAS to say something here. Sorry I cannot meet her/her family this time in Sopot - as a modern Polish family they are simply holidaying in Mauritius!

OK, enough of this.
Back to the road and day 4 (to follow).

Cheers

Posted by moustache17 08:38 Archived in Poland Comments (1)

Day 3 (20 Jan)

driving again - and Noooooooooooooo........

overcast 2 °C
View Northern road trip on moustache17's travel map.

Got up early today as another road day ahead.
Some 600 Km to cover.
Half German Autobahn - yes, fast and furious.
And half through villages on a secondary road in Poland.

This is most of what I saw for half of the 7 Hours in the car;

road_poland.jpg

and

road_poland2.jpg

On the first picture you notice a "no overtaking", which is totally disregarded by all drivers. So it becomes a three lane road most of the time. Speed limits - as in the second picture - 70 before reaching the village (and 50 in the village) - are equally disregarded by all.

Noooooooooo

You must have also noticed by now that I created an impression in Swerin park that there is snow where I go. This was one of the key motivations to do the trip, no? At that point already, there was only snow in that park and a brown slush or nothing in the city. Was not very promising but kept the good spirit.

On the road pictures in Poland again NOT that convincing.

Next, what I found in Sopot - my first stop. Disaster.

snow_men.jpg

What should have been 2 meter tall snowmen in a whiteness of endless snow, have been reduced to formless midgets in a common garden. Not what I expected as during my stay here 2005/2009, winters were down to -22C and lots, lots of snow. My hopes are on Latvia and Sweden, if and when the trip takes me there later....

Eventually got to Sopot but it was already dark and too tired to walk too far. Next edition about Sopot, tomorrow...... (not really, typing this on Day 4 so you will get 4 in an hour or so....)

Cheers

Posted by moustache17 08:06 Archived in Poland Comments (0)

Day 2 (19 Jan)

Schwerin and the first signs of snow

semi-overcast -2 °C
View Northern road trip on moustache17's travel map.

As mentioned yesterday, extended pit stop to see what the capital city of Mecklenburg-Vorpommeren has to show for.

I had a long walk this morning around the place. Yes, there is snow now!

snow_.jpg

There is a very nice park around the Castle. Several different corners with interesting bits - keeps you interested for the long walk. Not that there were very many people around. In fact only met one, but VIP!

my_friend.jpg

Friedrich Franz II, main man around here in mid 18 hundreds. Grand Duke. Apparently did some good things for the people here and lots of wars for the Prussian Kings. Not going to bother you with any history lessons. Just liked the guy with his old style German Helmet, what we call the "punthelm" - the pointed helmet. Of course little controversial but no further comments on history. Still in their country for another day and need food later.

From the back of the park, good overview.

all.jpg

This sums it up more or less. Far Left the Dom (cathedral), far right the Schloss (castle) and in between museum and concert hal. Latter two buildings look their part. The concert hal was announcing Ravel, but fully booked. Visited the museum as they have one floor of paintings I like - Dutch (and Belgian) masters from the Golden Age - such as Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Ferdinand Bol, Brueghel, Jordaens, etc, etc, even a Rubens. Early work and not that exceptional, but still.
The other floor was modern art. Not really so interested. Looks like these days anyone can make (some type of modern) art. As it happens, last few months have seen/heard about chimpansees - elephants - and recently a Finnish bear which all paint and either sell to silly tourists and/or exhibit formally in art galleries.
If you like that kind of stuff, it is real - go check the wonders of internet: Juuso the bear makes artistic debut at Finnish gallery | Reuters

One more time - the Castle - as it really looks nice and should be in a Disney film.

34E1DA08D7A2E9EE0B5AB7B9FB6D3AC8.jpg

What else? OK, some of my time goes into pictures and editing these daily messages. Not that it is THAT cold but anyway nice chance to get inside for a couple of hours and do some surrogate office stuff (yes, still detoxing doctor!).

Late afternoon. Time for second sortee...

night.jpg

Not really good picture with Iphone but all we got on offer. Shows the Dom from the other side of the city, behind a small lake. There is a second larger lake also more or less part of the city.
Went that way because there is the Niederlandische Hof (Dutch House). Did not pick it as hotel but the restaurant was mentioned in Michelin guide as interesting and it was indeed. Wanted to solve the mystery why there is a Dutch house in the first place but seems the local VIP married a Dutch princess in 1901 and rest is history....

Back in the hotel. All in all worth the extended stop. Nice as it is with a bit of snow, must be really interesting in summer with the buildings, lakes, nature, open outlay, nice architecture, plenty of cultural and outdoor things to do. Go and see for yourself when in the neighbourhood, recommended.

Now to bed and ready at breakfast for the next leg of the road. Some 700K, still part in Germany (autobahn) and the decent side of Poland. Should be no problem (I guess). If there is something unexpected you should hear tomorrow with next broadcast.

Cheers

Posted by moustache17 12:47 Archived in Germany Comments (1)

Day 1 (18 Jan)

driving, what else - and no more Hilton

That is what one does most on a road trip...
First stretch of some 800Km from the home village to Schwerin.

Schwerin is some 100Km past Hamburg and happens to be the capital city of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Picked this place for its location around the 800Km range. Whilst researching on internet, it revealed itself with a nice Schloss (or Castle). Looked like a suitable place to have two nights. Rest and do some walking - see something new. My trip is supposed to be a casual trip and not a race with daily tyre burning on the roads. City visit is for tomorrow.....

Mentioning tyre burning. Everyone likes the German autobahn. Everyone - no, I should say every man - feels himself in a "Fast and Furious" movie with some fast driving. As I am no exception, enjoyed the trip even more from the moment I crossed the Dutch/German border. My car (BMW) felt instantly at home and purred away at 170/190. That is, from road work to road work. It swiftly picked up speed again from behind every Polish/Romanian/Bulgarian truck. And there were plenty - only truck nationalities on the road!
Nevertheless, I made it well in time to the first pit stop - Schwerin.

NO MORE HILTON. Having worked for Dubai and traveling a lot, hope it is not to snobby or snotty to say that they looked after us regarding hotels. 5 stars, usually the big brands such as Hilton - Mariott - Sheraton - whatever. Now with retirement and the benefit that Europe has lots of good hotels to offer, different (cheaper) options to chose from.....

weinhaus-wo_hler-12.jpg

Not bad for an alternative! Sure you noticed the sign on the building. WEINHAUS Wohler. A little gem for a mere 50Eu. Lots of room space. Wine sampling from the shelves. Good traditional German dinner i.e. Kotelett mit Pilzen (porc with mushrooms). And they had my favourite "dessert", which is called Colonel in Belgium. Here it showed simply on the menu as Sorbet (lemon with basilicum) with French Wodka. Was a must in preparation to travel into deeper Eastern territories during next days.

Early night. Tomorrow wandering Schwerin.

Cheers

Posted by moustache17 06:22 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Day -1

In other words, the evening before departure

sunny 6 °C

When I mentioned this trip to my friends, the most common reaction was something like; mumble, mumble, crazy, mumble. Some did not really verbally react but did the eyeball movement.

It is what it is or it will be what it will be. Looking forward to the open spaces and snow landscapes.

leaving home

leaving home

This is how my village looked yesterday. No whiteness, only a light pastel sky. Quite mild. Quiet. Predictable.

having a great time

having a great time

I am not expecting the above, but who knows? (it is a real picture how they found a Polish guy after a few glasses/bottles of wodka!).

Should be something in the middle between home and face-down-in-the-snow experience.

Most important thing is that besides the first two stops in Germany/Poland - matters are open and without any fixed reservations. Same as the elastic in your grandmother's panties, this trip can be stretched in all directions.

Talk to you soon, ....

Posted by moustache17 09:19 Archived in Belgium Comments (1)

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