Page 4 of Spurins Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Poland » Lubusz » Zielona Góra May 25th 2019

It’s Saturday, AKA parkrun day, and the main reason for the trip; the old man running a parkrun beginning with Z. He booked a hotel right next to the park. Unfortunately, not the correct park – that’s 2 miles away. We get up after a bad night’s sleep. The Qubus Hotel is rather flimsy; you can hear people walking around on other floors, the bed is two flimsy single beds with a double mattress topper. It’s uncomfortable and wobbly – like sleeping on a lilo. The curtains are flimsy, so by 5 am the room is flooded with sunlight and the windows are flimsy, so by 7 am the room is full of the noise of nearby building works. We get ready and I set the satnav for Zielona Gora parkrun. This takes us to the ... read more
Berlin Schoenefeld

Europe » Poland » Lubusz » Zielona Góra May 24th 2019

Our last day in Poland and time to make tracks for Zielona Góra for the old man’s coveted ‘Z’ parkrun. We initially intended to go to Żary, but there has been much dispute among parkrun nerds over recent weeks on whether Żary should count as a Z, when it actually starts with a Ż. Some argued that a Ż is just a Z with an accent, while the linguistic purists insisted that in Polish, it is a separate letter of the alphabet. The purists won and thus our travel plans were rearranged. We stop en route for brunch. I have been thinking about last night’s horrendous meal. It occurs to me, that over the years, many people have migrated to the UK and we have embraced their culinary culture. It’s not uncommon to hear someone say; ... read more
Winny Park
Winny Park
Winny Park

Europe » Poland » Greater Poland » Poznan May 23rd 2019

It’s time to start the journey back to Berlin, stopping tonight at Poznań. Mainly because it’s half way rather than because my guide book enthuses about Poznań, which it doesn’t. It’s another 4 plus hour drive but this time we are allowed to stop. To prove we’re really living the dream, we have brunch in a KFC in a motorway service station. If there was a prize for the meal which looked least like the photo on the menu, my cheese wrap would win. I consider whether to try and return the cremated pile of crap in a country where I can’t speak the language, but the old man scoffs it. No matter, I have a bucket of chips. After that healthy interlude, we continue to Poznań, which is a lot bigger than I’d expected. And ... read more
Testing the water in Poznań
Town hall
Town hall

Europe » Poland » Pomerania » Gdansk May 22nd 2019

I’ve been looking forward to today’s visit to Gdańsk. Having studied East European Studies, a visit to the European Solidarity Centre is my highlight of the trip. I did not sleep well; yesterday’s pierogi gave me wicked indigestion. But at least the hot water is back so I can have a bath. Suitably refreshed, we set off on the 7/S7/E77/DK7 ‘sometimes I’m a road sometimes I’m a motorway’ combo. It takes 4 hours to reach Gdańsk – we have now driven the length of Poland, from the Tatras to the Baltic. Today the old man refuses to stop en route, so by the time we arrive, I am so thirsty I feel like I’m going to shrivel up like the Wicked Witch of the West. Gdańsk holds a pivotal place in European history. As the German ... read more
Gdańsk shipyard Gate No 2
Gdańsk shipyard memorial
European Solidarity Centre - clocking in

Europe » Poland » Masovia » Warsaw May 21st 2019

The road to Warsaw is indeed mostly road (I had expected motorway but there are only chunks of motorway appearing randomly along the way). Hence the 184 mile journey takes over 5 hours. It’s not very scenic and I’ve finished my book, so it’s a long 5 hours. We stop briefly in a Lidl to buy brunch and get attacked by old ladies brandishing shopping trolleys like lethal weapons. By the time we reach Warsaw, it’s mid afternoon and raining and the city is masked by a cloud of smog. It takes another hour to fight our way into town (I can understand now why we had to pay an excess to bring the car here – the drivers are batshit crazy) and find our way to the hotel car park, which is in a courtyard ... read more
Palace of Culture and Science
View from Palace of Culture and Science
The Sail

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków May 20th 2019

It’s an early start this morning in order to reach Auschwitz before the 10 am compulsory, yet non-existent, tour guide cut off time. We make it with minutes to spare, although it means skipping breakfast. It feels inappropriate to complain about being hungry in a place like Auschwitz. I fail to gain entry at the first attempt as I have left my passport in the car. Then there is an issue with the spelling of my name on the ticket. Finally, on the third attempt (fourth if you count yesterday), I am admitted. The camp consists of around 30 blocks, most now form a museum detailing the history of Auschwitz. Some blocks deal with the history of the camp in general, while others recount the plight of specific nationalities of prisoners. The general blocks contain a ... read more
Arbeit macht frei

Europe » Slovakia » Presov Region » Zdiar May 19th 2019

Today we have a 5 hour drive to Slovakia for no particular reason other than so the old man can check Slovakia off his list of countries visited. It’s actually only 200 miles, but involves crossing the Tatra Mountains. We plan to stop en route at Oswiecim to visit the concentration camps of Auschwitz. A visit to a concentration camp turns out to be surprisingly expensive. By the time you’ve added parking, entry fees and a trip to the toilet, it’s over £30. In any event, you’re not allowed in without a guide and the next English tour is in 3 hours time. So we depart for Slovakia instead. We stop for brunch in a pizzeria too far off the tourist trail for English menus to be an option, so it’s a case of pizza Russian ... read more
Slovakian border
Slovakian border

Europe » Poland » Lower Silesian » Wroclaw May 18th 2019

It’s Saturday, AKA parkrun day, and today’s parkrun is Pieschener Allee. It’s only a 10 minute walk from the hotel so we don’t even have to get up too early. In the UK, going to a different parkrun involves knowing roughly where to go then following the crowds. Parkrun hasn’t really taken off in Germany; last week there were only 23 runners at Pieschener Allee, so I have carefully studied the map to ensure we know where to go. We manage to find the start without problem. There are a total of 26 runners, mostly ex pats. Everyone is really friendly. The course is a pleasant out and back run on a footpath along the River Elbe. It’s also very flat, so I run my 3rd fastest ever 5k time. And coming 24th sounds quite good ... read more
Pieschener Allee parkrun
Pieschener Allee parkrun

Europe » Germany » Saxony » Dresden May 17th 2019

It’s my last day of visiting old haunts. I have enjoyed my trip down memory lane. There is still a distinct difference between east and west Germany; here it’s more laid back and the people are friendlier. Other ways they remain linked to the past; the WiFi is rubbish, there’s still a Woolworths and a C&A, even the odd Trabant. We start the day with a different car and a tour of the Glaserne Manufaktur (the transparent factory) where they manufacture the VW E-Golf. The building, made entirely of glass, sitting in the corner of a park, is quite a sight. We opt to walk the 2 miles to the factory because we have been told it is difficult to park there! To be honest, the factory is little more than a PR stunt. In this ... read more
VW factory
VW factory
VW factory

Europe » Germany » Saxony » Dresden May 16th 2019

Not the best start to the day. I sat on the toilet and the seat hinge snapped. This has left me in a bad mood for two reasons: (1) I am sad that my arse is so enormous that a toilet seat can’t bear its weight, and (2) the seat subsequently slipped, pinching aforementioned enormous arse, thus hurting more than just my pride. Once the toilet seat debacle is over, we check out. We had planned some more sightseeing in Berlin but the weather is hideous so we set off instead on the 115 mile drive south to Dresden. Before we leave, I attempt to buy some postcards. I enter the shop, spend a not inconsiderable amount of time selecting my postcards, then approach the cashier. She tells me she doesn’t open for another 15 minutes. ... read more
Semper 2

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