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Published: July 17th 2013
Just like in the fairy tale,the Three Little Pigs,we were up earlier than our room neighbours ,showered and toileted without worrying about anyone else knocking on the door!We were even through most of our breakfast before the other people emerged for theirs which they had paid for as the owner of the guest house provided it for them.
It had not been a good night in another uncomfortable bed although we did get 'regulation sleep hours' because we went to bed earlier than we have been.
We must be getting near Poland as the day dawned overcast although the rain of last night had past over.
Our path today will take us down and around the border of the Russian state of Kalliningrad with Lithuania and later on in the day,Poland.This state is quite an oddity having been left behind when the Soviet era in the Baltic states and Poland came to an end.We would love to get over the border just to have a look but as with entering Russia you need a visa and an 'invite'from your accommodation place and you have to specify dates for the visa.It also has to be arranged well in advance
of your visit.
After yesterdays wanderings in the rural countryside we decided wisely on sticking to the prescribed roads as the GPS worked out our journey to Goldap in northern Poland.We could have taken some rural roads that more closely followed the border with the Russian state but after heading west towards and through Jurbarkas we crossed the river heading south until we met the A5 and crossed into Poland.
With Goldap being on one of the routes into Kaliningrad our route then took us parallel with the border for a considerable distance.For once the sun came out quite strongly in Poland and the temperature rose into the low 20's.You could make the border out for most of the 40 odd kilometres we had to drive to Goldap after crossing into Poland.It was where the meadows finished and heavy forest started and it ran in a virtual straight line.There was however no watchtowers or barbed wire just a solid wall of tall,dense forest.
Goldap was a surprise to us as we weren't expecting the sizeable town it was, complete with a large and busy central square with most of the shopping located in or near the square
as was our hotel.
We rocked up to the reception of the modern hotel with our watches saying it was 12.30pm thinking that although we were a bit early because of our early morning rise to get an uninterrupted shower and hence departure,we would still be able to get to our room.
Wrong!We had forgotten that we should have changed our watches for the time difference between Lithuania and Poland even though we had travelled south in a straight line as the crow flies.So it was only 11.30am in the morning and it would be an hour before our room would be ready.
Easy enough to find something to do for an hour you say,have lunch perhaps.Well,the idea was good but we couldn't find a café in the square where all the businesses appeared to be.So we opted for a couple of rolls and ham from Tescos and sat in the warm sun in the park to pass the time.
Once we were unpacked and had a coffee we headed off to explore the forest park that the health spa was located in(Goldap is famous,in Poland,for its spa facilities)and try and find the Nazis secret bunkers for developing a jet engine as described on a map of the area we had picked up from the local tourist office.The young lady there also told us where to find a café but too late as we had already had lunch.
We trekked through the forest after parking the car on the edge and followed a couple of likely paths but as the 'bunkers'weren't actually marked on the map it all turned out to be a bit of a wild goose chase.
We had been noticing the little red and white flags painted o the trees along the track every so often and took it that as long as they were ahead of us we were still in Poland as the forest shared a boundary with Kaliningrad.We had also thought that there would be some sort of sign on the well formed track which was good enough to take a car on that would tell you to go no further as you were about to leave Poland.
Things had been a bit tame for the BBA adventurers since the incident with Daniel at the Romania/Hungary border and we felt up for a bit more adventure,in a controlled way of course.So we continued on the track after the red and white flags seemed to have stopped and walked another 400 or 500 metres to a point where we reckoned we must have crossed the border despite there be nothing by way of signs or soldiers with alasation dogs!
We thought we better not tempt fate too much and turned around and headed back to the car unsure whether we had crossed the border with authority or not.The red and white flags began to reappear on the trees as we made the return journey adding further to our thoughts that we might/must have crossed the border unwittingly.We will never know but it was a bit of an adventure on a quiet afternoon in Poland.
With all that excitement the very comfortable beds looked inviting even though we were still getting used to the time change and our bodies were saying it was time for sleep although the clock was saying ,not quite yet.
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