Family matters

Trip Start Jan 01, 2008
Trip End Sep 29, 2009

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Flag of Poland  , Central Poland,
Friday, July 24, 2009

Zakopane was everything we had expected and more, even though it was a busy resort and even though it was busy and full of souvenir shops and bars it never felt tacky or overcrowded there was a good balance of things to do, skiing facilities for the winter and national parks to enjoy the spectacular scenery. We spent two days on a camp site there, the price was the cheapest in Europe with the most facilities included and considering the location was easily the best value in any country we had been.

We have been hoping to find a decent chair lift for a while now but so far the mountain weather had always put us off, this time we found a ski lift that took you to the top of a ski jump. It was a lovely day perfect for a gentle ride, Sharon no longer had a excuse to avoid her fear of heights so we took to the lift. While she was quite frightened at first she did really enjoy it so it was a good personal achievement, maybe we can go higher next time!

We had arranged to be in Warsaw by Friday to catch up with our Polish family so we decided to head north on the Thursday and call into Cracow along the way, we have been here before so it was just a flying visit really, the weather had started to heat up considerably and by the end of the day had started to approach forty degrees, thats when it get hard living in the van, with no air conditioning you can't escape the heat, driving just about makes it bearable but you have to stop eventually!

As we said we had worried about free camping in Poland but to be honest we have had probably the easiest time finding good spots, as in Germany you can safely sleep with the lorries on pleasant service stations if you need somewhere at the end of the day. That night we found a good service station between Warsaw and Cracow and if a little hot managed to get some sleep. The next day we were contacted by the family to see if we survived the night! Apparently the hot weather had caused flash thunderstorms across the region and 17 people had been killed, we did hear the storms but getting use to hot weather followed by storms they didn't really wake us, it surprising what you can sleep through when you start to feel safe!

As we had planned we arrived in Poland to a typical warm welcome on Friday afternoon and then on to a family get together for one of the little ones birthdays. It was great to see everyone after three years and see how quickly there own families were growing. The Poles seem to place allot of emphasis on family and any occasion where everyone gets together is always a great thing to be a part of. What the Poles also love as much as family is eating and drinking and we were treated all weekend to some great home cooked food, as my cousin said everyone always claims to be full but every half a hour there always seems to be more food brought to the table which as the day goes by eventually gets eaten! Luckily for us the tradition of drinking lots of vodka is slowly been replaced by the Polish appreciation of wine, I think if we had consumed half as much vodka as we did wine we would have been writing this blog from a local hospital!

Its always amazing to see my relatives in Poland, even though its only out third visit we are always made to feel so welcome its starting to feel like a second home. They visited England throughout my childhood which even then always seemed such a happy occasion and to be made to feel so welcome in there country always leaves us both overwhelmed and privileged to be part of this extended family.

We only stayed the weekend as everyone seems very busy with work and family, to catch them altogether over a relaxed weekend was perfect timing and even though they would have happily kept us for a week or more we decided it would be best to move on and explore.

Our plan is now to head to the Mazurian Lakes, one of the most concentrated and abundant lake districts in the world apparently, then head on to the north coast. Its so cheap in Poland we could end up spending a few more weeks here before we head to Germany following the Baltic coast towards England, we have four weeks until we sail so we have to make sure we enjoy every minuet left on the road.
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Krzysztof on

You are completely right and nice to read such nice words. Keep us in mind and best regards. Krzysztof

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