4th August – 8th August
We drove about 250kms today, crossing the Polish border. Another large disused border post although just up the road, trucks were being stopped. Not sure if it was to check whether the drivers had vignettes which fortunately we don’t need. We drove through many pretty towns, along some lovely tree lined roads and again the people’s pride in their gardens was obvious. This area of Poland has a lot of lakes with large numbers of people out and about, swimming, sailing or just walking in the sunshine. We are parked at a large lake in Mragowo and sat outside watching the locals walk down to the swimming beach. An elderly polish man came up for a chat, we didn’t understand him and he didn’t understand us, but handshakes all round and he was off again. There were a lot of people still heading down there at 6pm when we went inside for dinner.
We decided to drive all of the way to Gdańsk as there isn’t much to see between Mragowo and Gdańsk, BIG MISTAKE! The distance of 236km should have taken around 3 hours but due to some major roadworks about 100km out, it took us over 6 hours. Unfortunately there was only one road we could take, and we were on it. Wouldn’t have mattered when we drove on this road, there would have still been delays, Im guessing until at least 2018! We arrived at the first camping ground only to be told they were full. Fortunately there are two campsites together and we got into the second one at a cheaper rate than what was quoted on camper contact, not sure why? We spent what was left of the afternoon relaxing with a nice glass of Tempranillo from Spain.
We headed into Gdańsk after breakfast on the tram, 3.80 PLN ($1.27) each one way for a 6km journey. Travelling through the outskirts of the city the Russian influence was obvious again as you would expect and quite run down in places. Once off the tram we headed to the old town which was mostly destroyed during WWII but has been painstakingly rebuilt from old plans. We both agreed that it would have to be one of the largest and beautiful old towns we have seen, and there have been many. Starting from the Renaissance green gate we headed up ul Dluga (Long Street) which is one of the city’s historic thoroughfares. We climbed the 405 steps of St Mary’s church, the third largest brick gothic church in Europe which gave a great view over the spires of the surrounding churches as well as across the city streets. Some of the buildings were covered in murals while others were adorned with statues and gargoyles. Every street had market stalls selling Amber, clothes, toys and food, there was even a street that was selling antique goods. We visited St Catherine’s church where during an archeological dig, they uncovered a mass grave 3 metres below the ground level and is now a crypt open to the public. We had lunch at one of the many bistros before continuing our walk around, past the towering gothic town hall. A walk along the waterfront was our final destination before heading back to the tram and home again on what was a very enjoyable day.
We had a walk to the beach before leaving today where there are restaurants, a fairground and a wide expanse of sand with screens that people can change behind placed along the beach. A few people were swimming however it was quite windy so we didn’t stay for long. Back on the S6 with fewer road delays (thank goodness) and a drive of around 140kms has us arriving on the outskirts of Koszalan. We passed through a couple of big towns before finally getting out into the countryside. A lot of little towns had us speeding up, slowing down, speeding up and slowing down again which did very little for fuel consumption. Still it was better than the day before last where we were stopping and starting for 100kms. We have found a wildcamp spot just outside of a forest area so we headed in for a walk. There were lots of tracks heading in all directions however we walked in about 1km or so before the mosquitoes had us returning to the bug free environment of Tilly.