Poland

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Cat53, Jul 30, 2016.

  1. Cat53

    Cat53 Funster

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    image.jpg image.jpg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpg image.jpg Poles, Polish and THE ROADS! OMG the roads. Been home a week now and finally getting round to writing a bit about our trip.

    All did not go according to plan with the fridge refusing to run on gas before we had even left the drive. Quick detour to Downtown to buy an electrical cold box. Had a good run to Canterbury and our first ever Aire.



    Was fine and not at all noisy, we both slept really well. Up early to get to the Chunnel and to have breakfast. A bit of a wonder round the shops too. The Chunnel is a great experience in the Motorhome. Very comfortable way to travel. Beats anything else hands down. Our first port of call was Arras to find Steves Great Uncle Eddie, killed in WW1 at just 20 years of age. We have letters from the war office and from people he served with. I think we are the first family members to visit. Very sad and emotional. Especially as he was an apprentice cabinet maker. We have his exhibition piece that won him a gold medal. 2. Nd night we spent on an Aire in Lens. Again a nice site with roomy bays and very quiet. It's next to McDonalds so hubby pinched their wifi....cos The one he bought didn't work. Virgin. ( got our money back, but not the extra it cost on my IPhone)! Day three we were heading to Düren in Germany. Stopped to get petrol and the MH wouldn't restart....into the shop to buy jump leads, then accosted two lovely young men for a jump start. ( Steve saw them make the international sign for payment, and thought cheeky sods for wanting paying to jumpstart us) they were actually asking if I knew how to pay for the petrol. Successful jump start, handshakes all round and off we went again....but Winnie wasn't happy. Steve nursed her to Düren but she died on us in the middle of town. Such fun putting out the warning triangles ( which everyone ignored and were finally flattened by the wind of a passing fire engine on an emergency call). Hi Viz jacket donned and I then proceeded to direct all the blind Germans round our sick Winnie....including the Polizei, who felt I was doing a great job and carried on. Breakdown arrived, jump started Winnie and directed Steve to turn left and then immediate left into the forecourt of a 'Halfords' style garage. I was told off for directing the traffic as apparently it was very dangerous. :eek:

    Two days and the purchase of a bucket later, a new alternator and battery were fitted and we were off again, with many good wishes and crossed fingers I might add. Have to say the guys were great. They plugged us in for the entire time and gave us water when needed. They couldn't have been kinder or more helpful. (y)

    However, to add to our woes Emily ( our sat Nav) went on strike. Obviously all the attention given to Winnie's innards seriously pissed her off. So much so she decided to go off road, then spent her time 'recalculating' and saying 'please drive to highlighted route'. We were on the autobahn heading for Gutersloh. As we had lost two days we decided to forego the 'plan' and do longer drives as we were due in Poland on the Monday. Saturday night was spent on the Aire at the back of the Froli Factory. It's a lovely quiet site with full facilities, picnic tables and only one other van. Woke to birdsong and sunshine. As we knew we were in for a long drive we set up the slow cooker. The smell of Spanish Chicken casserole kept us company and was rather lovely. Next stop Angermunde. A long drive of 6 hours plus with the roadworks round ( Hamburg? Might be Hannover, damn it I always get those two mixed up) then eventually arriving at the base of the old wall of this very pretty town. Parking is free, electricity is on a meter. No water or sewage dumping but a popular Aire and a very pretty ancient old town. We loved it. :) We dined on a very welcome and delicious crockpot meal. Just the job at the end of a long drive. Poland beckoned, so we vowed to return on our way home for a good look round.

    We thought we would have a drive of around 3.5 hours on the Monday, but we had neglected to take into account atrocious road sign directions, terrible road surfaces and the vagaries of attempting to pronounce the unprounceable! So we took the scenic route....a lot! :rofl::rofl::doh::doh:

    WARNING.....there is one piece of road from Berlin into Poland that is dire. We thought we had travelled some bumpy roads in South Africa, but this wins. Hands down. So ladies, fasten down your boobs. Everyone check your fillings, stick your glasses on to your head, hold your wigs on, and be VERY careful opening any cupboards afterwards. I wouldn't use a crockpot either! Upon completion, and the need for a strong coffee.....don't bother. We did. It was warm, weak and gritty. Because it's standard practice in Poland to make instant coffee from proper ground coffee. One teaspoon in a cup. Fill with hot water, jobs done!

    Eventually we reached Klucaewo in the Lake District of Poland and our family there. So lovely to be able to relax, and be looked after by my son and his in laws. The welcome and love we received was, well I'm still overwhelmed by it. We spent a wonderful, carefree, cosseted, 10 days at this old farm house on a serviced pitch ( to all intents and purposes) being enchanted by the grandchildren and just enjoying family time. It was blissful.

    Then we headed back to Szczecin and Camping Marina. They don't take bookings, you just turn up and find a space. So we did. There's no wild camping in Poland and no Aires, but it is a beautiful country. The people are friendly and helpful. You notice a distinct drop in wealth in Poland. A lot of the property is run down, especially as you move further away from the German border.

    The food is lovely. Made with local fresh ingredients. Soup is popular, but it's not like ours. Loved Gewampie ( that's how it sounds, not necessarily how it is spelt. There's probably a 'z' or two in there. But it's basically, cabbage, pork/ beef mince, onions braised in the oven. Ours was layered like lasagne, but it's name derives from making it look like little pigeons, so the meat mixture is stuffed into the cabbage leaves traditionally.

    We would have explored Szczecin with our son ( that was the plan) but first off the Engine warning light came on on Winnie ( the fan belt had broken) so we were stuck again and then Christopher had a bump and was unable to drive his car. Bit gutted as it was our last few days with him and our grandchildren. Natalie is 7 and Hannah is 6 months. Needed more time with them damn it! Anyway one of Christopher students sorted Winnie. Hopefully our traumas with her and her innards are behind us.

    We made our way back to Angermunde and were very lucky to get on the Aire. It takes 5 MHs but that night there were a total of 9 MHs there. No one seemed bothered though. We spent the afternoon wandering the old town. So pretty. Full of 18/19 century houses. All original and untouched by wars and occupation. Made me imagine what Beethoven houses were like. I will put some photos up. The old town ends at the edge of a beautiful and surprising lake. Loved it.

    After that we headed back to Gutersloh. We spent 3 years there when Steve was in the RAF. Our son was born there, so the urge to revisit was strong. Oh dear! Steve things he must have been permanently drunk, because he didn't recognise any of it. He drove round it every day carrying out his duties as a RAF Policeman, but it's changed so much. Mind you we left in 1982! But even so. Two huge hyper markets have gone. The trees are huge and you would think you would remember crossing a railway line when you walked to the shops. We found where we used to live, but it's very built up. The fields have gone. It was interesting, but bewildering too. :Eeek:

    Our return journey was uneventful, the fridge was now working thanks to Marek ( sons Father in law) who fixed it for us.....I think the last Aire we used was our least favourite. We will look elsewhere next time. It was safe and everything, but jammed in and big. We do like small intimate gatherings!
     

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  2. campa cola

    campa cola Funster

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    Glad your van (and yourselves) survived the Polish roads, but I can't help thinking a more thorough checkout and maintainence schedule of an older van like that should have been in order before such a long trip. A fraying fan belt and ailing battery/alternator are fairly easy to check for, with a cheap voltmeter, and would have likely been showing signs of failure some time before they did. Just saying (y)
     
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  3. Cat53

    Cat53 Funster

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    QUOTE="campa cola, post: 1958911, member: 23166"]Glad your van (and yourselves) survived the Polish roads, but I can't help thinking a more thorough checkout and maintainence schedule of an older van like that should have been in order before such a long trip. A fraying fan belt and ailing battery/alternator are fairly easy to check for, with a cheap voltmeter, and would have likely been showing signs of failure some time before they did. Just saying (y)[/QUOTE]

    We had her fully serviced twice before leaving. Specifically asked them to check the fan belt and not being mechanics, I would have thought they would check the Alternator. Also we asked the mechanic in Germany who did fit the new alternator to check the fan belt. Again it was given the thumbs up! So what can you do? We will be talking to Kevin our usual garage mechanic. Maybe we need to go elsewhere, but he's always done us proud on car maintenance. And a Toyota hillux is just a big car, right? o_O
     
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  4. campa cola

    campa cola Funster

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    We had her fully serviced twice before leaving. Specifically asked them to check the fan belt and not being mechanics, I would have thought they would check the Alternator. Also we asked the mechanic in Germany who did fit the new alternator to check the fan belt. Again it was given the thumbs up! So what can you do? We will be talking to Kevin our usual garage mechanic. Maybe we need to go elsewhere, but he's always done us proud on car maintenance. And a Toyota hillux is just a big car, right? o_O[/QUOTE]
    Probably unlikely they would have checked everything, the alternator is a simple thing to check though. Fan belts well yes I take your point, often belts Like cam belts look fine on the outside but can be internally damaged, which is why you are supposed to change them at the specified interval, even if they visually look OK. Main van breakdowns I have seen is due to broken exhausts.
     
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  5. Cat53

    Cat53 Funster

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    When we bought her in October we took her to the garage for a thorough check over. Brake pads, pipes, exhaust, tyres, everything mechanical and we replaced everything we were advised to. Then we had her serviced again prior to her MOT, which she passed first time, so I really don't see what else we could have done. We will be carrying a spare fan belt or three from now onwards.
     
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  6. Tootles

    Tootles Funster

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    Fantastic. Really enjoyed the read.(y)
     
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  7. campa cola

    campa cola Funster

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    I am adding a set of spare wiper blades to my tool kit, on the basis they are easily damaged and could cause a lot of problems to replace on the road (in the rain).

    How to test an alternator in 1 minute:
     
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  8. Roseandpeter

    Roseandpeter Funster

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    Enjoyed reading about your trip. We are thinking of heading into Poland after visiting Berlin in August. Were most of the roads in poor condition In Poland? If not, which was the very poor one you mentioned please?
     
  9. ColinandDawn

    ColinandDawn Funster

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    @Cat53

    I so loved reading your latest adventure - hats off to you both.

    As for the dissenters on this thread;

    Let me tell you, back in the eighties I used to run my own garage doing MOT, servicing and repairs. Given your RV is the age she is, I don't know what more you could have done either. You can't change everything that can fail on the off-chance it may fail! Where would you draw the line?

    Anyway, as you say your return journey was uneventful - enough said!

    Best wishes to you both,

    Colin and Dawn
     
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  10. ambulancekidd

    ambulancekidd Funster

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    That was wonderful to read. Isn't it odd that we always remember long trips that didn't go according to plan with affection & every detail is crystal clear. Good photo's too, so thank for letting us know how your Polish trip went.
     
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  11. Cat53

    Cat53 Funster

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    It was the A11. Enjoyed Poland very much, but it does feel very foreign. We were trying to work out its roots. Marek told us there is Poland, Finland and Albania ( that have a very basic commonality) quite surprising. We stayed at Camping Marina in Szczecin. Well run, clean friendly site on the Marina. There is a small bar come restaurant on site too. The menu is small but the food is freshly cooked and I think you can go there for fresh rolls too. I do believe they have a regatta coming up in August. Most of the roads were OK. Some quite bad, but the bad ones were signposted well and speed limits imposed. Oh yes, it's a legal requirement to drive with your lights on. Wild boar abound too....not that we saw any, but they are around particularly at dusk. I hope you enjoy Poland. We did. We want to explore it more and head up to the coast if possible.
     
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  12. ambulancekidd

    ambulancekidd Funster

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    I was reading about your woes & thought nothing of them until the maintenance of you Motorhome was brought into question. I don't think the maladies that you suffered could have been foreseen. The alternator probably gave no warning of imminent failure, they seldom show any signs that they're on the way out. The battery was almost certainly destroyed by the voltage dropping too low as there was no charge reaching it, once a battery has been flattened to that tune, they are usually irreparably damaged. I'm assuming that you used an inverter to run the crockpot/slow cooker? That & the current drawn by the cool box that you needed to use in place of the ailing fridge almost certainly killed the fan belt. Carrying a spare on a foreign trip or even a trip in this country is good practice.
    Still, all's well that ends well. (n)
     
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  13. Cat53

    Cat53 Funster

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    The cool box is 12 or 240 volts so when travelling it was plugged into the 12 v socket. Same with the crockpot, we didn't use them together. Think the Cool Box interrupted things re the leisure battery, alternator and motor battery. So things came to a head. By the way the alternator was just 5 years old. That was the date on it when it was removed. But what you have said is more or less the same as the mechanics said. Thanks.
     
  14. big map

    big map Funster Life Member

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    Thank you for posting your journey. Our daughter is taking her motorhome to Poland in October. I will update you on her trip.
     
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  15. Bart

    Bart Funster

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    Really good read , thanks for sharing your experience :)

    Is it illegal to Wild camp there that there is "no wild camping" ?
     
  16. Cat53

    Cat53 Funster

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    Correct. o_O
     
  17. Our Bumble

    Our Bumble Funster

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    Thank you for sharing your experience.
    We are heading there in a week or two, so most invaluable for us x x x
     
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  18. Cat53

    Cat53 Funster

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    Enjoy. We did. The language is a challenge. It took me six months to be able to say Szczecin because sz makes a sh sound. Cz makes ch sound. Put the two together followed by the word chin. It's wonderful. :ROFLMAO:
     
  19. tonyidle

    tonyidle Funster

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    Some loads don't help the alternator but a coolbox will draw under 5A - less than a single headlamp - so I doubt it was the cause. A normal fridge with a 9 amps+ constant load can see off an iffy fan belt though.
     
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