29 September 2010

A bit of a drive (Part 3)

A view from my daily Oława to Skarbimeirz Commute

Leaving Oława and heading for home - 1600km to go

Carnage on the Polish roads (as usual) - 20km queue

Lower Silesia 

On the Breslau - Berlin Autbahn (leaving Poland the carriageway has been upgraded - coming back it is 100km of concrete blocks floating on drained bogland - after so many years these are no long level and it goes "bump-bump-bump-BUMP-bump" for about an hour).  On the (unlimited) German section my little Volvo maxed out at 205km/hr but at more sensible speeds I was getting 60mpg.
Hotel Am Seegraben on the "Cottbus City Limits"


Heading for Hamburg - the whole of the north German  autobahn network seemed to be in the process of being upgraded - construction excellently signed and marked but slow progress at 50km/hr for half of the way home

The VAN DER VALK Hotel Hamburg-Wittenburg - located next to a massive indoor ski centre.  The hotel is certainly NOT the destination and it shows - but clean, efficient and good price.

Heading west at last - after a very wet radio-orienteering.

Someone spat in my Westphalian Potato Soup! (not really but it looks like it - the froth is a sort of 'garnish')

German "black" beer - a sort of porter

Healthy eats

The Parkhotel Schloss Hohenfeld in Munster - with the BierStube on left

 One of my many road-works detours off the autobahn - Dingbangerweg!

Somewhere in the Netherlands - it looks like a tornado had touched down and flattened the forest

All roads seem to go through Antwerp - and then the Kennedy Tunnel - certainly a fixture on my continental road trips.  Antwerp seems to be dominated by a) heavy traffic and b) lines of parked cars

Welcome to France

Nearly home

Quick - even the French have their own burger chain now - but why does the little "burger-boy" make me feel so sad?  There is something pathetic about this character but I am not sure what.

26 September 2010

Two Days, 4 Races and 1600km

24th of September and it is time to drive home from Skarbimierz - the GPS says 1600km - but there are TWO ARDF races right on my my route:

The first was on Saturday at Flugplatz Von Bronkow near Cottbus - the map (above) was just a printout from some GPS software but the forest (below) was almost 100% runnable.

The extra challenge was having to do the geometry mostly in your head - as there were pretty much no way of being sure where you were on the map (except when close to fields) - "#3 was North, I ran about 500m North East to #5 so #3 is going to come up West?"

I came in second place on both 2m and 80m!  Charge for this race: Nil - and there were even hot showers provided at the local flying club "clubhouse"

A long evening drive up to Hamburg - the weather go steadily wetter and wetter

Sunday morning - and we are Radio Orienteering on the Bismark family estate

No danger of going hungry - this was described as a "soup"...

The map was basic and a bit dated - but as (due to Wild Boar) it was forbidden to go more than a few meters off the paths - sufficient

Last competitor to finish - but got all the checkpoints - he and his family left home at 05:00 in order to travel to this race - dedication

First place on both 2m and 80m this time

I still don't know if we had to stay out of the terrain in the interests of not disturbing the boar - or in the interests of us not being 'disturbed' by irate piggies.

19 September 2010

The curse of the Vignette

There is a "block" of central European countries - those with a lot of transit traffic that have a vistor tax in the form of a vignette. If you want to drive on motorways and the like - you need the sticker.

Can't complain about Czech or Austria - you can buy a 10 day sticker for €10 and there are excellent, brand new Austrian motorways between Czech and Slovenia

However Slovenia is different - they do year, month or 7 days - and this last is not enough for a week's holiday in Croatia.  So for a quick blast across Slovenia and back you need to spend €30!  The Croats have built a lovely motorway all the way to the border - but on the Slovenian side - a twisty B-road through towns and villages is all you get.

So everyone who wants to drive to Croatia for a holiday has to pay the Slovenian Transit Tax.

That said the Czechs, Slovenes, Croats and Slovaks have invested in some very decent motorways and improved "A" roads - must make a real difference to the economy - by contrast Poland has not.  Short sighted, very short sighted indeed.

Austrian Motorway (so new not in my 2010 model GPS)

Welcome to Slovenia - please pay €30

Welcome to Poland

This is marked as a B road on the map - new factories built so lots of wear from lorries - but no maintenance from the local authority which is typical for Poland - a few 100m further on I met a fellow traveler who pantomimed "give up and turn round"

13 September 2010

Team RSGB @ The ARDF World Champs

Training Day: All the buses back to base were full - so we had an unexpected afternoon relaxing outside a local pub - excellent

More relaxing before the opening cermony

Official Photo Time

Bemused Onlookers

Photos by Sylke

10 September 2010

A bit of a drive #2

And so from Opole to Opatia...

That is Czech up ahead

On the border

Time to buy my vignette

Nice Czech Road

Refuel - sorry - it is McDonalds

At my hotel - typical Polish Audi

All that was in the "mini-bar" -  Beefeater Gin

Above and Below = Hotel Thermal, Musov

Time for another vignette

Ahhh - Austria

Vienna and the Blue Danube

Pitstop - starting to flag - and still 500 miles to go

Welcome to Croatia 

The Adriatic - with Opatia on the right

The faded glory of Grand Hotel Kvarner

The oldest hotel - much history but in need of investment - every few year it seems they "knock a star" off the signs.  I think 300 radio orienteers came as a bit of a shock - lowering the average guest age by 40 or so years