It didn’t look that far on the map (it never does) but it’s an awfully long way to Gdansk. Set on Poland’s northern shore, it takes us virtually the whole day to drive there. It’s not the most exciting drive either – motorways mostly, in deference to speed and road quality.
We’ve reached a critical point in travels, where we have to manage the time we have left on the continent, against what we’d still like to achieve. Complicating this, is a difference of opinion on the EU rules and extended visa allowances offered by Germany and the Netherlands.
We can spend 90 days in the EU, and allegedly, then another 90 days in Germany, then another 90 in the Netherlands. The devil is in the detail though. Himself thinks that we could, for example, spend 80 days in the EU, then cross into Germany and start “thier” 90 days afresh. After reading the article below, which references this situation, I think the ruling is 90 days in the EU, which can’t include a single day in Germany, then on the 91st, you’re safe to cross into Germany and commence “their” 90 days, but not before.
If I’m right, it puts a lot of pressure on our timeline as we’d have to cross Germany completely to reach the Netherlands, within our EU 90 days. If Himself is right, we might be giving up valuable extra travel days.
If anyone knows the answer to this, I’d be very pleased to hear your thoughts. Point 7 is key I think, in the article.
In the meantime, Himself has reluctantly agreed that I might have a point and consequently, we’re shaving the edges off a few planned stops. This includes the Bialowieza National Park where we’d hoped to see wild bison, and very possibly Prague, which might have to wait for another trip. It’s not ideal, given the time it takes to drive this far east.
Meanwhile the day passes in a haze of 300+ kilometres of farmland and motorway.
Highlights are few and far between – quite a few storks and nests, which are always a delight, before we hit the motorways. We drive through a National Park that teases us with signs for moose, but we both know how that ends from our travels in Scandinavia – it’s not with a moose sighting.
There are green crossings between forests for creatures, which are pleasing to see
and the occasional fancy bridge.
We stop for a top up of Polish smallgoods which are excellent – smoked meats and sausages of every variety imaginable. Fabulously loaded with flavour – garlic features heavily. We’ve been enjoying more than an occasional mezze platter with cheese, dill pickles and whatever sausage last caught my fancy.
And speaking of dill pickles, it must be the thing to make your own here – supermarkets stock the little spiked cucumbers, as well as prepared flavour bundles for pickling – dill seed flowers, a fat wodge of horseradish root, garlic and (perhaps?) horseradish leaves. Not sure on the last – it’s not a leaf I’m familiar with.
They stock whole sunflower heads too, in case you or a parrot you know, might fancy a nibble.
Towards the end of our journey, we cross the mighty Vistula river, just before it runs out to sea. True to its nature, it’s wild and untamed to the end.
We reach Gdansk just before evening and set ourselves up riverside. Exploring will need to wait until tomorrow. Meanwhile there’s a sunset to enjoy
and a cherry vodka to crack open. My friend Rachel is right. Cherry vodka might be a dangerous discovery indeed.