We decided to go into Gdańsk for breakfast today. My mental impression of the city was formed watching the solidarity movement strikes back in the 1980s with Lech Wałęsa. (Typing this, I’ve just realized where the name of the beer comes from). It is nothing like the grey, grim place I had in my mind.
In the old city, there are beautiful pedestrian streets lined with cafés. Our only trouble was we were too early. Gdanskians don’t seem to eat breakfast at the same time as English lads.
We chose this place for breakfast because it had a buffet and regular menu, serve yourself coffee, and a waitress with a sense of humor. Recognizing we were English, she offered us beer for breakfast.
While having breakfast, the streets began to fill. There seemed to be lots of international students, dressed in matching uniforms doing some sort of scavenger hunt.
The trip into Jora Wielka was mostly uneventful, We put a waypoint in to take us off of the motorways and do some more scenic riding. Knowing that tomorrow is a Sunday and this is a very Catholic country, we decide it would be wise to stock up on food and beer. A trip to the grocery store was interesting and Google Translate proved very useful
We had been warned that while Jora Wielka was beautiful, the road in was a challenge. It did not disappoint. As we turned off the main road into the community, it became immediately a slippery cobblestone road. This ended in a sand wash, which eventually turned into a dirt road. My directions ended about a kilometer in with announcement that I’d arrived and my destination was on the left. It was the middle of the forest. A little further up the road, we came across the actual destination.
We had a self-contained unit in the complex with its own yard around the corner from the main building. Dinner was at the main hotel and it was delicious. They smoke their own locally caught fish. The trout was some of the best I’ve ever had.
Today was my day as the lead monkey. Given that none of us really knows where we are going, it does not make sense for any one person to take on all the way finding activities.
All four of us are riding BMWs. The one I have rented is the most current and its GPS/SatNav is phone based and displays on the dash in Apple CarPlay fashion. The other three use an independent BWM satnav. They are all curious as to whether they would trust a phone based system. Their way of testing the satnav/gps, was to make me run in front. They have one a long way in 12-months. This time last year, we were arguing whether phones had gps chips at all. They do seem to be won over as I got us to Gdynia and the hotel without mishap.
The hotel proprietor wanted to charge us for four parking spaces. We were efficient and got all the bikes into one spot. I think the Germans would be proud of us.
The beach at Gdynia was a little more lively that the beach at Dziwnów. We walked over there from our apartment which was a bit of trek around the train station and through town.
After a beer or two at the beach, we head into the town of Gdynia for dinner. After going past, seemingly, dozens of Turkish kebab restaurants, we landed on a pierogi restaurant.
Polish food at last. Who knew that you could get steamed, fried, baked, and casseroled pierogi. These were all great, especially the baked goose with groats. After traditional food, what else do you need?
Traditional drinks of course. Here we had a selection of (back to front, left to right) raspberry, cherry, lemon, and rhubarb vodka. Surprisingly, for me at least, the rhubarb was the best.
Today was supposed to be , and was, a day of exploring Northern German. The first stop was supposed to be Prora which is infamous for being where the Hitler youth had there summer camps. The second was Peenemünde again infamous because it was where the V2 rockets were developed.
When we realized how long the loop was to get from one to the other we decide to just pick one. Peenemünde won. The trip went well until we got to Wolgast. The bridge to the peninsula was out. The diversion would have added another hour and a half to our trip. So, Peenemünde was scrapped too.
Somewhere before getting to Wolgast, whoever was in the leads satnav/gps took us off the main road and onto a set of farm roads. This in of itself was not too bad. The problem was the big dump truck we were following kicked up a ton of dust on the dirt road.
A consequence of this was that we arrived in Dziwnów quite a bit earlier than expected. Not only was our place not ready but it, due to unforeseen circumstances – which appeared to be an arm in a sling – was going to be ready later than expected.
We are at the beach on the Baltic coast in summer. What are a group of lads going to do? Head to the sea front and find a beer.
Other than the wind coming in off the sea, you could almost mistake this for a tropical location.
Early September seems to be the end of the season around here. Many of the restaurants were already closed. We found one place on the Main Street that was serving food.
After we finally got check in to our apartment, we went back to the restaurant for dinner. A much a I was game for Polish food, western food, pizza, was the name of the game..
Today was a transit day to get us within striking distance of Poland. After getting of the boat and going through immigration – thanks Brexiteers – the first order of business was to meet Martyn on the motorway at a service station in Wilp.
This did not provide an auspicious start to the trip. The service station that Martyn sent us was on the west bound side. He was waiting for us on east bound side. This made sense as we were heading east but we were blind to our satnavs and raced on past to the next exist to come back on the other side.
Fortunately, Martyn saw us pass and called MacBean. So instead of coming back the other way. We stopped at the exit to join up.
After we all got together, it was heads down along the Autobahn. One of the warnings that was shared before we took off was to get back out of the left lane once done overtaking someone. After you are passed by someone doing 50 miles an hour faster than you a couple of times you realize why. The best example was a Mercedes SLS which took off after we pulled out of the way at about 90 and left us looking like we were stationary.
We arrived in Lubeck and found our way to the apartment we had rented. It was supposed to be close to the city center. A 30-minute walk proved that to be a little bit of an exaggeration. Don’t believe everything that is in your rental listing.
Old town Lubeck is beautiful. Lots of old buildings and churches.
Like a lot of places in this part of the world it was heavily damaged during World War 2. The restorations were fantastic.
Dinner was classic German fare – schnitzel. However, Lubeck or the restaurant we were at seemed to have a special on chanterelle mushrooms. I asked for the special version. It came without the mushrooms. I mustered enough of my CSE German to ask for the “Wo ist der pfifferling.” My grammar may have been completely wrong but the Turkish waiter knew what I was missing.
The ferry from Hull to Rotterdam thinks it itself as a little cruise ship. Onboard there are entertainment lounges, slot machines, bars, a buffet, a coffee shop, and a fancy sit down restaurant.
We tried out the different bars and the buffet for dinner. After dinner, we were entertained by The Ultimate Party Band UK. I’m not sure where the ultimate piece of the name comes from. Maybe they will be the last party band because their covers were pretty bad.
Overnight, we retired to our cabins to sleep. Imagine a two bunk prison cell with now windows but a shower and you are pretty close. When we got on the boat the room felt great after coming in from the heat. Overnight, they did not feel so good. A Native America sweat lodge came to mind for me. Apparently there was no option to upgrade to an outside cabin with a window for $30. I missed that but will be listening on the way home.
It’s funny, I was quite excited about this trip along the M62. I had not been to Hull since 1988 or so. I was there for there years from 1982 to 1985 at Hull University.
The plan was for me to meet up with Rob, MacBean, and Mark at the Hartshead Moor service station. It turns out I was only going to meet MacBean and Mark. Rob had to pull out at the last moment because of an issue with his mum.
Judith came up to mum’s house in the morning to hang out and chat. Mum went off to get her physio therapy treatment. I didn’t think I’d see her before I set off but she made it back in time.
Meeting MacBean and Mark at the services was a no brained. I arrived about 5 minutes before them. What was crazy was how hot it was. It was in the high 80s and I had to go inside for a cool down.
The rest of the trip up the M62 was uneventful although my sat nav kept encouraging me to get off on the off-ramp and back on at the entrance on the others side.
Things have changed at the end of the motorway on to Anlaby road since I was there. The first was the road went under Humber bridge. Then then as we got into town, everything changed. Where the old New York Hotel (New York, New York when I worked there) there are brand new buildings. It does not look like the old dump it used to be.
Getting on the boat was easy for the most part. My challenge was the Rob wasn’t there and he was the lead passenger on the ferry. It took a little while to sort it all out but after a while I was on.
After showering and changing out our riding gear guess what it was time for.
Monday was a pretty quiet day. Mum and I had breakfast together. She Made me bacon butties. In return, I got her technology sorted out, at least mostly.
I took the bike out for a quick run around looking at place I used to go. First stop was Worsthorne where I scoped out Water St, Church Sq, and Chapel street where I used to live.
From Worsthorne, I headed up to Hurstwood. I had forgotten how narrow the village lanes can be. Even on a motorcycle they feel very tight.
Briercliffe was next up. The lanes from Worsthorne to there are narrower. Even a lady in a Mini thought they needed to back up for me to get past.
My next stop was Edge End School where I spent five years getting my secondary mis-education. The beautiful old brick building no longer exists having been replaced by a religious elementary school. No separation of church and state here.
From here I went down through the town and past Nelson and Colne College where I finished up my secondary education. The town was never great but these days it is quite rundown. It is amazing how many people you see walking around in full Islamic dress.
I ran up through Barrowford and past the old Colne grammar school where I did my “consol” year. In US terms, I was held back so that I could repeat a year and complete my o-levels.
At Colne, I turned around and went back through town to Nelson. This time I started noticing all mosques in town.
I had a busy afternoon with mum sorting out her technology. She is now set up storing her documents in the cloud and sharing them across all her devices. We tried to get her a Bluetooth keyboard for her iPad but the was not successful.
For tea, we went to my Auntie Alice’s. She made me a cheese and onion (leek really) pie after I told her at dinner the day before that I liked them and no one does savory pies in America.
I finished up the day meeting Tim Frankland again with Michael Duerden. I had a great time reminiscing about how good we were when we all played rugby.
This is starting to become a thing. As I did last year, I picked up the motorcycle at https://www.roadtrip.uk. I highly recommend them Iain and Keith are great and set you up well.
My next stop was supposed to be Bury, Cambs. Instead, I had to do a detour back to my hotel. In my rush to get out and meet my car service, I left my jacket behind. The hotel, the Sheraton Heathrow, were great and had the jacket waiting behind reception when I got there. Time lost – 10 minutes max.
My next stop was Bury, Cambs where my long time friend Harriet lives. Last year when I met her the weather was glum. This year it was beautiful the whole way.
Harriet made me a wonderful brunch of eggs Benedict with smoked salmon, avocado, and asparagus before sending me on my way to Burnley.
The trip up to Burnley was a breeze. It was bright and sunny the whole way. Last year it rained on me and I got stuck in big traffic jams. What was funny, was that I stopped at petrol (gas) at exactly the same place I did last year. This year riding a BWM which everyone says gets better gas mileage than the Ducati I rode last year. Either the BWM’s petrol tank is smaller or the gas mileage is the same.
For the first time since I lived there, I flew back to London two times this year. This time with Lisa so we could watch the Denver Broncos play the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was a crazy weekend trip. We left on Friday afternoon and came back on Monday afternoon.