While I was in Germany I did my regular call in with Paul Lasley and Elizabeth Harryman to update them on my 2-week road trip around the country. As usual, the discussion drifted into many different travel related subjects.
After a month of freezing temperatures I arrived to Zagreb last week to find temperatures slightly warmer, but with no snow. I was happy that it was a move in the right direction.
I then drove to Plitvice National Park (which is awesome by the way) only to get caught in an April snowstorm and the victim of some very poor advice from Google maps. Long story short, I had to get park rangers to drag my car (with no snow tires) up a slippery hill.
This deal is a dream come true for me and the fulfillment of years of hard work. The truth is, I’ve never really cared much for blogging or the internet. I’ve always viewed it as a place for amateurs and knew that the real prize was appearing in print. To paraphrase Kevin Spacey’s character Frank Underwood from the great House of Cards series on Netflix, “The Internet is the McMansion in Sarasota that falls apart after 10 years. Print is the old stone building that stands for centuries.”
Today I find myself south of Frankfurt where I visited the Frontiers of the Roman Empire in Saalburg late yesterday afternoon in a snowstorm. So far I’ve visited 14 of the 28 sites on my list. Today was my busiest day of the trip as I visit 3 sites in a single day. I was able to do this because they were reasonably close together with less than an hour drive between them.
The operative word for the trip so far has been “cold”. Just before I left Berlin last week a cold front came through and dumped snow over most of the country. Temperatures have been unusually cold for most of the country and I’ve had to wear multiple layers of clothes in order to keep warm, as I don’t have a winter coat with me. Thankfully temperatures are starting to go back up again and hopefully the snows will be gone soon.
I am excited to be doing this trip for several reasons. I love road trips because there is a freedom you have when driving that doesn’t exist when you are traveling by train or plane. I love visiting UNESCO sites and Germany has the 5th highest number of them in the world (37). My ancestors also came from Germany in the 19th Century. Outside of a great aunt who spoke German, I didn’t experience much in the way of German culture growing up. (Being German became highly unfashionable in the United States with its entry into WWI.)
The sites are a mix of 19th century industrial sites, forests, cathedrals, monasteries, Roman ruins, paleontology digs and gardens.
I was pleasantly surprised with Poland. I enjoyed the food, I enjoyed the people I met and it is much more affordable than the rest of Western Europe. The fact that they aren’t in the Euro zone probably has a lot to do with that.
I am positive I’ll be returning to Poland someday.
That in and of itself isn’t that impressive. Many people visit Poland every year.
What makes this special is that up until a few days ago, I had no idea I was going to be in Poland. In fact, until yesterday, I had no idea I was going to spend the night in Warsaw.
My original plan was to fly to Germany early for the ITB conference and just hang out in Berlin for a week while I waited for it to start. I realized that Berlin wasn’t far from Poland, taking the train was very easy and I had never been to Poland before. Even factoring in the cost of a train ticket, I’d probably save money by staying in Poland rather than in Berlin.
So I decided to go to Poland.