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Poland to Lithuania

The drive once we left the hustle and bustle of Warsaw early morning was through a mix of low rolling hill with farming and forest drives with great mixes of colour as autumn is well progressed with pockets of trees that have no leaves and some areas just changing colour.

Up near the border in Poland we travelled through a lake district that was most beautiful and had a lot of what is best described as summer holiday type accommodation.

Crossing the border into Lithuania was a big change. The colour and vibrancy was gone and the whole countryside had the old soviet regime look with stark concrete buildings and unpainted houses.

Our arrival in Vilnius the capital was a bit more uplifting as this city has a lot more life then the countryside.

We had a small issue with Penny about 200 metres from our Hotel with the gearbox so we did what we do best and that is fixed the gearbox on the road side with the traffic going around us while we worked. A setscrew we had installed way back in Hotan China for our big fix had come loose and got caught in the gear change mechanism. We spent about 45mins on the street getting this all sorted and we were off for the last 200 metres to the hotel. As always when you are busy fixing you forget to take photos of the location that you breakdown in. Only 4 more days driving to get to Helsinki so fingers crossed.

After a quick shower it was off around the old town for a look.

On my return from the trip around town there was a parking inspector going past the front of the hotel putting tickets on the cars with out tickets. We didn’t even know that we needed a ticket. It was funny watching him write out the ticket for Penny and then try and workout where he would put it as Penny doesn’t have wipers to tuck the ticket under.

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Trying to put the ticket on the car

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Warsaw Rest Day

The rest day in Warsaw started with me going to a shopping centre to look fro a new GPS and see what was available in warm coats. The first shopping centre was a dud so I headed back to the city centre were I was able to get a suitable GPS for the rest of the trip and for me to find my way around the UK.

I meet with some of our group at 12.00 to go on the open top bus tour. This was a great thing except that the bus was running late and commentary didn’t match with the busses location.

At the end of the trip we stopped for a very nice lunch in the warn autumn sunshine at a street side cafe. At the end of lunch we all headed our separate way home with me going via the lager central park to check the autumn colours.

The late afternoon was spent doing a couple little jobs on penny and with some encouragement from Ross I fixed my brake lights that haven’t worked since Laos. Well it all done and working properly after replacing a fuse, 3 blown bulbs and a switch adjustment.

The day was finished with a quite dinner then back to write a post, sort some photos and pack ready to get back on the road at 7.00am tomorrow.

In one week and 1900k we arrive in Helsinki, the end of the trip for most.

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Belarus transit.

We arose early for 5.00am departure from the Tourist Hotel in Gomel for a 750 k day with a boarder crossing into Poland.

The Tourist hotel was the old Intourist Hotel of the old USSR days and had not had a revamp or anything else other then a name change since it was built in the 60’s. The heating was on in the bathroom towel rail but not in my room so it was as cold as a frog’s bottom during the night. Luckily I had been down the car and got the extra base layer longs from my winter clothes bag ready for the early start. I was able to put my base layer longs on to help keep me warm overnight.           I was also extra lucky that I got the base layer out of the extra bag as during the night someone decide that their need for my back up winter gear and bag was greater then mine so they are now the proud owners by default of 3 pairs of gloves, my good ski coat, a set of light thermal and a set of heavy thermal. I just hope the bloke who has them can fill out the XXL clothes he has so he doesn’t look a dill. I hope they enjoy them this winter and get good use out of them. There are also have a GPS with out the charging cord or any maps of Belarus to find there way around with. The light-fingered Belarusian also got a compressor from Frank’s car along with a bottle of wine. So they are warm, happy and full of wind.

We started our drive in the dark across what has to be the flattest country we have crossed. Back in the Stan’s I thought it was flat, but today was a brand new flat, for the first 350k the only bit not flat was the road and rail overpasses.

We stopped for the packed breakfast form the hotel and to make a hot coffee at 7.30 before continuing on across Belarus to the Polish border. And it still didn’t get any less flat.

About 30 K from exiting Belarus web all got caught up in the toll road not paying system. It seems that when you enter Belarus you must pay all the toll road fees for you trip as you enter. We hadn’t done this so we had to pay a fine of 100 euro each. We all had to sit in this van and pay with a credit card so it was a legit government fine. We all think they sit there and check all the foreign travellers as we don’t understand the toll system.

Once at the border we got out of Belarus with out and pain at all, and as a matter of fact the entry in to Poland was pretty painless as well, it just took about 2.5 hours to get through the queuing system.

Upon entering Poland we noticed a few thing stratup like the place was neat, tidy and clean. The houses are all nicer and more cared for and more themn anything the peoples are so much happier and wave and smile so much more then in Belarus and Russia.

One thing I wont miss about Russia and Belarus is the love for television they have. In every shop, restaurant, service station and anywhere else you can think of there is at least 1 TV going and mostly too loud. At times trying to get served seems a trouble while the staff watches the TV. I don’t now a more obsessed race with a TV.

Tonight arrival into Warsaw was following Frank and Ross due to the loss of our GPS.  I’m looking forward to some spare time tomorrow to look around the town.

The main photo today is us all getting fined 100 Euro.

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A Golden Corridor!

Today drive was more of the same through large areas of black soil farming.

The golden corridor title arose from the autumn coloured trees on both sides of the road, golden fields of maize waiting for harvest and fields of harvested wheat stubble.

Some of the towns we pass by on our travels have beautiful churches with the lovely onion domes. I have not been able to get a good picture yet sorry.

Every morning getting into the car is a big dressing ritual, as we need many layers on for the 1C temperature and the wind chill factor of driving a semi-open car. As soon as you pull up you need to start removing a layer so you don’t melt with out the wind chill.

There has been literally hundreds of truck full of bulk potatoes being transported somewhere, most likely of to the vodka factories for Russia’s favourite drink.

Lunch was in the city of Orel today and Penny drew the largest crowd so far in Russia. One of the boys has since posted a comment on the Blog.

The over night stop in Bryansk is our last night in Russia as tomorrow we move on to Gomel in Belarus.

I’m sorry that today’s blog is short but with it so much the same as the previous day I’m struggling to find stuff to write about.

Max just out of the cars for a Cuppa

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