May 31, 2024 Lubeck GE

Lubeck had let us down the day before. On our last visit we left loving this city. But our experience the day before made us wonder if this was a case where you should not go back to a place because it will not live up to your memories. After an easy morning where we washed the linen of the bed, (another sign that the trip is coming to an end), Denise and Fred wanted to go back into town to check a couple of sights.

The salt warehouses on the river. A collection of really cool building fronts.

Denise really wanted to check out St. Marys church because of the astronomical clock. We covered a lot of the same ground to get to the church. The interior of the church was very interesting though. Like many of the large churches in Germany it was originally built as a Catholic church, and then converted to Lutheran after the reformation. But the interior of St. Marys was interesting because the Catholic influence was more pronounced than in other churches that I remember visiting. It took me a few minutes to confirm that it had indeed been converted to a Lutheran church.

The astronomical clock, our main motivation for visiting the church.

The church was largely destroyed on good Friday in 1942 when the British fire bombed the city. This was the first instance where the British planned a bombing to try to cause a mass fire and they succeeded.

The church bells from 1942 were left as they were found when the Germans were removing the rubble to repair the church.

The other interesting thing was a large mural that alternated figures from the middle ages, with skeletons representing death. Death was a very big theme in this church, including skeletons in the stain glass which is another image we have never seen anywhere but here.

This very interesting mural is illustrating the poem that runs in a scroll below it. The mural was very large and contained multiple figures from kings to peasants all with a skeleton next to it.
The death theme is carried over to the stain glass windows in the church.

We really enjoyed the church and were glad that Denise convinced us to go in as we had not visited it before. Fred wanted to try lunch at a very nice restaurant that we had visited on our previous trip. So after leaving the church we headed that way.

The interior of our restaurant reflects the nautical theme you would expect from a meal in the old Sailors Guild Hall.

The restaurant has the great German name of Schiffergesellschaft and is located in the old Sailors Guild Hall which was built in the 1500’s. The interior is really impressive full of dark wood, interesting paintings on the wall, and models of different ships hanging from the ceiling. We had a charming waiter who had us smiling throughout the meal, and the food was elegantly served and delicious. When you throw in good company we had a wonderful time.

This statue represents the devil who was conned into helping to build one of the churches in Lubeck by the workers who told him they were building a wine bar.

After a disappointing day yesterday, Lubeck redeemed itself today by giving us interesting places to see, excellent food, and friendly and funny people. I was personally glad to have my positive view of the city restored.

Ton really likes the stories around these buildings on the market square. The dark one in the center has bricks that were produced locally, but then shipped to Italy to have a dark coating put on them, before being returned to construct the building. The upper wall on the left side with the three copper towers has two large circular holes built into it so that during the fierce gales here the wind can pass thru the walls and reduce the stress on the building.

We ended the day by sitting outside our motorhomes for happy hour and sharing stories from our travels for a couple of hours. To complete our very good day, we learned that our appeal of the fine we had received in France that we had spent 2 days preparing and 2 days driving to submit was successful.

May 30, 2024 Lubeck GE

Our good friends Fred and Denise Cook were in Lubeck so today we were up early and on the road to meet them. After a easy trip on the Autobahn from our place on the Polish border we arrived in Lubeck around one in the afternoon and parked up next to their Expedition Vehicle.

The gate to the old town in Lubeck.

It had rained a bit on the drive, but luckily when we arrived the rain had backed off for a while and we were able to head into the city for a walk around. Lubeck is one of my favorite cities in Germany, the first time we came here I really liked it.

The Trave River in Lubeck.

We walked thru the old town for a bit trying to decide whether to have dinner tonight or lunch tomorrow. Since it was nice today we decided to get our walking in, and save eating for tomorrow when it is supposed to rain.

Fred and Denise enjoying some Marzipan desserts.

We did pop in for some Marzipan which is a local specialty in Lubeck. Despite being very disappointed with the service we did enjoy the food and Fred and Denises company.

The main cathedral in Lubeck with an art display consisting of colored umbrellas suspended above the market.

After our lunch of Marzipan, we headed back to the campground where Denise and Fred treated us to a delicious dinner in their camper. We spent the rest of the evening telling stories of our travels. It was a great night of friendship that we really enjoyed.

May 29, 2024 Szczecin PL

We are not actually in Szczecin nor in Poland, but in a small German village just over the border called Mescherin. It is about 10 kilometers outside of Szczecin but we really wanted to use Szczecin in the blog. Nothing gives a better feel for the Polish language than a place name whose first four letters are SZCZ. By the way Szczecin is a major port. The picture above is Poland taken from our campground in Germany.

We are unfortunately at the stage in the trip where our goals are traveling to Amsterdam and not seeing cool places. Today we programmed over 400 kilometers of travel. The first 200 kilometers were on 2 lane roads paralleling the construction of a new freeway, so a lot of the time we were in construction zones. Luckily we got to use the new freeway section that has recently been completed for most of the last 200 kilometers and it was quite nice.

The road Greta picked for our last 2 kilometers to our campground. It was cement blocks with hooks built into them. I would have turned around, but before I could do it two cars including a new BMW had pulled in behind me. So we decided it was a road and carried on. Luckily our little parade didn’t run into anyone coming the other way.

We arrived at the campground and the manager did not speak any English, but after some effort we got everything sorted. We also forgot we are in Germany, surprisingly Germany is the least credit card friendly country in Europe. After some digging around we came up with enough Euros to cover tonight, but one of our first stops will be an ATM tomorrow.

After we got settled in we waived to our neighbors and they waived back and shouted over “Are you Americans?” Stephanie and Perry are from Colorado and have been driving a rental RV around Europe for the last 6 weeks. This is their first experience in Europe and are loving it. We spent a couple of hours exchanging stories. As much as it is nice to meet people from all over Europe while we are traveling, it is always nice to run into Americans as the conversation is different because we are all strangers in a strange land. The stories always go to ways we embarrassed ourselves by not quite getting how things work here, and things that we see that we wish we had in the US, as well of course to things that we do better at home. We really enjoyed their company.

May 28, 2024 Sopot PL

Sopot is a suburb of Gdansk that is refereed to in travel guides as the St. Tropez of Poland. So we decided to check it out today. It was a quick trip on the tram to the train station, and then a very short train ride to Sopot. We arrived to a very nice main street that led right down to the ocean.

On the main street they had this statue to Corporal Wojtek the Bear. He was captured and tamed by the Polish II Corps during WWII. Wojtek was inducted into the Polish Army though he was Iranian by birth. He fought with the Polish II Corps in North Africa, Italy, France, and Germany. He learned how to salute, and would ride in the passenger seat of one of the trucks of the transportation unit of the Corps. At the end of the war he was discharged from the Polish Army and sent to the Edinburg Zoo in Scotland where he lived until 1963. If you are a military history buff the story of the Polish II Corps is one of the most fascinating tales you will find from WWII.

Sopot is a very nice beach town with the typical array of souvenir shops, restaurants and ice cream stalls. The waterfront is very clean, and the beach is wide and the sand is inviting. As a weekend destination it would be really fun.

The main plaza facing the largest hotel.

It is also the home of what is reported to be the longest pier in Europe. We walked up to the pier hoping to take a stroll out only to find that it required a ticket to get on the pier. After a short debate we decided to pony up the money as we are unlikely to return to Sopot.

Looking down the longest pier in Europe.

It seems like it is pretty new, and it is quite long. We walked out to the end of it to see what the longest pier in Europe felt like. At the end of the pier was the same pirate ship that we kept running into in Gdansk, so now we know where they went on their two hour ride.

Looking back at the beach from the pier.

The only down side we saw to Sopot was the water itself. Away from shore it looked pretty clear, but right up against the beach there were seaweed beds that made the water look dark and not too appealing. So our rating is beach and sand outstanding and on par with St. Tropez, water not up to the crystal clear green and warmth of the Mediterranean.

The crooked building in Sopot. This picture is not distorted, that is how the building is built.

We finished our visit with a lunch at KFC. KFC is by far the dominant fast food place in Poland. They are everywhere, and about every other rest area on the freeway has a KFC in it. Ton thought it was interesting, because while chicken is a big part of Polish food the traditional dishes were all baked or grilled. We saw no Polish fried chicken. The KFC was different than the US and good, but in the future we are going to stick with the Milk Bars for our Polish lunches.

Where the money stays in Sopot.

May 27, 2024 Gdansk PL

The day started with a misfire. We wanted to visit the Solidarity Museum near the shipyard, but thought we would begin at St. Nicholas Church which is the only church in Gdansk that the Soviets did not burn when they captured the city in 1945. Google Maps is usually pretty good so when I put St. Nicholas church into the program and told it we wanted to use transit all looked good. It told us to get off at the Opera House exit, and then proceed on foot for 500 meters. When we got there we found an old abandoned church in an overgrown park. There must be two St. Nicholas Churches. So we put in the museum, doubled back to the tram line and went back the way we came to the center of the city.

The monument in Solidarity Square is a memorial to shipyard workers killed during a strike in 1970 that was a precursor to Solidarity.

We have been very impressed with the museums in Poland and the Solidarity Museum did not let us down. It is a rust colored building made of steel panels that are supposed to represent the raw steel used to make ships. It sits on the edge of the still active Gdansk ship yards, surrounded by huge cranes.

The view from the top of the museum looking out at the very active shipyard nearby.

The museum does a great job of showing the history of worker led dissent throughout the history of the Warsaw Pact. It gives background on the causes of different rebellions in not only Poland but Czechia, Hungary, and East Germany.

When you walk in this display on the roof represents the workers who took place in the 1980 strikes that led to the formation of Solidarity.

The museum excels at giving you the story of the workers movement in Poland beginning with a strike at the Gdansk Shipyard in 1970 over price increases on basic necessities. This strike was violently put down by the police and the army with over 40 workers killed.

A police van and riot control shields.

While the strike resulted in the workers returning to work, it did not lesson the discontent in the ship yard. Also, it was not just the workers at Gdansk who were unhappy, but most factory workers in Poland. One of the biggest sources of discontent was that the factories were just poorly run and terribly mismanaged. While the shipyard in Gdansk was completing almost one ship every 5 days it was doing it despite the management not because of it.

Letters marked with a stamp saying that the letter had been censored by the government.

The strike in 1980 began as many work stoppages do over the firing of a popular worker. Anna Walentynowicz was a crane worker who had worked at the plant for nearly 30 years and popular with her fellow workers. She was also a pain to the management of the shipyard who took revenge by firing her a couple of months before her retirement depriving her of her pension.

When the workers went on strike and took over the shipyard they placed their demands on this piece of plywood and hung it near the main gate of the shipyard. One of the first demands is the reinstatement of Anna Walentynowicz.

The shipyard workers took over the shipyard and made demands to be allowed to form a workers union independent of the communist party. This strike soon spread through out Poland and quickly most industrial sites and mines were also occupied by their workers.

Street graffiti from Poland showing Lenin with a mohawk and one of his quotes saying that if a government does not have the support of its workers it must fail.

These workers were not intellectuals or theorists, they were blue collar workers who were primarily interested in practical things like improving working conditions, and the economic status of their families. Their initial demands were not to be part of the government, just to be allowed to form a union independent of the government. Lech Walesa an electrician from the Gdansk shipyard became the leader of this group and led the negotiations between the newly formed Solidarity and the ironically named Polish Workers Party (the official name of the Communist Party of Poland). In early 1981 the government recognized Solidarity and allowed it to begin to represent the workers in industry throughout Poland.

Different branches of Solidarity in Poland.

In 1982 the Communists decided that Solidarity was too much of a threat and cracked down, arresting many of the leaders and forcing the rest including Lech Walesa into hiding. But, by 1986 the economy in Poland was in shambles and to try to recover the government again recognized Solidarity. This time Solidarity realized that they could not function just as a workers union, but needed to become involved in politics. They negotiated with the Communists to be allowed to run in the next election. The communists allowed a narrow majority of the lower house to be elected freely, and the entire senate. They felt that they could control the outcome. But despite stacking the deck and limiting Solidarity’s access to television and radio they lost all but 1 of the freely elected seats, losing control of parliament to Solidarity. The timing was good as the Soviet Union was also undergoing great economic strain and could not do what they would normally do; which was send in the tanks. As a result of this Poland withdrew from the Warsaw Pact and most of the economic alliances with the Soviet Union. Over the next few years other countries followed Poland’s lead until the eventual fall of the iron curtain.

The headquarters of the Gdansk Shipbuilding.

The story is wonderfully told. It inspired me to accidentally write a short college report on the Solidarity movement in Poland. In addition to seeing new sites and enjoying cool food and drinks, I sometimes learn new things.

The clock on the marker square. After the museum we returned to being tourists.

May 26, 2024 Gdansk PL

Old habits are hard to break. Our daily routine is pretty set. One of us is up around 7 am, if it is cold we stay under the blankets until about 7:30, then I get up and make coffee, and warm a cup of milk for Ton. After I am done with that I go for a short walk or I empty the cassette for our toilet and fill the water, to give Ton some privacy to get ready for the day. After she is ready she prepares breakfast. If we are moving on I take the dishes to wash while Ton starts to organize the interior of François for travel. When I get back with the dishes she puts them away while I unhook the electrical cable and put it away. If we are on a normal travel day we are usually on the road by 9:30. If we are in a hurry because we have a long drive we will dispense with breakfast and have sandwiches, that gets us on the road before 9.

It was a short drive to Gdansk today.

I had gotten up early to watch the Timbers play Kansas City at 4:30 in the morning, fortunately they won. The game was over about 6:30 so I climbed back into bed for a bit, but at 7:30 I was up making coffee. We kept telling ourselves we weren’t in a hurry, because it was only about a 45 minute drive to our new campground and technically you are not supposed to arrive before noon. But despite everything our routine could not be stopped and we were on the road at 9:30. We arrived at the campground about 10:30, but the manager just sent us off to find a place.

One of our neighbors in the campground. Two German guys are traveling using antique farm tractors to tow their trailers. We’ve seen a lot of interesting RV’s over the years, but never one involving farm equipment.

We got an early start into Gdansk, and were in the old town before noon. Gdansk had gotten great reviews from everyone we knew who had visited it, but we were still surprised about how nice it was.

One of the gates to the Long Market.

Most old towns in European cities are centered on a central square, usually called the market square. The pattern is pretty much the same, a town hall, a market building, some impressive homes that used to belong to the wealthy merchants, and in most of Europe (but not Poland)the most important church.

The Long Market was rocking today. The building on the right is the old town hall.

Gdansk does not follow this pattern, there is no central square, but a wide long street called the Long Market. The street is about a mile long and has all of the same buildings (again except the church), just stretched out over this stretch of road. We enjoyed the change of pace. The town was very busy as it was a glorious Sunday to be out, and a lot of the locals were enjoying their town with the tourists.

Looking across at St. Mary’s Church, which is located one block over from the Long Market.

It was a great day to people watch and take photos and we enjoyed joining in with the promenade. Unlike in the summer when the foreign tourists arrive today the crowd was mostly Polish. After going up and down the Long Market we headed over to the main church one block away.

St. Mary’s Church.

St. Mary’s Church is said to be the largest brick church in the world. However, a few years ago we visited the Cathedral in Albi France where we were told it was the largest brick church in the world. We aren’t sure which is larger but we can vouch to the fact that they are both immense brick buildings. Like a lot of the churches in these parts, St. Mary’s has alternated between being a Catholic Church and a Lutheran Church. Today it is Catholic, and when we stuck our head in there was a Mass underway so no pictures of the interior.

The statue of Neptune on the Long Market.

Gdansk is a port city and today is a large commercial port and ship building center. The city is built around the Vistula River, and a tributary of the Vistula called the Martwa Wista. The center of the city has several islands that are also full of historical buildings. It gives it an Amsterdam like feeling to me, but instead of canals it is branches of the river.

The local Pirate ship going down one of the branches of the Vistula.

Today was intended to be a check the city day without a set agenda. It turned into a real fun day of wandering, people watching, and trying local delicacies. Over the course of the day we had another Milk Bar lunch, stopped in a nice brewery, and visited a coffee shop in the converted home of a rich guy from the 18th century.

The buildings are tall, narrow, and deep, because property was taxed based on the width of the home as it faced the main street. If anyone had a fat house they were showing off their wealth.

On the way back to the campground we decided to extend our visit by a day as Gdansk has a lot more to offer. We have not begun to explore the history of the city including it’s role in the downfall of the Soviet Union.

We are going to be spending more time in Gdansk after today.

May 25, 2024 Malbork PL

Our friends recently visited Gdansk and highly recommended that we see Malbork castle so we were off bright and early to visit. The castle was a short drive away, and we were up early expecting some kind of large police event at 8 am which is why we had to suddenly move sights last night. As we were finished packing up there were about 8 guys in t-shirts and shorts relaxing under a tent smoking and joking as we used to say in the Marines. We decided the police event was most likely a family picnic. As we had plenty of time we punched Lidl into Greta Garmin before we left and she told us there was one less than 2 kilometers away. After an extended shop we are well stocked with food.

Walking up to Malbork Castle.

The drive over was quick and easy and we were one of the slowest cars on the road which I enjoy, it allows me to sip my coffee while the other cars slip around us. The only weird thing is Greta announced there would be tolls, and when we pulled onto the freeway there were nice toll booths dispensing tickets. When we exited the freeway 100 kilometers or so later I pulled into a toll booth and handed the ticket and my credit card over to the attendant and she immediately handed the credit card back to me and raised the barrier. Not looking a gift horse in the mouth we sped on out of there.

One of the towers of the castle from the inner courtyard. This is one immense brick building.

The skies were looking kind of threatening so we headed straight over to the castle. The entrance fee comes with an audio guide and it was one of the best audioguides we have ever seen. It knew where you were on the castle grounds and automatically told you about the room you were in without any button pushing. It also did a good job telling you which doors to use to stay on the path which in a building of this size was critical.

A panel in one of the chapels in the castle.

Malbork castle is either the biggest castle in the world, or Europe, depending on the source and how they measure things. It is immense, and is definitely the biggest brick castle in the world. Construction began in the 1300’s by the Teutonic Knights after they were thrown out of Jerusalem by the Turks, who maintained it for about 150 years. It then came into the hands of the Polish kings who had it until Poland was partitioned in the late 1700’s, where it became part of Prussia.

A column in one of the main rooms depicting the Teutonic Knights converting pagans to Christians, often by killing them it seems.

It is an immense brick building that was expanded several times under its different landlords. The audio guide says it was never captured, but it then mentions that in one siege the defenders after running out of food, sold it to the attackers. I’m not a lawyer but that sounds like a surrender to me. The castle was severely damaged at the end of WWII and Malbork became Polish again. It has been rebuilt to its current state over the last 60 years.

A well with a stork on top of it. In local folklore storks are considered symbols of sacrifice for the young.

We wound thru brick courtyards, across moats, and up and down multiple flights of stairs over 3 and 1/2 hours. It was a lot of walking but the quality of the audio guide kept our interest, and they even allowed for a break in the middle of the tour recognizing the amount of work it took to cover the huge castle.

One of the chapels had ten virgins carved in the entryway. This group was the group that did not plan well and ran out of oil for their lamp. While they were away getting oil the prince they were waiting for arrived, so they missed out on a chance to marry him.

At the end of the tour we headed back to François for a well deserved dinner. The thunderstorms that we were worried about never came so we spent the evening relaxing and listening to the trains passing by on the back of the campground.

In the middle ages green was the most difficult pigment to produce and therefore the most expensive. The paintings in Malbork have extra green to prove the wealth of the Teutonic Knights.

May 24, 2024 Torun PL

Torun is unique in Poland in that it was mostly untouched in WWII. The buildings you see in the town center are the original buildings and not reconstructed like in most of Poland.

This is Torun’s version of the Pied Piper. In this case the instrument is a violin, and the critters that were removed from the city were frogs. The building in the background is the old city hall which is in the center of the market square.

Today the most striking thing about the visitors to the city were that they were almost all Polish school children. The city was teeming with groups of students being led thru the city by their teachers. All ages were represented from early elementary school to high school. They brought a fun energy to the city.

One of the many school groups in Torun today.

Ton always has a list of places to visit when we go to a city and my job using google maps is to try to find them. One of the things on the list was a small sculpture of a dog that is famous locally. We looked for it all day and thought we had missed it, until we got lucky and just as we were walking up a group of school children who had surrounded the sculpture moved away from it. We had passed it several times, but every other time it was engulfed by a class hearing the story of the cute dog.

The cute dog sculpture that was a big hit with the student groups visiting the city.

On our hunt for the dog we were doing some window shopping and came across a bakery with very interesting pastries and a big wood fired oven. The pastries looked vaguely familiar, but not particularly Polish. While we were discussing where we had seen these pastries before the owner waved us in. It turns out they are Georgian pastries. We figured that we had seen something like this in Bulgaria. The owner was quite nice and took time to explain the different pastries to us, and showed us the oven. We feel bad as we intended to go back, but the weather got in the way and we didn’t.

The owner of the Georgian pastry shop hamming it up with Ton.

Our next stop was St. Mary’s Church. It is an old Gothic Church just off of the main square. One difference in Poland compared to much of Europe is that the churches of the town are normally not on the main square, but a block or so away. So a lot of time the churches are at least partially incorporated into neighboring buildings and are not as monumental as churches that occupy their own space.

The spires of St. Mary’s Church.

We have seen a lot of churches over the years we have been traveling here. We pop into them and take a look around. The interiors are always beautiful, but lately few have been memorable. The interior of St. Mary’s was memorable. The stain glass was beautiful and different than most churches. But what made it most interesting is the wall art which is from the 1300’s and well maintained but not heavily restored. The same was true of the floors which looked like they are from the original church. We were fascinated to see a church that had not been thru a 20th century restoration. It somehow felt more authentic.

Wall Art and Stained glass from St. Mary’s Church.

We had lunch in a Milk Bar which is our favorite find in Poland. Again a good hearty lunch like mom would make it if she was Polish. We have learned and instead of both of us ordering an entree. We ordered one entree, and one huge bowl of ham and potato soup that was more than enough for the two of us.

One of the cats in the cat cafe.

As we were looking for some more statues we came across a Cat Cafe and figured what the heck. So we went in for coffee and a desert. There were 5 cats on duty, but being cats they were all taking naps in the windows where the sun was. Eventually a couple of the cats woke up and made a pass thru the restaurant but decided that no one deserved their attention and went back up to the windows. Our coffee and desert arrived on a robot which was pretty cool and it did meow at us when it arrived. The desert and coffee cost as much as our lunch, but it wasn’t delivered by robot or have cats involved.

Our robot cat waiter delivering our snacks.

Torun has a leaning tower so we had to go check it out. It is part of the fortifications in the city walls. It is leaning quite a bit. In Torun you are supposed to place your feet agains the base of the wall and then conform your body to the wall. If you can hold that position for 5 seconds it means you have a clear conscience. After a couple of attempts I managed to do it, but what it really takes is good core strength which I don’t have anymore.

You can see the tower has quite a bit of lean to it. The lady in the stripes is trying the clear conscience test.

By now it was about 5 pm so we decided to head back across the mile long bridge to our campground. It turns out it was a good thing we left when we did. About 15 minutes after we got back a large thunderstorm complete with hail rolled thru. We hunkered down and rode it out happy that we made it back just in time.

Copernicus was born here and even though he left when he was 7, he is well represented in the town.

About 30 minutes after the storm ended there was a knock on our door. Someone from the campground informed us that we had to move to another part of the campground as the police were going to be using the part we were staying in tomorrow starting at 8. We were the last one she informed so all of our neighbors had already staked out their new spots. Someone from the police was putting police tape around the perimeter where we were parked. We packed hastily and moved. Just as we settled down another large thunderstorm rolled in so Ton whipped up some noodles for the night.

Cat art from the cafe.

May 23, 2024 Torun PL

It rained hard all night last night. When we woke up we had a discussion about whether we should move on, or just hunker down for the day in Poznan. About 10 am the rain let up and several other RV’s pulled out so we decided to head on.

Looking across the Vistula River towards the cathedral in Torun.

Our destination for today is Torun. It is a university city famous as the birthplace of Nicolas Copernicus. The drive over was smooth even though the rain continued most of the way. We arrived about noon and set up François in a half full campground. When I picked the campground on Park4night, I told Ton it was just across the river from the old town. What I didn’t realize was the bridge across the river is over a mile long, so we are not as close as we would like.

The bridge over the Vistula River is a lot longer than I imagined.

We were kicking around heading over to the town for a reconnaissance when it began to rain hard again. So instead we just settled down and took advantage of the good wifi to stream some movies for the rest of the afternoon.

May 22, 2024 Poznan PL

I had been looking forward to Poznan for some reason. But it turns out my history was wrong. I thought Poznan had survived the war intact, but it turns out it had sustained damage, just not catastrophic damage like other Polish towns.

The market square in Poznan. A few of the buildings are original, but most have been rebuilt since WWII.

Poznan is known as a market city and is famous for its universities. The market square was very nice. What was interesting for us was that in the center of the market square was another block of buildings built in Baroque style. The buildings are very well done and decorated with different motifs. The block in the center of the square was built to replace wooden stalls that sold various goods in the 1600’s.

One of four major statues in the square commemorating different stories from the history of Poznan. The cement block buildings in the background are for some reason attached to the beautiful Baroque buildings in the picture above. I am guessing they were built by the communists after WWII.

Poznan is famous for a unique type of croissant called a St. Martin croissant. It is not light and flaky like a French croissant. We decided we wanted to try one. Also, every noon at the town hall clock Poznan has a famous display where two goats (the symbol of Poznan) come out and butt heads twelve times. So we decided to kill two birds with one stone.

The interior of the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. A beautiful Baroque church near the market square.

There was a coffee shop that served St. Martin’s croissants and was directly in front of the town clock. We ordered a croissant and a beer (don’t judge us we are on vacation). The croissant was interesting, we couldn’t agree on what it reminded us of, I thought a scone and Ton thought a less sweet cinnamon roll.

The goats are supposed to come out of the door above the clock.

As we were eating our croissant a large crowd was gathering in front of the town hall. About 10 minutes before noon, a guy came out of the building and made a long announcement in Polish. The people who understood Polish started to drift away. Those of us who didn’t hung on hopefully until noon, but as we suspected the announcement was that the goats were not going to appear today.

This street art is famous as it gives the appearance of 3 dimensions. Poznan has a lot very nice street art.

A little disappointed (with both the croissant and lack of goats) we headed off to our next destination. As we were leaving Ton started to sing to the tune of a French song she had learned in school called Le Coq est mort (the rooster is dead), Le Goat est mort. I told her they weren’t dead just on vacation, and she said no they are dead to her.

Polish history is incredibly tragic, and the tourism board of Poznan inadvertently sums the tragedy up with this matter of fact statement about the cathedral. “The Cathedral was built in 968 and then repeatedly destroyed.”

We have fallen in love with Pirogi’s which is a dumpling. Ton had read about a Pirogi restaurant that was supposed to be fantastic called Na Winklu. We weren’t sure we would get in as it is a hole in the wall with just a few tables. We were lucky and got the last table. We have had boiled Pirogi’s which are very similar to Chinese dumplings in several places in Poland. Na Winklu also had baked Pirogi’s which we have never had before. We ordered a plate of each. They were both fantastic, the boiled ones reminded Ton of Thai dumplings, her only regret was that we didn’t have the Thai sauce for the dumplings. The baked ones were like another Thai dish called Curry Puffs and were also very good.

The baked Pirogi’s.

When we came out after lunch we saw dark skies building up, so we decided to head back to the campground a little early. We timed it well as it started to rain just as we arrived and continued for the rest of the day.

Another street art wall. This one is interesting because it is a sculpture of musical instruments, but when it rains the rain water runs thru the instruments as it is tied into the roof gutters.

May 21, 2024 Poznan PL

The day was off to a slow start because we ended up having a charming conversation with our host last night. We are staying on a small farm complete with chickens, ducks, and large fields of wheat. The campground comes with two cute dogs who decided we were worth hanging out with, and a cat who deemed us unworthy.

When we woke up in the morning we found a cartoon of eggs on one of the chairs outside François for us. We had some for breakfast and they were delicious. Last night I had asked if I could borrow a hose to try to clean some of the dead bugs that were coating the front of François. Instead at sunset the husband showed up with a hose a bucket of soapy water and a long handled scrub brush, and proceeded to scrub down the front of François. What great hosts.

In the morning we went to pay, and ended up chatting for 45 minutes about life in Poland, hosting guests in a campground, and living life for joy, not profit. She confessed that her dream would be to immigrate to the US with her son, and husband. Like most Poles we have talked to she has family in the US, in this case an uncle in Boston who she would like to visit one day. She was charming and we also met her mother who was out to feed the chickens. It was a great start to our day.

Eventually we were on the road to Poznan. We haven’t been to a grocery for a while and as we were approaching Poznan we saw a LIDL and our afternoon was complete. We nearly filled a basket with necessities and then were on our way to the campground. By the time we arrived it was too late to do a reconnaissance of Poznan, so we gave François a scrubbing on the inside and enjoyed a nice pasta dinner.

The cover photo is of a narrow gauge railroad that runs in front of the campground. One of the engines is a steam engine, but the one I got a picture of appears to be a diesel engine, but a cute one.

May 20, 2024 Kozle PL

Today was about driving and getting to western Poland to continue our travels. It was a pretty quiet drive, but we quickly missed our quiet roads in the Baltic States. Poland has some of the densest truck traffic we have seen in Europe, I think more dense than even Germany. We don’t know where they are all going , but there are a lot of them.

The owner of the campground is showing me two travel trailers that were produced in communist Poland in the 1980’s. There was a demand for RV’s even under the communists. The company is still in business today.

We are the only customers at a small family owned campground tonight. We have met the whole family. The husband has a great collection of communist era vehicles that he spent about 2 hours showing me. The wife very proudly showed us a video of their sons preschool getting an English lesson today, he is 18 months old!

The ILSA van produced in Poland from 1952 to 1994.

He had two copies of a van I had never heard of called the ILSA. It was produced in Poland from 1952 to 1994. He told me the original engine and transmission was based on Ford trucks that the US had given the Soviet Union as Lend Lease in WWII.

The top of the engine of the ILSA, accessible from the passengers seat.

He bought this one from the Krakow transit authority in 2015 where it had been used as a night bus. The production of the van continued for nearly seven years after the fall of communism. It has a feature I have never seen in any vehicle. The top of the engine is accessible from the interior of the vehicle. You remove a cover in the center of the dash and the engine is right there. He joked that it was so the guy in the passenger seat could work on the engine while they were driving!

Two more cars from his collection. The car on the left is an East German produced Trabant. The one on the right is a Fiat 125P, built under license in Poland in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

These are the kind of encounters that make these trips so much fun. The family was so welcoming and we spent two hours looking at cars communicating mainly thru Google translate, and it was fabulous.

We even got to go for a ride in the ILSA.

May 19, 2024 Kaunas LT

We were off early for our 200 kilometer jump down to Kaunas. Kaunas was a city I was interested in as I like to compare the second cities in countries to the capitols.

Nice church on the market square.

The bus ride into the center was quick, easy and cheap. The walk to the market square was short and we arrived at the city cathedral as mass was on. When we first arrive in a city I always pick the main cathedral as our starting point figuring it is usually close to the geographical center of the old city. They had the doors open so we could see inside. Ton snapped a quick picture from the door which turned out nice.

Ton took this picture from the door. The cathedral was beautiful, and the person singing had a great voice.

We took a quick turn around the market square and headed to what is touted as the longest pedestrian mall in northern Europe. It is 1.5 kilometers long. We walked it from end to end, the end closest to the market square is busy and full of restaurants and shops, the last 500 meters is a little quiet.

A couple of German style merchant homes from the pedestrian mall.

We stopped and had a beer at a local pub, and then decided to head back. Our beer stock has dwindled to one beer, so our plan was to stop in a grocery store on our way and pick up some samples of Lithuanian beer we had liked. After our swing thru the store we had 6 cans of beer and a couple of food items. Self check out is the rule here in the groceries. It is not hard as usually you can switch the screens to English, but in this case I didn’t see the button until too late. When we scanned the first can of beer an alarm went off and we got a screen full of words we couldn’t read. The clerk monitoring the self check out came over and hit us with a long blast of Lithuanian that of course we didn’t understand any more than the screen. Seeing our confusion, she then asked all of the other patrons checking out if any of them spoke English. The lady at the next check out looked over and said “You can’t buy alcohol after 3pm on Sundays in groceries.” I checked my watch and it was 3:30. She then said “If you want a beer you will have to go to a bar and buy an expensive beer!” Ton and I laughed and thanked her and apologized to the clerk for the trouble, and we left with our food. We will split our one beer and buy some Polish beer tomorrow.

The old city hall in Kaunas.

Kaunas is a nice city, but the center of the city does feel like the second city of Latvia. There is less going on than in Vilnius. Having said that Lithuania is the most laid back and quietest of the three Baltic States to us. Nothing ever feels hectic or overly busy which can be very nice.

Interesting street art in Kaunas.

May 18, 2024 Pilsrundale LV

We are heading back south thru the three Baltic States. We usually don’t like to back track but the ferries that depart from Tallinn don’t go in the right direction so we are following the same roads south. We are varying our stopping points so we are seeing new things as we go south. The most interesting thing on the drive was the amount of military traffic on the road. There is a full scale NATO training exercise going on in Estonia. During our stop for gas at a Circle K (yes the same Circle K as in the states) we saw two Canadian soldiers fueling up on coffee and snack food.

The Parnu River next to our campsite in Parnu. A great town.

Our destination today was Rundale Palace. We are generally not palace people, but it was a nice distance for us to go today. The Palace was built by the Dukes of Courland between 1736 and 1764. Latvia was known as the Duchy of Courland during this period and was ruled by a line of German dukes. The palace was their summer home.

The white room in the palace.

It is built in the Baroque style, and is referred to at least by the Latvian tourist organization as the Versailles of the Baltic States. When I told Ton this she laughed and said “We’ll see.” I was a little nervous about the availability of the campground near the palace as it is a weekend, and one of the major tourist attractions in the country. We swung into the campground first to find it empty except for a German couple, the office was closed but the Germans told us they would come by in the evening and collect our money.

The Dukes of Courland who are responsible for building the Palace.

It was pretty busy at the palace but we managed to squeeze into the bus parking lot. It was a short walk over, and the initial impression of the palace was good. It is much bigger than I expected with a very large courtyard just what you expect from a palace.

The main entrance and the large courtyard leading to it.

After Latvia was conquered by the Russians in 1795 the palace was taken over by a rich Russian family until WWI. This area was taken by the Germans early in WWI and it spent the war years as a hospital and headquarters for the German army. During the civil war at the end of WWI in which Latvia gained its independence part of the palace was burned. After independence most of the palace was used as a school and part was converted to apartments for war veterans. It continued to function primarily as a school until 1978 after Latvia was absorbed into the Soviet union. In 1972 the local communist government decided to restore the palace and work continued on it until Latvia gained its independence. After independence the work continued under the new Latvian government until the palace was declared fully restored in 2014.

One of the rooms was left in its un-restored condition which we found fascinating, to see how much work went into the restoration of the palace.

While it is not Versailles it is an immense building with imposing and ornate rooms. If the intent of these palaces is to project an image of power, it certainly does that.

One of the waiting rooms in the palace. The ceiling art was done by Italian artists brought over from Florence.

But every time we walk thru one of these all I can think about is the operating costs. The staff to maintain the hundreds of rooms had to be huge. In a northern climate the cost of heating the place would have been incredible.

The Dukes bed, note the two porcelain fire places on either side of the room.

Besides the palace there is a “French Garden” in the rear that is also ornate and immense. A large part of the garden is covered in ornamental bushes and stately rows of trees. A smaller part of the garden is geometric with small ornamental bushes and flowers planted. The flowers today were almost all Tulips as the roses have not yet bloomed.

Part of the formal gardens in the back of the palace.

We spent a pleasant couple of hours wandering thru the palace and the gardens. The exhibitions were really well done, and the computer displays explaining the contents of the rooms were well designed and informative. We caught it on a day with magnificent weather, probably the first day on this trip that I would describe as warm. But in the end when I asked Ton if it was up to the standards of Versailles, she said it was very nice, but not close to Versailles.

This was on the river in Parnu, it is an old Viking weather station. We have seen versions of it in Alaska where it is called an old Native American weather station. It is quite funny. The bottom board is in English.

May 17, 2024 Parnu EST

Last night we were talking that although we have been following the coast of the Baltic Sea for the last week we have not really seen it so we decided today was going to be our day to get a look at the Baltic Sea.

Nice turn of 20th century building from Parnu.

We choose the city of Parnu to be our window to the Baltic Sea. Neither one of us had heard of it, but we read it was the beach resort of choice for Tallinn. A google search said it had a nice 2 kilometer beach. Furthermore it had a well reviewed campground in town so our destination for today was set.

A nice tree lined avenue leading to the beach.

When we woke Ton asked how the washer and dryer looked here, and when I told her they looked nice and modern, out start south was delayed by 3 hours to get a load of laundry done. Every day we get the laundry done is a good day for Ton.

Parnu was full of nice well preserved wooden buildings from the 1800’s.

We were finally on the way by noon but we covered the 120 kilometers in a little over an hour as the traffic was quite light. The only thing of interest on the drive was the high volume of military vehicles heading North. It looks like the Estonian army has been doing some kind of joint exercise with the British as while the majority of vehicles were Estonian a few were British.

Another nice building on the pedestrian promenade.

After settling in to a river front campground we headed to the old town. The old town was about 8 by 5 blocks, with a pedestrian promenade thru the middle. While it was small it was very quaint and looked prosperous. Parnu has managed to keep a lot of the wooden buildings that used to be a hall mark of Estonian architecture and many of them have been converted to pretty posh restaurants.

Nice Italian restaurant in a couple of wooden houses with the towns Lutheran Church in the background.

After spending 45 minutes or so investigating the old town we headed to the beach. The walk to the beach was on a beautiful tree lined road lined with stately homes, apartments, and schools. Most of them looked to come from around the turn of the 20th century.

Part of the pedestrian street in the old town.

The beach is as good as any we have seen in Europe. It is about 400 meters wide and a couple of kilometers long. The water is supposed to warm up quite nicely in the short summer here because the bay it is located on is quite shallow. One of the symbols of the town is an elephant for reasons we did not find out, so there are several statues of elephants in the beach.

An elephant on the beach.

The last thing I want to comment on is how tall Latvians and Estonians are. Ton has spent the last week pointing out how many of the women here are taller than me. (I am 5’10). Today we came across group of 12 late high school or university students. The shortest male was around 6’2 and the rest were 6’4 to 6’6. All of the women were 6′ to 6’2″. Apparently Latvians are the tallest people in the world, but the Estonians can’t be far behind.

Visit Parnu, you won’t regret it. Watch out for all of the tall people.

May 16, 2024 Tallinn EST

Ton had made a nice list of places to visit today in Tallinn, so we were off early. The train in from the campground took about 1/2 hour and we both got senior discounts so our round trips were €3.80 each. It was a much more modern train than the one in Lithuania, both quieter and faster between stations.

Freedom Monument dedicated to Estonia leaving the Soviet Union.

The Baltic States are my first experience of countries that had been under the direct rule of the Soviet Union. We have traveled in most of the countries that found themselves behind the Iron Curtain after WWII, and they were interesting and the influence of the Soviet Union can be felt. But the Baltic States were actually part of the USSR after WWII.

Usually the walls of any Christian Church will be covered in saints, the stations of the cross, or scenes from the bible. Under the Soviets a lot of churches were converted to other uses, and the religious paintings were painted over as in this church.

Of the 3 countries Estonia seems to have moved the farthest away from its Soviet past. A lot of the Soviet era buildings have been removed and replaced with more modern buildings. The concrete block apartments are not as bleak here and the housing in the countryside looks prosperous. Incomes in Estonia are about 20% higher than the other two. Lithuania to me felt the most unchanged. The countryside had a gray feeling with many of the farm houses bare stone or concrete. The apartment blocks look unappealing, and a lot of the old factories are rotting. Having said that Lithuania has the biggest population and the biggest GDP. Lithuania and Latvia have lost population with a lot immigration to other parts of the EU. Estonias population has stayed the same, but it still the smallest of the three.

A section of Tallinn undergoing gentrification.

Tallinn has been a successful port town for hundreds of years and the prosperity shows thru in the old town. It feels a lot like the German cities further west. It’s history roughly parallels Riga’s with the same succession of conquerors, but the people speak a non-slavic language related to Finnish.

Riga had the “Three Brothers”, Tallinn has the “Three Sisters”. Also buildings representing German, Swedish,and Russian architecture connected together.

Riga and Tallinn seem to have a friendly rivalry with both claiming some of the same accomplishments. Tallinn says they had the first public display of a Christmas Tree, but Riga makes the claim of having the first public display of a decorated Christmas Tree.

The door to the house of the Blackheads in Tallinn. Riga has one too.

There are not as many churches in Tallinn as in Riga, Catholicism was the primary religion in Riga, while here it was Protestant, and of course both cities had sizable Orthodox communities after 200 years of Russian rule.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the main Orthodox Church in Tallinn.

We enjoyed our self guided tour of Tallinn and ended it by treating ourselves to a lunch at the same restaurant as we had eaten in Riga. The food was equivalent, but it cost more in Tallinn, we really like Lido restaurants and will miss them when we leave Estonia and Latvia.

This is called St. Catherine’s Passage. The town walls in Tallinn are largely intact.

What is interesting about both cities is that while they are both Baltic Sea towns the sea is not in sight from the old town. Walking around you do not feel the influence of the port in the old town.

Cool Building.

May 15, 2024 Vanamoisa EST

We have been having a small issue with François. The sensor in the gray water tank has gone bad. We had it worked on in Krakow, they cleaned it and the tank and for a couple of days it was ok, and then started to malfunction again. It is not a big problem as the sensor is only there to tell you when the gray water tank is approaching 100% of capacity, that is never a problem for us, and in 6 years we never allowed it to get too full. The problem is that the way it tells you it is full is by an annoying beep. Over the length of the trip it has been falsely telling us the tank is full once or twice per day by beeping at us. We had decided to ignore it until we could schedule François into a service center a the end of the trip, or the beginning of the next one and had learned how to sleep thru a single stray beep in the middle of the night.

But last night it started to go off over and over. Around 3 am it began beeping every 15 minutes or so keeping us both from sleeping. I finally got up and looked for a service place in Riga, but I could not find one. I then looked in Talinn Estonia and found a place. Around 5 am with the alarm still beeping every 15 minutes or so, I sent them an email and explained the problem and told them we were on the way. We were on the road by 7am and arrived after an easy drive on quiet roads in Talinn at 11:30.

I discussed the problem with the service manager of the dealer, and said if he could not fix the sensor, could he at least silence the alarm so we could sleep at night. Then we asked him where we could get lunch as we had skipped breakfast to get on the road. He told us about a local restaurant nearby and told us to be back in 2 hours.

The restaurant he recommended was a small cafeteria in an office building. The food was good and inexpensive. After an hour and a half he emailed and told us the fix was done. When we arrived he said he did not have the part so he turned off the alarm. We were more than pleased, and headed happily down the road to a very nice campground in the country near Talinn.

We then both settled in for a nap for a couple of hours. Tomorrow we will be back in tourist mode and there will be pictures for the blog.

May 14, 2024 Riga LV

We had a late start to our day because we were advised by the campground that the rush hour for Riga went well into the 10 am hour. But by about 10:30 we decided to head into town to catch a “free” tour of Riga. The taxi ride during the tail end of rush hour was less than €5 so we probably should have left a little earlier.

The Freedom Monument was dedicated after Latvia got its independence from Russia in 1920. The Soviets allowed it to remain standing after they absorbed Latvia back into Russia in 1944.

The free tour started at the house of the black cats. The house was across from the main trade guild hall in Riga, and was owned by a wealthy Latvian. He applied to join the guild but was rejected because at that time the guilds did not allow non-Germans to join. The elite in Riga was German for over 400 years, and the Latvians were excluded from most organizations. As a protest to being excluded from the guild despite having the means and the skill to join he attached two black cats to the gable of his home with their butts pointed at the guild hall across the street. This caused a lot of controversy and the matter ended up in court, the settlement was that the Latvian was allowed to join the guild and he pointed the heads of the cat at the guild hall.

One of the black cats whose butt now points away from the guild hall.

We enjoyed the tour, but what was most striking to us was how concerned the tour guide was about the current geopolitical situation. The story of the tour was effectively that the Latvian people who are native to the area have been under foreign rule for all but 50 of the last 700 years. The first were the Germans who conquered the area in 1300’s and ruled until the 1600’s when they lost out to the Swedes for about 100 years. In the 1700’s the Russians conquered Latvia and held it until the end of WW1. During this period the native Latvians were secondary players in their own land. For the period between the wars Latvia was ruled by Latvians for the first time. That period came to an end during WWII when Latvia was again ruled by the Russians for a short time, the Germans for a short time, and then the Russians for the next 50 years.

This block of building is known as the three brothers, the center one was built by the Germans, the one on the right by the Swedes, and the one on the left by the Russians. They encapsulate the history of Latvia in one block of buildings.

During WWII the population of Latvia was decimated. When the Soviet Union gained control in 1939, they exiled or executed the leadership of the independent Latvian state, when the Germans conquered Latvia in 1941 they eliminated the substantial Jewish population of Latvia, and finally when the Soviets were posed to reconquer Latvia at the end of WWII a substantial part of the population fled to Sweden to avoid being ruled by the Soviets. As a result Latvia was largely depopulated and a large number of ethnic Russians moved in to keep the economy moving after the war.

Street scene in Latvia.

When the Soviet Union broke up in 1990 Latvia regained its independence but with a population of ethnic Russians that is about 25%. To make the transition peaceful the Latvians agreed to allow the Russians to keep independent schools, so today the two populations are not well integrated and it is unclear where the ethnic Russians stand on Latvian independence versus integration with Russia.

The House of the Black Heads. A society for the unmarried and foreign merchants founded in the 1300’s. This is a recent reconstruction as the original building was destroyed in WWII.

Our guide was convinced that the only thing that will keep Latvia independent from Russia is a strong NATO and EU. They admit they are not strong enough to stop the Russians on their own so they are watching what is happening in the Ukraine with a great deal of trepidation as they fear they are next.

One of the Art Nouveau Buildings in Riga.

After the tour Ton wanted to visit the Art Nouveau part of Riga. Between the wars Riga was prosperous and underwent a building boom. That time coincided with the Art Nouveau style of architecture. One street survived the turmoil of WWII intact and has one of the best collection of Art Nouveau buildings in Europe. We went up and down the street looking at the intricate facades of these buildings with their faces and animals carved into them.

My personal favorite of the Art Nouveau Buildings.

Our last stop for the day was the Central Market. The Central Market was established in the 1930’s by converting two Zeppelin hangers that the Germans built during WWI when they had captured Riga from the Russians. (I forgot about that time Riga changed hands.)

The outside of the market shows the old Zeppelin Hanger that was converted for the market.

It is one of the largest central markets in Europe with five distinct halls. We wandered thru for a good while and emerged with oranges, lemons, and a local specialty of smoked sardines in oil.

The fish hall in the market. There are 4 other halls like this.

As we travel around we are always discovering local variations on things we take for granted. In Latvia and Lithuania we noticed that the store opening hour signs do not have the days of the week on them but instead the roman numerals I-VII. It turns out this is because of a quirk in the languages. In both languages the name for Monday is “First day of the Week”, Tuesday “Second day of the Week” etc. So the Roman numerals are shorthand for that linguistic quirk.

Once you know that day I is Monday the signs are easy to understand.

May 13, 2024 Riga LV

We were off early in the morning after a good nights sleep in François. Before setting off we found Trena to thank her for her help and the rides to the train station. If you are planning on a stay in the Vilnius area, make sure you head to Harmony Camping near Rudiskes. You won’t regret it.

One of our favorite places ever.

The drive north to Riga was a little over 300 kilometers, but I figured about 5 hours. We ended up on a good and quiet freeway for about half the way so we made better time than we expected. We were set up and looking across the river at the old town by 2:30, so we had a short discussion about heading over there. It is a little too far to walk, and the public transit isn’t so good where we are so we decided to save Riga for tomorrow.

Riga beckons just across the river from us.

The view out of the front of François is quite nice, but what we are not showing is the view to the rear. It is the place where all of the portable toilets for Riga are stored when not in use. It’s not always glamorous when you are traveling by RV.

The Yacht club in our Riga Camping and Yachting Club.

May 12, 2024 Bukles LT

Our stay in luxury ended this morning. We woke up a bit early and headed down to our breakfast buffet before leaving for the train station to head back to François. After the hustle and bustle of Poland, Lithuania feels very quiet. As we were walking down one of the main roads in the capital we were once again struck by how little traffic there was. The train station was also pretty laid back, we had our tickets including a 70% discount for one of us for being over 70 and still had time to explore the station for 30 minutes before departing.

Our train was much more modern than the Soviet era train we took to Vilnius.

One of the services at our campground was a lift to and from the local train station. We sent Trena a message on WhatsApp and she told us that Laura would pick us up. It turns out Laura is Trena’s niece who recently returned to Lithuania after living in Scotland for 14 years. She moved to Scotland right after graduating from university, but she told us that despite the people in Scotland being really nice, she just did not feel like it was home. She said that she was surprised we chose Lithuania as a tourist destination as while it was home it was not that interesting in her opinion. When I told her that all of our friends who have visited here loved it, she told us she had goose bumps and that we had made her day.

Back at the appropriately named Harmony campground.

Laura told us that Trena was at church, and then was going to vote in an election so we would have the place to ourselves for a while. We did not mind as this place is really quiet, peaceful, and luxurious. The two dogs came and gave us the once over, before sitting down and asking to be petted. We settled in for a quiet afternoon listening to the cuckoo birds. I even took advantage of the television in the log cabin to watch some German soccer. Later in the day we were joined by a Swiss camper so we now have some neighbors to share the beauty with.

Part of the grounds of one our favorite campgrounds in all of our years of travel.