One thing that has been missing on this adventure was a ‘good run’. Today that changed and we started from Riga before 8:00am and covered just over 400 miles on mainly single carriageway roads. The scenery wasn’t spectacular, but it was varied. Some very flat, some undulating, occasional forests and woods, and a variety of wildlife.
I saw more White Storks (Gandras) than you can wave a big stick at. They are of course a national emblem in Lithuania where they follow tractors, ploughing the fields, in much the same way and similar numbers as seagulls in England. I even saw four all stood in the same nest and although they were all in adult plumage I have to assume it was parents with two grown chicks. Even so, they are such large birds to see four in one flat nest of twigs surprised me. There were also several Sparrow Hawks, one of which ‘buzzed’ Bridget. It was so low I instinctively ducked as it passed over us.
I made two sightings of deer, the first being a group of five making their way across open country about two hundred yards from the road. The second happened just after we had passed one of numerous signposts warning of the danger of deer crossing the road. I was just thinking that it was much less danger in this type of open farmland than in areas of forest, such as those in Norway, where the deer can be hidden from view until they break cover at the side of the road, often too late for vehicles to avoid hitting them. Then without warning a deer appeared from amongst the corn that was 6 feet high. Either seeing, or hearing Bridget it turned and fled back into the corn, but it gave me a fright. I drove right through Lithuania without stopping other than for fuel. I was tempted to stop however, purely because of the number of classic cars on the road during a standard Saturday morning. I do not believe they were all going to a special event as they were in some cases hundreds of miles apart. There was a group of enthusiasts in mini’s, cars not skirts Colin, one of which sported a Union Flag paint job. There was a pre-war Mercedes coup, an E-Type roadster (roof down), a Soviet era Opel looking in very good condition and several others that I can’t remember the details of. Also the biker clubs were out in force. However, having spent yesterday at the Riga Museum I decided to keep going and didn’t stop until I arrived at Warsaw.
I should say here, that Bridget is performing absolutely faultlessly. The temperatures today have been in the high 20’s and she has just cruised at around 60mph all day. My apologies to Mike Parker who I was going to send for about now, but there really is no reason and I couldn’t fib to Caroline…. I thought I would start my exploration of Warsaw early and left the hotel just after 7:00 AM. As I walked across the bridge towards the Old Town I realised that I was the only person in sight. All the old jokes came to mind about the Poles being in the UK, etc. they are big enough to take it, but I really haven’t been in any Capital City where I could walk down the street completely isolated. As the day wore on a number of things made me increasingly suspicious that I had crossed a time zone when I entered Poland from Lithuania! I finally confirmed this around mid-day, Polish time, so I had in fact started my exploration at 6:00 AM.
Warsaw caused me melancholy. If it were not for its recent history I would have said I liked the architecture, the wide streets, even though they are rubbish strewn, and the relative calm compared to other cities (especially at 6:00AM). As regulars will know I can find humour in almost anything, and frequently do, but there are some events that leave me at a complete loss, and the Warsaw Uprising is one. That and the Katyn Forest Massacre is still very raw here and I can totally sympathise. I don’t think I want to say anymore. The events are well covered on the internet for anyone that is not familiar with them.