Ok, so this is just a wee short entry while I'm in the net cafe on a few bits and pieces. The last week's worth of proper entries are on my USB stick and I forgot to bring it with me.
At the moment, I'm in Wroclaw, Poland, after the longish drive from Prague. Prague was very pretty and bigger than I expected it to be. The journey into Poland was nice, as the scenery turned from flat farmland to hills and forests. I'm not sure what I was expecting from Poland - probably more of the same flat stuff, and I'm sure there will be that to come yet. My plan for the next week or so is to hit Krakow, Warsaw and then Poznan, then a hop over the border into Germany and Berlin for next weekend. However..... after talking to a couple of Poles, Warsaw hasn't been given great reviews and Danzig was suggested as a nice place to visit. I dunno, I think it would be a shame to come to Poland and miss the capital.
Eastern Europe has really been fabulous so far - generally. Apart from the let down of Zagreb, I think everywhere has lived up or surpassed my expectations. Particular jewels for me have been Ljubljana, Budapest (big time.... property very cheap - watch this space!) and Bratislava. It's a strange mix of preserved old world architecture and fairly grotty (being honest) social housing stock, but the people have been lovely and the major plus point is that things are cheap! It's at the stage now that it's not really woth my while going food shopping, since shopping for one is a pain anyway. For example, I just ate at a restaurant in the main square in Wroclaw and the meal was served on a huge 16 inch platter (too much for me to finish) and the bill came to 26 zlotys including a pint of local beer. At roughly 4 zlotys to the euro, that's about 7 euro including the tip. Beer has been particularly cheap, especially in Prague where it was about 80 cent a pint.
Bruce went home on Wednesday, flying out from Prague. The van seemed instantly strangely quiet and it's a bit wierd travelling on my own again. I know that I'll get back into my little 'zone', and I suppose that I already have, and just need to step out of my comfort zone, not become a hermit, and brass-neck it in pubs with the locals. The cheap bravery juice helps in that respect!
Hermione needs a few bits doing and hopefully I'll get them done along the way. She needs an oil change - I have the oil, but need to get a filter. The cooling system is still surviving on one running fan, but it coped admirably in the heat of Budapest, so provided that the one working doesn't pack in, hopefully I'll get one from a breakers in Germany. The exhaust repair is still holding up ok, but will need a new silencer and pipe on my return to Ireland. The turbo, alas, is I think on it's way out. There's a bit of a rattling at certain revs, but it's holding out so far. I could be wrong and it may just be the knackered exhaust rattling, but it only does it when on the move, so I can't even check it by lying underneath. Stiil, so far for a 16 year old, she's held out well at 9000km on this trip so far (about 5500 miles) and I really can't complain. Anything that's happened hasn't been catastrophic and I'm glad I brought a decent tool kit along with me. The thoughts of having to negotiate with garages in a foreign language doesn't appeal.
Well, that's about all for the moment. I'll update the blog properly in the next few days.