Shalom - Gdansk, Gdansk - Shalom



Since Friday 12th August after work we are on the road - two weeks of holidays ahead.

Mima starts her 12 years old VW Transporter from Munich with 209.759 Kilometres. The voyage ends after 15 days and 3455 Kilometres.

Date       KM             Litre       Euro    Place
08.13 . 209970          51,68     63,00   Nuremberg
08.14 . 210725          58,98     66,00   Wolfsburg
08.19.  211471          53,30     55,20   Ustka
08.26.  212469          43,15     44,73   Frankenstein
08.28.  212860          43,57     44,83   Pilsen
08.28.  213425                                   Home

Sum:        3455   Kilometres      250,68 Diesel

Mima bought her VW Transporter 1998. We call the car ''Blue Whale''. Compared with the luxurious vehicles in a rich town like Munich her car is old, slow and loud. 

Nevertheless once again this car carries us to Nuremberg, to my daughter Esther and her friend Ingo, carries on to Bamberg, to Mima's brother Christoph, to my old Mom in Bad Laer. There we enjoy the salty waters Saturday and Sunday.

Mima, my daughter Esther and the car ''Blue Whale''
 in Nuremberg

Sunday we drive in continuous rain. We visit ''Porta Westfalica'', a monument of the last German emperor Wilhelm, the II. At the evening we arrive in Brandenburg, where Mima has relatives, a daughter from her grandfather.

Monument of the last German Emperor: Wilhelm, II

The couple is retired from their work in an office and a factory. They spend all the summer in a week end home with 400 square meters garden around. The price of this summer house was about 15.000 Euros: a kitchen, a sleeping room, a shower with bathroom and a small living room. The roof is made new, the simple Honda car is 13 years old, and the owner draws a circle with his hand around his belly and proudly confesses: 

''This here is mine, more I don't want.''

This proud possession is located in the village Plaue, next to the little town Brandenburg with around 72.000 citizens. Ten, fifteen years ago lived 20.000 people more in Brandenburg. Mostly the young ones left their hometown Brandenburg, where they couldn't find a job, couldn't earn money. 

Mostly the young ones left their hometown 

So the young ones leave 

Since Germany is united, there are not enough jobs special for the people in the eastern part of our country. So the young ones leave in the ''Golden West'' or work in Austria, in Holland, wherever they find jobs.

Brandenburg is only 40 Kilometres away from Berlin. The modest man with his wife in his week end home hasn't visited Berlin since 10 years. They are happy, to spend the warm season from May till October in their garden home, a silent place without traffic noise. New Age religious orientated people would call such place ''meditative''.

My body can't digest beer and champagne in our evening meeting and tense talks. The travel efforts have been to much. My stomach is sick.

Youngster burnt the Old Mill in Brandenburg

next morning I swim in one of the lakes

Mima has hard headache too. So we rest all Monday in Plaue near the beautiful river Havel after a guided town tour through Brandenburg. Big fishing birds herons fly around, next morning I swim in one of the lakes.

Tuesday we travel only a short time on the high way around Berlin. 40 Kilometres north from Berlin we visit a beautiful wild park ''Schorfheide''. We observe wild animals living like in freedom: elks, wolves, ancestral horses and -bulls. The area is so great, that we get our bikes to drive around this wonderful wild world.

We observe wild animals living like in freedom: elks, 

In the afternoon we stop at Templin. 14.000 people live in Templin. A natural sole bath is build after the East-West reunion from EU-money.

25 per cent of the people are unemployed in Templin. So the prices are real nice: a man's hair cut costs in Munich arond 15 Euros, you get in Templin for four Euros. Food in a cheap restaurant is available for 2,95 Euros - nearly Indian prices. Compared to these prizes the new Templin therme offers us a costly bath for two hours: 9 Euros.

Templin: a new Café in an old prison building

Templin is the centre of a region called ''Uckermark''. 100, 200 years ago this region produced grain for Berlin, transported on ships to the Prussian Capital, 85 Kilometres in south direction.

Next day 150 Kilometres north-east we reach the sea in Kolberg (Kotobrzeg). The eastern sea is still 18 degrees Celsius warm in this cold, rainy summer, the northern sea only 16. We stay on the Camping Place in Kolberg - a famous historical town for tourists. Ships in an historical outfit invite tourists for short journeys. With our bikes we explore the town. Huge living blocks change with some rotten ruins. Everywhere at the beach people can buy souvenirs, drinks and food. Many people walk around with a bottle beer in their hand.

Next day 150 Kilometres north-east we reach the sea in Kolberg

Next stop is ''Ruegenwalde'' (Dartowo)

Some streets are in a horrible state. Rotten rails cross the road, we have to slow down in the second gear to pass. When on this great road to Gdansk the rails cross, a stop sign breaks the flow of cars traffic.

Next stop is ''Ruegenwalde'' (Dartowo). A simple camping place at the shore of the river ''Wieprza'' costs 6 Euro, less than one person pays in Germany. The toilets are in botanic glass house. On the river in front of the car tourist boats pass by. Two Kilometres away at the seaside an other camping place and the beach is crowded.

The sea is much cleaner than in Kolberg. From 1.5 meter you can see your feet on the ground through the grey green waters.

Next day, Friday, we drive around 150 Kilometres to Leba, next to the Stowinski natural park ( The long white sand beach invites thousands to swim. Incredible once again to find traces of WWII: in this Natural Park now, world cultural heritage treasure, the Nazi experts constructed and tested rockets. 

We walk around the dark ruins of those terrible times. 

Saturday we reach the half island Hel, a crowded surf paradise. The first camping places are occupied. After few kilometres we find a free, very simple place. We stand five meters from the waters in the ''Gdansk Bay''. 

Till dawn, 9.00 p.m, last surfers enjoy their sport. An old train transports hundreds of travellers to the marvellous snow white beaches. The food is cheap and clean, the beer tastes fine.

 For 10 Euros we both have dinner with drinks.

Sunday is dedicated to Gdansk. An incredible wonderful town! Thousands of visitors walk in the pedestrian area. Hundreds of years the richness of the citizens have build up wonderful houses, churches and monuments.

We park the car only three, four kilometres away from the Old City for 20 Zlotys, around four Euros. There a guardian with three big dogs hopefully cares for the safety of our life and our possessions at night. 

We walk with open eyes and mouth hours over hours. Hundreds of digital pictures have to help my memory, to store these inspirational impressions. 

One of the historical facts of Poland is the terrible murderous invasion of the German troops during WWII: nearly 90 % of the Inner Old City is destroyed during the last months of the war by Russian-German fights. It sounds solemn, but it is simple the truth: since centuries this earth is soaked with blood. 

The hot August sun fades away these dark clouds of historical facts. People buy, sell, eat, drink, walk, dream, just the same as we do. 

Memories remember the birth, youth and school days of my mother, her sister, her family, who all had to leave 1945. My mother met my dear old dead Dad in those war days in Paris, the year 1943 or 1944. Now she doesn't talk anymore about those days, when she was a young woman of 20 years only.

Girls now show their beauty like everywhere, to attract young and old men. All sunny Sunday brings up feelings of peace, joy, happiness. The only clouds ascend from the chimneys of factories or of old busses and old ship engines with black oil smoke.

We rest in a splendid restaurant ( at the Motlaw river. The old crane tower from the Middle Ages gives an impression, how busy working men created this richness hundreds of years ago. In two immense wheel men run around, to unload up to 2000 Kilograms from a ship in the harbour.

More hours we rest on a ship tour to the location ''Westernplatte'', where a German ship fired the first shoots and WWII started. A huge monument reminds on the heroic fight of polish people ten days long against the powerful German army those terrible days.

Now people can interrupt the ship tour, to swim peaceful in the sea. We return back to the City Centre and change money, to pay our luxurious holidays and sightseeing joys.

This first night brings feelings up to write. The night is best for writing: Fantasies flow free, undisturbed by the noise of the day. The night opens the hidden sources of unconscious thoughts, the night connects to the mysteries of nature, we all are part.

The three big dogs protect this parking place near the city. Have the three big dogs smelled someone behind the fence to the green park in the back of the car? Three dogs are barking.

The night before soft moon light shivered over the water, disco sound hammered through the star clear darkness, this night the dogs on black ashes gravel ground with a train from the railways provide a night symphony. 

Red blooded, breed warm Mimamai chases away all troubles. She finds the reason for these barking dog's night excitement: an animal. Gdansk fires up fancy fantasies: a monument of a Russian tank is fresh painted this Sunday, we come. The commandment of Adolf Hitler 30th April 1945 shouts with breaking voice: ''Hold the fortress Gdansk till your last blood drop!''

These fights destroyed 90 % of the Old City core, revitalized out of all these ruins from polish people, after the last 124.000 thousands resting Germans have been chased away. The traces of WWII are still everywhere around in Europe. The history is felt day and night.

At our evening walk an Omega watch in a crystal glass ball fascinates my attention. For 100 Euros one possession more burdens my life.

Poland is not yet much used to camping travellers. At least our map doesn't show many camping places all the long way down to the south, back to the next eastern country Czechia, back home to Munich.

For us, Mima and me, the roads across the German border to Dresden or Chemnitz are stranger than some the roads in India i.e. from Bombay to Pune. What a lucky development in freedom to travel around our homeland! Nevertheless the vibrations of many Dutch or Polish people still transport turndown, revenge to hateful thoughts. Similar like German Nazi bait away all, what they feel as strangers. Are these feelings imaginations, fantasies or facts?

60 years after WWII not all wounded, bombed houses are repaired, how can heal the wounded hearts?

The Solidarnosc strike in Gdansk, the Polish Pope, the freedom fighting polish people have sacrificed hundreds of life the year 1980 in Gdansk. This way the communist block crashed in Poland. This way east and west Germany are reunite since 1989. 

How these wounds of war can be healed, when the killing factory Auschwitz with Nazi mental murder insanity was build, to kill 5.000 people per day?

The guardian dogs of the parking place sleep again, Mima's soft breezing sounds behind my back. I sit and write in her old VW Transporter, called ''Blue Whale''. We both had to throw out of the new window a good filled glass of pee. Perfume for the fat dogs outside.

What a wonderful world, how exciting life! One prayer is burning above all evil thoughts in this blood soaked and flowering nature, in us, again and again : ''PEACE, PEACE! PEACE?''

Any other treasure? Shalom.