Chernobyl, day eleven, Przemsyl to Krakow.
04 September 2007
I don't like Monday's, they are wet and dank days. Yeh ok so this is Tuesday but it feels like Monday! We have had 160 miles of rain, and when it didn't rain, it tipped it down. We are not so happy bunnies, it is only 18:26 here so the day could still improve eh?
We are in Krakow now, some of the chaps (6) went down a salt mine the other half have come on to the Hotel “Home” it is a bit spooky. It appears to have been an apartment block and in part it still is, we have someone with a dog next door! Familiar noises tell me the lads have just turned up, how pleased they will be when they find the parking is two streets away, underground.
The day started ok, all be it drizzly wet, we set of in smaller groups as the sat nav now works and it draws less attention to us in a small group. It appears to have worked well really, we would “bump” into each other on the journey every so often which at least meant we were on the same road (?). Mike 'C' did not leave until 10:30 but caught us up at 12:30 even though we left an hour and a half before him, the traffic was that bad for us on the main drag what with the road works but he came on the back roads, bright boy that one should go far.
Dave 'K' and the lads are in from the cold and tell me the salt mine while fascinating was to much walking and effort for them, it all got a bit jaded it seems, tired legs and all. They were in there for two and a bit hours and saw only one per cent of the workings, they are 'BIG' caves /mines.
Beyond this it has been a quite day sorry, call back tomorrow after we have been to Auschwitz / Birkenau. That will be a day of story and emotion I have no doubt.
Ta Ta for now, M
Quote of the day “my crotch is a war zone”, I think Dave 'K' means walking in wet leathers for two hours is no joke, poor child, but no one will kiss him better!
Chernobyl day twelve Krakow to Raciborz
05 September 2007
Today is another Monday, but worse!
It tipped it down ALL day and was cold to boot. Fitting if you consider the venue for todays visit was Auschwitz / Birkenau. That is one amazing place, and huge but more of that later.
I said that last night would bring forth a story and it did, sadly not all good. We had a tiff, well three of the guy's did and it has caused a ripple. It is sad that people cannot sort out issues but that is life, as friends myself and a long time buddy fell out over something silly on a trip much shorter than this so it came as no surprise when it happened this time, strong ego's, long day's and tired, cold bodies. It does not help. Sadly he people concerned seem to be willing to go there own way, such a shame for us all. Pride eh!
The main group, of which I was one, went into the town square for a meal, which as it happens was very nice. As is de-rigure we got lost (ish), “Tuckleberry” the intelligence finder, yeh!, when we found the place it was worth it, the old town center is so nice.
This morning, as I say, was still wet and we had our breakfast in the room. Actually it was very nice
and well presented................. for a packed lunch. No it was ok. It got the day of to an early start, except we didn't need an early start. Allan and Mike 'S' went into Krakow to get a gift for Natalia, she leaves us tomorrow sadly. We got her a very nice watch, they did not leave until 11:00 a.m. We set of in small groups as and when we felt like it, I was with Tim and Dave 'K'. It worked fine. On the motorway they have used a bridging compound to seal the cracks, now't new there eh?, but with the rain every time you drive over one the bike moves in a very disturbing manner, I wuz concerned I wuz!
For our first stop we went to the camp of Birkenau, Tim got talking to two English guys about KTM's, 2800 miles to see history and he gets hot about KTM's, ah well. He joined Dave and I as we checked out the long huts used for quarantine sheds for the intake. It transpired that these are not he original one's more replicas built from the remains of the originals. Moving for all that, however unlike Pripyat there is no soul here, no sounds of children, no bird song even.
6000 to 8000 people disposed of a day,70% to 75%. of those that arrived per day were murdered!
From here we went to Auschwitz it's self. We took a guided tour after watching a film, NON of us felt capable of persevering the enormity of it all. A room with seven thousand pairs of shoes, another with several tons of human hair and on it went. You can read the book's watch the film's but to see the truth........................
Still raining when we left, me, Dave and Mark 'T', Tim and Dave 'K' left together, didn't stay that way but we left together. We came into some traffic hold ups, Dave 'K' and Tim took of down the side me and the 'T's stayed put, then Mark 'T' suggest filtering down the outside, ok. He went first and I followed, all the weight on my bike makes the head lamp high, Mark was a bit put out with this so he asked me to take the lead, sorted of I go, checked my mirrors and.......... oop's, where they gone. No worries Tim and Dave 'K' are about........not! Turns out they took a two mile detour but only after Tim had picked his bike up (snerk), them with no GPS, so of I goes of allown. Then I made a wrong move and went through the center of Rybnik, got stuck in traffic and was sent down a 4 km detour what fun we have.
Chaos happens and this day was no exception, Allan and “Tuckleberry get to the hotel first, then me. They had a call to say Mike 'C' and John 'G' were in the local Mc D's (where else), then Dave 'K' and Tim appear. The 'T' pairing shortly after that and finally Andy, Nat and James. The hotel is a bitch to find, well it was for me, but it is a nice place, again. Allan did his home work with this lot.
This evening after a shower and chance to re-heat ourself we went for dinner. It took a while to arrive and the waitress was a bit grumpy, well she struggled to smile at least, but one of the nicest to date on tis trip.
Natalia was presented with her gift and received it with the grace and humility we have come to know her by. I am not sorry if I go on about her she made one huge difference in the team and it is a mutual gratitude we all have for her. Tomorrow, the 6th, she leaves us, we wish her God speed.
We, in the mean time get some sleep, for it is the Czech border we face.
2800 miles and counting we are, lets just prey for some dryer weather.
No quote but a giggle, Dave 'K' washed his smalls tonight, not before time, took them from the sink, wrung them out................and dropped them in the toilet bowl just before I flushed me wee away.
He does get emotional that boy!
Ta Ra, M x
Ps Lotte, Lotty, Lotti we got to many 'Zloty's ok!
Hi everyone, sounds like its been quite a journey in more ways than just the miles covered!
Your on the homeward stretch now, so chin up, hope for sunshine (how much more rain can you have!) think of home, loved ones waiting for your return and the comfort of your own beds! Bliss!
And hey Martin...LOL at the "Ps Lotte, Lotty, Lotti we got to many 'Zloty's ok!" A virtual hug for Mick (Tuckleberry) Scaife!
So the boys are on the final leg of their journey back to the UK. Just spoke with Mick S and some of them have got on the Rotterdamn Ferry, others are enbarking the Ferry for Harwich. James left a couple of days ago to fly home for another assignment.
However........ Martin it would seem is, er well.... thats a good question, where is Martin?
Apparently he left the main group to to meet with some friends in Belgium but missed them, so no-one is quite sure where Martin is going to end up!
I'm sure he will get home eventually!
So almost the end of what seems to have been a pretty epic journey! I'm sure Martin will surface eventually to put the last piece of the story in place.
Chernobyl challenge day Thirteen, Fourteen and Fifteen (ish)
Raciborz - Prague – Kassel
September 6/7/8 – 2007
Wednesday 06 – 09 - 07
We leave Raciborz in the rain, getting a bit familiar this.
Just how many days can it rain. We stopped to get directions from a geezer name of Noah, he stops building what looks like a boat and he tells me it could carry on raining for up to 40 days and nights, some help he was. These locals are ..........?
Prague is a fine city, when we got there, with to many cobbles. It was a bitty day really and very cold and wet, this is getting to be a drag now. I cannot recall much of it, the journey that is, to be truthful. This blog is written, for the most part, on the night the guys are going home from Rotterdam, Holland so by the time you read it it will be reference only. The drive from Raciborz to Prague was wet, very wet. Or to quote John G, “water ain't this wet” By the time it ended we had done three days and near on 730 miles in the rain and all that we had with us was wet and smelly. It was past funny. The only real break was the visit to the church of bones in, let me get this right, Kutna Hora, but as Dave 'K' said the journey and the pain will be gone in three months but the memory of the visit to the church will remain. Clever, that lad, he'll go far?. Why people would chose to display bones as an art form is odd but it is amazing, and all because the grave was to expensive to buy. Google it and get the story.
Prague is, or gave the impression of being, a lovely city. For us it was somewhere to get dry and sleep. Most of us went to bed early that night. I was in bed by 22:30, two hours early! For Allan and Dave it was a different story. Allan and his bike came back by support truck. His generator / rectifier has gone, we think. For Andy however it was a double hit, Natalia left us that morning to return home to her family in Belarus, which she did eventually, he took her to the railway station hoping to come to Prague by a different route. Which he did, but not the one he thought he would take. So he has had a very long and tiring day also.
Hence the lack of blog, he had the confuser in the back of his truck see.
Thursday. 07 – 09 - 07
James left us today, he flew home, he has business somewhere else in the world on Wednesday and needs to do his hair,................apparently!
Good morning Prague, wow blue sky! That won't last. Wrong.... for the most part it did. We again went our separate ways to get to Kassel in Germany. For some it was the motorway most of the way. Other's, well me, John and Tim, chose the GPS route. Mmmm ok. We went over the mountains on Route 4 via Chemnitz, (where?) it is just over the Czech / German border, but way of where the other's went. Did we have a map, well no it was in the truck with the confuser, bugger!
Ok follow the GPS, at this point it had a different name, why, because we were in the rain in the mountain and not to sure where we were. It was damned cold to boot. As John 'G' said, “we ain't lost just seeing things we wouldn't have seen going the other way” a bit of philosophy was just right at that point. When we got out of the mountain and further up the road it did improve a lot. Then we (I) had a GPS moment. We stopped to sort it out, I thought we could do a 'U' turn and pick up from where we left of, simple eh? Come on, first Tim does a 'U' turn in the road and squirts it a bit hard, oops he's of, AGAIN! Thats twice in as many day's. “what happened” well you went through a trough of mud and,............oh, never mind eh. He gets himself sorted, with our help. Mean time I drive over the bridge to go back on the other side of the motorway, did they see me leave?, it seems not. Tim and John went back on the same side and away up to Leipzig. Diversion Number two, of three, at least. We finally get to Kassel by 19:00 ish. 4 hours behind the rest! Not once was it mentioned, no, loads more time's. Still we were ok and alive. We had stopped for 1 hour to have a very nice dinner at a road side service so it wasn't so bad. Rumour has it Dave 'K' broke his personal record, it cannot be confirmed however, he was going to fast!
Mark 'T' has been hit by the “Imodeum” bug it seems. He was unwell this morning but we have all been there to some degree or another on this trip, however he does seem to be worse than anyone has been so far. Worrying.
Saturday. 08 - 09 – 07.
The end for me and the guys.
We rise to a dull overcast day, fine English drizzle (in Germany) the kind that drenches you without you realizing. Over night there had been a group of young German Kids doing some fancy dress thing, we had smurfs and power rangers, NOT Allan, we had Cleopatra and some young lady in a VERY short nighty. 'orible it wuz! Spoiled me breakfast, took me a while to get the jam out of my ear!
Mark 'T' is still ill, result for Allan that, he gets to ride a proper bike, well Marks Blackbird at least. Not so sure Mark was ill though, that fine English drizzle that soaks you slowly etc; as we dressed the machine's, then it tipped it down. Mark is in the truck, Allan doing the drowning rat! Hey!
The rest of the guy's went on away to Rotterdam, via the Mona dams (Dam busters et all, well that is what they told me.......honest!) in the RAIN! Again. I left about 30 minutes later only to pass them on the motorway, fine weather riders the lot of em! 60mph what is that all about, give it some!
Me 'ikkle 650 whooped um, then ran out of gas. Ho Hum, (that should stir them up!)
Me, well I did get to Holland, not Belgium, to find my friend was still in Germany, it happens (be nice if it was someone else though). So I went to Calais where I did meet some old work colleagues. We had a grand night and.........................I got a rear lamp.........I blew mine back in the Ukraine.....result!
Enough now, I am home. It has been an adventure. We have laughed, cried and sworn at life and each other, but it has been an adventure.
I am told the guy's who had the tiff made up, if that is the case I makes me happy, we met as strangers it is only fitting we part as friends after all we have shared. Whether it happens again with the same guys, I doubt it, but when all is said and done it was fun.
Give us time and you will hear every version of this there can be, but for now our aching bodies and tired minds need rest, well mine does, humility, sadness, joy and pain.
We never did sit and talk “meaningful stuff” (Tim W). We drove, ate, drank and laughed at life. Each one of us will have our own take, this has been mine.
Thank you for reading this, but mostly to our wives and partners, thanks for letting us do it, without to much addo!
Mostly for the children,.........may their god be with them all,...... however they persieve him or her.
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