Day 184 & 185 | Warsaw – Krakaw – Jelesnia

Day 184 | Wednesday September 14

Wouter and Magdelena wanted to take really good care of me. They have traveled a lot themselves, with the bike they toured around South-America so they know the difficulties of traveling on a budget. I went shopping with Wouter, he bought campinggaz for me, food for today, rice for emergencies and he even gave me some Zloty’s for on the way. That is all really appreciated!

Magdalena sent out some requests to people in Poland asking for a place to stay for me.

My goal for today was to reach Krakow. 300km from Warschau so I needed to charge in between. In Kielce I found a car workshop with a type 2 station and charged for about 4 hours. It was a bit outside of the city so not much to see there. When I travel 200+ km days are mostly long and boring. I did had wifi at the workshop so I sent out some requests to hostels in Krakow asking for a bed. There were actually a few who replied positively so I was in the luxurious position to choose one! I decided to go to the Blueberry Hostel, just because I liked that name. I got there around 11pm. Problem now was that I needed to find a place to charge, most of the charging stations were inside parkings which were closed from 10pm, bad luck. I decided that I would charge my car the following day as there were many stations and thus didn’t need to wait 12 hours.

It was the first time this trip that I spend the night in a hostel. On previous travels (Australia, Asia) I only stayed in hostels. The atmosphere, people and the shared rooms instantly gave me the feeling of being a backpacker. Which is one of the best feelings.

Day 185 | Thursday September 15

Today I needed to drive only 80km to Jelesnia, problem was the car was not charged yet. I found a BMW dealer which allowed me to charge the car and after a few hours I could leave.

Around 6 I arrived in Jelesnia were I met Ania. This was the second time this trip that I saw her. Remember that day in Lofoten when my car broke down and some nice Polish people helped me out and invited me for dinner in their campervan? Well that was her. She saw I was in Poland and invited me again. At that time she was with her boyfriend’s parents, now I was at her parents place, and Pawel, her boyfriend dropped by later too.

They took me with the car for a sightseeing trip, it was a typical Polish village. famous for a beer brewery, the highest mountain in the Beskidy mountains and a 5 meters high waterfall which was the highest in the area. To finish the tour we went to a traditional pub to have some apple pie with ice cream. When traveling without money and eating basic food you really learn to appreciate a treat like this. Not that I had bad food the last days by the way, everyone treated me really well!

When back home we had even more food (we already had dinner), it looks like the Polish eat all day long. Which is definitely not a bad thing.


Day 182 & 183 | Exploring Warsaw

Day 182 | Monday September 12

Today I did nothing else but work. I’m very busy with preparing the next stage of this trip: the Middle East. Every country requires a visa, I need Carnet de Passages and injections against diseases. I did not find the solution for all of this yet, or money, which is also a problem.

That’s it for today. Not every day is crazy adventurous.

Day 183 | Tuesday September 13

The last 3 days I have been in Warsaw but didn’t see anything of the city yet. In the morning I had a little bit of time to look around. I parked my car at a EV charger, this was the first time since St. Petersburg, a few 1000 kilometers ago. Parking & charging is free for electric cars in the city. Sadly there are no rules for people parking on the EV spots with normal car, and so the first 2 chargers I found were occupied with ICE-cars, which made it not easy for me.

Warsaw is nice and calm. During WWII the city had rough times, nearly one million people were killed and the biggest part of the city was bombed into ruins. After the war it was rebuild and because there were not much people left they made very wide streets. In and around the city huge shopping malls are placed were most people go shopping so this makes it very comfortable to walk in the city without bumping in to anyone, a luxury for a capital.

Michal’s office is also located in the city and I went to have lunch with him in a restaurant under the former headquarters of the Soviet Union. Next to this building is now a street called “the new era” and there is this Polish saying “If you have the Soviet Union in your back, you look into the new era”.
I interviewed Michal about Bioelektra, which will be online soon.

Than I went to a next host, parked my car right in front of the Palace of Culture and Science and walked a few minutes to his house. The palace was a gift from the Russians to Poland and you can find copies of this building in St. Petersburg and Moscow.

My host was Wouter, a dutchman and son of a friend of my mother from years ago when we lived in Belgium (it’s ok to read this twice). I didn’t remember if I had ever met him but according to him we didn’t.
Wouter has been living here for 10 years with his wife Magdalena. They’re expecting a child within 4 weeks. The bathroom was fully filled with children’s clothes so I expected it was their 2nd child coming but it was their first. They have a lot of friends.

Magdalena and Wouter took me for a sightseeing tour in the old part of Warsaw. We visited a store were the sold amber. I learned that amber is actually fossilized tree resin. When you heat it up to 150 degrees it becomes fluid again and you can reshape it. Here they sold ambers of 40 million years ago. And the special thing: with insects inside of it (remember Jurassic Park?). Some stones were worth more then a million euros.

For dinner we went to a Polish restaurant. Polish food is a lot of meat and potatoes. Very much practical food. Wouter ordered some different things and the main dish I could’t finish, friends of me would know that’s something special.


Day 178 – 181 | Poland

The last days I traveled from hotel to hotel. I’m on my way to Ilawa were Michal wants to show me a waste recycling plant. He arranged all the accommodations for me and I used these days to do a lot of work. I wrote this blog about Tuup, RePack and made some movies on Facebook.

Thursday I arrived in Olsztyn and Friday I spend the night in a beautiful hotel in Ilawa.

Day 180 | Saturday September 10

Krysztof, the manager of the plant picked me up in the morning and brought me to Boielektra. It’s a huge factory with 3 different chambers. In the first chamber the waste is brought in. The waste is coming from Olsztyn. In a shredder it’s crumbled into pieces to remove any large waste components and shredding the waste for a more homogeneous mass.

In the next chamber the waste is put into autoclaves and heated up to 180 C and goes through some processes. After 3 hours the waste is emptied from the autoclaves and is now sterile and free of smell.

In the next chamber the sterile waste is segregated in different categories: aluminum, plastics, PET bottles, biomass, textile, glass and metal.

At the end of the line the products appear on a big pule. There was a big pile of aluminum cans and this was worth €25.000 and is sold to recyclers. Impressive. Definitely considering the fact that this waste is normally burned or buried. With this system is possible to recycle almost 100% of the materials.

Full interview coming up soon.

Than it was time to go to Warsaw. A 220km drive. Michal arranged that I could charge my car at a workshop in Plonsk. They had some cars there who were being repaired an a mini museum with Polish cars. Well, semi-polish cars because the brand is called “Polsky Fiat”. If the cars were being build in Italy or here was not clear.

They had a 32A socket (which is the fastest possibility for my car) but it was behind some tires and machines. Quickly they tried to remove all the obstacles but unfortunately the cable was too short and we charged the car on 16A. Luckily they had two 16A sockets and my car has the wonderful possibility to insert 2 cables, in the front and in the back. So we had the same 32A power through 2 different cables and one hour later I could go again.

In the evening I arrived in Warsaw at Michal’s place. He lives here with his wife, 2 children and an au pair who takes care of the kids. We had some food and talks and went to bed early.

Day 181 | Sunday September 11

With the whole family we went to the city to have breakfast. I had a croissant and that last time I saw one was in Bodo, Norway. Than we moved to a park were a Chopin concert was. Michal told me that the Polish don’t have a really rich culture so they are very proud of the things they have, like Chopin.