Category Archives: Poland

Australia to the UK without a plane… our trip in Numbers!

After 17 MONTHS of travelling around the globe we have finally completed our challenge of getting from Australia to the UK without an airplane, check out some stats we recorded along the way…

Countries Visited:  23 (Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Mongolia, Russia, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Belgium and the UK)

Distance traveled without a plane: 70,300 km or 43,700 miles

Beds slept in: 298

Transportation – we have used:

135 buses, 45 boats, 33 cars (taxi, private or rental), 64 trains, 39 subway systems, 6 mopeds, 2 Hovercrafts, 1 horse, 1 camel and a variety of tuk-tuk type vehicles.

Our most expensive accommodation (per person): £37.59 ($43 AUD) – Ramada hotel – Ulaanbaatar (very special treat)

Our cheapest accommodation (per person): £1.27 ($2.33 AUD) – Aman batik house, tuktuk, Sumatra

Our Most expensive meal (Per Person): £13.98 ($27 AUD) – Moose and Roo Pub for Christmas Dinner, Hanoi, Vietnam

Our Cheapest Meal (Per Person): £0.24 ($0.44 AUD) – 1 Naan Bread, 1 Bowl of Curry, 1 Fried Bread Pastry and a cup of coffee. – White Cafe in Hpa an, Myanmar

Books Read: 40

Bed Bug Experiences: 3

Pairs of sunglasses Broken: 16

Pairs of Flip-Flops worn out: 9

Celebrity Spottings: 4 (Hugh Dennis, Janet Street Porter, Mhairi Black, Isy Suttie, and Bill Bailey)

Tubs of Hummus: 7

Free Things we have been given: 4 x Free bus rides, 2 x Ice Tea, 1 x Longhi (traditional Myanmar skirt), 1 x Free lonely Planet guide book, 6 x pieces of fruit, 2 x Bars of Chocolate, Free clothes wash, 2 x Bowls of traditional Thai Fish soup, 5 Malaysian Ringet, 1 x key ring, lots of flowers (mainly little Myanmar girls giving them to Ella), 2 x Cups of coffee, 1 x toilet fee (The last two were from a monk), 1 x free night of accommodation, 4 x bottles of water, 5 x noodle soups, 3 x free breakfast, free rice and chilli sauce, 2 x free coconuts, 2 x silk scarves, 1 x free tuk-tuk journey, 1 x free snake (edible), 2 x Banh Mi Sandwiches, lots of free potatoes and bananas, 1 x free tote bag, 1 x free ferry ride, 1 x free tourist boat trip, 2 x free ice coffees,  beer (we have actually lost count of how much), 1 free stick of BBQ goat’s udder, 10 x free dinner, 1 x taxi ride, 4 x bananas, 1 x chocolate dessert, rice wine…, 1 x free use of a motorbike, 2 x Jagermeister shots, 1 x free xe om journey, 2 x free bike hire, 2 x bowl of noodles, 1 x blueberry juice, 2 x buckets of booze, 1 x USB charger, 1 x t-shirt, lots of fireworks, 1 x Postcards, 2 x Panda bread, Vodka, Vodka made from Camel milk, Vodka made from horses milk, Various milk based products (Mongolia), 2 x Slices of cake, 8 x Buuz (Mongolian dumplings), 1 x Easter cake, 2 x Russian biscuits, 2 x Glasses of Wine, 2 x Russian remembrance tags, lots of Belinis (Russian pancakes), cake, 4 x polish football stickers and a folk music performance!

Well thats it, all the numbers we recorded during our trip… Hope you enjoyed reading our stats as much as we enjoyed keeping them.

R&E

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A wedding in the mountains…Zakopane

Climbing up a steep hill in the baking heat with our backpacks, we were distracted from our guesthouse search by the sound of music coming from a small church in seemingly the middle of nowhere. A group of people had gathered outside, watching avidly as groups of men in traditional felt suits, and women in embroidered dresses and scarves walked out of the church singing as they went… We had accidentally stumbled into a traditional polish mountain wedding. As a group of folk musicians played, the wedding party climbed into waiting horses and carts, and with a final a-cappella song from two men on horse back with felt hats, they were off. The ten or so horse-drawn carts headed off through the country lanes awash with colour and song… and just like that all was quiet again…just a little church in the countryside.

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Europe’s largest market square and bands on the roof…Krakow

From 8pm-3am, six days a week, the same soviet style blue van pulls up next to the kerb in a suburb just outside Krakow old town. The two men get out of the van each night, dressed in white coats like butchers or doctors, and without talking to each other, cook up hundreds of delicious traditional kielbasa (polish sausages) for passers-by. The huge banger is cooked over a wood fire, and served up with a bread roll and a dollop of mustard.. This was polish fast food at its finest, and the que of ten people in front of us let us know we had found a winner…

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Dumplings in a new old town…Warsaw

Possibly the best place in Warsaw to watch the world go by is on the monument steps opposite the royal palace. From here you can watch the bored novelty balloon sellers trying to sell the helium filled angry birds, nervous looking Mormons on religious converting missions, over enthusiastic tour guides hawking for business and even the odd irritated local weaving through them all, all set against a backdrop of a grand palace, cobbled streets and even a river beyond. There may be nicer places to spend an afternoon in Warsaw, but I’m not sure if we found them…

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Snuff, Solidarity and Hitler’s bunkers…Gdansk and the wolfs lair

Nothing helps you to get to know a country like turning up at 6am on an overnight bus, after getting barely any sleep. This was the case with Poland, for us. I naively thought that perhaps we might have a problem finding somewhere open for a coffee at the early hour, but no. All the bakery kiosks were open and all the buses had been running a full timetable since 4am! It was as busy at 6am in G’dansk as it would have been at 9am in any city in the UK…the Polish early starting and solid work ethic was in clear view and we were glad of it…for the caffeine hit at least!

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