Wroclaw Town Hall © Sybille Yates

We spent the final two nights of our October Polish adventure, staying in the city of Wroclaw, and used the intervening day to discover some of the delights it has to offer. Until 1945, Wroclaw was part of Germany and known as Breslau. In the last few months of the Second World War, it suffered serious destruction, with the Nazi forces seeking to defend the city, only surrendering to the Soviet Red Army on 6th May 1945, just two days before the official end of the war.

As Sybille had organised advance booking of our accommodation for the two previous nights, she declared it was my turn to both find and pay, for somewhere for us to stay in Wroclaw. So, whilst enjoying a mid-morning coffee, sitting in the central market square of Poznan, I got online and . . . → Read More: Wroclaw

Recovering the ‘Carly’, Hitler’s Führerhauptquartiere, and the canal that was never completed

Sunrise at Mikolajki © Ricky Yates

Several people have asked how we got reunited with the ‘Carly’ after leaving it with a mechanic in Zambrów, and taking an expensive taxi journey, in order to reach Mikolajki and begin our boating holiday on the Masurian Lakes. So here is the promised explanation.

Having cruised back to Mikolajki on Tuesday 13th October, we had planned to cruise on the following day, to the historic small town of Ryn. However, when the next morning dawned cloudy and quite windy, we decided to rethink our plans, especially as the day afterwards, Thursday 15th , was promised to be fine and sunny with far less wind, a forecast that proved to be correct.

So instead that Wednesday morning, we went and spoke to Magda in the Marina Miko . . . → Read More: Recovering the ‘Carly’, Hitler’s Führerhauptquartiere, and the canal that was never completed


St Mary’s Basilica, Kraków © Ricky Yates

Ever since moving to Prague just over seven years ago, Sybille and I have adopted the view that we should take full advantage of being based in Central Europe, to explore both the Czech Republic beyond Prague, together with neighbouring countries. So earlier this year, we decided that we would spend two weeks of my 2015 annual leave, visiting the Czech Republic’s immediate northern neighbour, Poland.

Whilst Sybille had made a previous brief visit to Poland in the early 1990s, my only experience of the country was through briefly walking over the border from Ceský Tešín with Sybille, in 2010, and when climbing Snežka in 2011. We also briefly drove into Poland when staying in the Orlické hory in 2013.

Our Polish odyssey began last Wednesday 7th October, . . . → Read More: Kraków

The Ökumenische Pilgerweg, Vacha and the Inner German Border

Here Germany & Europe were divided until 08.00, 12th November 1989 © Ricky Yates

Observant readers of this blog may have noticed that my wife Sybille, has not had a mention in any of my recent posts. This is because on Maundy Thursday 2nd April, Sybille travelled by train from Prague to Görlitz, a town lying in the south-eastern corner of the former East Germany on the border with Poland. Then on Good Friday morning, she set out to walk from Görlitz, 470 km along Der Ökumenische Pilgerweg, to the small town of Vacha, which lies on the former Inner German Border.

Der Ökumenische Pilgerweg was established in 2002-3, almost solely by the efforts of one lady, Esther Zeiher. It follows the line of the ancient Via Regia passing through Leipzig, Erfurt and . . . → Read More: The Ökumenische Pilgerweg, Vacha and the Inner German Border

The British General Election – a view from the Czech Republic

Marshall Ivan Konev, surrounded by floral tributes © Ricky Yates

Today, I have been struck by the irony of David Cameron and his Conservative Party, ‘winning’ the UK General Election by over 63% of the electorate NOT voting Conservative, coinciding with the seventieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War – VE Day. The reason for the Conservatives ‘winning’ the election by gaining less than 37% of the vote, is because of the antiquated, absurd and completely undemocratic ‘first-past-the-post’ (FPTP) electoral system under which the election was conducted. The irony of this I’ll explain shortly.

Although I live in the Czech Republic, as a British citizen, I had the right to register to vote in this election but I chose not to do so. My reason for not participating was purely the FPTP electoral system. If I had chosen to register . . . → Read More: The British General Election – a view from the Czech Republic