Trip to the herring museum and to Ustka

Blog post August 18, 2019

Sunday is a good day for visiting

From Małgorzata, who also works in the cultural department of the town hall, and was already part of face Europe we got the contact of one out of two world wide existing herring museums.

Małgorzata-Face Europe no 64

The owner was praised to us as open-minded and friendly. So go for it and convince ourselves. We are very excited about how friendly, kind and open Poland welcomes us. In recent years it has become more colorful and friendly. Although people are initially quite shy, but on the second contact very open and honest.

Lisbeth with Maciej the owner of the Hering Farm

Maciej – pronounced Matschek, a form of Matthias – who is the owner of the place, will set up  a “Swedish day” on Saturday.  In the courtyard of his estate, we may stand with Big Fredi and Face Europe. So we hope to get one or two portraits.

Hering Farm

Maciej himself will also participate. 

We could have saved ourselves the subsequent visit in Ustka.

Ustka and the Tourists

There was only one of the so much acclaimed portrait painters available and he was not even on site. The neighbor gave us a business card. We would have been interested in how th

Slupsk is a hit

Blog post August 16, 2019

A wonderful holiday week with our friends in Kaliningrad made for relaxation and fun.

The week flew by and when leaving we were 5.5 hours on the border with Poland. Call of duty. Felt like 100 times: Open all doors and hatches in our Big Fredi, astonishment or simply “straight faces” among officials whose wearing the oversized caps would already justify a special allowance in salary. 

Finally, after the last window to passport control it meant also driving through the x-Ray. I wanted to know what they were looking for and it was clarified, they searched for hidden animals and humans. What a shock: We have our bear family on board and certainly a few mosquitoes of Russian origin. Thank God they could hide well and we continued our journey until Frombork, in German „Frauenburg“. On a quiet street we stayed one night. In the morning we had breakfast with our English neighbor Nicholas. Wilfried helped him with his car repair. While I amused myself with a sweet little baby kitten, taming it with some milk, Wilfried worked in the car of Nicholas. In gratitude, he invited us to eat with him in Portugal. Yes, such is the community of the traveling people!

It would have been possible to arrive Smoldzino on the same day, but we preferred to stay one more night on a beautiful natural lake surrounded by a forest before we finally reached our friend Michael in Smoldzino July 26.

What a wonderful garden he invited us to! Another 2 weeks without a successful Face-Europe search.

Although Michael had already prepared the village, no one wanted to be portrayed. So we took advantage of the time with beach visits and a great trip with our folding paddling boat on the Łupawa river.

On Thursday, 8 August, everything changed. A trip to Słupsk ended in an invitation to stand in front of the town hall and to lead our project further to success. Even for the night Dariusz, cultural events manager, reserved a place in the cultural center for us. The Cultural Center is a video-controlled leisure area in a park within  the city center. Water and electricity as well as a toilet are on site. Dariusz knew immediately what is involved in our project and supports us greatly. The cafeteria and the toilet in the town hall are always accessible during the day for us.

This makes our life here immensely comfortable and we can turn to the essential things to us here: Face Europe got the 9th Polish face today. 8 of these have then been created in Slupsk.

click on the picture to get to the TV feature

Dariusz established contact to the local TV: since Wednesday we are represented with a comprehensive video there. Similarly, the City Journal and the local newspaper have mentioned us.

On Wednesday, I wanted to buy a piece of cloth. Michael had given us an ancient folding chair which I wanted to renew. Since I have my sewing machine on board, it is possible for me to sew larger projects. The saleswoman, Beata and her daughter Kalina are now also in the project. The piece of fabric for the chair I got on top of it as a gift. The chair is now freshly made with a fabric that will still be good in 100 years. It will always remind us of Slupsk. 

Between Monday and Friday 8 portraits have been created and inquiries are still continuing.

Poland in Giant steps

Blog post July 14 2019

On Thursday, July 11, 2019 at 18 o’clock after three months stopover in Austria, we finally set the ball rolling to the north.

What took us so long? The upgrading of  Big Fredi from a light truck up to 3.5 tonnes to an RV with a total gross weight of 5 tons. Our old Sir got new strong springs built in. Moreover Wilfried had to Go through the truck driver’s license Procedere along with annoying exams. The cost for this fun was enormous. For this we are now probably one of a few legal vehicles in the motorhome area on the road, which is not overloaded. Driving pleasure with the new springs has increased dramatically. The rocking is over. Big Fredi drives as if on rails. Also while the car is standing the rocking motion as before is history.

So we chugged since Thursday in small tranches up to the north of Poland. On Tuesday we are expected from our friends in Kaliningrad, where we will take a week off. After the long three months in Austria, the holiday will be good for us.

We are in the middle of a wooded area near Pruski, about 180 km from the border with Kaliningrad. It is very quiet here. During the day many people in the car or on bikes have passed the gravel road next to our place. Now it’s quiet again. Nothing can be heard or seen. The blueberries, which were left behind by the pickers are very small and dry. Taste is not exciting. It’s not really worth it to bend down for hours for a few berries. Perhaps our next pitch on a lake is a better choice.

German soil reached

Blog entry 04/06/2019

And it was a quiet night in Fromental.

In the morning I was signing the guest book as we were the first Austrian guests of this parking space and I gave the nice lady from the Universal Business 2 Face Europe cards. One for her personally and one for the guest book for gluing it in. 

We had a good trip passing Gueret, Montlucon, Moulins, got lost after Moulins and explored the countryside inadvertently off the highway. 

We reached Autun, a parking space on a lake, which was slightly uneven and did not appear perfect. We were just about to leave the car and explore the area by foot when we discovered three men pushing a car uphill in the parking lot. Wilfried immediately ran back and helped with the other men with an extra manpower strength to get the car started.  The lady should follow the instructions of the men. When this attempt failed and the other helpers were traveling only by bicycle, it was evident that Wilfried offered Big Fredi’s battery power to start the other car. Immediately the battery-week car started and the lady was thanking all the helpers. 

After this “good deed” we went on a walk around the lake. A cool breeze blew around our ears already. The nights are noticeably cool here. We walked around the lake and spotted a much better place, which was even and quiet next to the cemetery overlooking the lake. We changed our parking place

and slept quietly beside the corpses. 

This morning we walked around the cemetery, because behind there was an interesting old building with a beautifully decorated roof and right next to it you could see an ultra-modern glass roof. We wanted to see these buildings closer. Unfortunately, they are part of the ensemble of the military base and are thus excluded for us as visitors. 

Instead, we were allowed to look at the Roman Amphitheater for free. 

After that we went back on the road. 

Today is Saturday and it strikes us that there is no heavy traffic. 

We are making good progress, there is no truck traffic. Sometimes it seems as if we are alone on the street. 

We pass Dijon (does the mustard come from there?). 

Being afraid to starve over the weekend – it is Saturday and you never know if the shops will be open on Sunday we stop at Lidl in Gray. There we eat the snack I bought and then go on using pretty good and fast highways or expressways passing Vesoul, Lure and Belfort. 

In Belfort, our navigation system gets completely lost. A construction site and new highways confuse Tomtom . We drive in circles. After the third attempt we give up and enter into Navi “avoid highways”. Thus, highways are deleted. So we „slender“ on village roads in the tiniest villages between Froidelfontane, Dannemarie, Aspach le Bas, but had a great view of the still snow-capped peaks. 

Our parking lot, which I had picked out yesterday evening, we reached despite going on state roads even before it got dark. This place is already in Germany, in Müllheim. The first German words as we cross the border. It is always fascinating to see how everything changes when you enter another country.

Now there are only about 820 km left to drive home. In three days we will be home, if all goes well. 

Today’s pitch is the private parking lot of the Markgräfler herb farm, a huge business for goods with herbs of all kinds. Unfortunately, today it is already closed and so it will be tomorrow. Therefore no possibility to buy souvenirs. 

April weather

Blog entry 04/04/2019

Outside pouring rain made us slept excellent.

The first hour of our trip was alternating between rain and sunshine. When the sun peeked out between the clouds confidently Wilfried made it to assemble the new tire. We were driving the last 300 km with the spare tire. The dimension of the spare tire is a bit bigger than the tire on the truck, even though the same size is indicated on the tire itself. 

Whatever, Big Fredi is purring again with a new tire and it also sounds much better. Big Fredi also needs less diesel – at least it feels that way. We had a full tank in Spain and 550 km to go in France. So the next 150 km we should be able to do with this filling. 

The French roads have been quite well so far. Highways without toll we deal by leaving the highway before the toll booth and then go on after the toll booth again. Our Navi asks us to, and we do what it tells us. Finally, we have entered “avoid tolls”. 

A beautiful rainbow and a thoroughly colored landscape show us that it’s raining again. But this is only for a short time and often the sun appears behind the cloudy sky. 

Every few kilometers there are so called “Aires”. These are service areas, which are also specially built for RV parking spaces with utility offers. Well signposted on the motorways in many cities as well as in small villages. 

Just like now in Fromental, a tiny place that spreads around the church and the castle. 

Our navigation system took us on back roads through single-lane roads, past secluded farms quasi from behind the village. 

We thought we were to be the only car parking there but when we arrived, there were already five cars there. For 4 cars there is a plug to fill up with electricity. 

The library, a small village store, the post office – are all operated by one very friendly lady right next door. 

For the use of the wireless network I had to make a signature and show my driver’s license.

It will be a quiet night. 

Fredi has a flat tire again

Blog entry 2. 4. 2019

Today we made it out of bed one hour earlier.

It was 8:00 when we started to have breakfast in the sunshine. 

Since last night I had spotted a gas station near by, which offered diesel for 1,164 € per liter, we started out with the filling of Big Fredi‘s tank. 

Also, the oil got checked and refilled. Such an old guy needs a little bit of grease now and again. 

Wilfried also wanted to check the tires, it turned out that the compressor was only giving 4 bars, but Big Fredi needs 4.5 Bars and so we rather lost air instead. 

At the next gas station we hoped to solve this problem. However, the tire was broken. Significant hiss showed us that there was nothing to do but to mount the spare tire. The old one was gone for good. 

Luckily we found two nice Romanian truck drivers with good muscle strength, good will and a strong iron bar to lengthen the lever arm to unscrew the screws. 

The changing of the tire took nearly an hour and it cost us (Miranda) 92 € for a new tire in the next town. 

Tomorrow Wilfried wants to mount the new tire, because this tire company had refused to mount it like they did in England last year. 

We are in Vitoria Gasteiz in a public parking without RV colleagues. I looked into  Leroy Merlin, whether they had an iron bar that could help us during the tire change, but there was nothing useful. 

Later it began to rain a little and it also cooled down quite a bit. 

Actually, we have crossed  a weather division this afternoon and are located in the more mountainous northern Spain. There are even snow covered peaks with an altitude of 1,300 meters. Fortunately we can use the Ruta de la Plata, translated as „Silver Route“, an old Roman trade route. Plata also sounds to me a little Bit like plates or flat. We do not have to deal with many slopes but meander through the wide valleys kilometer after kilometer on fairly good roads that are built as good motorways. Only to drive 2,000 kilometers more. When we started our journey home, there were a total of 3,000 kilometers. Our Big Fredi and Wilfried are the efficient „Kings of the Road“!

Thank you for our safe trip home!

No kidding – we’re in Spain

Blog Entry 1 April 2019

Until Sunday lunchtime our resistance has lasted until we finally wished Philipp “Farewell”.

Everything got vibration-packed and we were heading out. Nevertheless, we arrived in Spain in the evening, more precisely in Badajoz. This is a small medieval town which I explored late in the evening by myself.  Since we now live two hours ahead after the time change to daylight saving time and the time switching to Central European Time, my body clock at 21:30 was still tuned to 19:30 and I was full of energy. Therefore, I made an excursion to the old town. From our parking lot it was only a short walk to the pedestrian bridge into the city of Badajoz. Brightly lit and populated by many walkers and local visitors, I went uphill and enjoyed the hustle and bustle. When I walked back downhill I took the wrong direction and ended up a good bit further away from the bridge than I had thought. It was already 23:30 when I arrived back at Big Fredi. My app showed me that I had taken a 6 km march. 

This morning we only woke up at 9 a.m., first had a relaxed breakfast and only at 12 pm ” we were „On the Road” again“!

Across Caceres, or rather past it it was a direct route to Salamanca. 

We arrived the city of Salamanca at approximately 16:30 in sunshine and still managed to get a good parking space next to the bridge in the old town. Uschi had praised the city and the parking place so much and she gave us the Geo data, so we are now in the middle of the town and want to actually not leave the car unattended. Again I walked alone and explored the surrounding area and even took a few supplies at Mercadonna for our trip home. 

With coffee ice cream and waffles, we still had from Valencia we boosted some calories. 

Tomorrow, the journey continues towards France. Whether we are entering French territory tomorrow or only on Wednesday, we will see. Anyway, there are 540 km to go. 

Again and again, “Foz”

Blog entry 30/03/2019

It began at Foz do Lisandro and it ends at Foz do Lisandro. 

But first things first. 

On Wednesday, 03.27.2019 Mena was drawn. She is really an extraordinary person. Every stroke of fate she has coped brilliantly. Whether her husband’s death 6 years ago or the fire of her restaurants. She gets up and makes the most of it. Her time commitment applies to children with heart disease who live in Portuguese Guinea, where she helps to support their heart surgery in Portugal. This even went so far that she adopted one of these children 6 years ago. She has found a passion in her life, which she fills with all her heart. 

After drawing the Face Europe portrait we were invited to Marco and Anna for dinner. It was a delicious experience. 

On Thursday Philipp wanted to have a portrait painted of himself in order to give it to his father for his birthday. He decided finally to have it also filmed and since it was only one more step to be part of Face Europe he decided to be part of Face europe as well. 

Late in the evening we received another email from Anne, who wanted to be a model for Face Europe. By chance she lives across the street from Mica and also had some time the very next day to be portrayed. We already know the way to Mica’s place. Anne is a very lovely flight attendant, accountant, surfer and besides, she was the weekend before a neighbor on the beach of São Julião at a party right next to us. The world in Ericeira is small. Everyone knows everyone, surfers know each other and locals welcome “newcomers” like their friends. 

I had expressed a desire to eat fish at least once in Portugal. Neither Sonja not Rui, Marco and Anna, Mica and Melli had time to eat with us. Even Anne was already tied in a meeting. 

The only faithful Philip went with us and showed us the great restaurant in the old town of Ericeira. We were able to accompany him in his car and did not have to worry about parking in the narrow City. 

After the fish, ice-cream was a must have!

So our penultimate day was crowned with a delicious fish. 

Wilfried wanted to enjoy the Saturday for rest and on Sunday we definitely need to tear ourselves away. 

Unexpectedly, Pedro, the friend of Philip came to visit us on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, he had no time to have his portrait done. He is a filmmaker and – if we should come back to Portugal – he would be happy to be a part of Face Europe. 

We had planned to meet with Ricardo near Caldas da Rainha on Sunday but he had to cancel. 

Therefore, we will start our way home on Sunday, 31/03/2019 definitely and leave Obidos, Caldas da Rainha and Nazaré for our next visit to Portugal. 

We definitely want to get to know this country more closely and intensively.

Mellow Move Surf Camp

Blog entry 27/03/2019

Uschi from Kiel was drawn in Big Fredi yesterday.

Her joy to be part of Face Europe was great, but the joy about her portrait was overwhelming. Gladly she would have bought it. Wilfried promised her that she can purchase it after the exhibition. 

After a short break and packing up we went straight off to Marco, who has his surf camp right near the beach of São Lourenço. 

The gentle movement is the meaning of the surf camp, which Marco operates together with his friend Gregor since 10 years. 

Since six years, Anna, is his partner. Her reputation as an excellent cook has already preceded her. Johannes has rated her extraordinary good and healthy food. She does it with love and enthusiasm and we will get to enjoy this today. After yesterday’s Portrait of Marco, which Wilfried had drawn in their beautiful house, we were invited for dinner tonight. 

This afternoon the 52nd person will be included into the face Europe family: Mena (short for Philomena), she has an interesting Portuguese personality. 

Spring is in the air

Blog entry 26/03/2019

Everywhere flowers and greens here.

The figs shoot out their leaves. Fruits I have not seen yet, but they will show up soom. The hills are full of a variety of wild flowers and the gardens and front gardens flourish in the most exuberant colors. Nasturtium proliferates flourishes on the hills along the way and all kinds of yellow daisies and yellow and pink shrubs line the rocks and paths. It is a variety of colors, which accompanies us here in late March. But even for the Portuguese everything is much too early and they are concerned about the lack of rain. For us it means one sunny day after the other bringing us into pure holiday mood but it is a concern for the farmers. Hopefully it rains enough soon so that nature survives the summer. 

Last night we got a visit from our new neighbors: Andi and Konrad. Andi just wanted to borrow a corkscrew from us. He and his friend are on their holidays with a tent and a rented car. It was an exciting evening, Andi told us about his many travels and that he must now look for a job, but he would prefer to travel. He has traveled to many countries and completed his community service in Central America in a school as a teacher. It’s so nice when young people are   expanding their horizons in this way and they can always rely on so much life experience at a young age. No one can ever take that away from them.  Andi’s friend, Konrad is Californian and just finished his master’s degree in Hamburg. 

This morning we packed our things again and moved on northwards. 

Currently, we are waiting for news from Marco, in order to plan our next days. 

When we had just found a place for the night on the beach of São Lourenço, a nice German couple joined us, which gladly accepted our invitation to a coffee and cake. Eckhart (Ecki) and Uschi loved Face Europe and Uschi has decided spontaneously to be  portrayed tomorrow. If she stays here, her portrait is the 50th. 

A third car joined us later, a blue Iveco, in size as our Willi was. A young family, she is Portuguese, he Frenchman and their about 2 years old daughter is both. Tomorrow they want to visit us in Big Fredi.