We left Poland and headed west towards the UK, stopping overnight beside the River Elbe at Magdeburg, Germany. The following morning the weather was perfect and we enjoyed the sunny day travelling on smaller roads, slowly making our way across Germany.
We stayed overnight at a stellplatz in a small town near Osnabruck. Stellplatz were the equivalent of French aires, where the townsfolk allowed campervans to stay one or two nights in the hope that the visitors spend their money in the town, buying produce or eating in the restaurants. We obliged on all counts.
As we travelled we were constantly looking for an internet connection as our own Wi-fi had run out. Apart from camp sites, who were now usually quite good at providing internet access, we had to rely on motorway service stations for Wi-fi. It often happened that, having refuelled and bought our coffee, we would discover that there was no Wi-fi available. We eventually found that our best bet was Macdonalds who offered uncluttered seating areas and unlimited Wi-fi; the coffee was ok too – so they got our custom every time. Anyone who knows us would be aware that we wouldn’t normally be seen dead in a Macdonalds, so for us two old fogies to be frantically searching the horizon for the famous Golden Arches was a shameful first!
We felt the German people, kind and helpful as they often were, seemed to resent visitors who couldn’t speak their language. That is, of course, understandable – but from an English speaker’s viewpoint you would have to be a pretty competent linguist to be familiar with all languages of the European countries we visited. I reckon on that short trip we must have encountered at least twelve different languages. In order for the Swedes to communicate with the Poles; the Dutch to converse with Norwegians; the Greeks to understand the Serbians or the Belgians to talk to the Italians, there had to be a common language and, like it or not, that lingua franca was English. Perhaps when the United States of Europe finally take over they should all agree on one common language, although I guess they would not want it to be English!
The following day we were in Holland and then Belgium. The next day Calais and Eurotunnel back to the UK.