The spell of very hot weather was an inopportune time for our main fridge to start behaving erratically; we were concerned that it would finally fail so we changed our travel plans to seek professional help. We had installed Dometic fridges – a “top of the range” Swedish brand that specialised in compressor operated refrigeration for use in recreational vehicles (boats, trucks, vans). Mr Google informed us that there was a Dometic dealer in Warsaw, two hours drive away and so on Friday afternoon we turned up at Skylark Polska on the outskirts of Warsaw and met the man in charge, Kamil. He couldn’t have been more helpful and immediately came out to the truck to look at the problem. In less than an hour we had a new unit installed and our old unit destined for recycling – and he gave us a generous 20% discount. Outside Kamil’s premises was a huge American RV. Kamil told us they were having a jacuzzi installed. Now there’s a thought!

Our travel plans were to head north through Poland to Lithuania and on to Latvia then Estonia. We would take a ferry from Estonia to Finland, a ferry from Finland to Sweden, then Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France and home. We had hoped to get up to the Arctic circle but our extended stay in Poland meant we would not have enough time to get so far north.

Blue dot was our camp site in Kaunas

The drive through Poland was a joy in the warm sunny weather. The area was mainly agricultural, the undulating terrain was dotted with farmsteads set in fields of bright ripening corn and green fields of tall maize. Occasionally we drove through timber forests whose dark shade provided a welcome respite from the hot sunshine. We had our COVID papers ready for scrutiny at the border into Lithuania but the border buildings were unmanned and we were able to drive straight through. We bought a vignette for €39 which allowed us to travel Lithuania’s roads for seven days.

We stopped at a camp site by a lake in Kaunas. We received an effusive welcome from the family who ran the site (Mum, Dad and two daughters aged 14 and 10). They told us that we were the first British people they had seen in a more than a year! Everyone spoke in excellent English; I noticed that a German couple sitting next to us at the beach café had to communicate with the waitress in English. When we travelled in eastern Germany we detected a reluctance for Germans to use the English language. At German camp sites there were always lots of notices pinned up around the sites – but written only in German. Many campers were non-German (Finnish, Danish, Swedish . . . rest of the world . . as well as English) and we would never know we were not allowed to “feed the ducks” or had to “remove our shoes before entering the shower block”.

Rotuses Square in Kaunas, Lithuania