It was frustrating having to wait in Poland for remedial work to be carried out on the truck to ensure the habitation box and the hydraulic tail lift were properly attached. Two companies in Poznań were responsible for this work, Camperspol and Plandex. Their premises were 30 minutes apart and we had to drive the truck from one to the other. Apart from this all we could do was sit and wait.
We had a comfortable apartment on the third floor of a five storey block in Dluga, the old part of the city. The block looked dingy at the front door but our apartment was light and airy and furnished in an IKEA style and was equipped with everything we needed for a comfortable stay. Our street had a butcher, a baker, two hairdressers and a corner shop. There was a small park opposite our entrance and an open air market at the end of our road.
The city was served by an electric tram system which was very popular, although we always chose to walk as we needed the exercise. Within ten minutes walk of our apartment there were several shopping malls – essential in a harsh Polish winter – although, whilst we were there in February the weather was quite mild.
The folk in Poznań were friendly and helpful. English was the common language for non-Polish speaking visitors and so we were easily understood in shops and restaurants. The older people were harder to communicate with. A taxi driver (mid 40s) told us he had worked as a bus driver in Birmingham for five years although he could barely speak English. He said his generation were taught Russian at school.
Two other things struck us – there was far more cigarette smoking than we were used to, although smoking was not allowed in public buildings. We regularly found ourselves downwind of groups of young smokers huddling in the doorway. We also noticed that Polish drivers were extremely law abiding and would always stop their cars if you were waiting at a pedestrian crossing. Even if you were crossing in a place you shouldn’t, drivers would still stop and politely wait until you reached the pavement. On crossings controlled by traffic lights pedestrians would wait for the green man before they put a foot on the road, even if the carriageway was empty. I think the traffic police must have been heavily armed!