Monthly Archives: November 2013


I realised that I did a whole About (About Getting Around in Krakow) without giving credit to the planning tool visitors to Kraków will find the most useful, and maybe also the most difficult. It’s called Jakdojade and the Krakow version is here

Basically, the difficult bit is that you need to be able to accurately identify three things – your start and end points on the map and the time you’ll be setting out. This is because:

– The tool will give you a detailed route, including a map, from start to end points including walking directions, bus and tram elements, stops to get on and off and times, and

– All this will also take account of the time you’re setting out – so if there is a choice of trams, for example, the tool will give you the first available route – so, setting out ten minutes later might give you a different route.

Confused? Don’t be – as long as you understand those points you’ll be fine and quickly see the value of the tool and appreciate the work which went into it. Oh, one more point. The tool will presume you want to use the tram or bus. There is no option to just walk. The tool is available for all these cities – just click “change city” • Białystok • Bydgoszcz • Górnośląski Okręg Przemysłowy (GOP) • Grudziądz • Kraków • Łódź • Lublin • Metropolia Zatoki Gdańskiej (Trójmiasto) • Olsztyn • Poznań • Radom • Rzeszów • Szczecin • Toruń • Warszawa • Wrocław

First snow of winter 2013/14

I had just been telling a friend that it would be a bit before our first snow … inevitably, that night – 24/25 November – it snowed, and kept on snowing until noon yesterday. I couldn’t find a camera that was charged up, so I’ve had to wait until today to take a couple of photos. Here you go…

26 November 2013 006

26 November 2013 007

The view from our bedroom window.

Winter driving

Winter driving

Before the really bad weather starts, let’s just run through things to remember


Edward, on the lookout for the Yetis

Check the forecast. Do you really need to drive to X when you know the really bad weather is closing in? If you really must, then at least be prepared.

Lights. Use them. Whenever you’re driving you are legally required to have your headlights on – dipped during the day and in the normal situations at night, of course. Use your fog lights when you should, and please do NOT turn them on when you should not – dazzling other drivers or, even worse, making the guess whether you’re braking or not is just bloody ignorant! And another thing – WASH your lights … you’ll get all sorts of cack on them, so wash them … see and be seen.


Screen wash and wipers. Keep your washer bottles topped up with water with de-icer added, and carry a couple of cans of de-icer in the car. Park your wipers off the screen when you park up – either lift them into the air or put some paper or something under them to stop them freezing into the glass.


Park your wipers off the screen

Check your tyres. They ought to be WINTER tyres, of course. Winter tyres make a significant improvement to how your car will grip and brake when temps drop to 7 degrees and below. Check the pressure.

Carry chains. The police will stop you if you’re driving with them on when you should not … and they’ll stop you and tell you to put them on when you need them, too! We have seen hills in PL which we would not like to tackle in snow, even with 4wd and chains, so while you may never find yourself in the extreme situation, you may be glad you bought some chain (and found out how to fit them!).


This is snow before Xmas last year – after Xmas we had two feet until April!

Carry some supplies. Imagine you get caught in a storm or a very long delay on the motorway. What would you wish you’d packed before you set out – water, flask of coffee, pop, biscuits, torch, blanket, sandwiches? Pack them! Did you put a folding shovel and a pair of sacks in the boot? Good!

Drive defensively. We know Poles seem to drive in the belief that God is their co-pilot, but you don’t have to. Watch other drivers and try to anticipate what daft things they might do. Keep to the speed limits (especially in between the skyline signs in towns and villages) and adjust your speed downwards as conditions demand.


Oops – but even a 4wd on summer tyres or poorly driven can end up in the ditch!

Change your battery? If it’s nearing the end of its working life – normally about five years – change it. You don’t want to find it’s gone flat over a freezy cold night, do you? Or, come to that, over a freezy cold couple of hours in a car park, many miles from home. Also, get some jump cables, just in case you or someone else need them.

Anti-freeze. We mentioned putting de-icer into your washer bottles, but remember to check and top-up your anti-freeze too.


The “jetstream” is actually the snow frozen to the telephone wire

Footwear. Yes, footwear. Boots are fine for walking through the snow and ice, but terrible to drive in. Keep some favourite driving shoes in the car and change out of your boots while the car warms up. At your destination – or if you have to get out en route – you can put your (now nice and warm) boots back on.

Other things to carry – reflective jackets, ice scraper, first aid kit, sunglasses and maybe ski glasses (the yellow ones), road atlas (in case your sat nav packs in or you need to figure out a diversion, demisting pad (chamois) to clean and dry cndensation off the inside of your windows.


Grey car, snow still in place and no lights … see and be seen?

Some driving pointers:

–       Accelerate gently, use low revs and change up as quickly as possible. You may find it best to move off in second gear.

–       Leave a longer gap between you and the car in front – it can take up to ten times more road to stop!

–       Steer into a skid. As an example, if the rear of the car is sliding to the right, steer to the right. Do not take your hands off the steering wheel or stamp your foot on the brakes.

–       On ungritted roads be aware that it may be icier in the tracks of the car in front – think about driving on the fresh snow instead.

–       Drive smoothly. Operate the brakes, steering, accelerator, even change the gears more smoothly

–       Allow more time for your journey.


The 1904loghouse is under the tree – TeaPot on walkies

Międzynarodowy Dzień Toalet

The World Toilet Organization (WTO) is a global non-profit organization committed to improving toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide. WTO focuses on toilets instead of water, which receives more attention and resources under the common subject of sanitation. Founded in 2001with 15 members, it now has 151 member organizations in 53 countries working towards eliminating the toilet taboo and delivering sustainable sanitation.WTO is also the organizer of the World Toilet Summits and World Toilet Expo and Forum.


World Toilet Day

In 2001, the World Toilet Organization declared its founding day, 19 November, as World Toilet Day.  Since then, 19 November has been observed globally by its member organizations. In September 2009, a new website was launched dedicated to the celebration of World Toilet Day. Its 2012 slogan was “I give a shit, do you?”.


11 November – Independence Day

11 November – Independence Day


I think you know by now that Poland was wiped off the maps for 123 years, between the Partitions in the late 1790s and the defeat (or distraction) of the occupying powers at the end of WW1 – when Russia was plunged into the confusion of revolution and civil war, the multinational Austro-Hungarian monarchy fell apart and went into decline and the Germans bowed to pressure from the forces of the Entente.


The Poles saw their chance and even in the days before the War ended steps were being taken to re-form the country. 11 November is the date the Regency Government appointed Józef Pilsudski Commander-in-Chief over the Polish Forces and only a couple of days later he was given civil control. 11 November is also the date chosen in 1937 to mark Independence – a public holiday celebrated only twice before Germany invaded.

11 listopada

The Russians invaded from the east only two weeks later and, as we know, WW2 ended with Poland firmly in Russian hands and subject to something of a puppet government – the PKWN Manifesto (edited by Stalin) was declared on 22 July 1944 and until 1988 that was the day used to mark Independence. In 1989, the Sejm reinstated the 11 November anniversary as Poland’s Independence Day holiday.