We left Poznań for a four hour drive east to Warsaw, the capital of Poland. It was very cold and an hour before we arrived snow had begun to fall heavily. The main roads remained clear but side roads collected 10cm of snow. Our camp site was 15k from the city centre.

We chose a sunny day to visit the city but the temperature remained below freezing all day. It was so cold I was forced to buy a fur hat!

The old part of the city had been restored after heavy damage during World War 2. Despite its Communist past, Poland remained a deeply Catholic country and we admired Warsaw’s gothic churches as well as its neoclassical palaces, one was home of the Polish President. The wide squares in the old part of town were surrounded by pastel painted buildings. We didn’t stray from the old city and avoided seeing the ugly Soviet era blocks and the modern skyscrapers further out of town.

The temperature that night dropped to -10° and although we were warm enough in the van, the icy conditions caused the boiler freeze valve to release all our water (a safety device). The next morning when we realised we had no water, poor Tony had to spend ages refilling the tank with 120 litres of water from a distant unfrozen tap, using our small watering can – definitely a blue job! The next night we left our gas central heating on to keep the water system above freezing.

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