Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The most incredible thing happened tonight in Poland. We'd just traversed fifty or so kilometers of the worst road in Europe, a collection of potholes and ridges held together with a sporadic scattering of concrete and rubble. Just as we hit - and hit is absolutely the word because there was a ramp and the van almost took off - the highway, the smooth, newly built part that is, we were flagged down by a policeman. He asked to see my papers so I gave him my passport to keep him going while I found the carte grise for the van, but then he wasn't sure and asked to see my driving licence and I wasn't sure because my French one was stolen in Amsterdam last week and I didn't want to show my UK one because the address doesn't match up with the van, so I gave him the insurance document to be going on with. He seemed to quite like that but then he wanted my passport so I gave him my UK driving licence (the paper bit because I couldn't find the plastic card), but he obviously couldn't understand that because I saw him trying to read it upsidedown (the licence that is - you wouldn't get a policeman, not even a Polish one, standing on his head on the side of a motorway), so he got quite stroppy and almost shouted at me, demanding my passport, which is what I think he should have done in the first place.
He scuttled off back to his car with my paperwork and was gone long enough for me to convince myself that I was going to be hiked off to prison for some innocently perpertrated misdemeanour. I was just about to launch into an embarrassing we've had a good marriage... speech when I caught sight of him in the wing mirror. He was marching towards the car with a winter coat over his arm and carrying my bag, the small red purse which Amy speaks so fondly of.
And then he called some colleagues and they gave us a high speed police escort for the next four hundred and fifty six kilometers all the way to Katowice. And when we arrived at the hotel the mayor of Katowice, who was waiting for us in the reception, presented us with the keys to the city.
Watch this space for more exciting on tour escapades.