On Monday we take off in the direction of Swierklaniec to be there in time to start set up for the European Tree Climbing Competition on Wednesday. We will be stopping off in Prague to spend the night there on Monday to break up the trip into more manageable drives.
This is the second time in the past couple of years that ETCC has been hosted by a Eastern European chapter and I am greatly looking forwards to it, the last time having been in Prague in 2010. Well, outside Prague, strictly speaking. It was a very positive experience working with the folk from the Czech Republic, I loved the way they just got things sorted in a very quite and efficient way, which is far from self-evident. Apart from that, Prague is just a stunning city, vibrant, friendly and very beautify – definitively worth a detour. Not that this is much of a detour, the other route being via Dresden. Weighing up the two, I’m afraid Prague wins hands down – not that I wouldn’t be interested to have a potter around Dresden, mind you.
Apart from that, I love the drive east. To me, this feels like a direct connect to what Europe must have been like before the catastrophe of the First World War, or the Great War, as it way known, the War to end all Wars – but the another one came along.
This vision of Europe extends far eastwards – and seen that way, Poland really is very central! (Hmmm, just did a web search on the Geographical Centre of Europe… depending upon how you define the borders of Europe, different nations stake claim to it, such as Lithuania, as well as the Ukraine).
Driving through this region alway feels to me as though it is seeped in history and culture, made up of many people and ethnicities. It represents Europe in its full diversity of landscapes, languages and cultures.
Pre-set up meeting in Swierkalniec Park on Tuesday afternoon – and then we get going Wednesday morning. I will keep you posted.