After reading this thread (will you do the exact trip next year) I was thinking about the "do overs" for my two 2020 trips. For my May trip to the Baltics and the RS tour to St Petersburg, I've got ideas to add a day here and there to allow time for some things that research uncovered.
I began to imagine what I would change if I had a redo for my September trip to Poland, which I assume will also be delayed. I've got a great itinerary that allows sufficient time for the things I want to do in each of these places:
7N Gdańsk (including Malbork and Gydnia, by train)
On prior trips, I've been to Krakow, Auschwitz, Wrocław, and a side (bus) trip to Świdnica.
The thing that got me excited, when it occurred to me for a redo, would be a day or two with a car to drive some back roads and visit some towns (or out of the way sites) that are big enough to have a café or lunch spot and maybe a pretty church and square. But perhaps not much else.
I have driven many, many times in Europe, including driving extensively in England and Ireland when I lived near London for 3 years. I've rented cars for weeks of driving in Croatia, Slovenia, Lucca and Tuscany, French wine regions, Spanish hill towns, and (most recently) 2 weeks in Sicily and one day in Germany.
Although I much prefer trains, there's something special about getting into the countryside and just wandering a bit. Similar travel days that I've enjoyed and which exemplify what I'm imagining were:
Lucca - rented a car and drove in the hills to the small town of Vinci, with their tiny da Vinci museum and a wonderful little ceramic shop.
Slovenia - driving one day, we stopped in a tiny town (no idea the name) and had coffee in a place where they were incredibly surprised to see Americans. They asked why we were in Slovenia. (Was it Melania, they wondered?)
Erfurt, Germany - I rented a car one day to go to the tiniest of towns (no trains) on family business, then drove to Buchenwald and a Schloss, where visitors were few, parking was easy and the countryside was lovely.
Each of these was a slow day. No rushing. No time pressures. A vacation from museums and city fare. The highlight of those days was just "being there." A destination added structure, but wasn't necessary to enjoy the day.
Helpful to know:
- assume Poland is back to some new normal that welcomes visitors.
- I will fly into Warsaw, fly home from Gdańsk.
- this will be a solo trip; I won't have a navigator.
- I will download offline Google maps for directions and will have a data plan if I need to go online.
- I will buy a paper map from a bookstore, in case all else fails
- I prefer to limit city driving, except as needed to rent/return the car.
- for this, I prefer flat to mountainous, even though I'm from Colorado.
What comes to mind for a country drive of a day - or two. with overnight - not too far off the path of my itinerary?