…a moment of total panic, disbelief and anger when we found out all our paperwork was in order but there was no way to get a vehicle for a major excursion crossing into 5 countries, sometimes (as was the case with Ukraine and Poland) 2 or 3 times. Hertz to the rescue! The very helpful staff there checked not only with all the major international companies to see if someone had a van that could do what we wanted, and then tried another route. Finally, two hours behind schedule…we were off
Marek was amazing, loading the van with our (many) suitcases, and insisting on doing it himself! On the road about 5 PM, over 2 hours after we thought we’d get started, we realized that not only were we starting very late, but it was actually later than we thought – there is a 1 hour time zone difference between Poland and Lithuania! Lithuania was an hour later. We were grateful that at least the van had a/c.
Our route looked easy enough, we were heading due north, but the line on the GPS that looked straight at first glance was filled with curves and turns, and the highway we thought we would be on, was only a 4 lane road for part of the way. We wound up driving through some small towns, none of whose names we caught – no sooner di we enter them than we left!Cobblestone streets made for a bumpy ride, but really beautiful – we were happy that it was still light. When we got to Augustów, a resort town in northeastern Poland we stopped for dinner.
Once again on the road, this time in the dark, we crossed the border into Lithuania (with no border check) and made it to Marijampolė in southern Lithuania and as b that time, it was around midnight, disturbed a sleepy but good-natured person at the Luna Hotel where we had a reservation. We got our keys, unloaded the van and were about to head to our rooms when a cab pulled up.
The passenger in the cab got out and when he had reached the back of the vehicle, suddenly collapsed – the impact of him hitting the ground made a huge sound, and he immediately began shaking, having a seizure. Marek and Lina turned him on his side, we got the attention of the cab driver who in turn disturbed the person on the night shift at the hotel, who, after she understood what was happening, called for an ambulance. The EMTs showed up, by which time the man seemed to be recovering and told us that he had epilepsy. The EMTs checked him out and said that he was ok. We were all surprised that his fall didn’t do some real damage.
Finally we headed off to our rooms. The rooms were clean and hot. There were no fans and no a/c. And, although I haven’t mentioned it, it’s extremely hot – we had hoped that as we drove north, the heat wave would break, but that’s not the case.