Driving in Poland: Trucks, Trees and Tractors.

This is part two of a tale about driving from the UK to Estonia. If you missed parts one and two, and want to start from the beginning, it can be found by clicking this link: Road Trip From the UK to Estonia.

Day Two: We leave Berlin bright and early, we are heading for the border of Poland. That doesn’t take too long and pretty soon we are in Poland.

Poland: Trucks, Tractors and Trees.

This route through Poland is the main pass through route for road freight to the rest of Poland, Belarus, Kaliningrad, Ukraine and the Baltics. As you can imagine, it gets very busy and is trucks, trucks and more trucks.

The EU paid for a new motorway that is now several hundred miles long.

It is a pay road, and you now pay five times along its length, which varies between 14 and 37 Zloty at each point.

Bringing damaged cars up to Poland and Lithuania from other parts of Europe is still big business.

You see scenes like this every few minutes. And the empty transporters coming back on the other side of the carriageway to collect more. It has always been this way. Almost every used car in this part of the world arrived as a damaged one from western Europe.

When driving through the towns and villages, there are these religious thingies in front of many of the fields of crops.

I can only assume they are hoping god will bless the crop? I dunno. Some are little crosses with a few flowers. Some are more extravagant affairs like this. Some are huge monstrosities with floodlights and Madonnas – looking more like graves than shrines. This is a Catholic thing, not an Orthodox thing.

Starting in East Germany, and right through Poland, there is a lot of graffiti.

Its under every motorway bridge, on garages, public areas – everywhere.

Some are intricate cartoons, some is very artistic, and I half wonder if some of it might have been paid for to brighten up the dull concrete.

The usual roadside sellers can still be found.

Don’t ask me how this got here………..

It made me chuckle so I put it here.

It took around 12 hours for me to get where I was heading for the night: The Kamiza Hotel. The hotel is nice, it is very, very cheap, and as one might expect, service is almost non existent. Well, this is Eastern Europe. They haven’t grasped service yet.

Tomorrow is still about three hours driving in Poland before the border of Lithuania; the entrance to the former Soviet Union.

A Drive to Estonia – Part Two.

This is part two of a tale about driving from the UK to Estonia. If you missed part one, and want to start from the beginning, it can be found by clicking this link: Road Trip From the UK to Estonia.

We pick up the tale in Belgium, just after a scheduled stop at the famous Tobacco Road.

So off we go through Belgium towards Holland.

Through the corner of Holland and then we hit Germany. You can see the blue sign on the right that is the German border.

Germany is where road travellers from all across Europe start to be seen.

The driving standard from Germans is generally very good. The roads are good and I love the no speed limits on many of the autobahns.

Of course, not everyone driving there meets the German standard. I stopped off for a coffee, and on may way out of the service station, a truck made me do an emergency stop as he totally disregarded my right of way. And my horn.

The further east you get, size of vehicle dictates right of way more so than road markings.

As he pulled ahead, I looked to see where this truck was from, betting myself it was an FSU truck. No German driver would have done that. Sure enough, it was a Russian truck.

As I passed him, predictably, he was on his mobile phone.

Progress through Germany is quite quick. It can be an interesting place to drive through.

Germany is an odd place in many ways (as I will explain on the way back), but the road system is pretty good if you can avoid the horrendous traffic jams that can happen.

Berlin, where I am heading today, has a ring road that is notorious for rush hour traffic jams. The object of this day is to get to the edge of Berlin avoiding the rush hour car park.

So far so good, and eighteen hours after leaving Manchester, I arrive at my first stop for the night. The Fire Station Hotel in Brandenburg. They have a site here: Feuerwehrhotel.

A very long first day; eighteen hours is a lot of driving. But that’s the longest day behind me.

The Russian “Mail Order Bride” Industry in 2011/12

The so-called “mail order bride” industry, which primarily is focused on Ukraine, and secondly Russia, has been changing in recent years. The days of American guys rolling up in any Russian or Ukrainian city, flashing a US passport and being swamped in model-quality girls are long gone. This is 2011, not 1991. Women are not desperate to leave any more.

Men seeking a Russian or Ukrainian wife need to understand the dynamics of the society they delve into. Men fixated on the idea of importing a model-quality wife, twenty-five years younger than themselves are likely heading for disappointment. It has passed into internet folklore the “fact” that any obese, older guy can snag himself a super sexy Eastern European wife with little more to offer than his country of residency and his wallet. He can still do that as long as he accepts that the marriage will likely not last longer than the time it takes her to get a green card or permanent residency in his country.

The sensible guys nowadays need to accept their limitations. This does not mean that a guy cannot delve into Eastern Europe, if he knows what he is doing, and end up with a well-intentioned and beautiful wife. He can. But occasionally, reality checks are in order.

I was recently communicating with a British man who had made over thirty trips to Ukraine in search of a wife. After several years, and all these trips to Ukraine, he is still wifeless. No good prospects on the cards either. In these circumstances, we must examine not only him, but what he is looking for, and ascertain if it is realistic.

The gentleman in question is in his fifties, and has one or more ex-wives in the UK. He has a number of children; some of whom are either resident with, or spend significant time with him. One of these children has some type of special needs requirement. He is a nice guy; intelligent, witty and personable from what I can make out. He is affluent enough to afford the whole foreign wife endeavour (which many men are not).

What is he seeking? A large breasted, yet extremely slim and very beautiful woman in her twenties; that is twenty to thirty years his junior. Is that realistic? No. Here was my advice to him:

Your situation isn’t what local women seek to embrace; they already eschewed it. Why would a two decade younger, beautiful one, with a large chest from a poor country embrace it? Times are a changing. Desperation is fading. Your lack of success is testament to that. A reality check is needed. Late 30’s and early 40’s is the group you should be looking in. Perhaps with a kid or two.

My advice was not well received.

What many men in a similar position fail to realise is that desperation in these countries is fading. Finances are improving and women are less likely to choose self-export via marriage as a life choice as that happens. This is underlined by the fact that the “mail order bride” industry pretty much doesn’t exist any more in the affluent corners of the former Soviet Union (FSU) and proliferates in the more impecunious corners. Scamming also proliferates in the impecunious corners as desperation breeds corruption and dishonesty.

As proof of this, if we look at some FSU countries, we will see that the “mail order bride” industry has vanished altogether. In relatively affluent Estonia, Latvia and the Czech Republic, women are not seeking self-export via marriage as a life choice. There is not a single foreign-facing marriage/dating agency in Estonia any more. There hasn’t been for a decade or more.

Compare that to Ukraine. Ukraine is still bristling with foreign-facing dating and marriage agencies; new ones are opening every day (the honesty of many of these is open to question but that is not the subject here). Russia still has many agencies based there, but fewer in the more affluent corners like Moscow and Saint Petersburg. In Russia, the agencies reside in places that fewer foreigners venture to. Places like Rostov, Samara, Togliatti (Tolyatti), Vladivostok and Barnaul.

The link between women’s desire to export themselves and average income is an undeniable fact.

On the other side of the coin, I was recently communicating with an American man who also complained about his lack of success in the Eastern European dating arena. He told me:

I am good looking, healthy and relatively young. I have a good job and make good money. I know how to treat women very well. I am enjoyable to be with. I am interested in starting a family and having children.

Most women on learning this will think, “What’s wrong with him then?” and will muse on why he can’t find a woman at home. They simply will not believe the accounts given by Americans of the bad dating environment in the US; the “entitlement” attitude they encounter, and the subsequent lack of availability of appropriate and slim women.

His “benefits” of being young, in good shape and of a normal state of mind may actually work against him in some circumstances. I would be inclined to explain to the women I wrote, in a very careful manner, why I was seeking a woman from abroad if in his shoes (without disrespecting my local women). Its like sales training for those that ever had it; overcome the customer’s objections before they are even raised. Marketing oneself long-distance to women is a skill that takes honing and development.

The introduction letter is a vital tool; a first impression that cannot be left to chance. One must hire a competent Russian interpreter and translator to help craft and hone your introduction letter. Preferably a female one, as women understand the target market: Women.

Understanding the society you are delving in is also essential. You cannot rely on the twaddle written on dating sites. Russian dating sites are geared up toward telling you what you want to hear. They will wax lyrical about how these ladies “love to make cosy home” and “love to cook tasty meals” – which may be true sometimes. But not all the time. You will find the same guff written on the profile of many “professional daters” (scammers to you), often from Odessa or Kiev, who entertain a different foreign guy each weekend, and have a Prada and D&G fetish. Preferably at your expense.

To get to the real facts about a Russian or Ukrainian wife, and how, in 2011/12, you can find one, you need to educate yourself. This means learning from those who have spent much time in the former Soviet Union; and who are in a cross cultural marriage already.

The road to a beautiful Russian or Ukrainian wife is still possible to travel; but you must enter the arena educated and with a good idea in advance of what is possible and what is not.

The “mail order bride” industry is changing. Marriage agencies are not the future. As Russian and Ukrainian women embrace the internet at home, social networks are the way forward. Sites like Planet Love Match have recognised this already and are responding to the changing environment. Mix the dating site together with a social networking site, in both languages – brilliant but simple.

Foreign dating is changing. Get ahead of the curve by educating yourself.

Stuart J. Smith is the co-author of the Russian Bride Guide: How to meet, court and marry a woman from the former Soviet Union. He has guested on many radio shows on the “mail order bride” subject. He runs the busiest Russian women information discussion forum on the internet today.

Russian Ukrainian Adventures Newsletter – Fall/Autumn 2009.

The forum has been on rocket fuel recently. We remain the busiest Russian women information forum on the net by far, and are well on track to also become the biggest! August was another record month for the forum: More new topics than any month for over a year and a half, third highest post count ever, biggest page views ever and we also smashed our “most on-line” record too!

As RUA continues to grow, so does our membership. We also picked up more new members during August than at any time since April 2007 (the month this board started). Many of them are arriving from another forum that seems to be on the verge of being abandoned due to poor management. So if you have recently joined us from over there – welcome! You are in good company. You will find many people you already know here.

Eastern European Girl – Large Age Gap – Cheeky Girls

Frankly, I had no expectation of anything romantic happening between us, although I must admit that I was secretly hopeful. When, two months later, we became more than just friends, cynics derided our alliance. To them it just had to be a stunt, after all I was 41 and she was 24. They cited my quirky reputation and wonky face as evidence against me,

A Drive from UK to Estonia via Poland, Lithuania & Latvia

I will have a pal of mine in tow who likes the idea of Eastern European women, who wants to see some in their natural habitat en route.

After our side of Europe, this little sojourn will be taking us through Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and the whole length of Estonia. (Going around Kaliningrad as you cant go through there without a transit visa)


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