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The horror. The horror

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Last weekend, I landed at Szczecin airport in Poland at around 11am on Saturday. I was on one of my many trips abroad, following my curiosity. I go to places, look at what is normal, look at what is not, and see how the world and the parts of the world I am most interested in are changing and evolving.

I was last in Szczecin in 2007. I even wrote about it briefly on this blog at the time, observing that it was in some ways very weird. As it happens, Poland was much more a post-communist country in 2007 than it is now. At that time a defining feature of the country was that it was an heir of the communist country it had been in 1989. Now, that is not true. Poland feels like a normal developed country. This achievement is magnificent, particularly when one compares it to the countries to its east. I cannot help but think that EU membership has helped Poland in this regard. Most dramatically, it has done this through the free movement of people between Poland and countries further west. People have come to Britain, Ireland, Sweden and elsewhere, have contributed economically to those countries, but also learned languages, skills and attitudes, and have made connections that have been useful at home. The number of people from further west who have developed connections, lives and businesses in Poland and places further west is smaller and probably less significant, but is still large enough to matter.

The journey trip in 2007 was in may ways quite surreal. The final day of it included a brief five minute period of being an illegal immigrant to Germany, and then a dramatic drive in a highly powered car along no speed limit German autobahns (legally in the country this time) later in the afternoon in a desperate and ultimately successful attempt to get to Lübeck airport in time for a flight home. However, that’s a story for another time. This journey was mainly an attempt to recap on what I saw on that surreal trip.

This time, I quickly picked up my rental car, and headed along the motorway towards the city – a port city on the Oder that was Prussian until 1945 and was known as Stettin until then. As is the case with many medium sized cities in Europe, Szczecin’s airport is a former military airfield that was later converted to civil use, and is therefore a little more distant from the city than would be an airport that was built from scratch to be a civilian airport. The drive from the airport to the city is therefore about 50 kilometres.

Leaving the airport and heading down the motorway towards town, I found myself driving past the sorts of things one normally finds oneself driving past on motorways just outside the edges of cities along airport corridors. 25 years after the end of communism, Poland in incredibly normal in respect of what one sees in such places. Warehouses, logistics facilities, light industry, lowish rent office parks, yards full of industrial equipment, rest stops with a McDonald’s a motel, and a petrol station, and…



I saw something strange and weird next to the motorway – so strange and weird that I immediately pulled over to the side of the road and parked illegally on the hard shoulder, put on my hazard lights, and got out of the car to take photographs.

I saw field – a yard – full of new and strange things. Aerodynamic things. Not wings. Twisted things, but twisted far too gently to be any kind of propellors or airscrews. What were they. I have seem many, many industrial things in parks outside cities, but nothing like this before.

Then, however, the full, awful truth dawned upon me. I knew what they were. Possibly this indicates that Poland has gone through being normal, and is now post-normal.

The Poles have of course been encouraged, bullied, and otherwise required by their EU partners to waste resources, skills and time on such crap when there have been much more important things to worry about, both from an economic point of view and a security point of view. From an economic point of view, this should have been obvious since at least 2008, but the crap has somehow continued. From a security point of view, this has at least been obvious since last year. The Polish government does at least have its eyes on the ball at this point. I am less sure about one or two governments of countries a little further west.

Some things take a long time to die, though. Post-normal probably isn’t good.

12 comments to The horror. The horror

  • Paul Marks

    Are they bits of wind turbines?

    Subsidy dependent things.

  • John Galt III

    Eco-fascist, Watermelon technology from 300 BC.

  • Kevin Jaeger

    Let’s hope they are just building them for export and not actually putting them to use themselves.

    I was in Stettin about the same time as your last trip, though I didn’t have time to stay long. Quite an interesting city.

  • Mr Ed

    Let’s hope that no Russian intel reports misidentify them as parts of a super-weapon and earmark them for destruction by Russian Spetznaz. However, were that to happen, it would actually benefit the cause of economic reason.

  • Bruce Hoult

    I have absolutely no objections to people building such things with their own money, and selling the resulting electricity (when there is some) on the open market at the low prices suitable to such uncontrollable, non-schedulable generation.

    That is how it works back home in NZ.

    Which also, of course, happens to be far more windy than central Europe.

    I need to start emulating Mr Jennings and traveling. I’ve been almost nine weeks in Moscow now, and haven’t yet been outside the MKAD (barely more than a km or two outside the 3rd ring, to be honest). A bicycle has proven to be a fine way to explore anything inside the 3rd ring (~5 km radius). Still, no hurry, with a three year visa.

  • Bruce:

    Get out to Novodevichye, where some of the famous people (Khrushchev the most notable) are buried. It’s on the same metro line as the university, which offers a nice vista of the main part of the city.

  • mojo

    Yep. Bird choppers.

  • Regional

    If you thought the Pope is a warmist think again.

  • RRS


    Depends on what you regard as most notable.

    The Father of Russian Medicine (an atheist) is buried there.

    The most politically notable, possibly; though some might prefer Yeltsin who set alight the present fuze.

  • CaptDMO

    I’ve been led to believe it can snow in Poland.
    How many Kilograms of wind blown rime ice can accumulate on (three?) of those blades?
    How is THAT going to affect “performance”?
    Where is that ice going to go when the spinning blades finally “let it go”?

  • Saw wind turbines loaded on trucks going out to North Dakota a few years back on the Interstate on this side of the Pond. Interestingly, to get them from the East Coast for import and Rust Belt manufacturing to the Plains where there’s wind, they put them on the old steam powered ferry S.S. Badger rather than drive through Chicago. Those trucks are long as all get out too.

    As for icing issues, I don’t think there are many. However, make sure the good luck charm someone places in there doesn’t fall into the gearing, making it useless.