Poland Summer 2022

 

A cycle ride through Poland from Gdansk on the Baltic Coast, south along the River Vistula, through Warsaw and Krakow, and then wherever the fancy takes me..... Then home.

 

 

Gdansk - Jelen
13 July 2022 
 65 Miles

I flew yesterday, 12th July, to Gdansk with Ryanair, or rather Buzz its Polish affiliate.  All worked well with no delay or lost baggage or bike.  Then a night in an airport hotel, which was as cheap as chips.  I think Poland generally is going to be cost effective. My bank manager will be happy. ....MORE....

 

 Jelen - Bydogoszcz
14 July 2022
 70 Miles

The Vistula is hard to catch a glimpse of.  The nearest road following the river always seemed to be a good mile or so from the river bank, and followed the flood defence / dyke.  I think I worked out that they built the flood defences quite a distance from the river itself in order to allow a flood plain to absorb some of the bulk of the river in flood, with the dyke defending what is beyond, which is mostly small farms and allotments.  What glimpses I did get of the river showed it to be really wide, just like the Danube, Elbe and the Rhine.  However, unlike those major European rivers, the Vistula doesn’t appear to have much traffic on it, no barges, no cruise boats etc.  Not sure why ? ...MORE...

 

 

 Bydogoszcz  -Skoki Duże 
15 July 2022
70Miles

Continuing on down the Vistula I made my way to Skoki Duze to a little hotel right on the banks of the Vistula.  Quite acceptable for the price, and a decent enough restaurant along with it  Along with a beer or two it sufficed to restore the calories expended during the day.  I have discovered that Polish hotels are big on single beds, and I mean single as what I grew up with.  You get a single room, and it has a single bed, simple.  At least in the USA you get a double bed mostly in single rooms.  So, I think I might start to go up market a bit and get rooms with double beds.  I like to stretch out these days. Gone are the days of lying like a corpse with hands outside the sheets.  What neurotic thought that one up ? ...MORE...

Skoki Duze - Łomianki 
16 July 2022 
70 Miles

Another day following the Vistula, this time to the northern outskirts of Warsaw.  The weather wasn’t always kind, with some sharp thundery showers that would come out of nowhere.  But pleasant enough riding.  My route took me through some forests north of Warsaw and through some very nice areas with big houses.  No doubt the erstwhile dachas of the Polish Communist Politburo, and then the ill gotten gains of the kleptocrat Polish oligarchs who got to buy up most of Poland on the cheap when things were in turmoil.  I guess their descendants still live there now in some style .  Anyhow, it was a nice bit of the world.  ...MORE...

 Lomianki - Warsaw - Stężyca
17 July 2022
65 Miles

By the way, all these Polish names that I am writing have all sorts of little things, slashes, undersigns etc on the lettering, which I can’t replicate on my laptop.  Not surprising since I can even find a pound sterling sign either.  So Stezyca has a little cedilla under the e and either an acute or grave comma or whatever above the z.  Think of your school French, and you will get the idea.  I’m not sure how they affect the sounding of the word.  Mind you, I can’t work out how most Polish words should be pronounced.  Too many w, z, j, k  etc in impossible proximity to make it pronounceable.  At least to me. ...MORE...

Stezyca - Sandomierz
18 July 2022
70 Miles

Still following the River Vistula as much as possible I continued to make my way south through lovely countryside and through bucolic little villages.  Swathes of the population here live on little small holdings with a vegetable garden, flowers, chickens and invariably a snappy little dog.  The dogs here are pussies compared to the beasts I had to put up with in Louisiana.  ...MORE...

Sandomierz - Kazimierza Wielka
19 July 2022
70 Miles

 Another day along the Vistula and it’s countryside.  The weather has become warmer and sunnier, but nowhere as hot as the heatwave that has hit the UK these last few days.  There are lots of orchards - apples, pears and cherries - along the way.  The cherries are ready for picking.  Also along the way I keep seeing people sitting by the side of the road with pots of blackberries, punnets of cherries, and also of mushrooms.  It’s evidently a thing here, and people stop off and buy the stuff.  Perhaps those sitting there are the people who own the little small holdings that I pass, and this is a way of moving on some of their produce and making a bit of money.  ...MORE...


 

 Kazimierza Wielka - Kraków
20 July 2022
40 Miles. 

 A slow start to the morning, because my ride today to Krakow will be shortish, again through lovely villages and countryside, and then through the not so lovely industrial outskirts of Krakow, until finally I found my way to the old city, where my hotel is for the night.  Actually, for two nights, because I am taking a little break here to do some sightseeing, do some laundry, change a slow puncture on my front wheel and generally pause.    I also have to decide what to do from here on.  Stay in Poland ?  Go in to the Czech Republic and head in to Austria and along the Danube ?  Decisions, decisions !  I would like to pass by Auschwitz on my travels, so that might happen in the next couple of days.  It won’t be fun, but I feel it should be a place to be visited and remembered.  A few years ago I visited Dachau outside Munich and was moved by the horrors and suffering that took place there.  In the museum I moved swiftly through because I wanted to get to to the end and find out what had happened to those who ran the place right up to the end of the war.  Mostly, they were tried and hanged.  Seems about right.  ..MORE...

 Kraków - Berlin
21 - 27 July 2022
380Miles. 

I had two nights in Krakow, mostly to rest and to do some very practical things, like a bit of laundry, bit of bike maintenance and just generally get myself together.  This bike touring stuff mostly consists of getting up, breakfast, packing up, cycling, a bit of lunch, a few water stops, and lots of pedalling until sometime in the late afternoon / early evening I arrive at my destination to shower, eat, have a beer, and then go to bed.  So a day when you can do just what you want is bliss.  I said already that I spent time in the covered market in Krakow just browsing the myriad of stalls selling all sorts of lovely things.  I kept thinking, if only there was somewhere like this that I could wonder down to during the day and buy the things I want for the evening’s dinner. Compare that to the covered market in Birmingham which just sells trash and fish that looks as though it hasn’t seen the sea in months and meat which is from bits of the animal that even I, gastronomic wannabe explorer, would not eat.     I’d love a Krakow covered market in the Bull Ring ! ....MORE....

 Berlin - Mainz - Sankt Wendel - Lille - Calais
27 July - 04 August 2022
250 Miles & Train

Wednesday 3rd August:  I sit enjoying an aperitif in a nice square in Lille on a warm evening.  I’m here ready to head to Calais tomorrow to get home.  So, where have I been and what have I been doing since I was in Berlin some days ago ?  I’ll tell you !

On Friday 29th July I caught a train in the late afternoon from Berlin to Mainz, where I was graciously hosted by Lucas, a cycling friend I met some years ago when cycling in Germany.  It was good to catch up.  I arrived late, but we had the morning following to take a nice brunch in Mainz, and then he showed me to the station where I got the train to Sankt’ Wendel to stay with various friends there and to enjoy a concert that they were doing.  The concert was at a little town on the River Mosel / Moselle (so many places have both German and French names here, I guess testament to the fluid borders and cultures and languages over the centuries) at the twinned towns of Traben-Trarbach.   A very pretty place and a lovely river.  I might look at cycling it one day.  The Mosel / Moselle is a wine growing area, with lots of vineyards on the steep slopes.  I’m not the best fan of these white German / French Mosel / Moselle wines.  I find them a bit floral and fruity, even the dry ones.  I prefer something like a Spatburgunder / Pinot Noir style. ...MORE...

Food
Glorious
Food !

Food on my travels....

At the end of day of cycling there are a few things that are essential - a shower, a decent bed, some beer, and FOOD.... !  Here are some of the recent meals I've had on my travels through Poland.  The food is good and inexpensive.  They seem to take pride in what they produce. I both enjoy it and approve.  Poland is not all sausages and cabbage, I assure you.