Today’s riding was just what I like. Once I had worked my way out of Szczecin, I was quickly across the border in to Germany and following the left / German side of the Oder along nice bike paths along the flood defences. The Oder is a wide flood plain river, to look at not very impressive initially, but all that green growth between the two banks is shallow water. Some parts of it have been canalised for transport. I’ll follow the Oder for the next few days as it forms the border between Germany and Poland, which then follows the Neisse.
I arrived on this side of the Oder, the German side, without any Euros. Lots of Polish Zloty, but no Euros. Not sure why I didn’t get myself better organised. Anyhow, I’ve quickly learned that the Germans are pretty sniffy about the Zloty, even though they are only a hundred yards or so across the bridge from Zlotyland. So, I’ve had to buy some Euros from the cash machine, no doubt at a hugely exorbitant rate. Note to self - plan better for money / currency in future when zigzagging / criss-crossing across borders.
I came across today some cemeteries near the border which had very German austere grey stone grave markers in proliferation, the majority from April 1945 when the Russians were pushing through this area on their way to Berlin. No doubt many of them old men and youths who were drafted in during the finals months of the war. I dread to think what it must have been like around here during those final months of the the war.
Today is Sunday, and the Poles like the Germans take Sunday seriously, so pretty much everywhere is closed. I found it difficult to get a coffee and something for breakfast, except what I could find at a petrol station. All shops, supermarkets, little convenience stores are all closed here for Sunday. Thankfully some eating places are open tonight in Bad Freienwalde and I was able to get a very acceptable Italian mean and beer just up the road from the little hotel / b&b / cafe / restaurant (the latter closed Sunday !) where I am staying. I’m not sure in Germany that the Sunday closing observance has much to do with religion, rather long established traditions of regulated working hours. Maybe in Poland they see it as taking the Sabbath seriously. I myself am quite happy with Sunday opening back home. It’s what people want, it provides opportunities for employment, and who says religious observance should dictate social mores ? Go down that route, and we will be having to close shops on Friday in the future. Listening to the likes of the Archbishop of Canterbury et al opining about the need for people to have “family time” and rest doesn’t wash any more. People have decided that their “family time” will be out shopping and entertaining themselves. Others like to work on Sundays. So, let the people have what they want.
All today I have been getting a very pleasant scent from some trees as I pass by, and especially tonight in Bad Freienwalde where I am staying. I can’t place the tree. I’m wondering if it is the linden tree ? Looks a bit like a refined chestnut tree, with smaller, less brassy, flowers. The other bit of nature I’ve noticed, especially in the late afternoons/ evenings are swifts / swallows. You barely see them at home these days.
The church bell across the road has chimed 10 o’clock, so it is time for bed !
Accommodation: Night of 18th June - Hotel-Pension Lender Bad Freienwalde
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