Valley, Mt Blanc
Valley, Mt Blanc
  • Poland Video Highlights
    • 21/08/2019
  • Tatratastic
    • 08/08/2019
Krakow
Pierogis
Walk around
Pizza baguettes
Tour de Poland
Salt mine
Japanese gallery
Pinball museum

Road to Tatras
Took two days, up and down increasing waves of valleys like ripples spreading out from the main range.
Didn't think about it being Sunday, as shops in Krakow centre were open, but everything in the countryside closed, but fortunately was able to negotiate some bread buns from a burger van to restock. Regardless of the day, every village has half a dozen lody shops (ice cream) doing a roaring trade.
Planned a wild camp which turned out excellent, apart from cloud cover, at the top of a short sweet 17% climb.
Second day was largely following river valleys so barely any gradient.
Including the touristy Dunajec gorge, where guides steer wooden rafts downstream and families stroll and cycle upstream.
Now I can see the jagged teeth of the High Tatras, calling me onward.

Zakopane.
Two days of hiking, with 1000m plus elevation gain each day, 35 miles total, rewarded by some spectacular views from the ridges of lakes, valleys, further peaks on the Slovak side, and miles out over the polish plains.
  • Just for the Krakow
    • 31/07/2019
Wed 30th
After yesterday I'm happy to be heading for a hostel tonight, which turns out to be more of an echoey motel but whatever. The pool hall across the road serves excellent and cheap pizza and beer.
During the day the landscape of arable fields has increasingly had a backdrop of industrial chimneys and mining pitheads, aside from a section through wetlands and lakes backdropped by the towering rollercoasters of a theme park.

Thurs 31st
I'm so close to Auschwitz it would be more awkward to avoid it completely, so I pass the perimeter in the morning and wonder how appropriate it is for people to be taking selfies outside.
Then onward towards Krakow, including crossing the river on a rickety railway bridge, a monastery, and a final few km race along the river with the Lycra crowd out for their evening exercise
  • Hay while the sun shines
    • 29/07/2019
Mon28th
Churches and graveyards are popular Sunday.
The Poles seem to take cemeteries seriously, almost like its a competition to maintain spotless tombstones covered in fresh flowers.

Combine harvesters are out in force!

River trail cycle path that doesn't go near the river
Thunderstorm
Hiding under tree in park with the local old drunk
At least this one is amiable, plenty of old blokes sat on benches just give me incredulous looks bordering on about to spit
Dropped my sunglasses though and had to go back, found them in a muddy puddle but better than losing them!

Camped in a recently harvested empty field. Tranquil

Tues 29th
Another 100km.
Spent a couple of hours in the morning at a "fairy tale" castle, the interior was a bit of a joke though, terrible portrait paintings of the lady of the house, and most of it is a somewhat run down looking hotel. Still, looks good from the outside with lots of turrets, one of which conceals the water tank.

Reached target camp area, a meadow in the middle of a forest. A few mozzies but the biggest trial is the heat... So hot, so hot... I saw one of those led signs saying 38 degrees C recently which isn't ideal cycling weather, but makes stopping for ice cream feel more justified.
  • Milestone Madness
    • 27/07/2019
Crossed the border properly, but to absolutely no ceremony, I mean, open borders is great but I do like a sign to pose next to!
Climbed a hill, had an ice cream.
Polish response to you not speaking polish seems to be to talk faster in polish, in a friendly manner but completely bewildering.
Reached 1000km
Staying at a "proper" campsite as first night in new country, and it turns out to be entirely Dutch! Still, at has a lake to swim in which is a blessed relief.

Onwards through plain working villages, they don't seem to go in for pretty village greens here, just ruins of of old bourgeois manor houses, with still in use adjacent farms and outbuildings.
As I pass through one village I can hear a band practising Chris Rea's "road to hell" which I hope isn't an ominous forebear!

Passing more and more big flat plains of wheat, arrive in Swidnica for lunch and a look at the "Peace church". Old, pretty, UNESCO listed, made of wood because whilst the conquering crusading Swedish (yes) decreed a church should be built, the local powers tried every loophole to make things difficult, stating it must be out of town, an irregular shape and not using stone. So it's quite an impressive feat.

Met a German couple on touring bikes looking for the source of the Elber. Realised they are the first tourers I have met since I started, although to be fair I haven't been following standard marked routes.

Wroclaw is nice.
Staying at Easy Rider hostel with darts fanatic Vitor, motorbike tourer Natasha, and Cresta the
Old city centre is populated by lots of dwarves. (Statues of) and people following maps to find them all.
Really good collection in the national museum, bonus free entry on whatever day of the week it happened to be I went.
Got to wonder though, all this beautiful medieval craftsmanship, but its all of the same religious scenes and what not, no variety! Different times.

Clock ticked round for my 4:30 visit to the Raclawice Panorama, a painting like the Mensdag one in the Hague, but depicting a polish insurgency against the Russians. It had to be kept hidden for many years during the twentieth century occupation.

Words have some similarities to Czech but everything is annoyingly different.


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