Poland

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We were not looking forward to the ride into Poland. We had met other cyclists who told us about busy roads with big lorries, we had read reports of bad driving and bad roads on cycling blogs about Poland. There is a narrow border between Lithuania and Poland only about 100km with Russia and Belarus either side. There are only 2 roads that cross the border, we were heading down the East road. We were amazed , it was quiet. The road had a 7.5 ton limit so no big lorries.

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We headed on into Poland to find in general good roads and courteous drivers. The main highways were full of big lorries but the smaller roads were fine. We were travelling through the North East of Poland known as the Green Lungs of Poland as it is mainly  primeval forest and lakes. Home to wildlife including lynx and wolves. The main sightings through the forest were of mushroom pickers, emerging with bucketfuls of mushrooms.
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We reached the City of Bialystok close to the border with Belarus. This was a very smart city, the centre had been renovated and there was an immense square and renovated palace. From here we decided to catch a train down to Krakow as the weather was turning and we needed to get through the mountains before the snow started.

Main Square Krakow

Main Square Krakow

We had been cycling for 3 months and we felt we needed a break so we rented a flat in Krakow for a week and locked the bikes away. Krakow is a beautiful city with loads of sights, including the Wieliczka Salt Mines,  Wavel Castle, the Old Town, the Russian built town and steel mill of Nowa Huta and Auschwitz-Birkenau. It has a great tram service and so was easy to get around, and it is fantastic value. We had some brilliant meals for £10 to £15 for two with drinks! Not to mention the best hot chocolate ever at Wedels.

Wedel Castle and Cathedral

Wavel Castle and Cathedral

Plac Central Nova Huta

Plac Central Nova Huta

 

The chapel approx 135 metres underground sculpted by the miners in the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

The chapel approx 135 metres underground sculpted by the miners in the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

work makes you free

work makes you free

We took a tour to Auschwitz-Birkenau which is a depressing  experience. It is difficult to believe man’s inhumanity to his own species. The sheer size of Berkenau camp which could hold 90,000 people in squalor, and brutal conditions, with it’s huge gas chambers, and the torture that went on in the camps is incomprehensible. Pity we never learn.

The Gates of Death at Birkenau through which hundreds of thousands passed to their death.

The Gates of Death at Birkenau through which hundreds of thousands passed to their death.

4 thoughts on “Poland

  1. Thelma

    A really interesting blog entry – Swindon has an ever growing Polish community but I know comparatively little about their country. I did know wild foraging was part of their culture but I didn’t know there are still wolves in the forests. Glad to hear you rented a flat for a week and had a break – I hope you will do that more often over the winter months if you are still in northern Europe.
    Very best wishes
    Thelma
    x

    Reply
  2. Richard

    Hi,

    Still enjoying your travels, just wondering what you plan to do as the weather gets colder as you have been heading to what might be deemed as colder climate countries at present

    safe onward travel

    Richard

    Reply
  3. Tim & Carol

    Think you must be going soft but do think the poor old bikes need a rest for a few days.
    Really enjoying reading about your exploits.
    Hope you are both well and feeling rested after your week.

    Take care Tim and Carol

    Reply
  4. Roel & Rianne

    Hallo Pip & Bill,
    We met each other in Helsinki the 16th & 17th of August this summer of 2013. Almost 7 weeks ago.
    We were travelling on a red tandem and we got the Danish cyclingmap from Pip.
    We are home again after 16 weeks & 6004 km.
    We made about the same tour so far but the other way round.
    Holland>>Germany>>Tjechia>>Poland>>Lituania>>Latvia>>Estonia>>Russia = 3800 km
    Russia>>Finland>>Aland>>Sweden>>Denmark>>Germany>>Holland = 2204 km + (15 ferries=1010 km)
    Last week we came home again after an impressive journey.
    Our way back was, due to the weather in Scandinavia, cold, rainy, heavy.
    Now, tired of all impressions we take up live again.
    I’m getting 65 in 3 weeks time so I have my pension get started which needs some correspondence with the authorities.
    We wish you good health, good weather and quiet/easy roads in the coming weeks when you are heading for Kroatia.
    We don’t know if you are continuing your trip after Kroatia along the Donau or Danube, through Serbia, Roumenia, Bulgaria. We experienced that at the end of October winter starts in these regions.
    Along the Adriatic coast is however a good alternative.
    Have a good time and take care.
    Roel & Rianne

    Reply

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