Friday, 25 May 2012

Poland - best yet!

Poland - well, what can I say? It is a wonderful country; flat, gently rolling countryside perfect for cycling,dotted with small villages ... but what has struck us most of all, is the the people themselves. We have been shown such kindness and generosity on so many occasions. After a cold wet day we arrived at a small campsite just inside the Polish border at Giby.
There were no other campers except us, but the young couple who ran the place cooked us a lovely traditional Polish meal and I spent the evening playing uke while
the guy played guitar and sang.
In Stzabin, after an even colder and wetter day wa stayed at an Agrotoutistik hostel rather than camp. There the old lady, who owned the place, proudly showed us her visitor's book - of previous cycle tourists and others who had enjoyed her hospitality.

Over the next two days the weather completely changed, and so it was, hot and sweaty we arrived at a little supermarket in Lomza. We bought our provisions for the day but before w left the owner insisted on making us coffees and giving us cakes - he even offered to let Di shower and 'wash up'!
Down the road, four guys in a little garage, spent over an hour trying to weld my broken pannier rack, eventually succeeding by making a new bracket. 'How much'? I asked ... but they would accept no payment!
Two days later still with very hot weather and the sun beating down, we got to the village of Wierzbrno and couldn't find anywhere to put the tent up. I asked a young woman and her father, if we could stay in their garden. 'Of course ... that is no problem ...'
Soon her two adorable little children overcame their shyness and came to explore our tent. The lady (Aneta) made us coffees and a bowl of tomato soup, and her father sharpened my knife for me as I sat preparing our dinner. Her husband (Rafal) arrived home from work - probably surprised to find a tent in his garden! - and we all had our photos taken together. At 7.00am the next day the whole family got up and waved us goodbye.
And so it has gone on ... the Polish people have made this journey very special for us both.
At the moment we are in Kazimiertz Dolmy, beside the Vistula river, just south of Warsaw. It is a beautiful old village, but I fear it will soon become very 'touristy' once word gets around ... so DON'T tell anybody!

The campsite owner has thrown a party for all his camping 'guests' providing us with sausages, bread (and, for those of us who stayed up chatting with him around the fire, lots of vodka!!)

A few days after leaving Kasimeirtz, we again found ourselves with nowhere to camp. Yet again, the first house I asked at invited us to set up our tent in their garden, ... and then to have a barbecue with them ... and then spend the rest of the evening inside the house with them having ice cream ... and of course, lots of vodka. Magda, the family's daughter was only visiting. She lives and works in Krakow - so, we have also been invited to go and stay with her for a few days when we arrive!!

It is a beautiful city and thanks to Magda who showed us around, we got to spend a few lovely days exploring. (And a bus ride out to the salt mines was amazing)

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