Monthly Archives: September 2019

FINAL POLAND BIKE TOUR: LUBLIN TO RZESZOW, HANGING IN KRAKOW

Lublin is sometimes called little Krakow, so I’m somewhat intrigued to visit. On the train to Lublin I surveyed the hostel situation, plenty to choose from. Full, Full, Full, there’s a huge Arts & Crafts fair this weekend. The artist are all wearing traditional clothes from Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania. I played tourist and visited a few places, whatever. I think as much as I’ve travelled, It’s hard to find something that really excites me. So I’ve been visiting Vegan restaurants, to support what there doing and eat what turned out to be some great food.

i like bike touring, but the best part is unloading your gear and now you have a bicycle to explore with.

PEOPLE PODS IN THE PARK

I enjoyed the break in town, but nature is calling me back. So I’m on the Green Velo again.

BIKE ONLY ROUTES ARE THE NORM ON THE GREEN VELO ROUTES

I like the quiet of the nature routes, the dirt, sand, and mud trails, my bike? not so much. I stayed at a place where I washed my bike and especially the chain. They didn’t have any chain oil, so I visited a bike rental place, yep. I was shocked by the number of bikes they had for rent. There was a “soda pop” service that picked up your empty bottles and dropped off full ones, seemed every house participated.

I had looked at this out-of-the-way lake the day before & thought too far. As I traveled somewhat closer, I decided to go for it. The time was 15 and it was 35km, started riding & hard. The lake was in Zwierzyniec, super nice and quiet (no barking dogs). I had some down time so I grabbed a plastic bag and walked along the lake and picked up garbage. I fished 3 empty beer cans from the lake, what’s wrong with people? I was rewarded by the park employee with a cold beer.

MOST OF THE CAMPERS WERE EMPTY, THEY SAID IT WAS THE LAST WEEKEND, THE SEASON WAS OVER.

I was sitting having dinner when a family of bicycle tourers showed up. Everyone spoke great English, including all 3 kids. We had some funny conversations, except the 15 year old daughter. She let the family know “this is my last bike trip” and she showed it.

It’s my last day of riding šŸ˜¦ I kind of took for granted the routes, nature and the great riding weather. I hope to ride to the Rzeszow early enough to catch a train to Krakow.

KRAKOW
I got the train to Krakow and spent 4 days exploring. I did 2 of the “free” walking tours. They were so boring, I dropped out early. Auschwitz & the Salt Mines are 2 of the big tourist attractions, nope. Krakow like Prague is super busy during the day. Solution? Get up a 6 in the morning and bike the town. Krakow has bike lanes everywhere, another plus for having your bike.

Poland was quite different from what I’ve seen portrayed in the media. In the big cities? basically like every other big city. I was super surprised by the amount of bike infrastructure, the number of Vegan restaurants, the beer culture, the amount of spoken english and the price of stuff was super value.
When I’ve visited the UK, It was always someone from Poland, Hungary etc who waited on me in a restaurant or coffee shop. To encourage the young people to stay in Poland? In 2019, Poland passed a law that would exempt workers under the age of 26 from the income tax, better than nothing.

Poland receives nearly 4 x’s more EU money than what they pay into the EU. Nearly every train station and big city downtowns were dug up and being worked on. It’s nice to see money invested in infrastructure and people.  The Polish government has revealed that it intends to connect all major cities to a future high-speed rail network by 2020. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers’ , US infrastructure gets a D+ grade. The U.S. spends billions on the military, but nearly nothing maintaining America, What are they defending? a broken America?

I use to have a crafts business and always support artist. If I see something I like and can use it, I buy it. So I got some Polish and Ukrainian souvenirs.

POLISH SOUVENIRS VIDEO

Here’e the last of some misc. videos of the riding conditions in Poland.

LAST DAYS BIKING IN POLAND

I was invited out by a young couple for a beer. They were goo goo eyes about America, when I was done telling them about the real America? They said “We love Poland” and they should there’s problems but there’s a lot to be proud of. Like the HUGE middle class.
That’s the Poland that I saw, hope you enjoyed as much as I did.
Jeff

BIKE TOURING POLAND: Lidzbark Warmiski to Bialystok

ONE OF THE MANY TYPES OF ROUTE SCENARIOS ON THE “GREEN VELO” THROUGH POLAND

Attempting to bike tour and then blog using your phone? Impossible. I’m home now with my computer and cleaned up photos.
I started in Elblag using the “Green Velo” route. I only have a month and don’t have the time to take the Green Velo the whole 1250 km. Cars are scarce on the roads in NE Poland and the drivers are super polite. I decide to cut across from Lidzbark Warmiski to Bialystok using google maps, let the journey begin.

GOOGLE MAP LIDZBARK WARMISKI TO BIALYSTOK

The “camping” here is usually in someones backyard, bathrooms, showers and full kitchen for 5 or 6 euro a night. When I arrived in Lidzbark Warmiski, I stayed at TURYSTYKA JANKESOWKA camping, the owners wife said he had the best breakfast in Poland, it’s true. Eggs, good bread, wild pig sausage that he made and deer steak that he harvested.

It’s suppose to rain so I opt to hide out at the Termy Warminskie (swimming pools & saunas). After, I decide to book hostel that’s only 2 mins from Termy, as I enter my CC info, I decide to just ride there. I get there and someone and just called and took the last beds. He makes a reservation for me at a hotel in town, nope. I decide to ride to a farm stay, which was a great move, 1/2 the price of the hotel plus they had a BBQ and pot-luck dinner, score. They introduced me to Polish vodka (it’s still vodka), I rarely (if ever) drink hard alcohol.

I haven’t stayed 2 days anywhere and continue to ride the next morning. I don’t have a odometer on my bike, but a guess? about 60-70 km a day. I’m constantly asked if “I’m traveling alone?”, I say “no, I’m with you now”. I was walking out a store and noticed a Guns & Roses T-Shirt. I commented that I saw them in San Francisco, as I’m biking Tomas rides up next to me and invites me to his house for a beer. His wife is making fresh rolls with jam. He insist I stay the night, but it’s only 11, gotta ride on. He calls me an hour later, “come back we got a bed for you!”

SEVERAL 2 MINUTE CLIPS OF BIKING ROUTES IN POLAND (not professional)

Poland’s houses are ALL really nice. As a former landscaper I can safely say “they are crazy about their yards.” Poland has the fastest growing economy in Europe. Not rich in resources but has invested in education, transportation & health care for everyone. Because of that there’s a huge middle class, unlike America.

Forests cover about 30.5% of Poland’s land area based on international standards.Ā Its overall percentage is still increasing.Ā ForestsĀ are managed by the national program of reforestation, aiming at an increase of forest-cover to 33% in 2050.

MORE CRAZY ROADS/TRAILS THROUGH POLAND

I’m watching the calendar and my progress or lack of!, it that requires I hop on a train. I didn’t find Bialystok that friendly, except for the SUPER Vegan restaurant: KROWARZYWA When I arrive in a new town, I type in Vegan Restaurants. There are about 8 of them all around Poland, fast food Vegan. I want to open one here in Ljubljana.
A local told me the south east part of Poland is the most natural and untouched. I’m taking the advice and train to Lublin, known as little Krakow.

Thanks for reading.
Jeff
Next: Lublin arts festival, biking Lublin to Rzeszow, train to Krakow