Sunday, October 26, 2014

Leaving Poland

We left Poland with mixed feelings. We were all looking forward to the Czech Republic yet at the same time wanted to stay longer in Poland… Poland hadn't been the most scenic country of this trip but there is something about it. It's friendly and despite the language difficulty we had met some wonderful people there. Not least of which the K+K Motorcycle shop! But also the lovely people from the Forteca restaurant and campground, which had looked after us so well despite being officially closed, the wonderful people at Zabi Raj and let's not forget Tomasz and Aleksandra from Holan. All wonderful people in a wonderful country.

It was a bit of a mixed feeling leaving the Forteca campground as well. On the one hand we were glad we finally saw some sunshine again as the last couple of days had been pretty miserable. The continuous rain had turned the campground into a mudfield. Not because the drainage doesn't work but simply because it just kept raining and raining and raining. With the bikes serviced and mine having a new battery we were keen to go. Yet at the same time I wanted to stay a bit longer and just make some day trips as I had the feeling there is a lot to see. 

The Forteca cook had been good to us too, too good, which didn't make leaving any easier either. We will sure miss his Goulash, Russian Perogy, Gyros and Schnitzel. Jeanette had a good rest and the swelling from the wasp-bite and its after effects had completely disappeared. Adam from K+K Motorcycles had asked for us to stop at his shop so he could take some photos for his website, which we did, and then we rode away from Dzierzoniow towards the Czech border.

We didn't take the highways or main roads but took the smaller roads towards the table-top mountain, a very good choice. One of the roads is called 'the 100 bends road'. Calculating isn't Poland's forte I suppose as it was much more than just 100 :-) Beautiful riding! We were shown a beautiful landscape too, one we hadn't seen in Poland yet. Lots of really old forests, beautiful winding roads, old villages and small scale farming scattered in between. The houses were pretty amazing too, very old and a building style that we hadn't seen before. It had been pretty cold at night and even during the day there was a strong and cold wind, quite a few houses had the heating on. Heating mostly generated by coal fires which gave the typical thick and sweet coal smell. I know it's probably not that environment friendly but I love the smell of a coal fire! Plenty of sawmills along the road as well.

Chimneys puffing smoke, old buildings, sunshine, the odd blacksmith shop, winding roads, beautiful forests… Poland had certainly saved the best for last! At the same time I wondered what the Czech Republic would be like…? Maybe a continuation of all this? I certainly hoped so.
We were filling up the tanks for the last time when a seriously old tractor turned up for diesel. The man driving the tractor was as at least as old as his machine and clearly in no hurry. I was lubing the chain when he drove in and watched him carefully filling up his machine, while a youngster came past on a little motorcycle on full bore. The rider anxiously looking over his shoulder all the time… only seconds later a police car followed at even higher speed :-)

The border was a bit of a disappointment for Mike. He likes the Central American borders where there is un-organised chaos, colourful people and lots of action. Here in Europe, even in former eastern Europe, borders are no longer borders. You just ride on, not even a check point. We made some photos at the Welcome to Czech Republic sign, changed our last Zlotys for Czech Crowns and then rode into country number 24 of this trip. Before us was another new country. A country we all were looking forward to seeing. Behind us was Poland, a country that had left such a friendly impression. A country that we all want to return to for a much longer visit.