Km done: 899 km
Daily Average: 50 km
Days in PL: 18
Days on the Bike: 10
Nights in the Tent: 9
Nights in Houses: 9
Altitude climbed: 6500m
Average Altitude: 650m per Day
Breakdowns: Stand broken
Daily Average: 12,60€/53 Zt
Poland... where should i begin...i try to sort it and start with
Landscape and Nature
If there were no polish People, their Culture and the foreign Language in that country it would feel like Germany.. I´m still traveling on the same longitude and so there is nothing really different in the Nature. The same Trees and really unknown Species didn´t cross my way. All this could be happening at home. After rolling down from the Giant-Mountains you reach the flat terrain. Short before Krakow you will find some Hills called Jura, so you have to use some muscles to get up there.. Behind Krakow, which also is located in the terrain it gets more hilly and the landscape aspires toward the Hight Tatra. You can catch sight of the Summits of this range of Mountains just short before Zakopane. Summarily the beginning and the end very nice, the middle part a little bit boring ;-)
The Polish Male/Female is deeply religious. So in every city and at all times of the day you can find a prayer service in a full church. This not only on Christmas also on every other day of the year. This Faith happens along the street, with every cross at the roadside fresh decorated with flowers and also on the Graveyards. They mostly look more like a Floristic Shop... So you have a Shop with decorations in front of every Graveyard. On my way to Slovakia on Whitsun-Sunday i can watch the Prayer services take place on the Graveyards with masses of People.
The Faith is the Source of the Culture of Poland. The Years of repressions from different parties were hard. If not the Russian came it was the Prussian was it or both.... The third party in this game was the Austrian... From this History southern Poland (Little Poland) is the Heart of historical Poland and Krakow the Capitol of that Heart. The city was fortunately never destroyed in the last wars so the building stock is in wonderful condition (tanks to renovation workings in the last years) and the town has a wonderful Ambience.
North of Krakow the city of Czechostowa is located. Thanks to a black painted picture of a Madonna with Child the City was protected from the Swedish. After that she gets national protector and later Queen of Poland. (A Picture!)
And there is the most important person of actual Poland: Karel Wojtyla aka down as John-Paul the Second. He is omnipräsent. In every Church, on every square and from every wall he smiles at you. There is none without a special relationship to him. A Phenomenon...
the Cities i visited are shaped from their medial history unless the war took everything away... Mostly in the Times of german occupation the cities have collected wealth and invested this in the infrastructure and Architecture of the Cities.. So Wroclaw is behind Krakow the most beautiful city of my Journey through this country and a lot of smaller Cities with formerly german Names (z.B. Jelenia Gora/Hirschberg, Legnice/Liegnitz usw) own a historic towncore from this times.
The communistic Era had bitten every Town. The Suburbs of the Towns are filled with Plattenbauten and some holes in the old towns were filled with faceless Buildings.
A district of Krakow „Nova Huta“ was build completely new after the WW2. The workers of the nearby ironworks were resided there. The bigger plan of the city was generous with alleys and squares and looks really good. Outside the inner part of the City the Plattenbauten had grown massive...
In Southern Poland you can find a lot of old (and new) wooden houses and churches. The nicest and best of them were taken from the UNESCO to take part on the World Heritage List. For me as a friend of Norway and the stave churches from up there it was a big luck tot ale a look at them. Wonderful!
Zakopane developed a special architecture Style. Named after the City the local style of Housebuilding was pepped up by Art-Nouveau. Worths a look!
The communistic era is still alive in the people and the Environment of them. His cautious shows features or this time. Everything will be repaired (at most without investing money) as long as possible. You can listen to this on the Road when the cars start to overtake you ;-)
It was hard to get in contact with the people cause of the language Barrier. The people I was able to get to know were very heartily and friendly but they quitted fast because of the Language Barrier. Foreign Language Speakers are rare and so the contact was reduced to the few who speak german or english. You can also use hands and frets but this conversation is mostly not really far reaching.
Waste you can find everywhere. from time to time outside the Bin. In their private Area they are very well-ordered. The properties are cleaned and always fenced. The predominating color in most of the Cities is grey.
But change is going on. Investments take place and the old house get renovated. The cities get friendlier and on the most signs belonging to the project the golden stars on blue ground are smiling at you... So our money is well invested!
For me Alkohol is a noticeable problem. You can get it everywhere 24 hours a day. You can see this on the Streets, mostly men staggering over the street in the middle of the afternoon or use to sleep on benches. The dairies are meeting points and so Alkohol will be consumed together till they filled in enough. Their should be a change in the future, but drinking is deeply fixed in polish culture and russia is not far. So vodka is even more popular as beer.
In comparison with Czech Republic the shopping here is organized more lokal. The Supermärkte chains have a small shop in every village or a private person founds one. Thats really good for me even they are opened 7 days a week...