We finally make Poland

Trip Start Apr 28, 2010
Trip End Jul 08, 2010

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Where I stayed
Hotel Europejski

Flag of Poland  , Southern Poland,
Saturday, June 5, 2010

Slovakia has some beautiful countryside and outside of the towns is very very rural. We stopped at a place called Stalites for pizza (because that's what we could get) and a cuppa. It's one of those towns that looks like it does it very tough indeed. The shop had an employee who speaks very limited English (maybe a few dosen words) and she was patient and good-humoured with us while we all worked out what and how to order.

It's just before the Slovakia - Poland border on this very rough old bitumen road. We've got some video of the short ride through Stalites and to the border which will probably interest Di's rellos rather than anyone else, as it shows Di's bike reaching the Polish border.

The photos below show how desolate this particular crossing is. The old border guard's buildings have been torn down but the foundations are still in place and it all looks derelict. It must have been a bleak and intimidating experience when the two countries were both totalitarian states - not so long ago.

Our GPSs - them again - took us on a lovely winding back road through beautiful country and Polish villages which are obviously doing a little better than Slovakia's. Eventually they led us, predictably, to a "road closed" sign after we'd followed their directions to Krakow for a long time. Once again our luck was in. Yet another encounter with the cameraderie of motorcyclists.

European bikers are enthusiastic users of the cool flick of the hand to acknowledge one another. After a while you can start to think you'll get RSI if you keep waving your hand around, so you can wind up leaving your left hand slightly out from the bar in a long term nonchalant signal if theres'quite a few going the other way. However it's definitely not faked - pull up looking like you could use a hand and it's usually not long before a bike slows down to see if there's a problem. Doesn't happen when you're in a car in my experience.

Piotr is the 1st Polish person we've ever spoken to on Polish soil. He also had come to this closed road (bet he has a Garmin GPS). He not only showed us the alternative route on our map, he very quickly offered to show us the way. He was riding a Yammie 600 Diversion.

He must have ridden with us for a good 30 minutes to an intersection where even we couldn't miss the road to Krakow. He wasn't even going there himself, he was just out for a sunny afternoon ride. Then he asked us to come back with him to his home town and go to a gig with him. We were a bit sad to have to knock him back. We already had accomodation paid for in Krakow. We would have loved to make another friend but anyway, thanks Piotr, you're another top bloke. It was a great conversation on the roadside before we parted ways

He took us over the most awful paved roads. They're really really bad, even hazardous. And packed with traffic. He warned us that Polish roads are so bad they're even a joke to Poles. And they are definitely the worst bitumen roads of any country we've been to so far. Both out on the open road and in Krakow, they're shockers. We think there's a law banning the use of all surveying and levelling equjipment in the Polish road maintenance fraternity. If there's a bitumen resurfacing crew out doing the business and they come across a dead cow on the road, we think they just wack the new surface straight over the top of it.

And that's the only criticism of Poland we'll be writing. It's a great place.
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Mum on

Great that you've seen some of the beauty of Austria and Slovakia and that at last you have reached your goal of Poland. We do hope you can find some helpful records, Diana. We look forward to more commentaries when you have time and energy to write them. Your three last entries all arrived today. I have yet to discover how to save your blog in Word then print it in a font size I can read without a microscope! Both words and pictures turn out infintessimally small. I think I'll ask Jaala if she can help. She popped in this afternoon with some lovely little fairy cakes she had made. That was as nice gesture. She seemed really pleased with the latest picture I did for her - Madcap Msuhrooms. We had Erica and Linda here for lunch today. I'll try to arrange for Jaala, Tegan and Baz to come soon. Tomorrow is Erica's 85th birthday and E., Lindy, Julie and we are going to the Eastern for lunch. What does one buy for an eighty five year old? Keep driving safely and charming the local gendarmerie. What is the Polish word for police? We certainly had a good laugh about your encounter with the Alpine police force! Lots of love, Mum and Dad.

frances on

Hi Dave and Di

i've just spent three hours catching up on your trip and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Lots of laughs and awesome photos, people and scenery. Have the day off tomoz so that's why I've been able to read all the way through. Work is back to 11 hours every day, so I've re-developed my intimate relationship with my couch about 30 minutes after I get home fromm work and wake up to some fabulous infomercials about 2am. Can be distracting - I'm sure I need that for three easy payments of 99.95 plus just 60 dollars postage and handling. Is your trip for much longer? Enjoy your Polish discovery. Take care always. xx

Dad on

Last Friday, I was at a function at which Peter G. was present. In the course of conversation he told me how happy he is with Tegan's work. He thinks the company is very fortunate to have her on the team. That was nice to hear, so I telephoned Tegan to tell her about it. She was quite thrilled to hear it. Love, Dad.

Kaye on

What can I say? I love you both so much and to see and read about your fantastic holidays, makes me soooo happy, glad, excited and wretched in wishing that I was travelling with you! I was going to fill you in on my new job, Gary spending the weekend end with us, Maija's new car, all of the things! But it pales in to insignificance compared with your obvious joy, compainonship and competence on your trip. Loving you both, Kaye

d-ashworths on

Hi everyone on this page from Dave. Mum - are you remembering to click on the pictures? They should come up much bigger, about 1/2 screen size. There was no charming of the Italian police. They just decided that it wasn't worth pursuing. They weren't all that charmable I think.

Thanks for comments about T, Dad. She's enjoyed the new challenge too.

Hi Kaye, great to have you join us. We hope everything you mentioned has been positive? Love to hear more from you very soon, so you can fill us in on all the news. We'd love to have you hear too. I guess your new job means no spur of the moment week off to join us for a couple of lovely days?

Hi Frances great to hear from you. Riding on icy roads above the snow line was a bit tense but it was hardly extreme. Good to experience and worth it for the ride through the ret of the Pyrenees. And everything that's followed.

Love to all.

Henry Dillon on

Hi Di & Dave - absolutely beautiful countries & buildings you guys are travelling through - no doubt some good people also. I can only get your blog up now & then on this comp. Continue safely and have a blast. H.

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