Chilling in Warsaw
My time in Warsaw was pretty standard. My first night I went on a pub crawl. The next day I spent recovering.
The day after I went exploring the city, got some food with some other backpackers, went to the Jewish history museum. I also bought some mace. Not because I’m worried about people, but because I’m worried about dogs. I’ve been chased by a few and it’s a wee bit scary.
Warsaw was a very nice city but three days was too long. Two days would have been enough.
Warsaw to Wraka
Total distance: 86km. Total time: 6.5 hrs.
So the ride out of Warsaw was pretty boring. I was riding on an OK bike path out of the city, and then on either main roads or wrong turns for the rest of the way to the campsite. Not great, but there were no other options for roads. I left about 7:30am.
Also I find it hilarious what google will suggest as a “bike friendly road”. I went down this steep and sandy road through the middle of someone’s farm which google thought was bike friendly. Thanks google!
I had planned to go further but I threw in the towel at 2pm when I was only 65km out of the city. This was because I had done 85km in my attempt to find back roads, but kept needing to turn around because the roads were impassable. I was a bit bummed because I didn’t want the rest of the ride to be like this.
So anyway, thank god I stayed at that campsite instead of in the forest because there was a MASSIVE thunderstorm that night. I scampered into the toilet block until it passed.
Warka to Tomaszow
Total distance: 105km. Total time: 7.5hrs.
Up and out at 7am? I don’t know. I was tired.
The ride was much better this time. I managed to find some sealed country roads that didn’t have too much traffic.
Then it started to rain as I made my way into the campsite. That seemed to be the standard formula for the weather. Stinking hot and humid during the day, then afternoon rain or thunderstorms, before clearing up later in the evening.
Tomaszow to Lelów
Total distance: 128km. Total time: 10.5 hours.
So the interesting thing about Poland is you can go through these little no name towns and they are guaranteed to have these little “cafes”. Which is basically a small concrete building, with bars on the windows, that sells a small selection of lollies and canned goods.
It was this day that I had the most terrifying and painful experience I have had on this trip yet. More terrifying than being chased by dogs, more painful than climbing the Alps. The most terrifying and painful experience was: quite literally almost pooping myself by the side of the road in Poland. Terrifying because there was the very real possibility of it happening in full view of anyone passing by, and the most painful because I had to stop it from happening so I could find somewhere to go to the bathroom. Basically I think I ate something a bit off. Anyway, I found a forrest in time so it was all fine.
The rest of the day was quite nice riding weather wise, except I was on the main road for a large part with the evening traffic.
It was getting later in the day, and I wasn’t anywhere near a campground or hostel or forest, so I had no choice but to ask a stranger if I could camp in their backyard. I have a Polish friend of mine who translated a paragraph to Polish for me. It went something along the lines of: hi my name is Alex and I’m bike touring and can’t find a place to stay tonight blah blah can I camp in your backyard? I definitely think it helped. Anyway long story short, I camped in the backyard of a young family, and they not only said yes, but fed me, and gave me home made Polish vodka. Then the next day I was given sandwiches for the ride to Krakow.
Lelów to Krakow
Total distance: 103km. Total time: 8.5hrs.
I said I was going to leave at 7am but really it was closer to 8am. I blame the vodka.
I managed to avoid main roads most of the way. But the riding has started to get more and more hilly. I did close to 1000m in elevation. It was just constantly up and down and up and down. No nice flat parts…
Then I made it to Krakow in the afternoon without much drama. I also did another pub crawl… Oops.