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12/10/10 – Polish Border to Nysa

October 19, 2010
  • 80km travelled
  • 19km/h average speed
  • 53 km/h max speed
  • 4hrs spent in the saddle
  • 1393km travelled so far

We thought yesterday morning was cold, not a patch on today.  I have to be completely inside my sleeping bag, head and all, to escape the cold chill.  I write a quick note in the diary and then go to open the zip on the tent, the top sheet is stiff with ice! Inspecting the outside world it’s a white wonderland, everything covered by a blanket of frost including our bikes – anyone got any de-icer?

Frozen solid

Beautiful but cold!

The cold morning is eased by the slowly rising sunshine and some chocolate spread, bananas, free apples and bread, which is fast becoming our breakfast of choice.  Cycling off, a roadside thermometer reads 10 degrees.  Heading up and down some great hills – Easy ascents which don’t spit you down a sharp incline but are gentle and fast, allowing you to really take it the surroundings and feel smug that you earned it.  The autumn colours have really come into their own, deep oranges, yellows and greens, the Polish forest is showing them all off to great effect.

Our sunny weather is short-lived as a huge mist descends on us, the temperature plummets, thanks Poland – hat and gloves back on.  Stop off in Klodzko and our inconspicuous appearance instantly draws attention in the local market which is selling everything from archaic Polish metal on vinyl to local mushrooms.  We get chatting to some local Polish men who tell us that Poland is poor, Czech beer is no good and that we need to buy some trousers because Poland at this time of year is no place for shorts.  Suddenly the trip feels like i had imagined – Stopping off in a small town, seeing a market, chatting to the locals.  Everyone thinks we’re rich because we’re from London and looking after our bikes whilst we look around the market turns from a favour into a payable service so we get on our bikes and bid farewell.

A mist descent in action

The Artful dodger and co

Cycling towards Zloty Stok we come across a plastics dump, which i mistook for a fruit stall.  Huge piles of colourful plastic wire and Frankenstein creations of various shapes and sizes – Absolutely made my day.  It seems like this stuff is the offcuts of a factory nearby, whatever it is it’s great and we excitedly take pictures much to the amusement of the people that are working there –  As they say another man’s rubbish….

Anish Kapor exhibition just opened in Poland?


We leave the plastic behind us and head on.  In the next town we search for lunch and come across Frank, who speaks English and French.  He was born in Poland but lived in France for some time, and is overjoyed to speak some French to us, something which we sense he doesn’t get to do that often.  Frank worked in a gold mine for 40 years and has some stories to tell.  Food is primary concern and FRank is happy to show us around the small local shop where we pick up some freshly smoked mackerel and some spiced Polish Wodka.  Feeling like eating outside is not something we want to do, Frank makes arrangements with a local bar for us to eat in the warmth of their shed.  We share peanuts and stories, Frank tells us Polish people like guns.  So from our learnings Polish people like – Fires, Guns and Meble.  Franks great and he keeps telling us that he caught an Ostrich in Australia.

Frank and us outside the bar/shed we sought refuge in

We depart in the bitter cold and see another roadside thermometer reading 5.5 degrees Celsius – Past some reservoirs and some very interesting Polish bus shelters – Photo project in the making, stay tuned i’ll get them up on the site soon enough.

Interesting Polish bus shelter # 1

We find a campsite on some farmland just outside of Nysa and enjoy some of Frank’s recommended Wodka – It’s super tasty with hints of orange and spices and doesn’t burn like the stuff we get in the UK and warms you up no end.  I happy to have filled Fred’s present (Hip Flask) which such a high quality liqueur!  Sash cooks some rice, mince, onions, leeks and sauce for dinner – Yes for meat!

Campsite location




5 Comments leave one →
  1. alan coles permalink
    October 19, 2010 9:47 am

    Hi Guys-making some good reading there-sounds like a great adventure to me!! You anywhere near Zakopane? Beautiful but possibly to hilly for your journey!! Keep stretching!!
    Good photos by the way.

    • Julian permalink*
      November 9, 2010 12:45 pm

      Hey Alan,

      We went close to Zakopane but slightly more east into the Pieniny Natural park and then through the High Tatras that way. Considered going to Zakopane and heard the smoked cheese is amazing, which would have been ace as most the cheese we had in Poland wasn’t too tasty! Glad your enjoying the blog and we’re stretching our beer muscles so you needn’t worry!

  2. Dad (Sash's) permalink
    October 19, 2010 10:23 am

    Hi Guys!
    Love the piccies of a frozen POland – just imagine what’s to come!
    I’ve just been talking to a friend who knows Bulgaria well and he asked me to give you a word of caution when there. Apparently you should only stay in recognised campsites and not in some of the places you have been stopping, as there are Bulgarian bandits everywhere who WILL attack and are very violent. So PLEASE be careful when you are travelling through Bulgaria.

    xx Dad

  3. October 19, 2010 10:37 am

    Sounds amazing and glad to hear that you are both keeping your spirits up – also, the children in Nepal will thank you for your dedicated fundraising when you get there!

    Take care


  4. Maciej permalink
    October 19, 2010 12:46 pm

    big smile on my face when I read your posts.
    i hope Poland gives you a warm welcome even though the temperatures are low. you should get used to it before you go further east… brr

    take care of yourselves!

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