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14/10/10 – Kedzerzyn Kozle – Rokitnica and meeting some wildlife

October 19, 2010
by

Todays Distance: 58km

Total Distance: 1512km

Weather: Cold (really) -misty then clear

We have a nice morning wake up admiring the fresh frosty tents and the immaculately placed trees around our soft camp. We get back on the road to Katowice and I can’t feel my fingers. My Specialized gloves are growing a tasty hole in the seams and I’m not impressed. My hands a re freezing and it takes a few kilometres to get the blood flowing back into my extremities.

We roll into Ujazd and its like stepping back into the Soviet era. The air is filled with billowing smoke and people are carting around trolleys of cardboard (presumably to add to the atmosphere). The town centre is a bleak concrete car park and there is little sign of life except an old man selling hats and a Spar supermarket. We find a cashpoint amazingly and hit the Spar for lunch supplies and a top up on choco spread – we had none for breakfast so we are in desperate need of a hit! all we could find is Scooby-Doo kiddies choco and it barely cuts the mustard. we rack up several slices of Spar fresh bed on the handle bars and gorge on the new chocolatey delight. An old man curiously passes by and says something to us in Polish. we both look at him and shrug our shoulders, saying ‘English’ less of a question more of a statement as to our ignorance. he suddenly chirps into broken english and tells us we’re nutters, then hobbles off.

 

Deary me Ujazd Spar, call that 1100 clearance?

 

We leave the primitivity (such a word) of Ujazd and come across our first signs to Katowice. The cold is biting and we take lunch in Piskowice, hoping for a bit of warmth and maybe a bit of internet. We luck out on the warmth at a rock cafe / kebab shop, who kindly let us eat our wares for the price of a tea. the tea was expensive mind, but the gesture was kind enough, and the warmth was definately worth it.

 

that was some sandwich

 

We fail to find any internet in Peskowice, but luck upon a Tescos (their existence out here never ceases to amaze us) and despite our stubborness to avoid them, we end up buying dinner as its the only viable option. Turns out to be quite a treat, as we discover the Polish word at last for beer (Piwo!)

 

ohmygod its a Tescos

 

 

Own brand Piwo!

Own brand Piwo!

 

We look at the map and scoff at how close we are to Krakow (a week early? surely not!) Its been a mad few weeks getting to where we are. We’ve pushed really hard, and felt the strain, but its been worth it. There were several times when we thought we may not make it to Krakow at all – most notably in Kassel – but here we are 100km out and we cant believe we’re early. I guess its testament to a lot of things, apart from being our determination to make sure we make it, but most importantly I think to the underappreciated means of bike travel as a form of enjoyable transport! to most people, and most definatley to us at one stage, the idea of long distance biking was ludicrous and unimaginable. But I feel like I am beginning to understand the positives of slow travel, in the sense that its not that slow. So many experiences we’ve had and so early on, I feel like I could come home now having already had a hugely impactful experience. its great 😀

 

98km to Krakow!

 

we come across our first sign to Krakow and have to stop for a picture. Delight is a great feeling, and we share it with a piece of road furniture (plus grass hair)

Rolling into Bytom and again its like going back 60 years. We are well into Nazi occupied Poland territory now and this part of the Katowice district feels like it hasnt changed much since then. we pick up some bread and a bag of old peanuts and look for somewhere to camp.

 

pretty bleak

 

We crawl up a small hill and find a track leading into some woods. We dismount deep inside the wood and have a look around – common practice now as we wind down and prepare to camp. the wood takes on an eerie demeanour – lines of trees with large spaces between and an eerie feel to the ground. Scenes from Blair Witch creep in but you have to keep them at bay or you’ll never sleep! we make a few jokes about runny noses and black and white videos and settle down to eat some rice and onions.

Julian is cooking up a storm and Percy the Primus Stove is roaring away. Theres a rustle in the woods to our right, sounds like wind. then it happens again, only this time louder and for longer. we turn down the stove and the rustles are getting closer… what is that?! The sound starts to envelop all around us – our hearts are in our throats. this isnt bear country is it?? we’re not that far from the road – we would have heard voices if it was people. we decide to stand up and engage the noises. we hear honks and sqwarks and realise thats its a sounder of boar… we catch view of several really close to our tents, some tiny, some huge. Much to our surprise and complete relief, they take no interest in us – almost like they didnt even know we were there, and honk on, straight past and into the distance.

Wow, what a relief. what a rush. that was our first scary moment in the woods. we eat pretty quickly and down the rest of the vodka quite easily. We put all the food and dirty dishes in a dry bag and hang it in a tree, just to be sure we dont get bothered. We go to bed feeling quite edgy, but the length and events of the day surprisingly ensure a pretty solid nights sleep.

 

scene of the boar encounter

 

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