Volker working hard, Julia just enjoying...
Passing through the channel
We stopped at almost every place where there was something to drink or to eat
A swam with her little ones and an nanny
Lunch at Gospoda (Tavern) "Pod Sieją". Their speciality is Soczewajaki (filled potato dumplings), Placki ziemniaczane (potatoe pancakes with sour cream). And we had our first Barsz czerwony, beet root soup -delicious!
A bunker in the woods
It's unbelievable what you can find in the "sklep" stores: all type of vegetable and fruit, like also dried sunflowers!
A water snake ± 1 m long frightening the ducks
Russian Orhodox Church in Trzescianka, an old Ruthenian village wit beautiful wooden architecture
Orthodox Church in Narew
"State Border - crossing forbidden"
Walking back to our camper we were stopped by the Polish Border Police
The Palace Park was laid out in the 19th century around a splendid residence built for the russian tsar
On one day in 1752, King August III Saxon hunted 42 bison, 13 elk and two roe deer
Volker having a Russian beer
We generally had good translations into the German language, but here there are not many German tourists anymore
Białowieża European Bison Show Reserve
Konik horse or tarpan
The difference between the European and American Bison is made visible by the means of a gliding outlined structure representing the European bison.
Wild Polish boars
Żubroń, a cross between a bison and cow, which is even larger than the bison itself, reaching up to 1200 kg. They didn't seem in good shape though...
The royal oak trail with its old oak trees. The trail recounts all the royals who hunted in this area and
The best in this open air museum was the hammock where I did a short nap:
Very good lunch at the Restaurant Polana Żubra
Overnight at the parking lot of the Bison Park
A drink at Gospoda Pod Zubrem in Białowieża before going back to the Bison Park
The gate to the strict protected area of the National Park was constructed only with wood (also the nails and screws are of wood)
The normal "mess" of a primeval forest
Exploring the wild forest with our very knowledgeable guide Joanna
At the famous Jagiełło Oak that was struck by a lightning in 1974
Much of the park shelters what is considered to be Europe's largest swath of puszcza (primeval forest). Much of the park has been undisturbed for centuries, leaving a fascinating mix of old- and new-growth forest, and all of the various flora and fauna that flourish in such a special environment.
Walk through the strict protected area of the strict protected area
Old typical houses (some are ruins) found in the eastern part of Poland
A strange stone I found cemented on the ground
Palace of Culture and Science
Window cleaners hanging on the building
Remains of the wall of the Warsaw Ghetto
The Nozyk Synagoge and its interesting clock
The best pizza ever at this Italian restaurant Pizza&Vino (www.buscaliola.pl)
Delicious pure ice-cream at Pallone in Praga. They really produce it with fresh fruit and not much sugar
Having a coffee on the banks of the River Vistula (Weichsel in German)
At the Camping Majawa in Warsaw
On our way to Kazimierz Dolny
Having excellent frytki belgijskie with real Belgian mayonnaise
Up at the 3 crosses
... and delicious backery
Getting to the backyard
A wonderful aire for our camper at a beautiful house
What a hearty welcome we got from Aneta and Zbigniew! And sweet little cat Mimi
Zbigniew mit Nika und Volker mit Mimi
Aneta took us to the lake Gudwin close to her house
Marlena and Ernesto
Aneta and Zbigniew arranged a fantastic barbecue for us.
And. of course. we were introduced to the real Polish Vodka drinking: Nazdrowje!
Aneta getting the vegetables from their garden
That's the way they think people were mining flint underneath earth
Volker and Aneta holding a big stone of flint
We had 2 huge pizzas at the Labirynt
Hike up from Nowa Słupia to the Benedictine Monastery of Holy Cross (Świętz Krzyż)
The crypts with the mummified remains of a noble man who died at 39 years of age in 1651
Built between 1631 and 1644. History and legend offer zany accounts of the castle. It was designed to embody a calendar, with four towers representing the four seasons, 12 halls for the 12 months of the year, 52 rooms for the 52 weeks, and 365 windows for 365 days - plus one to be used only during leap years.
Very good Sandomierz beer
The main square with the Gothic town hall
Our pretty noisy campsite in Kazimierz. But it was very close to town
Electric old-timers take you around the city
The 14th-century Opatów Gate with a really spectacular "statue" of a tightrope walker balancing on a real rope tended across the street.
Wednesday 18.07.2018: Mikołajki - Wigry at Wigierski Park Narodowy (alt 130 m) : 159 km, at last: beautiful day, 30ºC
Drive to the Wigierski Park Narodowy. After getting a map and some walking and biking suggestions from the Information Centre (very nice, with a small interesting exhibition room), we did some really interesting walks through subcontinental forest, pine forests, saw beaver lodges and some Suchar lakes, these are marsh lakes with acidic water and poor in calcium. Drive to Wigry where we settled at the Camping U. Haliny, next to the Monastery (60 PLN/night with electricity). At first Volker put tape on the roof window that is leaking. Then we went for a swim in the lake. It was very refreshing. After that we made a barbecue and chilled out. N54º4'11" E23º5'2"
Thursday 19.07.2018: Wigry/Wigierski Park Narodowy: 28ºC beautiful weather, sunny warm, in the evening some drops of rain
Kayak-Tour along the Czarna Hańcza River (15 km, 5 hours, 70 PLN). Although in our map the beginning of the river was large, it actually was mostly overgrown and difficult to find. Fortunately we had our navigation apps that helped us find our way. We stopped at almost every "snack" stop available. On the first one we had a delicious apple cake made by Mrs. Córka. At the end of our tour we had to wait a long time before the guy came to pick us up. Lunch/Dinner at the campground restaurant (74 PLN). After a short nap, we went for a walk down in Wigry, but almost everything was closed. The campground is pretty full tonight.
Friday 20.07.2018: Bike tour around Jeziero Wigry: 53 km - 26ºC sunny but some rain drops in the afternoon
We started at 9:50 am and were almost home in Stary Folwalk when we saw a restaurant, so we stopped for lunch and were pretty fool with this delicious food. Back home we decided to spend one more night here again,
Saturday 21.07.2018: Wigry - Studzieniczna - Białowieża/Białowieża National Park (alt 151 m): 239 km - good weather, sunny 28ºC
Drive to one "sklep" (small shop), then another one, and finally to Kaufland in Augustow (this was not a very nice store). Drive to Studzieniczna where we walked a little bit around, but there was not so much to see. Then we drove to Białowieza 85 km southeast of Białystok. and parked in a forest near the Belarus border. This national park is famous for the European bison and for being Europe's largest swath of original lowland forest, known in Polish as puszcza (primeval forest). We walked 1,3 km to the border. When we were walking back, a car from the border police came towards us, stopped and asked us where we were going, if we crossed the border. We didn't have to show our passports though. The police woman was very nice, wished us a nice day and smiled (something people here don't do normally). After that we drove into town and settled at the parking of the Palace Park. A piwo (beer) and a lody (ice cream) before finishing our day. N52º42'2" E23º50'34"
Sunday 22.07.2018: Białowieża European Bison Show Reserve: 5 km, 28ºC sunny
Drive to the European Bison Reserve (10 PLN/pax). This enclosed animal park where you can see real bisons and the żubroń, a cross between a bison and cow, which is even larger than the bison itself, reaching up to 1200 kg (they didn't seem to be in a good shape, one was lying on the floor breathing fast and the other one had loose horns). Another peculiarity is the tarpan (Equus caballus gomelini), a small, stumpy, mouse-coloured horse with a dark stripe running along its back from head to tail. The tarpan is a Polish cousin of the wild horse (Equus ferus silvestris) that once populated the Ukrainian steppes but became extinct in the 19th century. After that we took our bicycles and went to the royal oak trail (7 PLN/pax). Lunch at the Restaurant Polana Żubra in the village of Pogorzelce (excellent food, 79 PLN). We then parted and Volker went along the northern part of the park and Julia drove to Białowieża making several stops and some walks. One stop was at the open-air museum (7 PLN/pax) where the best part was lying in a hammock enjoying the great view. After a drink in Białowieża back to our camper. Overnight at the Bison Reserve N52º42'21" E23º47'34"
Monday 23.07.2018: Białowieża National Park: 5 km to the parking at the Palace Park - 25ºC some rain in the morning, better in the afternoon
Julia went for a "ceremony" spa treatment at the Hotel Zubrowka (nice. lots of things were done in 2,5 hours 530 PLN). In the meantime Volker did a bike tour (39 km) south to the border to Belarus border. For lunch we had pierogy at the Gospoda Pod Zubrem restaurant and at 16:15 started our tour to the Strict Nature Reserve with Joanna, a knowledgeable guide with flora and fauna (The Route to Jagiełło Oak, 360 PLN for a group of maximum 12, so each person paid 30 PLN). We finished the day having a drink at the Gospoda Pod Zubrem, overnight at the parking N52º41'2" E23º50ż'33"
Tuesday 24.07.2018: Białowieża - Treblinka - Warsaw : 289 km - 31ºC very hot in our camper
Treblinka: another former concentration camp, although there is nothing really left to see. The museum is very good (all is free). Drive to Bork where we had lunch from stuff we bought at the supermarket (delicious herring with salad and bread) at a lake beach. Drive to Warsaw. We were dying with the heat and the traffic was terrible. We tried to get at a laundry south of town, but it would have been difficult to park, and it was soooo hot! Drive to Majawa Camping (120 PLN/night without electricity, noisy place). N52º12'53" E20º57'56"
Wednesday 25.07.2018: Warsaw sightseeing - warm, in the morning some rain but in the afternoon sunny
The whole day sightseeing! We started trying to get a tram but not finding any station, we took an Uber to the Palace of Culture and Science (20 PLN/pax -"gift of friendship from the Soviet Union" then walked to the former ghetto wall, the synagoge etc. We also took the metro from Copernicus Science Centre -which, by the way, we didn't visit because it was horribly full, we would have to way almost 2 hours to get entrance- to Praga. After having an excellent organic/home made ice-cream at Pallone, we took the metro back to Ulica Nowy Świat street where we had a cocktail before taking an Uber to the Multimedia Fountain. Our day ended with a cold coffee at the Nero Café on the banks of the Vistula. Back with myTaxi (23 PLN). Second night at the Camping Majawa.
Thursday 26.07.2018: Warsaw - Kazimierz Dolny (alt 135 m): 146 km - first hot in Warsaw then thunderstorm in Kazimierz Dolny: 28ºC
Finally we were able to do our laundry at a Speedy Queen (very good and clean) south of town, parking at the OBI/Auchan parking lot. It was very hot then. On our way to Kazimierz Dolny we had lunch at Gościnieć Melrose in 26-910 Magnuszew (excellent food, 51 PLN). In Kazimierz Dolny we settled at the parking southeast of town (15 PLN/day). N51º19'14" E21º57'1"
Friday 27.07.2018: Kazimierz Dolny - Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski (alt 150 m): 98 km (main shorter road was in construction work) - 30ºC hot and humid
Walk up to the 3 crosses lookout (3 PLN/pax), then up to the castle (5 PLN but we didn't get in, also because there is a film festival from today until next week-end). Then up to the tower, which was closed, so we didn't have to go up to the top ;o). A drink and some chocolate shopping at Piekarnia Sarzińsky famous for their Koguty. Drive to Aneta's home on the northern part of Ostrowiec (2 hours's drive south of Warsaw). We were very happy to see Aneta and get to know her family: husband Zbigniew, son Domino, daughter Julia. Delicious lunch prepared by Aneta. Walk to the lake Gutwin where we had a lody (ice cream) and it started to rain heavily! Back home we started a barbecue. Marlena and her husband, and Agnes (Aneta's sister) also came! It was a fantastic evening.
Saturday 28.07.2018: Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski - Excursion Prehistoric Krezmionki Flint Mine: 29ºC hot and humid
Bicycle tour to the city centre. Back home we went with Marlena and Ernest to the Prehistoric Krezmionki Flint Mine (18 PLN/pax). A good English speaking tour guide took us underground. After this we went to the restaurant Labirinth and had 2 huge pizzas. And then we drove to Marlena's tiny but cosy house and had caipiroskas (= caipirinha with vodka)! Back home with a taxi (35 PLN).
Sunday 29.07.2018: Excursion to the Świętokrzyski National Park - Park Rozrywki i Miniatur Sabat Krajno: 28ºC sunny and hot
Aneta and Zbigniew took us today with their car to the Świętokrzyski Park. Hike up from Nowa Słupia to the Benedictine Monastery of Holy Cross (Świętz Krzyż) (1 hour, 5 km, 270 m ascent). A lody and a visit to the crypts, where you can see the mummified remains of nobleman Jeremi Michal Korybut, who died at the ripe old age of 39. Back to the car and drive to the Miniatur Park Rozrywki i Miniatur Sabat Krajno (40 PLN/pax). Lunch at the self-service restaurant S.C. Sabat (110 PLN, good Pierogy and coffee). Drive to the other side of the Świętokrzyski Park (parking 7 PLN) and hike up to Sw. Kataryzna peak, which is only a look out. Back home and after some snacks, earlier to bed this time.
Monday 30.07.2018: Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski - Krzyżtopór Castle - Sandomierz (alt 142m): 79 km - 31ºC hot and humid
Drive to Iwaniska to the impressive Krzyżtopór Castle (11 PLN/pax). Then to Sandomierz after a sad goodbye to the Saramak family. Drive to Krzyżtopór Castle in Ujazd (10 PLN/pax). Settled at the Camping "Browarny" close to town (78 PLN without electricity, very loud place). After lunch and a unnerving siesta (because of the loud lawn mower) we walked into town which is really very close. Beer, lody and back home. We took at least 3 showers today! N50º40'47" E21º45'13"
Tuesday 31.07.2018: Sandomierz - Krakow (alt 200 m): 205 km - first fresh and some rain, then hotter 26ºC and humid
Drive to the airport to see evaluate the parking Orange we chose for our 4 days absence. Then we drove to our Camping Smok (99 PLN/night without electricity). After a good lunch with Aneta's smoked makrels we took an Uber to the Rynek (14 PLN). We walked around, had a drink at the Bunkier then walked over to Kazimierz. There we were escorted to the Le Scandale Bar/Restaurant and had really good drinks: a Pan Twadorwski, a white lady and a * (139 PLN). We were so lucky to be seating in this restaurant as it started to heavily rain after 1/2 hour. Back with a taxi (20 PLN). N50º2'50" E19º52'48"
Polish Zloty to Euro Conversion:
1 PLN = 0.231 EUR - 1 EUR = 4,33 PLN