Slovakia, Poland, Slovakia, Poland, Slovakia, Poland. Our first foray into Poland was two days on the north side of the High Tatras where we encountered hordes of traffic and bumpy, narrow roads. Our second foray into Poland was a wonderful three-hour tour through Musyzna and the small ski resort area, Tylicz.
It was a mellow ~20 km uphill on brilliant roads with great scenery and almost no traffic. For our small effort we were treated to a phenomenal downhill back into Slovakia. The map indicated we descended about 350m in 7km, but it sure felt steeper and faster than that.
The grade mellowed, but it still felt fast all the way to Bardejov. Probably sunshine and a tailwind at work here. Bardejov’s status as a UNESCO World Heritage site inspired our last jaunt into Slovakia. Well, also, I loved the unassuming, unpretentious kindness of the Slovaks. During our picnic in Bardejov, we were treated to a music and fountain show (à la Bellagio) near this church:
and after eating I was blown away to find this just around the corner:
That’s my favorite downtown area of the trip thus far (and on the same afternoon of my favorite downhill of the trip thus far!).
A day later and we were back in Poland,
this time into Magurski Park Ńarodowy where we were welcomed by signs warning of bears and wolves. Traveling in areas with wildlife is something I am much more accustomed to than Snežana is, and we had some conversations about camping with bears and what to do during a bear encounter. We took the precaution to eat away from the tent, something I’ve practiced religiously in Alaska but rarely in Colorado.
Camping, probably illegally, in the park:
Outside the small protected area, I was surprised to find a wonderful wooden church in Krémpna and later came across photos of this church in a tourist brochure for Poland’s SE voivodeship, Podkarpackie.
By visiting a tiny area of SE Poland, I know I’m not getting a representative sample of the country, but it feels like a beautiful, quiet corner.
Ran into your Dad at the top of Big Corona beach one morning and he told me about your adventure. What a great start. I have been to most of the cities you mentioned but Poland is still on my to-do list. Love going along with you vicariously. I just finished a book called The Man Who Cycled the World by Mark Beaumont. Do you know it? He’s a Scot who covered some of the same territory….the similarities are more in experiences as a bike/camper that actual geography. If you haven’t read it try to find it or have someone send it.
I’ll look forward to your further posts. I am going to be in Slovenia just about the same time your Dad said you would be in Serbia…so near, yet so far.
Karen Carlson (Denney’s cousin…Bonnie Carlson’s mom. Remember her from Cardin Hall?)
I hadn’t heard of Mark Beaumont. I’ll have to look for him. Enjoy Slovenia. Should be wonderful and by October maybe you’ll have some new snow in the mountains.
When Mom and I were in a Santa Barbara book shop (not too long after you left), I saw the book Karen mentioned and bought it. Haven’t read it yet. I’ll report when I do.
Thinking of Santa Barbara, a classic bike touring book (which I’ve never read) is by Barbara Savage. Barbara and Larry were from Santa Barbara or maybe she was killed in a car accident while biking in Santa Barbara or something like that. There’s a Santa Barbara connection.
Brian & Snežana:
Great to catch up on your route this morning — especially Bardejov downtown photo.
Would love it if you could include references and reviews of the various beers you enjoy during your travels!
I think I should apply for a grant to study the beers in Czech by bicycle. If you hear of someone wanting to fund such a worthwhile project, let me know. I could do Belgium too, and I have time!
The beers since Czech (Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine, Romania) are all pretty similar: light lagers, nice to drink on a hot day. I had an inane conversation yesterday:
“Is the food better in Romania or in your country?”
“Well, I’ve really enjoyed the fresh tomatoes here.”
“Do you like the beer better in Romania or in your country?”
“Well, they’re rather different.”
“They’re bigger here.”
And on and on. Having this conversation in Spanish with a Romanian at a small roadside cafe in a beautiful part of Transylvania doesn’t make it any less inane. However, if I managed such a conversation in Romanian, I’d be rather excited!