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Chapter 2: Kosice
Chapter 3: Satu Mare
Chapter 4: Borsa
Chapter 5: Gheorgheny
Chapter 6: Schaessburg
Chapter 7: Brasov

A Journey to Romania or "The Route is the Award"

If someone travels to Romania he will find a route which is worth a journey by itself for there are so many jewels along the route - as we will see. Not to speak of the scenic landscapes. I enjoyed my last journey last year from Dresden to Prague and Silesia so much that I stay to prefer Eastern Europe for the this-year-tour. And there is much time during a long winter to plan and explore some things in the net and elsewhere.

To explain my situation: I am a senior cyclist meanwhile since I was so happy to retire from my work at the begin of May. And now we start - as we say - our "third section of life" and can start for a free tour into free nations, and we all know, that this was impossible for decades...

1 Thursday, 19.5., Görlitz - Olszyna, 16/37 km

In the morning we have a chilly ride to the railway station with gloves - may be we will need them again in the far away Carpathian Mountains? At first there is a hasty train change at Stendal and at Berlin-Ostbahnhof an accident occurs as the train starts. It stops apruptly and they call for a doctor. Someone was injured outside and some time later the medical emergency service does its work. The passengers stick to the windows because there is some blood to be seen. I am not so much curious about such matter, and we are all happy, that the injured person is well provided. So we get a pretty delay and I will not get the proper next train at Cottbus. The present train is named WAWEL, comes from Hamburg and runs via Berlin to Breslau, Czestochowa and Krakau - may be I better had stayed to sit in the compartement? But this would not have been the destination. And later we will learn, what's about the name WAWEL.

So we have to kill 2 hours at Cottbus, time enough for a fried sausage and a look to the nice city center. Then let us sit in the elegant Lausitzbahn and share the seats with an agile old gentleman who is an old Silesian fellow. He can tell a lot of this country, which is as large as Holland - so he says. He then starts to present private photographies one after the other and it is not so easy to pretend a real interest.

So we come to Görlitz in the late afternoon and I am eager to start the tour. Down the road to the bridge across the Neisse and then we find ourselves in the eastern and Polish part of the town, named Zgorzelec, not so easy to pronounce - but we will hit on other places with even more difficult palatine twisters.

Not to forget, that the western part of Görlitz is an Unesco Heritage and worth more than a day for a visit. But we have been there twice...

A Police Dummy

Field and Tree

Landscape in Lower Silesia
I stay to the main road 30 leading straight to the east. There is a wide shoulder aside, so the traffic is not so irritating and we can enjoy the Silesian landscape in the afternoon sun with the Riesengebirge right ahead, some snow still to be seen. Large bright yellow rape fields are a pleasure for the hungry eye. The other eye detects a sign to a Hotel in the village Olszyna.
The plan to reach the first jewel Bunzlau - famous for its pottery products - is not practicable for today, we have made 37 km and happy to find an accommocation. I am welcome at the Hotel ZAULEK and they are willing to accept Euros for I still have no Polisch Sloties. The meal is delicious: pork roulade. Two beers as well, and inclusive with the room for the night I have to pay 20 Euro. I am enthusiastic.

The village is nice, a creek winds its way among the houses. At the church we find a choral singer, may be the fine acoustical circumstances let him think to be an important artist. The wooden ceiling of this building may be an precious jewel as well. It's nice to be on tour...



2 Friday, 20.5., Liegnitz, 100 km

We have a fine weather, deep blue sky, in German named "Kaiserwetter". We will prefer side roads to prevent heavy traffic. This is a zigzag route and we hit towns like Gryfow Slaski (Greiffenberg), Lwowek Slaski (Löwenberg), Zlotoryja Goldberg). In this last town I really get my first Zloties from the Bankomat. We then turn to another side road along a nice valley to Jawor (Jauer). There is a storage lake, and may be I choose the wrong fork and end on a nasty concrete runway and finally at the busy main road E 65 towards Liegnitz.

Gryfow Slaski

Lwowek Slaski(?)

Near Jawor


At Liegnitz I can find only one hotel which is large and not so cheap but with a nice comfort: Hotel QUBUS. A meal is available in a near by Pizzeria and as usual I am happy with a Pizza frutti de mare. This restaurant is somewhat noisy, because many young people giggle and yatter around. But on the other side of my table there sits a man reading "Einstein light, E=mc2 for everyone" - or something like that.

A last view to the cathedral. They just have a mass and many people are lost in holy rituals. We won't disturb them!

A phonecall at home presents my note "WE are in a good mood" and my dear wife gets suspicous, why WE, is there another bimbo on the run? May be this would not have been the worst idea? (We had that problem some years ago at the End-to End in England). And the reader will realize, that I often say WE and I mean the reader-companion. It's only a stylistic phrase. Or I've meant my bicycle and me...

3 Saturday, 21.5., Breslau, 100 km

The breakfast buffet is exquisite and this means: I can get salmon, one of my favourites. And other delicious things which give the essential strength for the day. Today we will find our way along many small villages, but this will not work. My only map is a download from the net, and this doesn't show any name of those tiny places. Moreover the roads are not so comfortable, in the villages there essentially prevails a cobblestone surface. Finally the route turns right twice about 90 deg. and we can calculate, that we just go straight aback. So I better ride back the same way and this was at last 10 km detour. I hit on the road 94 and can realize where I am. The GPS is still not invented for me.

At the town Malczyce (Maltsch) there is a spooky ruin of a factory. There is a gap in fence and walls and I produce a Panoramafoto of this matter. The next town is Sroda Slaska (Neumarkt). I have a rest aside a memorial sign with the term hitlerowskim but cannot understand the rest of the text. Meanwhile I observe two happy fellows who kill the time sitting on the kerbstone.

Two Happy Fellows


Near Breslau
The landscape is flat and we now find some side roads without problems. And then there is a sign near a rape field: Powiat Wroclawsk. So the destination for today is near. We follow the sign "Centrum" or look for the steeple of a cathedral. As everywhere the outer areas of a large town are not so scenic but full of traffic. As we reach the central Ring or Rynek there is another scene. Let us wipe the eyes. There are lots of people and tourists running around. So the panorama photo has this or that ghost person which is unavoidable sometimes except one is willing to study the panorama program more thoroughly, but let us do this during the next long winter evenings...



At the tourist bureau they laugh as I ask for an accommodation. "But there is a Hotel Qubus" I say and a phonecall shows that I can get a room there. And this hotel is just around the corner. And this time the bike is stuffed into the elevator and shares the room with me. Let us say: "WE are in a good mood". Thereafter I am hungry and for today I prefer a Chinese restaurant because I like regional delicacies. Then we find a book shop and can buy two road maps of the upcoming regions. The maps are reduced later from their useless parts to save weight, which is a problem after some time if one collects all maps, bills, prospects, flyers, city maps and receipts. At the way back I meet a group of  motor cyclists and they have signs at their vehicles: "Poland - Ukraina". May be they are proud of it but I feel more pride for myself...

Let us say that the town resp. jewel of Breslau is worth some more impressions and historic informations. But - if you know me - I am a "runner", in the evening I plan for the next day and tomorrow we will continue.

4 Sunday, 22.5., Kluczbork (Kreuzburg), 118 km

To find out of Breslau it is the best to follow the promenades of the river Oder. Today on a sunny Sunday morning there are lots of activities. Cyclists, joggers, skaters, dog leaders, anglers, canoeists and even parachutists hanging at the blue sky are to be seen. After some time (25 km meanwhile) in this paradise I once again do not know where I am and look for any road to detect the sign of a village or something like that. And that's it: I am still in the outskirts of Breslau - nevertheless the Oder-party was very enjoyable.

On the road again I have some contacts with those May beetles. Unfortunately most of them are victims of the traffic, but once such fellow flies just aside me. This is an acacia alley, may be these beetles like it. In the villages we observe lots of stork's nests. Do the storks like May beetles? I know from my youth (the first section of life) that hens like these beetles more than anything else. But storks are no hens and don't climb around on trees. And hens neither. What's that: rubbish thoughts of a solo rider?

At the Oder


Strobrawski Park

At the village Laskowice (Markstädt) the Sunday mess is just over. The visitors in festive clothings just come out of the church and strive for their morning pint? I sit behind a bush with a bottle of FANTA, still thinking flapdoodles. Let us continue on lonesome roads, passing meadows and forests. Once I try a shortcut on an unpaved runway, may be you better choose the main connection, but I succeed and detect a lost armchair in a pond, may be a somewhat moist seat for an angler. But those have waterproof pants anyway. This all happens near the village Rogalice (Rogelwitz). And those former German names of the locations are to be read on an old Silesian map which is my own since some years at home.

To end the section for today we pass a nature reservation named Stobrawsky Park Krajobrazowy and the former name was - believe it or not - Forst Peisterwitz, Forst Bogelwitz or Forst Poppelau. The river of the region is named Strobrawa (Stober) and another village is Carlsruhe, nowadays Pokoj. And then we come to Paryz and there is definitively no sign of any Eiffel Tower. So we just have learnt some names, and - be sure - more others will follow. And by this we fall into the town of Kluczbork.

At first we see a rotten block of a former socialistic hotel block with a former congress center but its days are numbered. Some pedestrians show me the way to the Hotel at the Rynek and this is named  OTEL at its front side and HOTE at its backside. May be there is someone collecting big letters? But a friendly young fellow leads me to a nice room. The meal is consumed just across the Rynek, and as usual a Pizza Mariana. This is scalloped with a cheese sauce and moreover a Ketchup plate is presented. Thereafter we have a swollen belly, the second beer is difficult to consume and I urgently need a walk.

Ach Anneliese...

Local Arts
Let us follow the sounds of the music, and there is really a festival at the rampart area. A children chorus just intonates the song of "Ach Anneliese..." - well known at home but this time with a Polish text. But we can sing along in our mind. The next song is well known and is originated in Swabian areas, where I spent parts of my "first life". Other folk songs are unknown but can make the tears pour, in spite of some individuals around who have enjoyed various spiritual drinks - as usual at such situation, well known from at home as well.

At last we meet a gallery of curious wooden sculptures from a local artist. And that's it for today.

5 Monday, 23.5., Czestochowa, 75 km

Let's go on, what's to say about the weather? Like in paradise inclucing the wind. This is not existing, the flags of the administration and other buildings hang around and occasional columns of smoke strive upright above to the skies. This is cycling at it's best. But the road surface is sometimes a problem, there are potholes which invite the cyclist do make a big fall (like Humpty Dumpty?). We pass a larger town named Olesno (Rosenberg).



Former Polish Border
The further route 494 is not so attractive, but finally we pass the line of the ancient border to the real Poland from Woj. Opolske to Woj. Slaskie. The border locations are named Bodzanowice (Grunsruh) and Podleze Szlacheckie. And for this village there is no former German name to be found...

So it is sometimes difficult to articulate those strange names. And if you want to salute the locals you have to say "Dobre", whatever this will mean. Later I learn this simply means "good". Mostly I say simply Salut or Hello or Hi or just a wave...

So we cycle along, the section today is short. Eventually we see a high steeple in front and soon recognize: this is the famous pilgrim cathedral of Czestochowa. This is the town of the pope Woytila, who just died some weeks before - and the most holy place in Poland is the chapel with the Black Madonna who draws millions of pilgrims every year. I look for the tourist information and - what a wonder - get an accommodation at the pilgrim's hostel named Dom Pielgrzyma. I have to pay 70 Zl and find a room where the incarnate Pope himself could find his rest. The bedspread is in purple and above the bed there is the portrait of the Black Madonna.

"Like a Room for the Pope"


The Black Madonna
So while it is early in the afternoon let's have a nap at first. At the tourist information I got another treasure and that is a detailed map named "JURA Krakowsko Czestochowska", scale 1:95000. And there is a signed cycle path from Czestochowa to Krakow. So I have sweet dreams about this matter. Thereafter some laundry activities must be done because we had a hot day. But now let us start for a walk.

On the way downtown we pass the Jasna Gora and the chapel with the icon of the holy Lady with her child under her arm. Let us have a glance, why after all have we come to this place? But it is recommended to assimilate the awesome attitudes of the pilgrims. I just get mixed up amidst a group of pilgrims who - vis a vis to the Black Madonna - fall on their knees following a secret command from above or elsewhere. So I finally cannot stay upright and represent the antichrist? And so I find myself on my knees like a real pilgrim, who could expect that? In consequence I will hear the angel's chorus two days later at Krakow - be sure.

At the walls of the chapel there are countless silver insignia with pilgrim dedications, curtains of amber chains, and like known from the French Lourdes, the twin town of Czestochowa, lots of crooks of - maybe - pilgrims who came disabled and then jumped out of the holy place? Sorry! Another pilgrim just crawls on his knees around the sanctuary, may be he believes in some benefits for him from this activity? Sorry again! Then there are many families with their communion children in white clothings and flowers in their hands.

I walk down to the town and find an Internetcafe and I enter such kind of institute for the first time. I purchase for half an hour and this is very cheap. And I succeed to send a mail to my family to tell about my experiences. The town is not so attractive. There is the wide main street Aleja Najswietszej Panny, the side streets are not so interesting. At last I find a scenic junk market. But I fail to detect a nice restaurant for the evening meal, except of the omnipresent pizza shops. It would be nice to have any other meal today!

At last - up the hill again - there is a restaurant with mixed features of  French and Russian delicacies. Caviar or Sharkfins are offered. I prefer a more common meal but do not remember what it was. I remember the kind of beer: "La Reserve Maitre Kanter", 6.1%, and this is served in a decorated bottle. Fortunately I stay to one beer only for at last the beer is 20 ZL (6 EUR).

In the evening we have a heavy thunderstorm but I feel safe in my "pope room" and am not afraid.

Chapter 2: Kosice

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