6 Thursday, 24.5., Olkusz, 105 km
Preceding the start I get my photo of the Black Madonna, but this is only a conterfei at an outer wall of the cathedral. Not sharp as well for we have a grey and dull morning, my be in consequence of my unrespectful impressions? The section today should be one of the most attractive leading along the Jura mountains with rocky hills and sometimes with ruins of old castles on top. While it is rainy all over the day we will have no further photo, the camera is hidden in the deeper luggage areas, the paths will not always be the best. But there is an enjoyable tailwind.
We start on a gravel path in a forest, sometimes there are sandy passages hard to cycle. So we have the usual situation: we follow the signed path for a while but soon look for shortcuts along tarmack roads or so. So we ride along a nice road from Zarki to Podlesice if you want to know it exactly. Then I trust to the signed route once again and find a real offroad path leading steep uphill in a wood. Sometimes I must carry the loaden bike over sandy "bath tubs". Finally the path leads downhill and one can ride carefully. And we hit on a real Hotel named Zamek Morsko, an excursion destination at this godforsaken region. From now on I really prefer the road 791 towards Olkusz.
A last rest at a forest with a chocolate from at home named "Kernbeisser" (gosbeak or so), and this is filled with hard hazelnuts. This is not the best diet for one of my last teeth (lower left canine tooth, it was jigging since some time anyway). Another incident: two automobiles and some lads stand aside and wave: "Stop, Dobre, Please!". This is not my turn, how could I help them, because I have neither a car jack nor towrope with me. And a flash in my mind, may be this is a trick, may be they only want to inspect the purse? So I run along, as fast as I can for some time. If they want to rough me up I would have no chance, I know! But in the next village those two cars overtake and I can calm down.
This Route is really Trafficfree...
Multi Purpose House
A Bum-Bum nearby...
later I hear a train clattering along. Then we enter a forest and there
is another barrier in front. A worker with a walkie-talkie stops
everyone. "Why that - and where to go?" I ask. He tells a lot in Polish
language and I am the fool, understanding nothing. But then he shouts
"BumBum" and raises his arms. This is understandable, there must be a
blast nearby? Some minutes later it is to be heard: the BUM, but
unfortunately I cannot tell you the further circumstances. And the
barrier is raised - this is important!
At the end of the forest we have a nice landscape and a faint glance to the town of Krakow far away. So we have to ride for a while to reach the outer regions of this town and another time to meet the central place Rynek Glowny. This is an ant's road: lots of people running in all directions. The lazy ants sit at the outdoor restaurants and enjoy the sun or prefer the shade under the parasols with an cappuccino or an early beer? In the middle of this impressive plaza there is a big building, the former "Tuchhallen" (Cloth Hall), not the Town Hall, as I have learned meanwhile. There we find the tourist information, and the best information is, that there is no accommodation available. I cannot varify this matter, but they offer a private apartement, and this is not really cheap. OK, I need a dental surgeon urgently, and they sign two places in the city map and by that I purchase the expensive apartement.
Now at first a Bankomat must spit it's stuff, then they lead me to the apartement around the next corner (Ul. Grodzka), and this is a superb place. A shower and then up and away to the dental service. Finally I find an ultra modern 24 h dental centrum and stumble inside. "I NEED HELP" I say, not recognizing that I have toddled just inside the Clinical Praxis with several dentist's chairs and victims suffering under whirring drills. Looks just like a barber's shop at home! So they complement me to the waiting room as it should be.
Some time later two charming women try to find out my problem. Soon we are coincident with the key-word "EXTRACT". The other problem is the lower dental plate which should be completed after the primary bastion has gone. "Prothese Specialist, one hour" - and this is a fine information. Now the things must be settled: Anaesthesia, can there be any complications caused by hypertonia or any allergy? No, I never had that. So they give the injection and after 10 minutes this should work. It does, but not as intensive as I am used from former happy hours, when just one half of the face seemed to hang down. I say OK and the gripper comes along. Some jerks - and now I hear the Angel's chorus in the skies!!! But it is over, they show me the drawn crock of tooth and I concentrate to overcome the pain. And eventually the Angel's chorus fades away.
20 minutes later they produce a professional plasticine imprint and thereafter I am laid off for the next hour. I run back to my apartement, and excuse me, let the WAWEL be aside. This is the historic fortification of Krakow and definitely worth a thorough inspection. Today I prefer to consume one more pill of aspirin. Finally back to the dental center, and meanwhile they have completed the dental plate and I am a real human beeing again. Now the ladies write some numbers on a sheet of paper and after some time I recognize that this is the bill. So I have to pay 20 EUR for the extraction and 15 EUR for the repair of the plate. Let me be the happiest person just now, say so many thanks to the ladies - I should have spent some flowers for them but didn't got the idea. So these are the thankful words to them finally presented in the net.
Let us enter the village or town of Dobczyce
and then continue up the valley of the river Krzywsorzeka - try to vocalize
this name. But it is a wonderful section. At the end of the valley we
have to pass a summit - as usual. But there is nice view all around to
the Beskides, as the
mountains are called hereabout. The downhill ends at Rabka Zdroj. Up the next valley Poni
Czanka we see a strange type of architecture by steep pediments
the buildings. But the road gets more and more steep, let us say 25%
finally - a "Killerhill". Walk
and sweat is recommended.
But we success to hit the main road 47 at its highest point and roll down accompanied by heavy traffic, mainly many busses. Most impressive is a high mountain massive ahead, and this is the "Hohe Tatra", the smallest high mountain on earth, as they say. So we reach the town of Nowy Targ for today.
The end is the Hotel Limba and the boy Robert receipts me. I get a room
for 10 EUR. Eventually I recognize, that I have a broken spoke at the
rear wheel. This is done immediately (on the good side opposite of the
cogs, you know?),
because I have four spare spokes with me.
The final meal is offered in a restaurant just opposite of the hotel, not too hard to bite at last (roast veal, may be).
9 Friday, 27.5., Bardejov, 124 km
We should continue along the river Dunajec but hit on the road 49 leading just south, the high mountains of the Hohe Tatra straight ahead. This is such a nice view that at first I prefer this route.
Water Resovoir Dunajec
But some time later we have to turn left (east) to follow the original
plan. The road is nearly traffic free and we pass villages named Lapsze Wyzne or Lapsze Nizne. Up a hill with
another nice view to the Tatra and then we roll down to the storage
lake at the Dunajec. Nearby is the border crossing to Slovakia. At the
first exchange office the rest of the Polish Zloties is replaced by
Slovakian crowns, the exchange rate is 1:10 so the fees will have one
zero more from now on.
Dam and Castle
Just behind the border I hear a cuckoo, may be he now has an Slovacian
slang? Another bird is the golden oriole (Pirol) calling "Ui-U-Io". This bird is rare at home
and unfortunately is never to be seen. Later I watch a wagtail
(Bachstelze) with a yellow breast. In my book at home I find out that
this is supposed to be the Schafs- or Gebirgsstelze (Blue Headed or
Grey Wagtail) to be found in the middle of Europe and the Balkan
areas. Beneath the storage lake there is a vivid raft traffic on the
river. Yelling tourists with sunhats and shorts are shipped down the
waters by raftsmen wearing local costumes. They have a speed of
sometimes 15 km/h which is to be found out if you ride aside on the
road. The quality of the road is first class until now but this is
always to be seen near the border lines, may be they had profit by any
After a nice ride we leave the valley of the Dunajec and follow the road 543 to Star Lubovna. At a village we leave the main road and use the passage in the village along a creek. This is just another kind of world with nice little houses. I have a rest on a bench and watch a local woman wearing headscarf and leggings nearly reaching up to her armpits. Usually they may wear a wide skirt beyond but this time the woman is so excited to meet another neighbour coming along. I resign to make a photo. But some houses ahead a man with a naked upper body and a handcart runs into the picture and this was not the intention, but rather the shed aside.
We continue on the busy route 68 leading to Presov. Some time later we prefer a
detour to Bardejov which
should be one of the nicest jewels hereabout. This is the road 77 down
the river Topla with few
traffic. The first gypsies and their homes are to be seen. They usually
seem to live in the outskirts. Once I see a man with a little girl and
a naked boy at his hands, moreover a handcart with three more little
children in front of them. This would be a nice motif for a photo. But
in the guide of Romania it is to be read, that the gipsy people do not
like to pose fearing to loose parts of their soul. We will have our
story concerning this matter some time later...
Today we end at Bardejov. No visitor will be disappointed when he
enters the impressive central place with a townhall and a church. The
pediments(Giebel) are exemplarily restaurated as if the locals learn to
renew their houses at school? So a panorama photo (6 shots) in the
evening sun is obligatory. Let us look for an accommodation. Just
behind the church there is a big building with the sign HOTEL. With
bike and baggage I follow a boy inside and then he asks what I want to
drink. May be I should sit with my bike at the bar and have a drink?
The times of the HOTEL are gone, now it is merely a bar. But the boy
can help me to explain the way two streets ahead to the Pension Semafor.
The friendly Mr. Kaminski welcomes me and leads me to a nice room. The best place for the evening meal is the pizzeria BELLO with a wooden roofed terrace just aside the church. We have warm evening and it is nice to sit down among the numerous guests. I get a fine pizza, but - alas - the knife does not work! In vain I try to cut and snip and rasp. I ask the service maid for another knife, but she waves aside - there would be no better instrument. Unfortunately my teeth do not allow to bite off the gobbets (Brocken) like other guests do after similar useless attempts. So after all the pedalling today we have a good training for the arms.
Back at the Pension the friendly Mr. Kaminski suggests to take one of his knifes the next time. So remember this, dear reader, if you come to Bardejov which would be nice for you!
10 Saturday, 28.5., Kosice, 89 km
A nice young lady flutters her eyelashes and presents the breakfast (fried eggs and ham). This will be the friendly Mrs. Kaminski? She tells that they had cyclists from Australia, but all those had been vegetarians...
The weather is so hot today that I prefer to wear gym trousers and an open shirt fluttering around in the airstream. We ride on the road 545 with few traffic over a green roller coaster landcape. At the village Janovce I await a historic wooden church or chapel but there is only a simple model of a small tower.
A Happy Couple...
...and another Happy Couple
But then I see a scene, a smiling man
with his beloved cow in a meadow, so a brake, some meters back and a
fast photo, not to be seen every day. The last stretch to Presov is the 4 lane European route
E73. There is a wide shoulder and other cyclists from the opposite
direction let assume that cycling is allowed on this lane. Nice fields
of rape and blue hills at the horizon to the right. I roll down with a
tailwind (as usual) and soon arrive at the outskirts of Presov with
much industry. But the center looks like a picture book as well.
The cathedral is located at the end of the nice long stretched stroll
line (Flanierzeile). A just married couple and the wedding community
just comes out of the church. The young couple at first must have a
shared gulp of water at a fountain nearby as a ritual. A nice scene,
really. I enter the tourist bureau and ask for a regional map and a
cycle route to Kosice. But
there is nothing available. I must ride with the rugh internet map for
But I succeed to find a nice side road. At a rest I eventually hear the clatter of a stork's nest above the trees. A happy couple just enjoys the reunion up there. Down on athe ground there sit some fellows with a bottle of beer or so, they don't bother concerning the clatter sounds. So we pass the village Kysak and roll down the river Hornad to Kosice. There are wide areas of apartment buildings - socialist style - at first. As usual the kernel is the jewel. I pass the Hotel Ambassador but end at hotel which is not so cheap as well. This is Hotel Slovan and I can walk with the bike inside to the reception and at last get a room on the 8th floor. So a panoramaphoto out of the window at first (do not lean out too much!), a shower bath and some laundry.
A walk around but I cannot tell about historic backgrounds and do not
take part of a guided tour. It is really too hot, the hottest day of
the tour at all! At the city hall there is another
smiling wedding society
and this time they will find themselves in the net. At last let
us visit the cathedral. An organ player just intones a Chrismas(!)
choral hymn named (in German) "Tochter Zion, freue Dich..." (Daughter
of Zion...). At the end of the hymn someone claps his hands, may be
this would have been not so adequate at the Black Lady (but there the
chorals came from an audiotape...).
But thereafter I sit down in the shade of the Pizzeria Modena - sorry, but the East-European fellows like pizza so much and so do I. At the next table there are some girls and send a couple of SMS messages to each other over the table and wonder how this may work. For I am not born yesterday as well I detect in the evening an Internet room in the hotel. I send an email to my dear daughter Stefanie but later wonder, if this mail erroneously was sent to my own address? So it is and is to be corrected the next morning. (Forget that I was working on computer applications for 34 years...).
Chapter 3: Satu Mare