16 June – we reach Poland

Today we reached Poland. We rode 75km from Burg to Guben, and then across the border to the Polish side of the city (Gubin), where we are spending the night at the Hotel Onyx. Accommodation is cheaper in Poland!

It was a day with lots of confusing roads criss crossing the canals – some on our map and some not.

Spreewald canal

At one point Kris decided to take off into wet land nature reserve – a sign stated that there were water buffalo in the park and that we should not feed them, but we didn’t see any.
Kris struggled to find a path out of the reserve, we didn’t want to back track back to where we came in. We eventually found a tiny little bridge across a river – sitting just above the water surface. From here we could ride along a stop bank to exit the reserve, more walking track than bicycle track.

Wetland nature reserve

Tiny bridge to get out of reserve

The sky grew rapidly darker as we left the reserve and a strong wind began to blow. It was the start of one of the summer thunderstorms you get here after a few hot days. Luckily we were out of the reserve and near a picnic shelter when it started raining heavily. We ducked into the shelter with the bikes – Kris sat on top of the table and Jenny under the table.

Sheltering from the thunderstorm

When the rain reduced we continued on – and found some random bicycle paths, We rode close to a huge power station with multiple cooling towers (near Janschwalde). The rest of the route to Gubin was along small bicycle paths through forests.

We did some shopping on the German side of Guben and then crossed into Poland across the bridge – the Neisse river is the border.

Crossing border into Poland at Guben

We had to ride a few kilometers into Poland to get to the hotel – the cycling infrastructure immediately deteriorates on crossing the border.

We were struck by this parish church, next to the town hall, which has been in ruins since it was burnt out in the second world war. Restoration efforts started in 2005, but appear to be very slow.

Ruined parish church with town hall in background

Our three star hotel is in a semi industrial area, but is otherwise pretty good with a big clean and modern room and a nice restaurant. Even though Poland is has its own currency, they don’t mind us paying in Euros. We had another heavy thunderstorm in the evening.

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