Friday 22 May – country roads and new friends

Kris spent hours last night working out our route for today. It was tricky because we wanted to travel on small rural roads and it was difficult to connect them up.

In the end it worked out perfectly, and we reached our location at Lewin Brzeski around 3.30pm, having done 93km. The ride was through flat countryside, making it easier than the previous few days. Also the weather was a lot better, and we even had a little sunshine, though it did begin to get cooler in the afternoon (no rain though!). We passed lots of ploughed fields with various crops, including the same yellow rape seed fields we saw so much of in Saxony. Many of the roads have avenues of trees planted on either side.

We also passed through small towns or settlements every few kms. The main route was: Sobotka – Pustkow Wilczkowski – Borek Strzelinski – Kojecin – Wiazow – Miechowice Otawskie – Klosow – Oborki – Lewin Brzeski.

Even with a carefully planned route, we had to ask directions a number of times. We found that the signposts are not always clear. We also had to be careful about the directions we were given, as sometimes people wanted to direct how they would drive with a car (onto the main road), not through the smaller byways. At times it felt like we were on a scavenger hunt where you go from location to location using various clues.

We were surprised to find a long stretch (about 3km) of cobbled road in the middle of the countryside.

cobbles

 

At one point we also cut through a farm track alongside a field to avoid a busy road.

farmroad

A highlight of the day was a long conversation with a man in the town of Wiazow. This was totally unexpected as it was one of the less impressive looking towns as we rode in, all the buildings looking a little run down. He said he was a cultural ambassador to the town and also a musician (piano and accordion). He spoke in broken German (about as good as Kris’s). He was keen to take us into the town hall to show us a memorial to Peter Yorck von Wartenburg, a war hero who resisted Hitler and was later executed (we didn’t catch everything he said but I looked it up on the internet later).

We were invited for coffee at a cafeteria tucked in a side street for more conversation and we accepted. Other interesting parts of the conversation that I could catch were that the Polish have no love for the Russians due to various massacres, he is a Christian and they couldn’t display any crosses during the communist rule, his father was captured during the war and weighed only 36kg when he was released, the young people are leaving the rural areas and so there are no builders to fix up the old buildings. He also said Polish women were beautiful and Kris agreed.

conversation

A little while later we stopped for a rest alongside an old wooden church in Oborki (St Peter and Paul church). It was all closed up and decrepit with overgrown lawns. I found out from the internet that it has a long history starting in the 14th century and was taken over by the Protestants during the Reformation. The current church was built in the 16th century and now belongs to the Polish Catholic Church.

PeterPaulchurch

I had found our accommodation on the internet, as Lewin Brzeski is a smaller town without a hotel. We were unsure how it would work out. We went to and fro a bit trying to find it and it didn’t look promising. Kris was ready to move onto the next town, but a young man who could speak English directed us to it. This is essentially a bed and breakfast built onto the back of a large home. The father met us but could only speak a little German. Soon his young son arrived who could speak English (we got the impression the mother actually runs the bed and breakfast). In the end they showed us to the accommodation which is the best value we have had so far. Alongside our room we have a little living room and kitchen. And they are washing and drying our clothes!

accommodation

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