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  • Day370

    No more Poland!!!!

    June 9, 2017 in Russia ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    A long-distance road trip was never going to be sweetness and flowers with fairies pointing the way and unicorns pushing us uphills. We just didn't expect such an adversary in a land so geographically close to Germany, which in fact has so little in common.

    Poland was a physical challenge with our continual 100km days, a bout of sickness, energy-sapping potholed and sandy roads- it was also a mental challenge, taunting us everyday to find another way out. We had days where we stopped dejected by the roadside, voices drained to a minimum, considering trains, taxis, home-removal companies, hitching a lift with a lorry.

    Cycling through Poland was like having a bad, trippy dream that went on, and on, and on. Every day being the same somehow but with its own ugliness; environment, behaviour, interactions, DOGS. Adding up all of these nuisance factors over.....I don't even want to think how many days we were here.....made for an absolute torment. We were hopeful that we were just unlucky and that there were some positives to take from it. There were, but they weren't enough to render Poland a pleasure by any means.

    Seeing huge stork nests with offspring was a first for me. Lining every corner, layers high watching these majestic birds was wonderful, bringing a bit of life into otherwise monotonous days of featureless roads and characterless villages.

    Sadly I finished yesterday's riding with a heavy-duty chain resting on my bars and a can of pepper spray in my bra in response to and preparation for the dog attacks that kept coming. The sound of lorries to the backdrop of incessant, angry dog barking is the soundtrack to my Poland cycling experience.

    The behaviour of people here shocked me everyday - After travelling in India, sub-saharan Africa, Israel, Palestine etc being stared at, spat at, ignored is something I've witnessed before. In these situations this behaviour was a minority, the kindness of others far outweighed these negatives in these countries. Poland unfortunately didn't really offer any positives at all in human experience. It was not a nice place to spend 850+km.

    Krakow was a nice city, architecturally not a concrete blot on the landscape for the most part. Buzzing with international tourists, it had a warm and friendly feel. This was not "real" Poland.

    I won't miss the derisory looks, un-returned greetings, dangerous driving, dangerous roads, dangerous dogs, smelly supermarkets, bad attitude, clone villages, bad town-planning of this country at all.

    If you are considering cycling through Poland, my advice to you would be; DONT. Save your time, your money, your sanity, your bike and maybe even your life and go somewhere else instead.

    Czechia
    Germany
    France
    Switzerland

    Maybe in 20-30 years this place may be different but attitudes become so engrained that attitude change takes generations. It's been enough that we succeeded in making it through from South to North, my first full trans-country trip by bike.

    We're really proud to have done it but even happier to be out into Lithuania where 20 meters after crossing the border the roads had central lines, side posts, chevrons. Let's see what Lithuania has to offer.

    Hier habe ich nur noch hinzuzufügen, dass Polen definitiv kein EU-Land ist. Bestenfalls kann es die Generation der heute 12-jährigen einmal werden. Das wird nicht nur an den Landesein- und Ausgangsschildern deutlich. Eines jedoch gibt es hier ganz besonderes viel - Nationalstolz der weit über ein Vernunftmaß reicht. Polen ist im Kern ultra rechts. Und damit meine ich nicht die Regierung. Sie ist nur ein Spiegel des Volkes. Jede Art von Ausländern ist unerwünscht, selbst Touristen. Polen wehrt sich gegen die Aufnahme von Flüchtlingen und nur 1 % Ausländer leben im Land. Sieht man auf der anderen Seite, wie das Sozialsystem von UK von genau diesem Volk unterwandert wird, stimmt mich das in mehrfacher Hinsicht sehr traurig.
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