Cycling in Northern Poland
After working for the whole month of July, I decided to spend a few days of relaxing in Gdansk with one of my coworkers. Another friend of mine, Hanna, messaged me whilst I was there and asked me if I wanted to join her for a cycle trip. The way I read her Facebook chat with was something equivalent to, "Hey, I want to cycle to the Russian border! It isn't that far! What do you say!?" Me, not actually doing any research, says, "Fantastic Idea! Let's do it!"
So, we start out on our journey around midday with nothing but a small backpack. As we were planning the trip, we had a dilemma because there was a cycle path that led from Gdansk to Stogi Beach but once you get to Stogi, there is a canal type thing so unless we wanted to swim, we were screwed. So, we decided to go the road less traveled, aka, the highway. The first 15-20 km of the trip was on highway/rough patches, and even led us to hopping over four highway barriers with our bikes /running across an interstate type road. After the first 15-20 km, we found there was a huge line of cars trying to get to Sobieszewo by ferry. Luckily, there was a pedestrian/bike bridge so we hopped on over and rode through the cute little town!Around this point there was a beach, and according to Hanna's map, there was a bicycle path. We decide to follow it and find ourselves on uneven, rocky concrete and then in sand. Well, bikes don't really work in sand so there was a lot of walking involved, lol.
I'd say after another 6 km, we stopped for lunch at a shack near the beach off this so-called "bike path." I got myself some delicious fish and fries! (As pictured to the left! ) It was lovely and full of bones. I did, however, see a suspicious looking organ type thing in it which terrified me and forced me to beg Hanna to remove it before I could finish it. Yeah, I'm weird with food.
Right next to this fish shack was the entrance to the beach on the Baltic Sea. As we walked towards it, we saw a beach library! What a great idea! (As pictured to the right. ) The sand was steaming hot so we quickly peaced out and headed back to the bicycle shaded but shitty bike path.So, yada, yada, we cycle and cycle and eventually get to a village called Swibno. This village had a ferry that takes you across the water to more road. It was extremely slow and not really exciting. The picture of my bike at the top of the post is the bike on the ferry thing. On the other side of this, there was a bunch of tourist shops as most people were heading to Krynica Morska and passing this little place on the way.
Up the road a ways, we stopped for a drink and at the restaurant we found a bunch of kittens and obviously, because we're pathetic girls, were distracted for about an hour, lol. (As pictured to the left).So, as I am writing this, I am realized how uninteresting it is to describe cycling... - "and so we cycled..." lol. Well, we did. I'd say probably 10 more km my butt became so sore that I had to steal Hanna's bike. I really DO NOT recommend cycling such a long distance if you don't have the proper seat!! I was using a man's bike so yeah, the groin muscles were literally like, "I hate you!"We knew basically the whole trip that we were expecting to ride on a peninsula. In our happy little world, we would be cycling along the sea on both sides and enjoying the trip. Nope. Nope. Nope, definitely not. We basically shared the road with traffic that was surrounded by trees the entire time and were really annoyed in general. Whatever, these are the things I do to lose weight!! FML.
We got to Krynica Morska around 8 PM after officially doing about 60 kilmoters. I'd say it was probably 5 more than I am saying though because of some attempts at shortcuts. It is a big tourist trap beach town similar to Virginia Beach or Myrtle Beach with less English and more Russian, German, and Polish. It has stupid beach shops, overpriced food, and stupid beach clubs. We found ourselves a guesthouse called Victoria, (it was on the main stretch). It cost us 20 bucks each with a giant breakfast that included crepes and sprinkles - so that was justifiable.The next morning we decided to head on over to Russia! The border was about 12 km from Krynica Morska. About 2 km up the road we were like "wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" down a big hill. Then looked at each other like, "oh fuck..., we have to cycle it on the way back..." And then we realized it was nothing but hills to the border! Me and hills are not friends. Nope, Nope, Nope. So we quickly forget this idea and re-route our trip.We explored the touristic old-townish place of Krynica Morska as well as the lighthouse they have. We eventually decided to take the next ferry across the peninsula towards the mainland to Frombork.
Frombork is literally a small town with a giant Malborkesque castle. (Another castle in the region). It had a beautiful cathedral, a tower with a planetarium but historically is known for Copernicus' (the astromer) time spent there for studying the sky!At this point, I wanted to quit. I complained and whined and was the worst cycle partner. My legs were dying from the day before, my butt was numb, and my wrists were killing me. We checked out the bus schedule to Gdansk or Elblag (the next closest city with a train station). Basically, because we had bikes, we were stranded/screwed until we found a train station. We called the Polish Rail and they told us that your only choice is Elblag in that area so cycle another 30 km to Elblag. Shittttttttt. I was literally like, "are you crazy dude!?"
So, on we go, cycling down more roads that we shared with cars and these roads were definitely not flat. It was constant hills which didn't help the soreness of my body. We cycled for what seemed like hours and then I see a sign that basically says, "FUCK YOU VICTORIA, YOU'VE ONLY DONE 3 KM." Bitch. After this discouraging sign, I decided it was time to give up and wait at a bus stop and beg a bus to take me. We flattened one of the tires to further convince a bus driver that we were stranded. Basically, we waited for 45 minutes and no bus came. We weren't even in a village, we were on the side of a forest road next to a sad excuse for a middle of nowhere bus stop hoping for the best.
Okay, so we give up, pump the tire back up, and go. 5 minutes later the damn bus comes and won't stop because we weren't at the bus stop. @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ Piece of shit! We cycle to the next village and find a small shop. Hanna goes to people working there and says, "If I throw 50zl at you, will you take us to Elblag?" (15$). Basically they thought about it and realized they didn't know anyone with a large enough car so again, hope was lost.As we continued this doomed trip, it started raining! Fantastic! I am sore as shit and smelly and now it is raining - and possibly raining on my camera! COOOL!FINALLLLLLLLLLLLLLY, we find a gas station. At the point, we're 20 km in. I am seriously done and even if we wobbled on at my slow pace, there is no way we can make the last 7:30 PM train to Gdansk. Hanna again tries to find someone to take us to Elblag. Alas, the guy working there has a friend who lived behind the station with a giant utility van! YEAH!!!!!My first attempt at hitchhiking I guess, lol. The guy was super friendly and refused to let us pay him because of karma. We were so happy we found a ride because one thing we didn't calculate was that Elblag is a city. It was 30 km to the city borders. There were still 3 more kilometers at least to the train station so we really would have been screwed.
Alas, we made the train, went back to Gdansk, and I took the most lovely bath on Earth.
Below are some pictures of Frombork and stuff I saw along the trip.