Leaving Poznan, Poland wasn’t straightforward. I used to be solely there for 2 quick weeks, however I had made quite a lot of buddies and the town was rising on me. However the time finally got here for me to go away, so I packed up my bicycle, cleaned the studio condominium I had rented close to the middle of city, after which shortly made my method out of the town.
Earlier than I even left Poznan, nonetheless, I acquired a message from Ariadna (of Assist, I Have Nothing To Put on) saying that she was at her household dwelling in Gniezno, Poland and that if I used to be headed that method, we must always meet up. Because it turned out, I used to be headed to Gniezno, so I cycled shortly and didn’t cease till I reached her household’s flower farm on the northern facet of the town. Google maps mentioned it will take me 3 hours to cycle from Poznan to Gniezno. It had taken me five-and-a-half.
Once I arrived at Ariadna’s I used to be shortly given a tour of the household farm and launched to her mom, father and youthful brother, Radek. Ariadna’s mom drove us out to a close-by strawberry patch the place the household grows their very own strawberries to promote. That is the place I met Radek for the primary time.
Then Ariadna’s mother took us into city and I obtained to see the place the household sells their strawberries at native cubicles scattered throughout the town.
Again at Ariadna’s home, we ate meals that Ariadna ready herself, I took a bathe, after which I finally pitched my tent out within the yard – close to the house of three new child kittens.
Within the morning I used to be once more handled to some scrumptious cooking by Ariadna and spent quite a lot of the day simply strolling and speaking with Ariadna and her household. Round 4 PM, nonetheless, the time got here for me to say goodbye. Right here I’m with Ariadna’s youthful brother, Radek.
And right here I’m with Ariadna. Her again is turned as a result of I feel she’s a little bit of a perfectionist and doesn’t need her face to be within the picture until it appears to be like excellent. Go to her weblog at: http://helpihavenothingtowear.blogspot.it/ to see what she appears to be like like.
Driving away from Ariadna’s wasn’t straightforward as a result of I felt like I had made a extremely good pal… and since I knew that it will be a really very long time earlier than I used to be with any of my buddies once more. For the subsequent month or extra I might be utterly by myself.
As a result of I didn’t depart Ariadna’s home till 4 PM and obtained a really late begin to the day, I didn’t plan on overlaying an entire lot of floor. I cycled for about 3.5 hours after which made my camp in a small pocket for timber.
My first night time of tenting was fairly good. I slept properly and wakened feeling fairly refreshed. The unhealthy half about my first night time of tenting, nonetheless, was that I found I had a gap in my sleeping pad. I’ve critically had the worst luck with sleeping pads. I can’t appear to discover a sleeping pad that doesn’t break after only a quick time period. Ugh!
The subsequent day of using was sizzling and sunny. I cycled by way of quite a lot of farmland and I undoubtedly obtained a small solar tan. Typically I used to be biking on paved bicycle paths. Different instances the paths had been fabricated from brick and had been a bit bumpier. And typically I needed to trip alongside the shoulder of a busy freeway with automobiles and vehicles passing simply inches from my facet. Total, nonetheless, the trip was good and the drivers in Poland appears fairly thoughtful.
Finally I reached the town of Torun, Poland. I cycled throughout a big bridge after which entered the walled metropolis from the south facet.
Simply outdoors the gates to the town I sat down on the sting of the river to easily benefit from the view, when hastily my peace and quiet was interupted by a wierd, long-haired man with an American accent who gave the impression to be taking pictures some form of foot-fettish movie together with his video digicam. He was having the ladies take off their footwear whereas he shot close-up video of their toes and on the similar time had them speaking about the place they had been from, what they likes to do, and so on. It was very unusual. And the truth that they determined to do that about 5 toes away from me was even stranger. I shortly obtained up and went away to discover the town.
Torun was a nice-size metropolis with a busy metropolis heart. There have been folks strolling about in each route and loads of younger folks standing in the course of the road attempting to promote you one thing or usher you into a close-by restaurant.
After a brief stroll across the metropolis heart, I cycled north out of Torun earlier than stoping to get some meals and water for the night time. Then I cycled north a bit extra earlier than turning left off the bike path and biking about 1km down a dust street after which pushing my loaded bicycle again by way of a thick set of timber. I made camp right here (see beneath). It appears to be like good… and it was at first. However after about 2 minutes of being on this space, I used to be attacked by each ants and mosquitoes. So many ants… and so many mosquitoes! I jumped inside my tent and I didn’t come out till the next morning.
I didn’t sleep properly that night time. Not solely due to the excitement of mosquitoes close to my head all night time, however due to the sounds of a wild boar rustling about simply outdoors my tent.
I had seen an indication on the entrance to the forest saying that there have been wild boar within the forest and that they had been harmful… and I had seen components of the bottom that had been all torn up by the boar as they had been on the lookout for ants and different bugs to eat… and I had seen the ants climbing throughout my tent, so I do know that the chances of an encounter with a wild boar had been fairly actual. Because of this I knew there was a wild boar outdoors my tent after I was awoken at 2 AM by load rustling noises and gunshots within the distance.
Within the morning I discovered that an empty cheese container I had left underneath the rain-fly of my tent had certainly been dragged away from my camp space and ripped to items by a wild boar. I didn’t see it occur, however a wild boat had caught his nostril underneath the rain-fly of my tent, grabbed the cheese container, and took off with it. I used to be that near a wild boar!
After shortly breaking camp that morning, I obtained again on the street and pedalled shortly, attempting to cowl as a lot floor as potential. Nonetheless, I did make a fast pit-stop at this small pond. Whereas right here, I dipped my sleeping pad underwater in an try to seek out the puncture. I used to be capable of finding the puncture, however I wasn’t capable of efficiently patch it. Air retains popping out of the pad and I get up every morning laying on the chilly, onerous floor. Ugh.
That night I made it to a big forest. This was a forested area of Poland that I had been on Google Maps for fairly a while and was trying ahead to touring by way of. Sadly, there was a ten km stretch of street that was actually, actually unhealthy for bicycle touring. See beneath. On one facet of the street was a bumpy mess of cobblestones (so bumpy that I couldn’t trip over them for any size of time). And on the opposite facet of the street was a gentle layer of sand (so gentle that I couldn’t trip my bicycle by way of it, however needed to push the bicycle by way of it as an alternative). For sure, getting by way of this part of street took a bit longer that I anticipated it to, however the surroundings alongside the way in which was greater than pleasurable.
Round 7 PM I made a decision to make camp. I used to be deep within the forest now and so I had no drawback discovering a spot to pitch my tent. I settled on a small hill, about half a kilometer from the street, the place nobody would have the ability to see me.
As you possibly can see from the images beneath, this was fairly the campsite! Perhaps one in every of my greatest campsites ever! And in contrast to the night time earlier than, there have been no mosquitoes or wild boar on this forest. I used to be capable of sit outdoors the tent and make my dinner (vegetable sandwiches) whereas the solar set by way of the timber.
Beneath is the Voltaic Fuse 6 Watt photo voltaic panel I’m utilizing the cost my smartphone on this bicycle tour. I’m nonetheless testing it out, however I’ll say this. It really works nice, however my smartphone calls for are fairly excessive (as I’m utilizing the cellphone for navigation, leisure, and work). Although this 6 watt photo voltaic panel is bigger than the 4 watt panel I used on my final bicycle tour, my smartphone can be bigger and requires extra power to get me by way of my days out right here on the street.
The next day I cycled all day lengthy with out taking a lot as a photograph. I went by way of quite a lot of forests and my tempo was gradual… however I loved the trip. I may have simply cycled all the way in which into Gdansk, however I might have arrived late at night time and have been pressured to discover a place to sleep after darkish. I didn’t wish to do this… and I wished to save lots of myself some cash as properly, so I pitched my tent within the woods once more, about 30 kilometers south of the town, with plans of biking into the town heart the next day.
Once I wakened the subsequent morning it was raining… and it didn’t actually cease till I reached the middle of Gdansk. It was a chilly, moist and (did I point out) very chilly day.
As soon as I obtained about 10 kms from the town heart, I used to be capable of trip on a brick bicycle path all the way in which into the town heart. This was such a pleasant strategy to be welcomed into the town. No have to struggle visitors or fear about unhealthy drivers not seeing me.
Someday round 2 PM I discovered myself within the heart of Gdansk, Poland… and it was stunning. I spent about an hour strolling my bicycle across the metropolis heart whereas taking images and watching the folks.
I even arrange my tripod within the heart of some of the crowded and photogenic streets so I may get an image of myself using my bicycle by way of the streets of Gdansk, Poland.
After shopping for a vegetable baguette within the metropolis heart, I cycled west alongside the shore (once more on a beautiful metropolis bike path) towards the close by metropolis of Sopot. There was a campground right here that I used to be planning to remain at.
Earlier than reaching the campground, nonetheless, I ended to take just a few images (one in entrance of the Grand Lodge… and one other on the sting of the Baltic Sea).
Once I reached the campground I used to be planning to remain at, they advised me that they had been closed and wouldn’t be opening till the next day. I used to be in the future too early!
Fortunately, there was one other campground in Sopot, only a few kilometers down the street, so I made my strategy to that campground simply earlier than it obtained darkish and checked myself in. The campground had showers, electrical energy and Web entry that labored in my tent. I liked the place!
I made a decision to remain in Sopot for 2 nights, so I used my relaxation day within the metropolis to do some pc work, after which go on a brief bike trip across the space to see the sights. As a result of I used to be in Sopot on a sunny Sunday, there have been 1000’s of individuals all alongside the seashore – strolling, using bikes, rollerblading, and so on.
I took my ebook, The Bicycle Touring Blueprint, to the seashore with me and snapped a photograph of it sitting within the sands of the Baltic Sea.
Then I cycled again to my Sopot campground, whereas stopping alongside the way in which to take just a few photos of the folks out having fun with their Sunday.
At a close-by pier I met one other bicycle traveler named Heinz who solely spoke German and some phrases of English. I feel he mentioned that he had ridden his bicycle from Stuttgard, Germany to Gdansk, Poland and now that he was in Gdansk his bicycle tour was over. He’d be going dwelling quickly.
Whereas Heinz’s bicycle touring journey was now over, this had been solely the very starting of my bicycle tour. From Gdansk I might be biking to Lithuania and north from there by way of Latvia, Estonia and Finland earlier than additionally touring by way of Eire, the UK and Taiwan.
Keep tuned for extra of my updates from the street… and remember to comply with the journey (dwell – because it occurs) on Fb, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Google+.