Blog #0023 May 24 2022 – Entering Poland

It was a glorious day, a hard day and a special day for me. Cycling 67 km, I passed the Lithuanian-Polish border in a relatively hilly topography. On a day, when the sun shined at its brightest and the air was at its balmiest I reached the first Polish city of Wizajni, before I went on the “Greenvelo” to Goldap, although a small mishap happened to my pride as a navigator.

I left my idyllic campsite at the lake to find another, much better and more official campsite after about 500m. This site had dozens of picnic tables along the beach. It clearly was a recreational area for the inhabitants of the village, and it would have been a much better place for camping. I continued and had one of the most beautiful days of my journey, yet. The landscape was getting now seriously hilly, something I hadn’t expected. Short, steep ascents of up to 14-15% incline took the breath out of me and let me stop at the top of the ascents and gasp for air. Old men shouldn’t do this kind of strenuous work, or should they? The character of world around me changed to an almost alpine environment. Conifers took over, where deciduous trees had dominated before, pastures became much more frequent on the steep inclines, and the lovely yellow of thousands and thousands of dandelions, intermingled with the intensive green of the grass ruled my views, where the uniform yellowness of rape-seed fields had dictated the colour palette before. Somewhere in this beauty I had a defect on my front sprocket. It was slightly bent (?) and needed to be straightened so that the chain wouldn’t slip off.

Suddenly I saw a small sign with the Polish insignia. Could that be the border, I wondered? It was very nondescript, and I was seriously wondering if I am right. I took out my phone and typed in the Polish words on the sign and indeed it was the border. This was confirmed when 5 minutes later a Polish border guard SUV appeared. Its occupants critically eyed me and my bicycle and, apparently satisfied, turned around and left.

I made it to Wizajni, where I got a supply of Zloty, the first currency other than EURO I used on this trip and bought some groceries. I decided to have a short day. Sit in the sun a bit, relax, drink a few beers at the occasion of my birthday and talk to my loved ones at home. So, I looked on the map and found the next bigger city to be that of Przerosl Goldapska, about 25 km in distance. Unfortunately, I entered in my booking app the name Goldap and consequently booked an apartment there. What a surprise when I found out that I would have to cycle another 25 km to get to my apartment, because Goldap is a completely different place. Luckily it was in a distance still reachable, but it taught me to read maps carefully next time. I arrived at my apartment took a shower and visited the nice town to have dinner at a kebab place. Sometimes you have to splash the money.

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