Making our way to Lodz (line though L, sorry), my counter sprung to 0 again. After taking the picture, a ritual with ever 500km and now being the fourth time, I realized that it doesn’t reset itself. Other digits, ones I never paid attention too, represent the total number, wheras the one I focused at gives detailed numbers with a maximum of one thousand. Feeling like a genius, for not having seen that sooner, I continue in silence.
To protect and… Vandalize?
You know you’ve put up your tent in a great area, when the cops are busy throwing rocks through a billboard. This was the case in Lodz, where we had parked our tents in a small field, where no one cared about our temporary stay. “Just another day in Poland”. I suppose it signifies little crime activity if this is their duty.. Or at least, I hope so.
More never-ending cycling
It was quite the distance, to Warschau, but we pushed ourselves to do it in two days. Of which most of the time my mind had left the body. A night was spent in Kompina, where a family made sure we were well fed before shipping us off to the townhall with more food. Mashed potatoes, chicken and salade was on the menu, as the family asked questions. Two small children with their parents and another couple were in town for a visit to the (grand)parents. One of the younger girls was fascinated by us, the two foreign cyclists. This reminded me of Finn, from Etzenborn, the small boy that wanted to bike the world after meeting us. I love that!
At the townhall, the place was heated up and I slept on top of one of the tables for a night more comfortable than you’d probably believe.
The capital city
Arriving in this big city it was still early in the afternoon. We seeked for a residence, again our luck being with the first family. It took awhile though, before they realised we planned on sleeping in the tents, not just dropping them. Nonetheless, no problem. Then a bit of sightseeing was done, where I met the PowerPuff Girls. Exciting stuff. I was not too taken by this city, as it was just another collection of high buildings, many alike. Maarten however enjoyed it, great for him! We stayed another day, this time leaving our stuff in a small park, with the plan of camping there, and then both seperately went in town. I did nothing, I can admit. Walked for a bit, enjoyed the river and then sat on a terrace at the Hardrock cafe to write and relax. Loved it! My friend on the other hand did get up to some stuff, such as visiting the zoo, the old and new part and some shopping.
I was glad to see him again when he returned to the park, as I did not know what to do. This small area of green, was already inhabited by other homeless people. Honestly, they can be the nicest people and great companions, yet due to the conditions they live in (hunger, pain, dehydration, you name it) they can be driven to do stupid things and I did not want to leave with Maarten’s stuff still there. I pointed out that my preference would be to sleep elsewhere, which turned out to be in a much greater place; a restricted railroad area. Perfect!
Restricted area, or not?
I had a great sleep, until we were awakened by a voice shouting “Ahoy, ahoy!”, followed by other Polish gibberish. My tent was shaken. A second time. I tried to ignore it, in hope that the man would leave. But after a third time, I gave in and answered in my sleepy voice. Once clear Polish was not our language, he told me he wanted to ask some questions, with a strict voice. I opened my tent to make it easier to communicate and the moment he saw my face, all seemed good. “Ohh, I was afraid you were drunk homeless people!” Wait, I don’t look like a drunk homeless person? That’s a first. The man was from the security and he explained that at night it is a very dangerous place – not now though. He then made sure our night was alright and asked when we would leave. I said that we could have our stuff packed in a few minutes, to which he says: “Nooo, you can sleep for a little longer, it is safe now.” After he left, Maarten and I laughed.
Bless the rain
That day was rainy, not a little shower, but a sky giving us nothing but raging water. This resulted into little distance and a quick stop in Tul (again, a line through the L). Thanking the weather now, as that stop has lead to many enjoyable days. We ended up in the home of the Lipski’s, who were not satisfied with one evening and asked us to hang around a day extra. The sons of 19 were in awe and schock, asking many questions. The most used being: “Do you need anything?”.
We had been treated like guests at a 5* hotel, better I can say with ease, as they actually cared. In the evening, some friends of the equally aged sons, had stopped by to see proof of the two travellers. Later another guy stopped by too, the best driver of them all, yet withouth a license. “He taught himself”. A few beers were consumed, our first curse words were learned (bad motherfuckers, the people we needed to stay away from) and we had laughed plenty, before I was off to bed. Couldn’t catch sleep right away, but I for once got to sleep in, really sleep in.
Waking up past the double digits felt heavenily. These Dutchies are feeling the muscles aching stronger with every day spent cycling, therefore this, a day of absolutely nothing and laziness was well deserved and needed. Roman, one of the sons, made breakfast for us before heading to work. Stanislaw had returned by now and let us do our thing, to show us a bit of the neighbourhood at the end of the afternoon. When we got back and dinner, another delicious Polish dish, was served, the parents wanted to ask us something. With help of the tolk, it was explained that we could stay in their second house, which is located in Dobrowoda, slightly off the route. The couple was going to be there for some days with the youngest daughter. 160km away. “In two days”, we said confidently. That night I tried to get an early sleep, to prepare for a long, long day of cycling.
*23-04-2016 – 28-04-2016*
Really, thanks a lot to everyone! I can’t say this too often, all of you are great people! This goes for all the lovely people I have met and will meet during these travels. Love y’all!