*Good news!! You can now stalk me wherever I go! 😀 My father made a map, which is updated almost daily and shows cities/villages I have been to. Link will be down below! My blog is a few weeks behind, sorry for that.*
This time it was me, who was waving off the crazy cyclist. It had been an odd morning for the both of us, having to say goodbye to the companion for the last 50 days. He took off, making way to Vilnius and now I was alone, standing next to the remaining ashes of last night’s fire. I didn’t mind it, as it gave me control over all decisions without even having to open my mouth to discuss. When travelling, I must admit that I crave for that. Nonetheless, I knew that dodging the lawless drivers alone was going to be something I had to get used to. The worst part was probably that all my great puns would now go unheard, they’d come and go with the wind, leaving without ever getting the appreciation they deserve. Like an unseen rainbow. Kinda sad if you think about it.
Making new friends already
In Surprasl, I did not find the kayaking opportunity I was looking for, therefore I had spent my time going through forests, enjoying the hot sun, and spotting deers instead – I was visited by one during the night. The surroundings had turned into more dry and rural areas, with shops that seemed to be held together by glue. By now, I had no idea where I was, as the woods were left behind me. Luckily, I would soon find out! A jeep came up to me, gesturing me to stop. Two gentlemen come out, wearing camouflage clothes decorated with badges. In the meanwhile, two men in black on motors pulled over behind me. They kept asking me for my passport, whilst I cluelessly wondered why. One of the guys points to the distance, “The border of Belarus”, which was at walking distance. Apparantly, it is not often that a traveller on bike goes so close along the border, yet after I explain and show the little proof that I have of my story, I am free to go. Although they found it quite amusing, they were not too happy that I had no map and that I was not aware of my current location, so they send me to the next city to buy a map.
In Kuznica, at the border of Belarus, I prioritized ice cream over the map. Walking out the shop, I see that Mr. Border Patrol is waiting for me. “Bought a map yet?” Not yet… Going to the post office, the two of them were there, sitting on their motorbikes. Whilst handing over the few Zloty it costed, the same guy at the shop was breathing down my neck. They ended up escorting me out of town, one in front and one behind me. I felt so special. People stared me down, as if the pope was down for a visit – okay, now I am exaggerating.
But really, all four of them were great lads, smiling at my story, giving me advice and making sure that my journey was safe. If I had continued along the border, it would have been fine as well – was not where I was heading however – but they would prefer to be informed about it beforehand.
Kayaking in Augustów
I had made my way to one of Poland’s top places for kayaking, after a night of camping in Kropiwno, another village barely worthy of a dot on the map. I immediately took care of an afternoon of kayaking for the next day at Szot (price had been upped, as I was the only one at the time, yet still only €15, you can go for upto 7hours). I had decided to dive into luxury and got a room in a hostel in the woods next to lake Necko. Costed me only 7,50 for a night and I had my own bathroom. Cooking my eggs had to be done in the water boiler.
Before afternoon, I climbed in the kayak, ready to face the water – hopefully not literally. With my gallant way of getting in, the man asked me if it was my first time.. I made my way to a grand lake, with a lock inbetween, where I had a splendid time. Baking in the sun, turning more red than the blood pumping through my veins, I let the small waves guide me. I was surrounded by water and everywhere I looked, the view was astonishing. For hours, I was going around the lake, admiring the area, taken by the beauty of it all. Treated myself on a smoked fish for lunch, before returing to the man.
Farewell my loyal, metal horse
Immediately after, I went back to making distance towards Lithuania. Sliding the backpack on my badly burned shoulders made for a lovely ride. With the sun slowly setting, I hit my brakes and went for a small shop, before getting some sleep. Interested in buying a map of Lithuania – which I lost a few days later – I wait for the wife of the shopkeeper. During this time, bread and sausage is shoved in my hands. An old guy with a belly filled with beer, walks in looking for some liquid to join the rest. He asks for two, yet the shopkeeper comes back with three beers, one for me: “Whaat? He is from Hollandia!”, is what I could make out of it. The beer hungry feller didn’t seem too interested and took off to get his buzz started. I was excited however, getting free goodies for being a traveller. I liked this guy!
My last day in Poland turned out to be my last day of cycling as well. I was enjoying the road, when I suddenly went an inch closer to the ground. Fuck, my tire had given up on me. I tried to fix it, but with limited tools and my reserves stolen, it was no use. Spent an hour or two finding a house that did have supplies for me. It did not help that I had left the cities behind me. Walking would only wreck my bike more. My bike looked at me, with sad eyes like a horse with a broken leg. He knew what was going to happen. I grabbed all the stuff I needed from the bike, got my counter and gave it one last glance. The fact that I travelled through Germany, Czech Republic and Poland, over shit roads and hit the 2750 on a bike so simple and not meant for this, made me proud of this piece of metal – after showing a picture to a prepared cyclist, he said he was not sure if I was courageous or crazy. The odds are high on the latter. I like to think that someone has found my bicycle and repaired it and that he is now living his pension life there.
So, an end had come to the cycling. However, this does not mean the end of my trip. Merely the chapter has ended and the page gets turned. I walked to the road and put my thumb up, ready for the next adventure.
* Stalking Map * Please let me know if the link works 🙂