Saturday, 13 October 2012

nie polski

I can't speak Polish but I tell an old lady who asks me in the supermarket that 'medium' means 'sredni'.  She looks delighted and puts the toothbrush in her basket.

Our journey to Krakow, where we're meeting my mum and dad, is via two or three places that appear in our guidebook.  The first is along the Vistula, a small touristy village called Kasimierz Dolny where we stay in the youth hostel.  We're there at the weekend and with good weather there's quite a few daytrippers and weekenders from Warsaw and Lublin.  The town had a large Jewish population before the war and down the road a memorial wall has been built from the headstones destroyed in the cemetery.  We head southeastwards through rolling farmland to Zamosc.  The old town here has been renovated and is rather pretty, if a little museum-like.  It's the low-season for tourists and the town is in a quiet corner of Poland.  

one mushroom you don't want to pick
Our direction now is westwards to Krakow through what turns out to be a rather dull landscape.  We're in farmland north of the Tatras and the villages seem to run into one another so that we find ourselves cycling along roads of houses and not much to see.  A lot of the houses look new and quite grand in places.  Often the old original wooden house has been left where it is, and the new house built beside it.  The camping gets tricky sometimes as there's always someone around, usually a farmer in his tractor, and we only find a spot when the sun has already set.  We have shied away from asking farmers if we can camp on their land - although I'm sure we could if we had to.

We arrive in Sandomierz after a foggy morning ride but the sun finally appears for the photos.  And then we head to Zalipie, famed for its painted houses.  We arrive mid-afternoon and ride around for quite a while, looking for these famous painted houses.  But it all looks rather like any other village.  We finally find a house painted with flowers and Gayle photographs it.  Then a minibus of Italians turn up and photograph it too.  They've been driving aroundlooking for these famed painted houses. Later we see the same house appear in any tourist blurb about the village.  Quality not quantity, I guess.

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