Krakow was rather disappointing. I expected more, but I was really lucky because I had a great host through “warmshowers” in a shared flat with 6 vegetarian flat mates. They gave me a big welcome and they hosted me like a king. I stayed for 3 nights before I moved on.
Originally I wanted to go to the High Tatra, but because of the long lasting rain I skipped the idea and instead I went on to the wooden architecture trail and didn’t regret it.
You can look at countless old stunning wooden churches in the Malposka provinz in Southern Poland. One is more fascinating than the other. The interiors are wonderfully painted and lovely decorated. Some of the facades are pitch black.
The orthodox churches with the onion domed towers are so enchanting to look at. Most of them are so tiny and a few of them are even on the Unesco list. Sadly some of them were closed when I was there.
Noticeable is the extreme religious way of living is this area. There are so often worship services, even during the week. A large number of people are joining the services and some of them do not even get a space inside of the church, so they have to listen to the priest from outside. They have Maria statues in their gardens, pictures of the former pope Johannes Paul, small chapels and huge crucifixes.
I once noticed a lot of kids standing in a row waiting to be able to confess. They kneeled down, made the sign of the cross and whispered in the priests ear. Most of them were relieved afterwards. I asked myself what does a little child has to confess? I don’ t want to judge it, but I do want to question it.
Eventually, at 7th of June, the sun came out and the never ending rain stopped for a few days. The weather annoyed me already for quite a bit and I thought a few times a day, why on earth am I doing this. So I was happy to be able to give my rain gear a short break.
From now on the trail went along nice flowering meadows, through forest, along small villages and plenty of stork nests. Serveral times deers crossed the road, once even a mother with her two fawns. Birds of prey are flying there circles high up in the sky. Finally I am back in the nature, I relished the silence and the warmth of the sun.
In Bieszczadzki National Park I enjoyed my first big campfire and it was accompanied of the sound of 3 guitars and lots of polish folk music songs. It was such a cozy atmosphere.
I am feeling good. The doubts from the beginning are gone and my curiousity is pushing me forward. I meet so many people who admire my trip, who ask me if I am not scared to cycle by myself. Although some of them just shake their head and can’ t believe where I would like to cycle to. They always ask me how old I am. I am a bit surprised about this question. After the answer I have given them, they are even more irritaded and by their mien I guess they just think, “girl, shouldn’ t you do something else at your age?”
Lately I felt a lot less lonely. I am enjoying to be able to just be with my own thoughts, to be free, to decide where I am going and what I am doing, when I am going to bed and where I pitch my tent.
Good conversations are limited because no one speaks well enough English or German. And of course I can’ t speak Polish.
I am missing a bit of an exotic touch, in the landscape, the culture as well as in the people. But that will come the further I will get to the east.