Farmland and remote villages
I’m going to the North Cape! When I leave the Netherlands, I don’t know whether I’ll make the roundtrip starting in Denmark and through Norway or the other way around through Poland, Baltic states and Finland. Due to the entry ban from Norway until July 15, I decide to go to Poland first.
Via Szczecin / Stettin I drive into Poland and the driving is immediately completely different. Big holes in the asphalt, the cars are driven at high speed and I am regularly cut off when overtaking. A few days later I notice that it is normal to drive like this. My navigation speaks Polish and I don’t understand a word of it. What a joke!
From the west I head towards Wroclaw / Breslau, but first I stop in Dobiegniew to visit this small village and walk through the farmlands. In every small village there are huge churches and statues that recall the different wars.
Wroclaw / Breslau
The first name is the Polish name of the city and the second name is the German name. Wroclaw is a beautiful place to make pictures. The market square is surrounded by colored buildings and cozy terraces. Here I eat my first Pierogi, delicious Polish dumplings! From the market square I walk to the Cathedral John de Baptist, the white Synagogue and the old part of the city: Ostrow Tumski. There are a lot of churches in this city. I love churches, but this is too much for me. Throughout the city you can see little dwarfs on the street, they are a symbol of the city.
The next day I look at the Panorama Raclawicka. It is a round and enormous painting of 15 x 120 meters and it represents the battle of Raclawice. It is beautiful, nice and cool. Today it is 32 degrees and inside the building the airconditioning is on. Then I drive for 3 hours without airconditioning in the car, wow that is really warm, it is too hot to drive!
Oswiecim / Auschwitz
The next day I drive to Oswiecim / Auschwitz. It rains the entire ride and it still rains when I arrive at the campsite. The weather is really depressing and I decide to visit the camp a day later. July 12, it is cloudy with a little sun, I booked a tour with a guide. First we visit the museum, the original camp where the sign “Arbeit Macht Frei” hangs. There is also a much larger 2nd camp, 2 km away. Auschwitz Birkenau, this camp was built because the other one seems to be too small according to the Nazi’s.
It is very impressive, first we see some photos and later also the real stuff. Photos of Jews walking to the gas chambers with suitcases and children. The shoes, clothes, suitcases, jewelry everything was taken. After the gassing, the hair was shaved and the gold teeth removed. This was done by others prisoners, a terrible job to do. After that, the bodies were burned in ovens like a crematorium. The Nazi’s tried to clear the tracks, but one gas chamber and crematorium remained intact and we walked through it, unbelievable…
The people who lived in Oswiecim had to leave their houses, because space had to be made for the camp. Auschwitz is the name that the Germans gave this place. It is a small village that is very centrally located in Europe. A young girl works at the reception of the campsite, she was born in Oswiecim just like her whole family, for generations. Everyone carries this history with them daily.
From Zakopane at an altitude of 800 meters I go hiking in the Tatra Mountains. How beautiful it is here!! Also very crowded because the Polish people are on holiday and they love the mountains. The higher I get, the fewer people there are. And then this view at 1987 meters, what a reward for this tough climb.
Kraków / Krakow and Wielickza salt mines
I walk through the city and take a look at the Castle and the Cathedral Wawel, the Peter-Paul church, the Virgin Mary church, the Jewish quarter Kazimierz and the historic city center. What a pleasant market square! It is very touristy but because of corona not very crowded at the moment. I walk through the small streets and enjoy a beer on a terrace, pfff what a muscle pain from the hiking in the Tatra Mountains…
After Krakow on to the Wielickza salt mines. It is raining cats and dogs and I am happy to be inside the mine at the moment. I booked a tour with a guide, we see sculptures, large high rooms with salt crystal chandeliers and we go 135 meters underground. I like it! There is even an underground church where church masses are given on a regular basis.
In Bialowieza you can visit one of the oldest ancient forests in Europe. Once there it appears that you can only visit the old forest with a guide. Unfortunately I cannot join a group. I decide to go for a hike in the less old forest 🙂
I walk my own routes for 2 days and I am completely stung by the mosquitoes. Still, I am enjoying myself! I walked the oldest walking path, which has since been replaced by a wooden decking path and I saw the European bison in a small zoo.
I finish the day with the best Pierogi in Poland and a Zubr beer, life is GOOD. On to Lithuania!
Would you like to see Baltics – North Cape? https://www.marianaroundtheworld.com/en/europe/roundtrip-to-the-north-cape-the-baltics/
Would you like to see Finland – North Cape? https://www.marianaroundtheworld.com/en/europe/finland-roundtrip-north-cape/
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