donderdag 6 september 2012

Cycling Europe's "new" frontier

rebuild Gdansk under glorious skies
Great news: we had an uneventful cycling holiday in Poland! Those of you who have followed our previous biking adventures through will probably understand how very welcome the eventless holiday was. In stead of chasing us the Polish dogs were so kind to jump into the hedge themselves, good boys :-)

The Polish landscape we cycled through were splendid, the roads varied nicely from brilliant tarmac to furious gravel, from cyclable sand to the Polish version of sifsif, the people have an uncommon warm hospitality and the food is good. Al ingerdients for a great holiday. What for us added an additional charm, is that the north east bit we cycled is basically Europe's newest frontier. You see signs: Belarus 40 km. Wauw. We felt "the East" pulling at us again. But we returned in NL:-) Somehow the proximity of a border to a country where you need a visa, a country you can see but not enter unless you have the right papers, gives a special feel. To us at least. That feeling is enhanced by the amount of police forces you see driving around, espcially when the roads lead you closer to the border. A feeling also enhanced by the incredibly fantastic state of the tarmac. But perhaps most enhanced by the enormous building vibe you can literally see. In Michener's Poland I read that every Pole is born with a sword in one hand and a brick in the other. We were astounded to experience what it means when your highschool history book tells you "Warsaw was rebuilt." To the last cobblestone we experienced. Gdansk (Danzig) rebuilt to the last cobblestone. The last painting on the houses. Roads that are build. We found many fluent in English or German and some even in French. Poland is also the homeland of great scientists such as Copernicus and Marie Curie. Scientists who delivered crucial contributions to our current societies. What I found fascinating especially in comparison to other European countries we visited is the amount of public honor these scientists receive. Copernicus for example has many statues across the bit of Poland we cycled, including an entire square in Warsaw.

Copernicus in Frombork
Well, it may be clear: we really, really had a great holiday with many inspirational and insightful moments to take with me for the second half of 2012!

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