About : Europe

There are 3 very different parts to the ride. In Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland and Germany you’re in modern western civilization all kinds of amenities and support – fine dining and **** hotels to budget inns. You ride on nice, paved secondary streets, and especially in Germany, on a lot of spectacular bike paths. Crossing into eastern Europe, (Czech Republic and Poland) the roads are about the same, but the seleciton of accoodations goes down outside of the major cities. In Belarus and Russia the road selection and hotel selection outside of major cities goes way down – get support or bring camping gear.

Lublin, 164k, 96m **

Second day same as the first – mileage wise. We left Baronow Sandomeirski Castle at 6:45a under threatening skies. 28km into the day, at Sobow, just as we crossed some railroad tracks, the rain started.. We hid under the only shelter available. Here’s Charlie, the bikes and the graffiti.

Rather than waste the day here, we proceeded into the drizzle to the biggest ‘lost’ we have ever done in 30 days of riding together. The armpit of the Wisla and San rivers caught us.. The road we planned to take, yellow on the map (a 2 lane road without shoulders differentiable from red 2 lane roads without shoulders, except for traffic) seemed to cross the river. Before we even got to thetr, we (it was all Charlie’s fault – trust me) lost the road and maybe an hour of time. Then we got to the road, a ferry crossing sans service on a Sunday morning. The following two shots are of Charlie riding around lost, and then smiling at me after yelling unsuccessfully at the guy across the River to get some assistance.

The silver lining on all this was the religious processions. Riding to the next river crossing, we saw maybe a dozen of these groups, walking and singing on countryside roads way in the middle of nowhere. Representative photos:

All the groups had one or more persons wearing a backpack loudspeaker system, and the bigger groups had flag waving traffic directors front and rear. We determined that they were headed to a town called Radomysl, where a bunch of stands were set up. There was at least one marching band waiting to escort some of them into town. If we hadn’t wasted so much time riding around lost, we probably would have checked it out. Maybe next trip.

So we just started putting some kilometers behind us, headed east then north into Zaklikow. We stopped in the town park here for a salami, bananas, nuts and yogurt lunch. Here’s “guess who” looking as depressed as the park.

At this point we still had 50 miles to get to Lublin, and we rode directly there with a couple of small breaks. It reamained mostly drizzly weather and two lane roads of varying conditions without shoulders (that’s really all they have here) until we got to the Lublin – nothing worth photographing in the way.

Lublin isn’t a big international tourist destination point, but it would be worth a visit if you’re in southeastern Poland. It was chartered in 1474 and has the usual old European town stuff: small, formerly walled in old city, a cathedral dating to 1773, many other churches, a couple of museums, and a huge castle – again more of an indefensible (military wise) chateau. Following are photos of our hotel, a tower at one of the entrances to the old town and a typical section of the buildings in this area.

Lublin’s biggest claims to fame (their choice, not mine) seem to be the signing of the Union of Poland and Lithuania, signed in Lublin in 1569 (Lublin is midway between Vilnius, capital of Lithuania, and Krakow, then capital of Poland) and WWII when the Germans put up a concentration camp here, killed 265,000 Jews (seemingly everyone in the region and more) and totally leveled the Jewish section of town.

We went to dinner at Café Oregano – seating for 20 with just Charlie and I. Great food, service and information. When we told Rafal, our waiter, that we were riding to Moscow he said that we were vary brave. “They stop the cars and rob the people. They stop the busses and rob the people.”, to which Charlie replied, “I’ve heard that cars were a problem.” Since we’re on bikes, presumably, not to worry.

31 August, 9:19p

Subscribe to email updates from Bob