Dutch folk dancing – we must be in Poland!

Flashing Pole dilemma sorted – both our main-beam headlights were out (we know not why the warning didn’t show on dashboard). All makes sense now, they aren’t just super friendly just warning us we were heading for a fine. Bulbs changed and not a flasher since 😦 .

We are still sticking to fairly minor roads, mainly because we tend to see a bit more of the country that way. Mile after mile of straight single carriageway, mile after mile of forests and mile after mile of people trying to kill us playing chicken! They overtake no matter what so its just a case of pulling over as far to the right as possible, forget double white lines – means nothing here. It’s not just the Polish who drive like nutters, cars from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania and United Arab Emirates are all in on the game of terrify the oncoming “passenger on the wrong side” motorhome.

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Polish roads – amazing when no traffic aiming at us

Outside the towns the roads are lined with timber houses, many so old they look like they are held up with just good will. The majority though are well kept in large plots with beautiful gardens. Postcard views at most turns, maybe our routes but we have seen very few ugly municipal apartment blocks here even on the edges of the larger towns. In the towns and villages there is a mix of older timber homes and the much grander, newer three or four storey homes.

Timber houses at every turn

As we drove into Kazimierz Dolny it looked our kind of place; alongside a river, prerequisite town square, castle, couple of major churches etc (why do we get told Poland is ‘new’ as everything was bombed? not where we go it isn’t). Kazimierz is also famous for artists, at least 50 galleries and shops selling everything from paintings and pottery to stained glass and sculptures – prices to make your eyes water though even if they are in Zloty. In the main square several gypsy women trying their hands at badgering people to have their fortunes read with a pack of old playing cards, when I explained we only spoke English one just shrugged and said it didn’t matter – no idea how that was going to work then?

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Kazimierz Dolny – town square

As always a town square clinched it for us, we decided to stay for a few days so time to check out the campsite. Could have been the 2 km long high wire adventure assault course around the top of the site or the 20’ish school kids arriving who were about to use the assault course – it wasn’t for us. As we drove out of town I noticed a motorhome stopover sign, brakes slammed on and about turn. With a lot of gestures and no common language we were booked into the front garden of the familia Grzegorz! As good as it gets for us –  even the outdoor ablutions area where you could wash whilst you watch the traffic passing by.

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Wash and watch

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Perfect camping courtesy of Grzegorz front garden

Brilliant cycle paths along the river – some with signs pointing as far as Warsaw, a bit out of our comfort zone. We then took bikes into a historic town, why is a mystery to us even now, it was near impossible to go anywhere without lugging them up steps or the sides of hills. The Three Crosses, dedicated to the memory of plague victims, are on a hill above the town and looked to offer amazing views. We clambered up the hillside steps as far as we could with the bikes, then left them for the final sprint. As I arrived I saw the ticket office! All that way and either pay up of miss out, cheeky sods should have a sign at the bottom. I paid quick before Iain caught up as I knew on principle he wouldn’t want to pay and I was seeing the bloody crosses after all the effort.

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Worth the money for the views

Then we attempted the castle, being clever we didn’t take the bikes up the steps, we went right to the top of the hill behind the castle on the road, to find the castle closed that day! The most loved fact about this place has to be it was founded by ‘King Wladyslaw the Elbow-high’, has there been a better named monarch? The village is recognised as one of the most beautiful in the country and is a very popular tourist destination for the Polish; very easy to see why as there are historic buildings a plenty, cafes, bars and plenty of river cruise boats which appear to carry more alcohol than your average supermarket for a very merry experience.

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The ‘closed’ castle

We came across some very authentic looking Polish folk all looking very jolly and approachable. We cycled over and realised they were Dutch! A coach load full who told us they had come to dance in the town square, we went along and watch for a while – tourists loved it,  the locals just looked a bit stunned. All this took place whilst local dignitaries arrived in fire engines and flash cars dressed in their finest with gold braid galore and large wreaths of flowers– we thought it was all part of the cultural exchange – but no they were there for a funeral, all very bizarre with the two events taking place at the same time in the square.

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Dutch Captain Birdseye or what???

Friday was May 1st – celebrated with a National holiday in Poland – we had no idea until it pinged with the miles of traffic heading towards the river. Three hours later we arrived at a little town where we thought there was a campsite, there was but it has shut down! The next site we knew of was a good couple of hours away, but we decided to continue. Waste of time though as when we arrived there wasn’t a campsite anywhere in sight. Iain popped into a hotel and they told him the site  hasn’t been there for 10 years. They gave us another address – and that is how we came to be camped at what must be the most authentic Soviet era campsite / hotel complex we have come across to date.

Lots of steel buildings, tons of concrete, a massive lake dug out next door for swimming and of course a concrete diving tower. The facilities were last updated and possibly cleaned when the Soviets ruled the land, but on the upside we have electric, free wifi, and a view of the water for less than £6 a night – we can cope with the dirt! On the car-park is a shop which looked a bit dubious, but inside was the best delicatessen we have seen since France – incredible salads, meats and breads – we bought a ton or so for less than £4 – that’s us sorted for the bank holiday weekend 🙂 .

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campsite lake

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Iain on the high board – na he didn’t!

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Hotel / Campsite Jard – the best

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9 thoughts on “Dutch folk dancing – we must be in Poland!

  1. Still really enjoying your blog. The real time track loading is excellent and enables finding where you are Google Earth. Wasilow, where you are now has an amazing ‘array’ of crosses on the hill, sadly all entries are in Polish.
    Do you find the real time tracking good?
    Where next I keep asking or is that part of the fun of the blog instalments.

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    • ha – thanks for that we didn’t know about the crosses, will have a look tomorrow. Another week or so in the North of Poland then over the border into Lithuania. We are a bit rubbish at plans and only decide on where to go as we leave somewhere – but general direction North and usually 3-4 hours drive is the plan 🙂

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    • Methinks the proof of success of the Tracker (RTT2) is in the end user comments about how useful (or otherwise) it is to our readers. It certainly helps ME remember where we’ve been, lol.
      I only installed it a couple of weeks ago and it seems to be working really well, its set to 10 minute updates to reduce memory use on the phone, (hence the track doesnt always “seem” to follow the exact route we take – straight lines between reference points).
      The gap in the track was caused by RTT having an arguement with Runkeeper on one of our bike rides recently, i didnt realise RTT had gone “auto OFF” untill next time I checked our route on it *smile*

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    • The camps are unforgettable, as they should be. Poland is also very beautiful, we are loving every day here xx

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  2. Had a good laugh … Ohohoh, so much climbing and steps to arrive at a pay booth to look at crosses … And then the Dutch dancers ..’ Oh, really, you are really having fun and your readers with you! Love your blog!

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  3. We have just travelled up from the south of italy on may 1st hundreds and hundreds of motorhomes on the road 😦 Been away for three weeks and not seen a soul in southern italy . No Brits no Dutch . Strangely quiet but suits us. Currently sitting in Slovenia

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    • just a few around now but not many – same as you we like the quiet. Enjoy Slovenia, we missed it this time but one we would love to visit

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