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September 3rd, 2010 | Europe

Cracking thru to Krakow…

The Poles have a few weird names for places as well, and there are the Polish Prancers to avoid while you are reading them...!!

The first part of the ride wound through a thickly forested area, before this gave way to miles of apple orchards...

I do not recall too much about the ride I made to Krakow…

Not only was my head still filled with cotton-wool from the previous night’s festivities, but the very late start to my ride had me tense and fretting that I would not get to Krakow before nightfall…

It was also the first long ride I was taking with the new tyres and I still needed to make a few little adjustments before settling in to a decent rhythm on the Big Fella…

The weather did not look too promising either, and after refueling in Warka, I stopped again in the village of Brankow to put my rain gear on, kicking myself for not putting it on while I was refueling earlier… I had hoped to avoid the rain, and had ridden through a few light showers, thinking that I had made it through the worst of it…

From Warka, light rain fell throughout the ride to Krakow, although there were areas of bright sunshine that I occasionally rode through… I recall passing thousands of acres of apple orchards before getting onto the E77 that ran south, crossing the Pilica River, and later the Redomka River, just south of Jedlinsk, where the traffic began piling up…

This strange piece had me wanting to stop and take a closer look, but time was not on my side...

A rare bit of sunshine breaks through the clouds as we rumble down the E77...

The shadows lengthen as the sun begins setting... The last 133 km took almost two hours to cover...!!

Long lines of trucks, traveling in both directions made the going difficult, and in places I battled to overtake, especially where the road surface was uneven and bumpy…

Closer to Krakow, the roads were slick with water, and riding through the spray thrown up by the trucks was a little un-nerving… There is that split second before you burst through the spray, not knowing what you might encounter on the other side…

This coupled with the gathering gloom of early evening had me concentrating fiercely, counter-acting the wobbles caused by the damaged sections of road, and a few crazy drivers, seemingly intent on preventing me from getting to my destination in one piece…!!

It took me four and a half hours to complete the 315 km of my ride to Krakow, and I arrived there in the dark, battling my way through heavy traffic, a light drizzle making visibility that much worse… Luckily Dariusz had pre-booked a hotel room for me, which I had located on the GPS, and found without difficulty…

While grinding my way through the part of the city that my route took me through, a guy on a yellow BMW F800S pulled up next to me and so began a conversation that took us through quite a few sets of lights… We were unable to introduce ourselves properly, and after a few hundred metres of stop-go chatting, he pulled up closer, shook my hand, and with a final wave, he veered off and disappeared into the Krakow night…

The Kontrast Hotel was located in a quiet street off one of the main roads that run south out of the city, and I was warmly greeted by the receptionist on duty, shown to my room, and later, had the various sight-seeing options in the area explained to me…

Early the next morning at the Kontrast Hotel...

Beautiful gardens and water features in the grounds of the hotel...

Woven from willow and reed, this fisherman patiently waits for the bite that will bring him to life...

My original plan was to spend just one night here and then make the run to Prague, stopping in Telc on the way, but after looking through the various brochures on display, and still feeling a little under the weather from my “exertions” of the previous few nights, I decided to take a rest day and explore the city and its surrounding areas…

This was to prove one of the better decisions I have made to date, and confirms that the odd bought of heavy drinking can result in a positive outcome…!!

Well, that’s my take on the situation anyway…!!

GBWT 2010

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