Szeroka droga

Farewell, Torun, my old friend; good bye to you. I carry on riding miles on Rosaura’s wheels, heading for Germany.

Llanuras polacas, campos otoñales
Polish plains, autumn fields

Today, September 21st, autumn arrives punctual with a first shower — rather a deluge, that forces me to seek shelter under a porch, in Szubin. Luckily I wasn’t in the middle of the countryside. I seize the chance for having lunch at a small pizza parlour, where for a few coins I get a huge and tasteful salad. Once the storm is over and hunger satisfied, I carry on.
Afternoon is declining when I arrive to a depressed and depressing town: Oborniki, where my mobile gadgets tell the existence of several lodgings. One hundred miles says Rosaura’s odometer, more than enough for today. I’ll stay here. Continue reading “Szeroka droga”

Hotel Przystanek

I leave Piecki behind on a fine motorcycle morning, cool and sunny, riding along a road with curves and hills (much to be desired in this rather flat country) and one of the worse pavements ever: so wrinkled and pot-holed you feel your limbs and junctures at the edge of dislocation.
When going past Novy Miasto Lubawskie I stop for a quick lunch in an inn. The waitress behind the bar doesn’t pay me any attention for more than five minutes, and doesn’t even bother to say “hello, I’ll be with you in a minute”. Oh, shadows of Poland!: despite better manners having arrived to the main cities’ fine quarters and touristic destinations, this people are yet to learn almost everything about customer treat, and in most of the country you still can breath that soviet republic atmosphere. Waiters, tenders and attendants suffer from selective vision syndrom, a bad habit that makes the customer feel truly invisible: it’s not just that you are seen and ignored, but worse: they don’t see you at all! It would be an interesting experiment to stand right in their way: would they, like ghosts across a wall, pass you through?

Pierogi con espinacas, uno de mis platos favoritos
Pierogi with spinach, one of my favourite dishes

Continue reading “Hotel Przystanek”

Kapliczki and the Tannemberg memorial

kapliczka1
The Freelander stops by a kapliczka

Middle of September 2014. It’s about time to pay a little homage to the kapliczki, humble crosses or chapels scattered all over Poland and whose origin no one knows for certain: some say they were shrines dedicated to Dionisos; others, representations of St. Martin’s cape; yet others suggest ancient totems or pagan icons. Almost invariably placed at junctions, Continue reading “Kapliczki and the Tannemberg memorial”

A meeting with magic

Three days in Bialystok bring me new acquaintances (like Maka, the young Georgian volunteer, or Grzegorz, the bat researcher) and an unexpected meeting with homeopathy. It’s a farm in the countryside, ten minutes by motorbike from Tykocin, where Beata, a maseuse I had met years ago in Warsaw, lives and works these days. For the past few weeks my shoulder muscles need some fixing, and one of her Hawaian massages can do the magic.

El camino que lleva a la granja
Track to the farm

It’s the typical hippy-commune environment every veteran traveller has known at least once: connection with nature, horse riding, spirituality, homeopathy, lots of love for animals and vegetarian food. Among other people, there is a Florida-based Polish lady here, spending her holidays, who claims to be a homeo-therapist; you know the type: body energy and all that prattle, supposedly efective for fixing all kinds of problems, including–or mabybe specially–anxiety and insomnia. Just what I’d need. So, despite my skepticism, the good references I get from Beata help me leave my reticence aside and try a session, since the planets seem aligned. How much?, I ask with caution. Two hundred USD. Wow! An astronomical fee for an astrological medicine; no, thanks. But she makes it easier: since she’s here on holidays and not in labour mode, I’ll tell a price; whatever I feel comfortable with. Since a real massage with Beata costs twenty euros, I can’t pay much more for the alternative. Twenty five? Deal. Continue reading “A meeting with magic”

Upon the trodden track

Here and there, through the layer of clouds, a few sun beams shine on the land, cheering up the countryside. Behind me, noise of passing cars and lorries. I’ve pulled to the shoulder for a moment, right after leaving behind Vilnius’ outskirts, and take the day’s first notes. I’m heading Marjampole for merging into the E5, one of the most important highways in our Union, neck of land between–so to say–continental Europe, on one hand, and the Baltic & Scandinavia on the other; the only route–and bottleneck–linking those two halves of our common space. At both sides of the isthmus, there lies the no-go zone, hostile and barbarian land: Russia-Kaliningrad to the west and Belarus to the east. Continue reading “Upon the trodden track”