The view out my window tonight
It is nice to be back in Poland even though it now cost me twice as much for everything here as it did two years ago. some of that is due the strength of the zloty. It has, relative to the stable euro, increased in value about 30%. With respect to the, very weak, dollar, the zloty was worth $.25 and now it is worth $.50. Most of that change is due to the dollars weakness, so most of the places I've been this summer cost me roughly twice what they did a few years ago. Poland cost exactly double, neglecting inflation.
My room tonight costs 80 zlotys. Beer is about 3 zlotys or 1 euro for .5 l which is more expensive than most of the countries I've been in on this tour. Food almost everywhere has been notably higher than a few years ago, even measured in Euros. On the other hand, I can still tour here for about a third of what it costs me to tour in France two years ago.
Speaking of things going up, this is the start of a big climb to Poland
Last night was very restful. The bed was good, the environment was peaceful, and the air was cool which made for a good nights sleep. I woke up a 6:45 with a calf muscle cramp - I need to eat more bananas - and left, without breakfast, about 8 AM. That turned out not to be a big deal since there was a good place to eat breakfast two miles down the road. The climb to the border started two miles after that and lasted about four miles. It wasn't steady climbing - there were some gentler sections - and the steepest bits were about 8%.
I came into Slovakia from Poland at this same border crossing less than two years ago and my memory of the great descent after the crossing warned me that it would be a hard climb. It was, although not as hard as several other border crossings on this tour. At the border there were still most of the services I remembered, even though this is now an internal EU border. I was very pleased to finally cross a border with cantors - money exchange offices - and I was able to change several kinds of money for zlotys. I'll be in Poland for a couple of weeks so, even if I often use my credit card for lodging and meals, I'll need to get more zlotys later.
The initial descent into Poland
Most of the Carpathian mountain range is in Poland at this point, so there is a long - 30 km? - section of climbing and descending after the border. There is more descending than climbing, but there is a lot of both. I stopped at Dukla to buy a good map of Poland - I expect to do a lot of small road riding here - and take a snack break. Then I rode on toward Rzeszow. Other than too much traffic and one bad construction section, it was a good ride. Highway 9 had an excellent shoulder and good pavement almost all the way to where it intersects highway 15 near Krosno. I remembered that intersection because, when I turned south from 15 onto 9, there was a warning there about a 9% grade and, going north, there was a warning about a 12% grade. The 12 % grade intrigued me then and today I was going to get to see what it was like.
This is what the road to Rzeszow looks like after the first steep climb
I figured, correctly, that the ridge ahead had the hardest climb
It really was 12% for most of that distance
I thought about eating a meal, but decided to stop at a grocery store instead and eat more lightly before the serious climbing. I got bananas, bread, and yogurt drink. There really was a lot of climbing, including roughly a km of 12% grade, getting over several ridges in the 20 km north of Krosno, but then there were long stretches of flat riding in valleys, and only a few climbs for the remaining 40 km to Rzeszow.
I stopped at a bar about 40 km from Rzeszow for my third snack break. I bought a beer to go with the bread I had, and ended up having a good, language limited, visit with two guys who pulled up in a loaded lumber truck. They were concerned about a transport police check point a few miles ahead and, when they passed me, and honked and waved, 20 km later, there was a transport police car right behind them...
When I got within ten km of Rzeszow, I started looking for a place to stop. Traffic was heavy, the road had a curb instead of a shoulder, and I figured riding conditions were only going to get worse as I rode on into the big city. By stopping outside the city, I get cheaper lodging and get to do the ride into the city when I'm fresh and alert. I stopped at this "Under the wing" hotel-restaurant because it looked like, and seems to be, a good place to stay. My only concern is that it looks like they are set up for a big party later tonight. The sound insolation in my room is good with the windows closed so maybe it won't be a problem...
I saw this place to eat about 30 km from Rzeszow
And now I'm staying at another one