Day 08, Tour09, Simrishamn, Sweden to Swinoujscie, Poland

The halfway point on todays ride
You can see the wind is blowing the grass towards the sign

I'm on the ferry from Ystad to Swinoujscie - and it rolling and pitching a bit ;-} - as I write this . We are about two hours - out of seven - into the Baltic. The normally placid Baltic has a lot of whitecaps on it today, and our ride - like my bicycle ride earlier today - is not as easy as it would be when there was less wind. My typing and mouse control is also being affected by the motion of the ferry.

My favorite place to eat in Swinoujscie

My favorite image from Swinoujscie

A broader shot of that part of the harbor

I had a good rest day yesterday which I really needed. Swinoujscie was a good town for a rest day and the weather - it even windier yesterday than today - was also appropriate for a rest day. I was in bad enough shape that I needed to come back to my room to rest several times during the day. During part of the afternoon when no one else was in the house, I uploaded day07's web page using the modem on the 'house computer.' That was nostalgic ;-} and restful as I read a novel while waiting for it to upload -{. I went to bed at 7 PM, slept well, and got up at 6 AM. By the time I went to bed I was feeling pretty good - just sleepy - but earlier in the day I was thankful I wasn't on the road. Pushing hard in A-Fib, which I had to do the day before yesterday, takes a toll on my body. Rest days give it a chance to recover.

The first town I reached on todays ride
As you can see, things were a bit wet early on
They were also very pretty

I wanted to get an early start in case of bad winds today. I only had about 30 miles to ride, but I wanted to get to Ystad early enough to be sure I could get on the day ferry to Swinoujscie. I was worried that, if I missed the day ferry, I'd be delayed by 24 hours since the night ferry requires you book a bed and the number of beds is limited. At 6 AM, it was beautiful outside, so I got ready to leave at 7. Then it started raining. The rain didn't look like it would last, so waited for a break in it and left about 7:10. I did get rained on hard enough to need my rain gear later in the day, but the rain wasn't that heavy leaving Simrishamn.

Because the wind hadn't started - that didn't last long! - I headed west, but the bike paths went south so that was the way I went . I'm glad I did since that part of the ride was, by far, the prettiest. I started out just wandering through the beautiful little towns on the Baltic, which was great fun, and then found a new bike path to Skillinge.

The start of the bike path to Skillinge

A 'typical' view while riding that path
That is the Baltic - with whitecaps - over on the left side

The wind picked up rapidly as I rode, and had become a real pain well before I got to Skillinge. After the bike path ended, I decided it was time to head west, instead of south, which would make the wind less of headwind and more of a side wind. That mean more climbing, but it also meant a more direct route to Ystad. Unfortunately, riding became really difficult for the next half a dozen miles. I was head down, often climbing, mostly grinding into the wind in my granny gear for the next hour. It sucked. When I stopped for a, much needed, break in Borrby, my average speed had dropped to about 6 mph.

Leaving Skillinge, a small road goes east towards O. Hoby

Things got better after Borrby - the wind was dropping in speed - and were almost normal by the time I got to Loderup. Then the road headed west, instead of of southwest, and, a few miles later, reached highway 9 which was heading south. At that point, I had to get out my rain gear. The rain had stopped by the time a bike path appeared next to 9 and riding was easier for the last four miles into Ystad. I still needed - it wasn't optional - to stop again in the outskirts of Ystad to rest and snack.

I tried to follow the bike path to the center of Ystad, but lost it, and then just headed for the harbor. It wasn't hard to to find the big ferry terminal, and I went in to ask about the ferry to Poland.It turned out the large ferry terminal didn't deal with bicycles - only people on foot - so I had to play car drive through a toll both setup. This was the case with the ferry to Denmark as well.I had a hard time finding the right toll booths - they were a long way away - but when I did get in line at 11:30, a Polish employee came out to tell me I didn't need to be there until 1 PM. I went to the old town, had lunch and played tourist for an hour. Ystad obviously does a lot of 'old city shopping mall' business. There are a lot of tourists coming and going on all those ferries!

After the ferry terminal, there are two sets of toll boths before you get to the ones for 'Polen'
It would be a long way to walk, but it is not bad on a bicycle

Looking out the front of the ferry as I eat supper

The TV volume went way up where I was sitting so I decided to get out of there. I came to the other end - the front - of the ship where there is a 'self serve restaurant' - a cafeteria - and checked out the menu. I had forgotten how expensive food is in Scandinavia. I just had a plate full of pigs knuckle, boiled potatoes, sourkraut, and a beer for less than I've been paying for a small lunch, without beer, in Sweden. Burp! And that is on a ferry where food is expensive...

"You make me happy to be back in Poland." That is what I told the woman at the reception desk at my hotel and, what I felt like when I asked for help finding a hotel at a service station/convenience store near where the ferry comes in.

It was 8:30 when I got off the ferry and 8:45 by the time I got out of the ferry port. There were two big ferries unloading so it was a bit of a zoo. I was the only bicycle tourist on my ferry. There were three Polish motorcyclists on my ferry, so I joined them getting on and off - we were the first off. Once I made my way out of the ferry port, I hadn't a clue where to go to look for a place to stay, so I went to the first place I saw to ask.

The clerk I asked had good English, but didn't know the area, so I turned to the folks waiting behind me. They had enough English to understand what I needed and, a less than a minute, they had a consensus on a good hotel and, via the clerks translation, very simple directions to get here. I rode here in five minutes and, with a lot of help from the reception lady, mostly in dealing with the owner of the hotel who is not bike friendly, have my bike safely stored in the garage, breakfast at 7:15 in the morning and a good room, including breakfast, for 80 Zlotys which is less than $30 at current rates. The room has three beds in it and, unlike my recent rooms in Sweden which all cost a lot more, has its own bathroom. That is a big deal tonight since it makes it a lot easier to 'do laundry.' However, the main thing that makes me happy to be in Poland isn't that it is cheaper than Sweden or even that it is friendlier - I don't really think that is true, but that there is openheartedness and warmth here that I miss in other countries.

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