I started the day riding 44 towards Oswiecim and ended it, 90 km later in Kazimierz, the former Jewish town next to Krakow. I'm staying at a place where I ate breakfast the last time I was in Krakow. I liked it so much then, I decided to try to stay here the next time I was in Krakow. I was good enough, and lucky enough, to ride directly to it from the bike path along the Wisla (Vistula) river. I thought it was ourageously expensive at 170 Zloty, but really, that is 42 E, a bargain price for room in Germany. Kazimierz is now a major tourism area in Krakow, things are a bit expensive, by Polish standards, here.
Riding through Mikolow
Bike parking at McDs
there was also an air compressor for filling tires
Bike path after Bierun
The piles of cut grass were being raked up by a woman behind several
men cutting it with big weed wackers.
I'm sure they piles will be picked up and used
Riding 44 was tolerable to Tychy where it crosses a very major north-south road. Before that road, I got off at a McDs for coffee and reliable internet - on a related note, my internet tonight is fast and stays connected. On the east side of that road, 44 was almost like a continual big truck traffic jam with nowhere for a bike to go when two big trucks were side by side. I got off it ASAP onto a smaller road - Oswiecimska - and rode by a huge Fiat for over a mile. Then I rode trough the nice town of Bierun. Then bikes are banned for a few km on 44 and there is a pretty, and well used, but bumpy, bike path. An unpleasant km or so after that ended, I was able to get off 44 and onto 780 which is the back road to Krakow.
I had already decided I wasn't going to re-visit the camps at Oswiecim, so, even though I was only two miles away, riding 44 for those two miles wasn't worth it. If you do go into Oswiecim, and you should if you haven't visited its concentration camps where 2 million people were murdered, you can use 933 to get up to 780 for the ride to Krakow or to get from Krakow to Oswiecim. It isn't as flat as 44, but it sure is a lot nicer riding.
Back on 44 after the, rough, bike path ended
Back road to Krakow
Oh what a relief it is to be off 44
Waiting on a one lane bridge under construction
After 780 turns east. there were two areas under construction. The first just required riding on dirt for km or so, but the second, wher a bridge was being rebuilt, gave me a ten minute or so rest break, waiting for one way road to be open my way. As I had hoped, I was able to ride in the closed lane, so I didn't have to worry about holding up the fifty cars and trucks that were waiting behind me at the light. I arrived at the other end of the one way section just behind the last of those vehicles.
780 is much nicer riding than 44, but not as flat
Strange things are often seen on hilltops around here
Hill on 780
I just like churches sitting in the middle of roads
An almost 180 degree panorama of Polish country side 20 km from Kakow
The weird car door is an artifact created when a car came past during
the creation of this image.
Shortly after the construction, I saw a sign for a place to eat. I had stopped at a grocery store before Tychy for supplies, including money from a Bankomat, and a snack. Now I needed some food an a cold beer. It was hot and thirsty riding! I didn't find the first place, but I find another about 4 km later. That was good eating and beer drinking, and people watching. I finished my meal with some more good coffee, so I'd be up for the rest of todays ride. It worked well.
Riding wasn't easy. The hills got bigger and steeper. Nothing more than 10% grade, but some fairly short - less than half a km - steep hills. On one of those hills, I stopped to take a panoramic image. While I was sweeping my camera to make the image, a car drove by - I'd already waited for three other cars before I started the sweep - and it appeared in the image as a car door suspended above the road ;-}.
When I got past the autoroute than runs around Krakow, I expected city. Instead a got a long - 10 km - ride that was about half fairly rural. It was 3:30 - 4:30 as I was riding into the city, so the traffic became an issue, even on the, mostly rural, section. I actually stopped to inquire about a room because the traffic was becoming a problem. Fortunately, the place I stoped only had an apartment left, so I rode on. Shortly after that a bike path appeared and continued, sometimes in very primitive form - rough single track, some times very uptown, for the rest of my way into town.
Bike path going toward Krakow Centrun
The route - 780 - just comes in from the west and goes almost straight to the heart of Krakow. I got off after the second time it crossed the river and followed the bike path along the river to the next bridge which is at the south end of Kazimierz. That is a neat foot and bicycle bridge. At the bridge I just headed into Kazimiez and rode to the place I was looking for a few blocks later.
A view out my window
The multiuse path along the Wisla river nearby
Where I am staying
Tomorrow, I will, with the help of someone who works here, figure out how I can take a train and go east from here. I hope it won't involve going through Warsaw which is quite out of the way. Probably it will reqire going north before going east and train changes. That will not be fun since getting my loaded bike on and off Polish trains has always been a real challenge. If I have to do it now, I think I'll need help.