Krakow to Warsaw was just beyond the range we like to travel in one day and anyway we expected the main road north would have a lot of trucks on it which doesn’t make for leisurely driving. So when we were looking for accommodation we decided to keep our easterly course as much as possible and booked a hotel in Kazimierz Dolne (hereafter called KD) although we had no idea what was there as it is just a dot on the atlas.
The weather looked like it has taken a bit of a cooler turn and we were unlikely to make it through the day without any rain. Poland doesn’t have a great reputation for bright sunny days so we will just have to make the best of what we get.
The ‘whirlwind woman ‘of yesterday’s breakfast had left and had been replaced by guy who came down from his room, opened a cupboard and emptied it of almost all of the contents and disappeared back upstairs without acknowledging our cheery ‘good morning’. The accommodation we guess is a bit like an upscale hostel rather than an apartment with the shared kitchen and people passing not knowing who their
fellow guests were, were they came from or whether they could speak the same language.Oh well, it made for interesting conversation between Gretchen and I as we tried to work out our fellow guests.
Light rain had started to fall as we left the apartment accommodation and as usual Vicky wanted to try and take us through the centre of the city and north east out onto the R79.
Krakow certainly had an extensive tram system and we followed one particular line what appeared to be well outside of the built up areas of the city.
We were effectively following the Wisla, Poland’s longest river at over 1000km in length which not only flowed through Krakow but also Warsaw and then out to the Baltic through Gdansk. We couldn’t actually see the river from the road although we were due to cross it when we reached Sandomierz when our track would take us in a more northerly direction to our destination.
On both sides of the R79 there were crops being grown as far as the eye could see on gently rolling countryside with small villages coming along as we drove every few kilometres requiring us to slow to 50kph quite often. Some of the names of the villages were so long and unpronounceable, well at least for a couple of Kiwis. The Poles use the letter ‘z’ frequently in the names of their towns and villages which you don’t often encounter in the English language, in fact if you were playing Scrabble and were allowed to use place names and had a good knowledge of Polish towns you would pick up some scores using the ‘z’!
Fortunately the rain didn’t last too long after we cleared Krakow but it had returned by the time we got to our crossing of the Wisla at Sandomierz.In the villages close to Sandomierz we noticed a number of buildings still with sandbags outside them following the heavy rain of the last couple of weeks and we were pleased that we hadn’t been here then as getting through would have been a difficult job with floodwaters over the road.
Vicky was keen to take us up the left hand or western side of the Wisla towards our destination but we wanted to travel up the eastern side as it was clear that there was only a couple of places to cross the river by bridge and we thought it best we take the first crossing we come to. The road north,R854, from the other side of the Wisla looked straight forward and there wasn’t any reason not to do what we had decided to do, or at least that is what we thought until........the requirement for another ferry crossing but this time there was no room for a car, just passengers. Looking at the atlas again it was not obvious that the very thin blue line crossing the R854 was a stretch of water feeding the Wisla and wide enough to require a ferry because there was no bridge.
We had no alternative but to turn around and go back to Sandomierz, cross the river back to the western side and follow Vicky’s instructions as we should have in the first place. We even thought ‘her voice’ had taken on a bit of a’ told you so ‘attitude about it for the reason of the journey.
We again crossed the Wisla at Maruszow and onto the R824 which we followed until we arrived into KD.It was clear that there had been some heavy rain here recently too with a lot of silt over the road in places.
After a succession of rural villages that all started to look alike during todays drive it was interesting to arrive into KD and found it to be a rather attractive holiday town with a number of substantial properties with homes of a lifestyle design that we would more likely see in NZ than Poland. The town was spread along the banks of the Wisla at a point where it was probably 40 metres wide.
There was nobody on reception when we arrived at the hotel, which was set in grounds of trees and lawn, a couple of kilometres outside of town and when the cell phone call to the number we had copied down from the website went unanswered we wondered how long it would be before either a guest or a staff member turned up.
Then a young woman appeared from an adjacent building and although she couldn’t speak English and also didn’t appear to understand us we got across that we had a reservation which registered when I showed her my passport. She understood our request for the internet password but got someone else to come and talk to us. Apparently we would have to use the laptop in the reception area as the signal couldn’t be obtained in our room on the first floor. We didn’t try to tell her that we had got a signal OK in our room as she was quite adamant that we would have to go to the reception area to get a connection.
We drove the short distance to the town to find a restaurant in the picturesque town square that might be serving some local dishes and after choosing one that looked like there might be some options discovered that in reality all they had was pizza. So we weren’t going to get our traditional Polish dinner of cabbage, sausage and potatoes tonight. The beer was good though!
We thought that weren’t going to be able to sleep with the windows open tonight though with the squads of mosquitoes that were present outside around the hotel in the damp, humid conditions but they must have sprayed the interior as the pesky things did not come inside when we opened the windows.
We had run out of daylight to explore the delightful looking town of KD after dinner but resolved to check it out tomorrow before we got on the road to Warsaw.
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