The E372 to Warsaw,Poland

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June 25th 2013
Published: July 1st 2013
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Today was going to be one of the shorter drives we have had for some days and the route was fairly straight forward with most of the distance on the E372, which originates in L’viv in the Ukraine.

We have been getting our own breakfast for the last couple of weeks so to have breakfast included with the room rate was a bit of a change and a bonus although we joked between each other as we went downstairs to the breakfast room that there would probably just be sausage, cheese and hard bread on offer.

How wrong we were and we tucked into cereal and fruit and ordered up scrambled eggs when they were offered. The only extra we didn’t have was, toast.Even the coffee was a change to the granulated Nescafe we have lived on and it was great to have a rich filtered coffee for an alternative.

The quiet town square of KD had changed from last night and this morning was abuzz with market stalls selling mainly fruit and vegetables as well as meats and cheeses. The raspberries were too good looking to resist as were the brown eggs that one of the stalls had on offer.

We took a look inside the church on the hillside above the square and found a mass in progress so we couldn’t get too close to take a look at the interior apart from a quick photo.

The architecture on some of the older buildings in the town dated from the 14th century and made a refreshing change to the many rural villages surrounding.

Before we left the town we walked down to the Wisla River and realised just how much of a major flow of water the river is. The rains from the last couple of weeks seemed to have swollen the river a bit as it was covering part of a grass walkway that was at the bottom of the stop bank.

We left town following the river much more closely than we did yesterday from Krakow and in fact it remained in sight all the way to Deblin where we left the R801 and turned onto the E372 for what turned out to be a very straight run into Warsaw about 85km away.

It was a 90kph road and although there were quite a few trucks on it, as we expected, the flow was very good and with the shoulder being half a lane wide it was possible for slower traffic to move over for others to pass without scaring the opposing traffic.

It was also interesting to note that the E372 also had a number of rest areas with picnic tables, something we would have liked on a lot of the roads we have driven on yet had rarely found. And to make it worse, we didn’t need one today, as we would be in Warsaw for a late lunch.

A peculiar aspect of the road was the number of cross roads on what essentially was a highway, without the designation, and there none were controlled by traffic signals. Thankfully there wasn’t a lot of traffic wanting to cross our path as we passed by, at least in the early part of the road although that did start to change as Warsaw got closer making Gretchen, who was driving by this time, more alert of vehicles edging towards making the move across.

The temperature had been steadily climbing as we approached Warsaw and as we entered the outer south eastern suburbs the thermometer clicked to 28C.

We had to cross the Wisla again to get onto the expressway that our host, Ewa, had suggested we take to get to the northern suburb of Stare Bielany where her apartment that we were to stay in was located.

Warsaw, like Krakow, had bus lanes and woe betide anything other than a bus if it got into it with a bus behind. Our instructions were to take an off ramp after crossing the Wisla and then it was a straight run up the side of the river to Stare Bielany.

All was going well until the signs for the exit actually had three off ramp options and we ended up taking the wrong one because the first one appeared to be an extension of the bus lane from the bridge and ended up going south instead of north with nowhere to do a u turn for a couple of kilometres. Once we had performed the u turn we were away and it is no time at all and we were at the apartment meeting our gracious host Ewa.She was a lovely young woman and gave us all the information we needed to find the local shops we might need and also the directions to the nearest mall as we needed to top up the shopping box, buy in dinners for the next three nights and change some Euros to Zloty’s at a Kantor.

She said the apartment had only been completed in April so everything was new. We had everything we would need for our stay plus a lovely backyard area with table and chairs to enjoy the balmy evening with a beer or a wine or both.

The mall was located about 300 metres from the 4th metro station we came to as we rode the one line Warsaw subway towards the city.

The Arkadia Mall is reported to be Central Europe’s largest mall at 287,000 square metres containing 230 shops,25 restaurants and a movie theatre and enough of the shops sold shoes which Gretchen wanted to check out as her $189 Merrell sandals, purchased only in January this year, had broken at the thong in Krakow and she wanted to replace them for walking on days when it is too warm to wear sneakers. Well we lost count of the number of shoe shops we went into but she couldn’t find anything in her size that she liked the look of so that need went unfulfilled for now.

We are also both ready for another haircut and this afternoon with a bit of time on our hands we thought would be a good time to get a trim but the only hairdresser that we passed was full of clients and people waiting so that need will also go unfulfilled for now too.

Shopping for food, however, we did achieve in the vast Carrefour store including a nice looking salmon steak for cooking one night.

The evenings are stretching on for longer as we keep heading north and it was even more noticeable tonight with a relatively clear sky. We have to be careful of staying up too late just because it isn’t dark enough to go to bed because the sun also rises early and we will cheat ourselves out of sleep as we are used to waking up when it gets light.

We have decided on a half rest day tomorrow and then in the afternoon head into the city and take a look through the Uprising Museum which we understand it is very informative of the trials Warsaw went through during the occupation of the Nazis in WW2.

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