Northwards to Augustow

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June 28th 2013
Published: July 4th 2013
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We have had a very pleasant time in Warsaw over the last 3 nights and our apartment in Stare Bielany has worked out very well both from a comfort point of view but also from its location close to the Metro and in the suburbs rather than being too close to the city.

Ewa wasn't home when we were ready to leave but we phoned her and she arrived shortly afterwards from being out shopping.She had bought us coasters with a Warsaw theme as a reminder of our stay in her apartment.She is a lovely lady so nice to meet and talk to.

We know absolutely nothing about our destination of Augustow and chose it because it was around 200km from Warsaw,which is a comfortable days drive for us,and the largest town with accommodation close to the Lithuanian border.

We decided on the E61 north rather than the more major E67 in the hope that there would be less trucks on the road as opposing traffic.We had the feeling that there would be considerable truck traffic coming down from the north towards Warsaw including trucks from the old Russian states.The E61 was also a little more direct towards Augustow than the E67.

Once we cleared Warsaw the towns and villages were widely spaced and our progress was good despite the expected truck traffic which did occur as we had thought.However they tended to remain in small convoys of 3 or 4 with a small number of cars following and no one taking any risky overtaking.

Although there is a lack of animals in the paddocks,at least close to the roads we have been travelling,the fields have all been sown in some sort of crops which are now flourishing as the summer is advancing.Unlike the southern parts of Poland we travelled through last week where there was already some harvesting going on,the wheat and other crops in the north are obviously a few weeks behind in their growth and there was no machines working in the fields as we passed by.

The road had long straights with the surface virtually flat as far as the eye could see with the road often disappearing into infinity ahead.

Being the last day of school for this part of the country, we noticed children smartly dressed,boys in white shirts and black trousers and waistcoats and girls in floral dresses with their mothers leaving schools in a couple of small villages.Some of them had certificates in their hands indicating that perhaps they had graduated the top of their class or some other award.We can't recall seeing anything quite like it at home on the last day of school.

We had passed the half way point when light rain started to fall making the drive a bit more unpleasant as the spray from the passing trucks made the vision ahead just that much more difficult and the trucks seemed to now be coming at more frequent intervals.

The towns and villages of the north of Poland had a more grim look than in the south and we put this down to an understanding that this part of Poland being closer to Russia and with less investment had not had a lot of redevelopment of its housing and industrial buildings than in the south and around Warsaw.It will be interesting to compare it to the west of Poland when we travel through there later in July.

It was still raining lightly when we arrived into Augustow and our first impression was of a dreary,grey town of about 30,000 people.

Our apartment however lifted our spirits as it was roomy and well equipped and after a cup of coffee we waited for the rain to stop so we could take a walk and stretch our legs as we had not had a lot of exercise out of the car since leaving Warsaw due to the rain falling and lack of any interesting places to stop.

The rain did stop and took a walk for an hour or so around the town giving us a chance to notice the different style of building with timber being used more often than brick or concrete which was quite a change to the southern parts of the country.

The park in the middle of the town was attractive with lots of trees and a fountain and statue to a local hero.

Talking of heroes we poked our nose into the local Catholic church but as it was just about time for Friday 6pm mass to start and we didn't want to get mixed up with the surprisingly large numbers of people entering the church we stood back to admire the large solid structure that the church was noting a faded picture of Pope John Paul II whose picture seems to be in or about every Catholic church we have visited or walked past in the country such is the way he is held in reverence by the Polish people.

Tonight we have what looks to be a very comfortable bed and for the first time in ages,a fully inner sprung mattress.Sleep should come easily.

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