We travelled to Zagan to the Muzeum Obozow Jenieckich – the POW Camps Museum of Stalag Luft 3 and about which the film “The Great Escape” was made.
One of Rob’s favourite movies “The Great Escape” told the story of the Great Escape here during World War II.
They have a great museum here and a reconstruction of Stalag Luft 3 showing the three tunnels (Tom, Dick & Harry) that were used for the escape. More than 600 prisoners helped in building these tunnels.
The Stalag was built in the spring of 1942. It was built to imprison the officers of the Allied Air forces. In 1945 Stalag Luft 3 held more than ten thousand captive air force officers. On 24th March 1944, 76 airmen broke free of the camp. 73 were recaptured and 50 were shot. Only 3 made it home. Four of the 50 shot were Australians.
There were several other camps in Zagan and at its peak over 300,000 prisoners were in the camps – around 130,000 died of starvation, the cold and or ill treatment.
We left Zagan and headed for Wroclaw to spend the night in the heart of the city in a stadium.
The first 40 kms were the worst stretch of highway we had ever encountered. The road was fully corrugated and it was like travelling 40kms with a speed bump every two metres. Ziggy shook, rattled and did everything except roll. I think every bone in our body ached. But then the road just changed back to normal – thank goodness.
There were a few tourist sights we wanted to see in Wroclaw. We arrived there in the middle of late afternoon peak hour traffic. Such a big city and so busy. Arrived at the stadium and were told that the stadium was closed for camping for the next five days so what could we do?
We headed out of Wroclaw city and headed for the country again. There were several motorway rest spots along the way, but we have been warned through the blog sites that these were the worst places to stay.
In frustration and as it got later we arrived at Olesnica and decided we would find somewhere in the town to just park for the night.
Found a large parking area just outside of the town church. There were quite a few cars still in the parking area but there was plenty of room for us.
Rob headed off to speak with a couple of people and ask about the safety of parking here. He met this lovely tradesman who was just packing up his car for the night and to our surprise not only spoke Polish but also German fluently.
Well guess what – Rob broke out in his best German and soon the lovely man told us to follow him as there was a hotel up the road where he played the guitar regularly and he would ask if we could park in the grounds for the night. He was just so delightful and nothing was a problem.
We followed him up the hill and together the boys met with hotel reception and negotiated a spot in the car park for the night.
We thanked our angel in disguise who before we left him, offered us a bottle of his moonshine – he had a dozen in the back seat of his car – we declined gracefully.
We had dinner and a couple of beers in the restaurant (great food and lovely modern hotel) and tipped the staff on the way out. They were so happy with the tip, they insisted we come back for breakfast in the morning. We declined gracefully – as we were beginning to feel the pinch of so much good food and wine (and not a lot of exercise of the last couple of days).
Sunday 9th to Monday 10th April –Chlebow at Lipce Reymontowskie – 50klms north east of Lodz – Poland
Woke up and spent a short time checking emails just before breakfast and heading off. Horror, shock – there was an email from Westpac advising us that there were some suspicious transactions in our account and asking us to lodge a report to the fraud squad to investigate if the transactions had not been approved by us. Having been warned about getting money from an ATM not in a shop or bank and remembering the location where I had drawn cash the day before, we immediately believed someone had accessed our accounts.
The next two hours was spent on the phone to Westpac changing all our passwords to be safe. Our accounts had not been accessed so we headed off feeling much happier. Lesson learnt always phone the fraud squad first before believing anything in an email or giving out information in an email.
We had a late start but we knew where we were staying for the night so enjoyed again the acres and acres of beautiful countryside.
Poland is such a beautiful place. We have not had the time yet to experience much as we are on a deadline to get to Biala Podlaska.
Heading off the highway, we soon come to a very rural little village. Only about 8 houses in the street and one of these is where we are camping for the night. It was called “Bumerang” and is in Camperstop and ADAC books.
The sign on the gate showed us we were at the correct place but no one was home. The homestead was locked up and no one in sight. We looked up and down the street and only saw a little old lady. Knew that she would not speak English or any language other than Polish – ugh!!.
We decided that the owners should be home soon so began to back up into a driveway of a partly built house across the road and that was where we were staying for the night.
Saved by the neighbour who came out and told us the owners were away on holiday and opened up the gates and lead us to the back of the homestead which was set up for mobile home parking. He told us in his broken English that someone would see us in the morning for payment.
It was like an oasis in the desert. The back of the homestead was beautifully grassed areas allowing for around 10 motor homes. You looked out across fruit trees to fields just freshly ploughed.
Again we were the only ones there. Within a half an hour some people arrived and told us they were looking after “Bumerang” for their friends who were holidaying in Greece. The couple were Dutch and spoke excellent English.
We had a great conversation with them and found out that the town was only a couple of kms away and would be an easy ride into town on our bikes to explore the next day.
We talked to them about whether we could get Polish SIM cards there as we were ham strung with no internet since we left Germany a couple of days before. They offered to come into town with us the next morning and help us buy our SIM cards.
Around 9.30am they arrived and told us that they had checked in their town about SIM cards and they were not available there but a small town called Skierniewice around 17kms away could help us out. We started to pack up Ziggy to follow them but they said they would drive us there instead as this would be easier for us.
In the short time we have been here we have found the people we have met in Poland so wonderful.
Rob & Marie-Louise Deuver were absolutely wonderful. They stood with us at a Telecom Poland office and helped us to buy and have a SIM card installed for my Ipad.
I think we got 10GB of data for around $AUD 8 for a month.. Marie-Louise then spoke to them about Rob’s ipad which had our German SIM card jammed in the SIM card slot We were taken to another store where with the help of a Stanley knife, the storekeeper was able to open up and remove the jammed SIM card. He then installed another SIM for Rob for around the same price.
Rob and Marie-Louise then took us to the village centre where they were setting up a market for Easter. They told us where to buy the best Polish Sausages and we bought these and some home brewed local beer. Then on to the supermarket where they helped us select some other Polish specialties they said we should taste.
Finally after a wonderful morning, they took us back to their house in Retniowiec for some coffee and Dutch cookies.
“Bumerang” is just a beautiful rural setting and we would highly recommend anyone to stay here for at least a couple of nights. the owners who were holidaying in Greece – Kazimierz & Jola Foks are continually upgrading Bumerang and currently are building a laundry there. There are hot showers, WC, grey water discharge, fresh water and all for around 10 euros a night.
To Rob and Marie-Louise – thank you for taking the time to make our stay with you so unbelievably wonderful. Bumerang deserves to do well and we hope anyone following this blog site and are visiting Poland – please visit here – you will not be disappointed.