Wednesday 24th May – Gierloz, Poland (aka “The Wolfs Lair (Wolfschanze) or Hitlers Bunker”
Set off after breakfast on our bikes to further explore Suwalki. The bikeways are shared by both pedestrians and bikers but unlike back home, bikers have one lane and pedestrians have the other. Much more civilised as there is no competition for space.
There are several beautiful parks in the centre of town and as we rode through them, we came across some kindy aged kids marching through the park. They had a long pink rope which they had to hold onto with one hand but they still managed to be able to wave to us with their other hand. We tried to take a photo of this gorgeous sight but the teachers asked us not to. Reminded us of Setinne and Eli (our grandkids) so stopped for a while to take this in.
Had a great ride around the man-made lake, parks and gardens, then town and back to Ziggy about two hours later.
Roads are getting busier now and we are seeing motor homes on the road – have only seen a handful over the last three months. The warmer weather is bringing them out. We have been wanting company along the way, but soon we are sure we will be complaining about competing with them for parking spots.
Arrived at Gierloz and were greeted by guards at a security gate. There were already 8 or so giant Tourist buses parked in the grounds. We were directed to a motorhome area which we shared with about 5 motor homes and 8 German motor-bikers who were erecting tents. We were a little amused because when they took off their helmets and leathers, they were just like us, old folk out on a group get together. Thought we might have a sleepless night but they were so quiet we didn’t even know they were there.
For a mere 40zl around $14 you got to camp under a canopy of beautiful rain forest trees, have electricity and water and a huge bathroom facility (to be shared with the large numbers of tourists here during the day but very quiet after dark. This price also includes admission for 2 to the Museum.
Groups of school children were everywhere. History is very important to Polish people and it is drummed into their children from a very early age.
There were no brochures available and when we went into the information centre, we were advised they were closed (in the middle of the day?!!!). There was a very large map of the area so we took a photo of it and ventured out on our own. We won’t go over everything here but if you want more info there are many websites under “wolf’s lair”, Poland” – one link is http://www.thirdreichruins.com/wolfschanze.htm
Bunker 13 is Hitler’s bunker where a failed assignation attempt was made on his life by one of his top advisors.
Hidden under a canopy of forest trees and over many acres, we found old buildings and bunkers in ruins. Very well camouflaged under the trees, they would have been impossible to see from the air. Truly amazing to see the depth of the walls, some concrete walls would be nearly 3 metres thick.
The gates are locked at 8pm so we had a very peaceful night amongst the trees.
Thursday 25th May- Elblag, Poland
What’s that noise? Woke up with a start! Just the phone ringing – so in a dazed stupor climbed down from the dizzy heights of the second floor and greeted the caller in a sleepy voice. Hi Sis said my little brother, what are you doing still asleep at 8am in the morning. Only answer I could give is “benefits of being retired and loving it”.
Good to hear from home at any time so after a lengthy conversation and a relaxed breakfast headed out of the forest and the Wolf’s Lair to our next destination.
There was a U Boat museum only 19 Klms away so with the advice of the guard at the gates we headed in the direction he described. Our first mistake for the day! The road got narrower and narrower (down to one lane wide) and bumpier and lumpier, and the fuel tank was looking a little low so after about 10km we decided to head back to civilisation and a Fuel station as we had no idea where we were and what lay ahead in the direction we had been going.
Arrived in Ketrzyn about 20kms later, filled up with fuel and as time was getting on, headed for Elblag.
The sat nav was obviously sabotaged in the forest (spies I think) and went haywire. It did everything in its power to take us along the worst Polish roads we had been on – 70kms of potholes – some were so big you could take a holiday in there and in some places the road got down to not much more than one lane. Really glad we filled up with fuel.
Got to say though, we went through some of the prettiest countryside. Huge trees on both sides of the road created an arch of foliage over the road for 30kms or so. Being spring time the leaves were young and so green. Shame my driver couldn’t take the time to appreciate it.
By the time we arrived at Elblag, Rob was truly spent and sat and relaxed with a few beers for the rest of the day. No exploring today. Think we may give up sightseeing in the countryside for a few days and head for Gdansk along the motorway provided the sat nav behaves itself.
We stayed in Camping Elblag. Great central camp spot and top class. Very secure and safe and about 15 motor homes here – mostly German couples. Brought out the BBQ and after a movie and a bottle of red wine – turned the phone off and slept soundly.