POLAND 2nd August – 8th August
Left Merkine, Lithuania heading for Poland
First chore for the day, was to find somewhere to repair our back tyre which had been slowly losing air since Helsinki. We have been filling up with fuel and at the same time topping up the tyre. Couldn’t see a puncture so guessed it was a leaky valve. As it was getting worse needed to find a tyre repair shop and soon.
We passed many service stations along the way, many had no air hose at all and some who were not able to give us the 5.5 Bars (80PSI) we needed to pump up the tyre. The most air pressure we were able to get was 3 Bars so we headed to the largest town closest to us and drove very slowly towards Suwalki on a tyre which was inflated to at best around 3 Bars. We did a quick google translation and needed a shop that said Opony (polish for tyre). It was now midday Saturday and based on our information, most stores closed around noon on a Saturday.
Yeah!!! – after two tyre repair shops were unable to fit us in today, we were able to find a shop and within an hour we were hoisted up, the tyre removed (with a lot of effort) hole plugged up (hole in middle of tyre) and tyre refitted to Ziggy (with a lot of effort) – a total of 40 zloty – a mere $15.00 for all that work and we were away again.
Next we travelled to Augustow where there was a great place we wanted to camp in at a marina near the centre of town. Driving through town, it was obvious this is one of the hot holiday spots in Poland and felt apprehensive regarding a vacancy here. The town was packed, the beaches were packed, people everywhere. We could hardly get anywhere near the gates to the marina. Looked a fantastic place to stay but certainly not during the peak season. After a frustrating 20 minutes, we quickly headed out of town and tried to find Plaska and Plaska Water Station, the home of our friends we helped bring their boat and car out at Merkine.
(Campsite: Stanica Wodna Plaska)
email: Andrzej@kanal-Augustowski.pl Ph: 502667272
Andrzej (Andrew) and Gosha (Margaret) and Jacob (their son) greeted us like long lost friends and quickly made us feel at home.
We parked on a beautiful lush green lawn, right on Kanal Augustowskim, where ducks swam happily past the beautiful water flowers. We were surrounded by campers in tents, caravans and some in sleeping bags ready to settle down under the stars. There are also cabins for hire and 4 boats ready to take away for a week at a time and navigate the beautiful waterways. The waterway consists of 18 locks – 14 locks through Poland 1 right on the border with Belarus and 3 through Belarus (no visas required by Belarus but you can’t leave the boat for a swim!!!)
Space is limited for motorhomes so would suggest phoning first to check availability.
There are Kanal front huts with tables and chairs and a small restaurant and bar serving absolutely delicious Polish food. We were lucky to sample the absolutely “must have” home made Kartacze (potato dumplings filled with meat, seasoned with onions and pork) and two beautiful Salads and sampled two amazing homemade liqueurs made with Andrzej’s secret recipe.
A secret hideaway away from it all in the midst of a tiny little place only 20 kms away from Augustow – a must to see and spend some relaxing days.
Jezjoro Nidzkie (Lake Nidzkie)
(Camp in the forest)
We had keyed in the co ordinates for a camp spot called Camping U Basi, Jaskowo, west of Pisz, however on the way, we found a great free camp about 3 kms from our proposed destination.
Designated as Parking, it was a large grassed area at the beginning of the National Forest. There were a few houses about and given that it was off the beaten track, we were surprised how many cars and bicycles actually went by. We had passed quite a few of these Parking spots but didn’t realise they were part of the National Forest.
We saw several fishermen go into the forest. Eager to find out where the forest tracks led, we put on our backpacks and followed the tracks through the forest. The tracks were marked at each intersection, so these were designated walking tracks. Only a few minutes in we came to the massive lake and followed the track right around the lake. So quiet and peaceful and nothing but us and the huge forest trees. Walked for about an hour and decided to head back. Suddenly about 50 metres away a group of 8 deer ran across the track in front of us. Too slow to get the camera going so missed that photo opportunity.
My father loved the forests in Poland and I can remember the stories he told of collecting berries and mushrooms in the forest. We have seen many people in our travels walking with buckets in hand and picking berries and mushrooms. We didn’t see any berries but came across several species of mushrooms – one with a beautiful bright red top – looks more like a flower. Do not know enough about which ones you can eat so left them be.
Really enjoyed this beautiful place.
(Camp: Camping Mozir – Port Lomza)
A really well set up camp spot at a small marina on the edge of town. Pricing information in “Campings” was incorrect – instead of €15 + electricity it was a mere €6.5 incl electricity. We advised them of the inaccuracy as I am sure the camp would be packed if they changed this info. Set around a beautiful park and river which provided kids playground, gym equipment and a great bikeway. The place was packed with people coming and going all day and night. A great pizza restaurant and bar only metres away, which we just had to try, overlooking the park.
Took the bikes for a ride into town but once the bikeway stopped, we had to negotiate around the crazy drivers and narrow footpaths. A little too hard for this novice rider so happily walked the bikes back to the bikeways and pedalled home.
Spent a relaxing day the following day catching up on some reading and gave Ziggy a well deserved spring clean.
(Coord N 52.393311: E 22.661150)
Wild camp at restaurant on Bug River
We are still totally amazed at how impatient, aggressive and dangerous the drivers in Poland are. We keep to the speed limit and are regularly passed as if we were standing still and are regularly passed over double unbroken white lines, going uphill and or round corners.
This part of Poland has no rest stops at all and it has been virtually impossible to find any camp sites whether free or at a cost so close to the Russian and Belarusian borders. The roads today were so bad and we really looked forward to stopping for a break.
Found by chance this great spot on the Bug River at Drohiczyn with large grassy area and a restaurant which serves traditional Polish food. Sat in a massive undercover outside area at the restaurant and watched locals riding bikes, horses and swimming.
After a delicious Polish dinner, we camped here for the night overlooking the Bug river.