4th and 5th June
Krakow to Warsaw.
Well, a miserable start to the day weather wise. It rained all night and continued on for the most part of the long 300km journey, on not a great road to Warsaw. Finding a campsite proved to be a nightmare. The traffic vas really busy, the first campsite was full up and didn't look great anyway, the next 2 on my list I couldn't find at all. I pinned all my hopes on the last one and found it ok and thankfully they had space, but it was quite far out of town. Anyway, nothing else for it, so 'Camping Wok' it was, and a lovely campsite to be fair. Very well tended; small and under trees, with a bar on site. I pulled in on the grass behind a really large caravan, with an 'NL' Netherlands badge on the back, but the number plate didn't look right for the Netherlands. I then copped on that it was an Irish reg, Co. Cavan, and I clocked what the story was when I saw the kids running about, then another 2 large double axle caravans sitting parked opposite. Yup, travellers. The kids were a bit of a rabble, though not the worst, but it just annoyed me that the parents just let them run around making so much noise.
It was late in the afternoon and I couldn't really be bothered making the journey back in to the city as it involved a bus, a tram, and then another bus, so I spent some time washing Hermione, and began to give her a coat of wax. (Cheers Graham for the polish!) I also vacuumed her inside which hasn't been done since I left Ireland; she has just been getting a brush out, so she looks more ship-shape again. I was hot and sticky after that job, so I sat in the bar and had a few beers and had an early night, falling asleep on the sofa listening to music.
I got up fairly early and the weather looked like it was going to be ok, so I decided to head into the city by bike. I checked with Maisy and found the route just over 14km each way, but I'd remembered seeing a cycle path for a good part of it on the way out to the campsite, and it also seemed fairly flat, so made the decision to go for it. About 2km into the journey, I wished I had worn shorts, as the sun blasted out through the cloud cover, and the jeans I was wearing began to stick to me..... I'm glad I took the bike though, as beyond the old town, the city is quite a sprawl.
I locked up the bike next to the old city wall and had a meander around the streets and the old market square, rebuilt after the end of WW2. It's very pretty, but loads of tourists. Even this early, the Japanese were in full force with their large groups milling around, generally getting in everyone else's way. I've found this trip that Japanese tourists have proved to be the biggest pain in the ass to try and negotiate in a city or town. They don't walk in a line, they spread out over the whole street, waving at each other and have stupid umbrellas up when it's neither raining nor all that sunny. Grrrrr.....
Anyway, the old town was lovely and I walked part way round the old wall and down into the streets below. My feet were starting to hurt by this stage (bad choice of footwear today - Vans are ok for cycling but not the most comfy for walking!), so I decided to head outside of the old town after buying lunch at a cafe. I couldn't find the main shopping streets for some reason, but did come across a large skyscraper that looked very 'New York' a la 1920's. I eventually found a shopping mall and bought a pair of walking sandal thingys as I'd been looking for something open that I could wear, but flip flops aren't ideal for walking any distance in. I ditched the Vans into my rucksack and lost the socks and rolled up the jeans a bit and was much more comfortable. It was fairly warm by this stage, about 24C. Not a great deal to report about the newer part of the city. Much like any other really, large and busy.
I made my way back mid afternoon along the cycle track, which makes it very handy to get around, as no need to be in the traffic. I stopped off at a motor factors and finally bought the oil filter I need for Hermione (I had written all the details down on paper in the hope that I may find somewhere) and arrived back at the campsite and had a well deserved beer in the bar which went down rather well......
The brood of children were in full swing, fighting with each other and the campsite staff had to intervene and have a chat with the parents. It turns out that they're all leaving later this evening, so maybe the place will quieten down by then. I had though about going back in to see the city in the evening, but it's just a bit too far and too much hassle for transport, plus I want to get an early start in the morning, as I've another 300km journey ahead to the city of Poznan in Western Poland. Warsaw has been good though. Looks like it would probably be a good city for nightlife too.