The ocean of gentle mountains to the horizon in the paler and paler shade of blue. Pastures waving with a golden mane, scattered rocky islets, foxes and grass snakes sneaking through the fields of berries, small lizards warming themselves on the stumps, paths under the dome of old-growth beech trees… Warm and overjoyed people greeting you on the trail: “Good morning!”. Somewhat leisurely, open, happy. Roads are also slower, because of the bears, wolves and lynx. Every path as if dedicated to the bikers. We have touched so much in these Polish beautiful and wild Bieszczady of ours!
Info about the trip
|The route||2 countries: Poland and Slovakia, mainly exploring the southern-eastern part of Poland, the Eastern Beskids (Pieniny, Lower Beskids) and Bieszczady in the Carpathians, a way back through Krakow and Moszna|
|Travel time||10 days: 29 August – 7 September 2014|
|Route lenght||about 1 500 km|
|Total cost for 2 people||1 200 PLN = EUR 300 (including patrol and accommodation)|
|Accomodation||rented rooms, agritourism|
Siekierezada, Cisna, Polska
|The Museum of Beksiński|
|A charming spot on the shores of Lake Solina (Polish: Jezioro Solińskie)|
Jezioro Solińskie, Polska
|Dam in Solina|
Jezioro Solińskie, Polska
|The Klekociny Pass, 864 m a.s.l|
Klekociny, Koszarawa, Polska
|The motorcycle harbour in Bieszczady|
Bieszczadzka Przystań Motocyklowa, Czarna Górna, Polska
|Viewpoint in Lutowiska|
|The Three Crowns|
|A nice place by Lake Czorsztyn (Polish: Jezioro Czorsztyńskie) with a view of castle in Niedzica|
The most beautiful motorcycle path from Bielsko-Biała to Niedzica
There is nothing like riding with the local bikers. They are the only ones who really know great roads, paths and lanes, which can be traversed on in awe. Our dear companions of the Balkan trip, Marcin and Martyna from Bielsko-Biała, have shown us such a way, once again proving that Poland has many motorcycle routes, which provide a lot of fun, although they are not always easy to „track” in the navigation, or even with standard maps. It is mandatory that we share with you details on this route in our section Motorcycle routes, but for now it can also be tracked on the above attached map.
Demons of Beksiński in the castle
Zdzisław Beksiński, for many the Polish master of the modern art, has been connected with Sanok from birth. It is not surprising that it is there, in the added wing of the Sanok castle, that we can find his gallery, with the biggest available exposition numbering to the total of approximately 600 prints, paintings, photographs and sculptures. Prominent, but full of darkness and despair. He himself said that death and transience stimulate and inspire him the most. Getting to know the fate of the family of Beksiński, I am realising that the tragedy of the dramatically cut thread of life has touched him constantly (first, the passing of his mother, then the disease and death of the artist’s wife, and after one year the suicide of his son). In 2005 the artist was murdered in his own flat. The deeper in his biography, the darker. Just like in his gallery…..
The castle historical museum in Sanok presents quite an interesting collection of works by other artists associated with Sanok, among them Marian Kruczek, composing with diverse materials and trashes.
The Motorcycle Harbour in Bieszczady
…is a place in Czarna Górna, in which every biker can find shelter, drink hot tea, sleep in a shelter house or in a climatic cottage, built board by board by the enthusiast, Marek Stan, called the Scrounger. He himself writes on the website: “My life dream was an unusual HOUSE. In Bieszczady I wanted to combine two passions: mountains and motorcycles, creating something amazing… I love travelling, sitting behind the wheel of the wheeler. The place I created for you is a shelter of dreams and passions. The mainstay and the land!”. He greeted us warmly, he showed us around his manor, showed us the increasing number of trophies on the walls: “Look, these T-shirts and souvenirs from the travels are left here by people, on their own initiative. I am very happy about this, because that’s what I wanted for this place to be also created by the bikers. It is for them and I want them to feel at home here”.
Lutowiska full of charm
Once you leave the motorcycle harbour (Polish: Bieszczadzka Przystań Motocyklowa) with regret or get enough sleep after the evening regale and bonfire that warms up their guests every night, you may continue the ride through the Great Bieszczady Loop (Polish: Wielka Pętla Bieszczadzka) to get to village of Lutowiska. Like all countrysides of Podkarpackie, the village is charming, full of beautiful nature, but also tourists-friendly because of a few other reasons. First of all, there is a viewpoint (marked on our map), from which a nice panorama of Bieszczady spreads around and positively tunes for the coming days, closer to the brows, higher…
|Apart from the mentioned viewpoint in Lutowiska, there is a “super-sam” shop with a quite reach offer and a hole-in-the-wall. The cash point is a quite important issue, since there are over 50 km to the next one, in Cisna (unless you get back to Czarna Górna). Therefore, if you plan to stay over night in village Wołosate, from where you would surely start off to reach Tarnica, it is worth taking some cash in advance.|
|Rooms or apartments for rent you can find in Bieszczady in Septmeber for around 30 – 35 PLN (EUR 9) per person, with shared kitchen and bathroom. In one village, in the heart of the Magurski National Park, we found a room for 22 PLN (EUR 5), without bedding, we slept in our sleeping bags.|
Sky under protection
I like going back to that night by the fire, when the stars above us and the milky way shone so clear that we discovered completely new, distant constellations… It turns out that this sky in Bieszczady is unique, the darkest sky of Europe. “Bieszczady is one of the last places in Europe, where you can still see the dark sky, free of pollution of the artificial light of our civilisation” – announces the signboard at the Pass of Wetlina. This dark, clear sky today belongs to the endangered elements of the natural environment. Therefore, recently there was crated the Park of the Stellar Sky “Bieszczady” (Polish: Park Gwiezdnego Nieba “Bieszczady”).
Where did the name Bieszczady come from?
Scientific books refer to the once commonly used names of mountain ranges separating Poland and Ruthenia from Hungary, that is “Beskid” and “Bieszczady”. But modern bards sing about something else… It is nothing different but the mountain spirits, the Possessed (Polish: Biesy) and Chad (Polish: Czady) are the inspiration for the name of Bieszczady. “Spirits” is a gentle name, because some sources say that they are genetically modified devils. The Possessed are the evil ones, and the Chad lost in the heads or tails and, for the balance, had to remain good, so that the people finally dare to live in the previously wild, uninhabited and cursed areas.
And people came from all over – from Russia, Slovakia, Polish towns and villages. Some only for a moment, but falling in deep love with the region, have never returned. Others came to Bieszczady in order to get away from the urban hustle and bustle, incumbent trouble, to hide themselves in the silence of the forests and to live in harmony with the spirits of this untamed area. Those who looked the widest, listened the most attentively, loved the most, were blessed with inspiration and strength, thanks to which they have created unusual things. Paintings, sculptures, songs, places… They are called “zakapiory” (eng. robbers).
And that’s how good people live in Bieszczady, under the guidance of the Possessed and good Chad, and we, ignorant tourists, are wondering why there are so many devils and angels grinning at every corner. Or the Gallery of Angels nearby, straight from hell of the premises, Siekierezada. “When you are in Cisna in Bieszczady, you have to go to Siekierezada, it is a cult pub” – everyone says. But Rafał Daniel, the owner, does not like this place to be defined like that. Siekierezada is something more and deeper, which will not be revealed by him, because the things he wanted to say have already been diligently and honestly described, without mercy and censorship. Some stories can be found in the mere pub, presented as a literary appetizer on the menu. The book “The Bieszczady Stories of Siekierezada” are available to purchase from behind the bar, bearing Rafał’s signature.
One foot in Ukraine
Worek Bieszczadzki (Eng. The Bag of Bieszczady) is the southern-eastern end of Poland. There we could touch Ukraine and the world from 30 years ago. The Polish People’s Republic hotel, which today is a restored attraction, frozen villages without telecommunication, the silence of peaceful everyday life, away from the hustle and bustle of civilisation. And every now and then on the path the traces of even older culture, the 16th century, wooden churches, overgrown cemeteries.
One of our favourite aspects of the motorcycle trips is the freedom and independence. The kitchen in the trunk, allowing to cook exactly where we like, what we like and when we are hungry. Unplanned accommodation, in places we find pretty or atypical, localised stop, when the dawn is already approaching. That’s how the road has taken us to “Jama” (eng. the Pit), or rather to the elegant rural tourism, even an apartment in a very inconspicuous village Jaśliska, Low Beskid, but at a very affordable price, run by a very nice housekeeper, who loves having guests.
Although my heart is always in Wroclaw, I must admit that Cracow has charm and magic. Being abroad I could see that it is the former capital that is the unofficial flagship of Poland in the eyes of foreigners. What is pleasing, very impressive for them. The touristic multicoulturity is immediately noticable on the streets of Krakow. For us, it was a great opportunity for spontaneous interviews, being a part of our reportage about Poland. We hope to present collected materilas soon, but for now let the pictures speak…
From Krakow to Mikołów, to friends. It is so good to have friends like Sandra and Michał, waiting with a homemade bakery until late, without a grimace on their face, when we drop in at dark night with the dusted panniers onto their shiny floors (thank you Dear, waiting now for your visit with the little pug!).
Fairytale Neo Moszna
Like from every day of this expedition, also from this last one we wanted to squeeze as much as possible, like from a lemon. We are returning from Silesia through the region of Opole. We have known for a long time that on the way, in the town of Moszna, near the Mountain of St. Anna, you can see a beautiful castle on the global scale, restored with taste, unconventional, with 365 rooms and 99 towers. This is even a 100-year-old palace and park complex. And it has quite a turbulent history, dating back to the XVII c., with a mysterious fire, which destroyed the oldest Baroque part. But in the same year (1896) Franz Hubert took care of its reconstruction, over time adding another wings, each one in a different style. Baroque, Neo-Gothic, Neo-Renaissance, are mixed together as a result creating a building, which impresses with its originality, pampered details, emanates with fantasy and romanticism.
Our Poland is truly beautiful
As usual, we arrived home in the evening, extremely tired, but happy. This 2-week holiday throughout the southern Poland gave us great pleasure and satisfaction. At each step there was so much to see, discover, walk through, so many interesting people on the road, so that we have not regretted for a single moment that we have not touched exotics. At the same time, this familiarity and freedom of movement and communication gave us, despite the always active use of time, the needed holiday fun and peace of mind, the sense of security. We are still “hungry of the world”, we want to go further and deeper into the unknown areas, but we also well know that the beauty “just around the corner” is no less enjoyable, you just have to want to touch it. The heart rejoices the most in our Polish mountains.