Things started off quite smooth in the morning. We didn't hit the road until 9am but we had no trouble getting down to the path on the river and I was surprised at how few people were riding for a Sunday morning. Anyway, it was a very peaceful way to ride out of the city and it even seemed like it might last for 20 or 30km.
Unfortunately, the bike path dumped us out on the north side of the Wisla in some suburban nowhereland. I knew it would be a challenge to get out of this city while avoiding all the major roads, so we just headed in the right direction and made sure to get back on the south side of the river. While trying to navigate some of the local roads, we worked ourselves into a major deadend at a big lake where many people had congregated to enjoy the sunny Sunday.
It was fun for awhile and we were in no major rush. We passed by some kind of flea market out in the middle of nowhere and made a couple more turns which led to another dead end at a cement plant or something. Eventually we got away from the city and suburbs and into the rolling hills. But, what is the deal with these hills? I sold this tour to mom as a nice flat ride through the cool climate of northern Europe... but this was hilly. Well, it turns out we were going just enough south to catch some of the very slight foothills from the Tatras Mountains to the south.
We had a quick snack while sitting the town square, before heading off. Actually, I started to realized we were never going to make it as far as I had planned today. We lost some time trying to get out of Krakow and then the hills slowed us down a bit. We had picked a cute B&B form the book as our destination, but we had to shoot for a "hotel" symbol that we found on the local map.
The reason we took this southeast tack was in order to see some of the old wooden churches which are famous for for the south of Poland. One of these churches is so special that it was declared a World Heritage Site by the UN. By complete accident we rolled into the rural town of Lipnica Murowana just in time for the Sunday services. There was no sign pointing to the famous church down by the river, but families were walking down the road in that direction, so we got the idea. This church is set in a wooded lot surrounded by a cemetery and bordered by a stream. You actually have to walk across a little old bridge to get to the church. The church is too small for everyone, so there were people sitting on wooden benches around the structure and the minister's words are played over loadspeaker. Mom and I looked a little out of place in our cycling outfits, but we sat through the whole service before wandering in to look around a bit. Very cool place!
Unfortunately, when we got to the town of Zaklincz, there was no hotel to be found. Mom was very brave and asked a couple people where to find accommodation. Someone led her to someone else, who finally introduced her to the best English speaker in town. Not only did this young girl speak English, but her parents take visitors in their second house as part of what they call "Agro Tourism." I guess the idea is that people from the city like to get out and stay on farms and whatnot, and they don't need meals or anything fancy. We actually negotiated a breakfast with our deal, but we took dinner at the town bar. In the middle of the town square (which was only a few hundred meters away) there was a bar that didn't have much to offer except that they have terrace seating and are open late. It was a little cool as the sun set, but we shared a beer and toasted our first, semi-successful day on the road.
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