Headed out of Wroclaw in the morning, continuing the two-wheel adventure towards Zakopane. A little (too) early to avoid the expected rush traffic entirely. Would call it a partial success. Made it out of town, headed further south, and for a while I had some space on the roads, great!
The general feeling this far into Poland was: too few roads, too few options, lots of cars, lots of traffic, almost everywhere. This certainly didn’t help much, at least not if for a bloke journeying in the small roads spectrum. I might have done better staying on the freeways which would have led to seeing much less… of everything (yes traffic too).
After all, the purpose with this adventure was to see stuff. That I certainly did!
GPS’s need avoid cities mode
Yeah it would have been a very useful feature. Especially in larger countries. I set mine up to avoid motorways, calculate small roads routes, and passed through virtually every city along the course. Not like in Germany though, but it could be my error. In Germany things are organized differently and there are a lot more road options.
Then there was all the construction ongoing. Some of my small road projects led to dead ends. Roads blocked due to larger freeway projects. Even my GPS from 2016 with the latest map updates did not know of more than half of all the changes. Guess they never were incorporated?
GPS’s have adventure limitations
In plenty but, as i came to discover on more occasions than I like to remember, one in particular that caused annoyance. If you set up a route with too great a distance, and tell it to ignore main roads and tolls, your (overall helpful) gadget will often go into a calculation spin. Like every time you miss a turn, miss a road, something that surely will happen, and more than once!
Sometimes did free-riding, used the compass function, watched live map update and tried to follow my intuition. This led to a series of both helplessly idiotic, and funny “mistakes”. It also led me to places and down roads I might not otherwise have tried.
Nearing Zakopane, traffic got worse
It should have crossed my mind but it didn’t. Initially I thought vacation time in Poland was on its most intense in late July/August. Getting closer to Zakopane and the Tatra mountains, the traffic intensified. Took off from the freeway to try an alternative route. Didn’t help much, quite he contrary. It was as packed, if not worse, on the smaller roads.
Heavy road construction everywhere. When you face this type of traffic, being on a motorbike has its advantages. Being on a fast one helps more. I sneaked/shot past miles upon miles of cars and shortened the travel time with, quite likely, several hours. Poor sods stuck there till late at night.
Coming over a hilltop I could now see the goal for the day, still far off…. the Tatra mountains.
Booking, dot com style
While crawling literally speaking, towards Zakopane, it hit me that it might be wise to book accommodation in advance. I know now that this region is swamped with Polish tourists in most of July and August, as well as in winter. if I didn’t take precautions, this leg could become more of an adventure than I liked.
Therefore stopped sideways, found a great deal on booking.com, a small hotel with lots of good reviews and got a decent price reduction. All well and good but finding the hotel was a different story! My GPS was anything but helpful but after 20-30 minutes riding up and down streets I finally found it.
This is one reason why, when out traveling motorbike style, it’s wise not to press on for too late. It potentially only leads to stress. Finally I found the hotel and could go in for landing.
Zakopane, one night was enough
Yeah well, at least as I was traveling. I had come for smallways, to be able to ride up in the mountains. Incidentally the roads are few, and the traffic, mentioned before, bad. So much so I there wasn’t any reason to stay longer. The adventure had to carry on! Walked about for a bit, found a decent place to dine and have a beers.
Full & reasonably happy I retreated to the hotel.
By the way, Hotel Fian is a good alternative if you’re not prepared to spend a gazillion zloty for no particular gain. Improved the Polish part of the adventure. They also served a memorable breakfast. One night with breakfast set me back with less than 25 Euros! Possibly the cheapest hotel night and breakfast I had on the whole trip, no not possibly, it definitely was!
Next post about the adventure, Slovakia, and maybe Austria, we’ll see 🙂