Saturday, 12 September 2009

Holidays 2009 – coverage

Back home. Below a short description of rather short holidays – just five days, into which we managed to pack meeting the family and lots of sightseeing. We got on well with newly met family. Friendly, kind but not importunate people showed us round the surroundings of Jelenia Góra.

Day 1 – Cieplice – currently a part of Jelenia Góra, sanatorium resort incorporated into the city in the mid 70’s under the administration reform plan (new capitals of voivodeship had to be big enough to fulfil such function). Below: a market square in Cieplice, revamped and modernised within the last decade. I took there only two photos, as the batteries went dead after only two snaps, without warning. Of course I couldn't get any in the local shops, the rechargeable ones I left in the lodgings.

Day 2 – Karpacz – quite nice town suffused with tourists all year round. In the early September there weren’t plenty of visitors or they were strewn across the town, stretching along the winding road. Below: A Wang Stave Church beyond town.

Residents of the resort make living by the tourism. Below: a piece of evidence that a silly tourist will buy everything. Some of those “souvenirs”, gadgets or however you call it can make quite nice gifts.

Day 3 – Świeradów Zdrój – elegant city located in the midst of Izera Mountains, geared mostly at tourist from behind the west border. The same applies to all of the mentioned towns – boards in front of the shops, menus in the restaurants etc. are bilingual. Shopkeepers, staff and service of hotels, restaurants have to be able to communicate in German. And our western neighbours have relatively cheap holidays in what for centuries had been their land.
Below: a panorama of the town’s high street and a view from Stok Izerski.

Day 4 – Szklarska Poręba – town is beautiful but spoiled by national road no. 3 running through its centre towards the border with Czech Republic. Nobody plans a bypass, as in the mountains it’s just too expensive, not to mention the tunnels which would be the best solution for transit traffic problems. Three kilometres before SP, less than half a kilometre away from national road there’s a picturesque Szklarka Waterfall (below).

Strongly recommended visit, if you can, walk up what my aunt called “a desolated trail” – empty route along the stream, hardly ever can one meet people on one’s way. Here I found the only bilingual information board written in (British) English. Translated rather properly (I’ll leave to natives), I only puzzled over last two paragraphs, why is the penultimate longer in Polish and the last longer in English?

Day 5 – Mysłakowice where we stayed. The village has once been famous for its linen plant (photo below), now derelict, closed down in the 90’s. Unemployment is rather high, squalor and people’s habits don’t differ much from the ones on the other end of Poland. Here it’s a Post-German squalor, perceptible mostly by the architecture.

Comeback – Polish roads are ghastly and full of traffic enforcement cameras (PL: fotoradar) (I’ve seen one in action – if they take a photo of you speeding you’ll see a flash), tractors on national roads, not to mention rows of four or five trucks, impossible to overtake and lunatic drivers. I let my father drive through Wrocław, short of road signs and with dismal streets. Between Wieluń and Bełchatów, after a bit risky overtaking I noticed a police car in the wing mirror. To my surprise I wasn’t stopped by them, and just let them overtake me – they drove on, probably chasing another(?) foul driver… Even the dual carriageway between Warszawa and Piotrków Trybunalski, the first fast-traffic road built in Poland, over thirty years ago, linking Warsaw and Silesia, where comrade Gierek came from, is not up to the standard. The key advantage are the two lanes in each direction, but bumpy tarmac on some sections, tens of intersections and pedestrian crossings make driving fast, but not quite comfortable…

I looked up the plans of modernisations of Polish roads. The pace according to them should be impressing – Poland is in critical need of a decent network of dual carriageways – their standard is absolutely sufficient and make an alternative to toll motorways. Mostly I’d be looking forward to seeing motorway A2 reaching Warsaw from the West and dual carriageways linking Warsaw with Gdańsk, Kraków, Wrocław and… Suwałki.

The next episode soon, hopefully…

No comments: