One campervan, a crew of three, six weeks, almost 2000 km. These were the initial assumptions for summer 2014. What came out of it - read on for yourself.
We travel in a Hyundai Trajet with a vestibule - which has served us: Ance, Marek and 4.5-year-old Kuba as a substitute for a camper for 2 years. We do not like sitting on the spot, so we spend up to 4 days in each of the cities we visit. We visit whatever we can nearby - by bike or by car, and we keep going. We appreciate regional food (although we will not eat everything because we are veg), small breweries and interesting people. The routes are dictated mainly by life - friends visited along the way, festivals in which we want to participate or simply interesting places found on the Internet. Before we collected money for a real camper, we decided to visit Poland - we started in 2012 and so, during the next vacation we managed to achieve our goal step by step. We will finish the last stage in 2015 in the camper. We have already seen a lot, but there are still many places to be discovered - and so far only Poland :)
2014 marked a route for us between the Festival in Wolimierz, in which we wanted to participate, a visit to friends at the seaside and a meeting with the team in Masuria in the next stage of the holiday. The date and place of completion, also strictly defined, because every year in July we leave Ślesin to Kruszwica on a family cruise. Among these places and dates, it was necessary to pull the route somehow and it turned out as you can see. We have not managed to achieve all the final points, but what is delayed will not run away :)
1. Kalisz - Bąkowo
Camping in Bąków prides itself on the repeatedly won Mister Camping title - an award for the best camping in Poland. It was from this prosaic curiosity that our first stop on the route was taken to see what the best one looks like.
The campsite is beautifully situated among a forest with a stream running through the area and well-kept greenery. It has separate places for campers - all occupied, so as you can see, it is popular. Our van got a place at the end, at the campsite, but it was also there that we managed to get electricity without any problems. In the middle of the field, there are generally accessible shelters where you can feast, grill or wash the dishes after a meal. In the same line there are showers and toilets as well as playgrounds (for younger and older kids). The swimming pool turned out to be an attraction - it is available for free during the opening hours for the residents of the campsite. There is also a breeding pond on the premises of the complex, where you can go for a ride on a pedalo or a boat. Unfortunately quite small, so we weren't tempted to spend our time this way. We cooked our meals ourselves, but the campground has a small bar / shop where you can buy ice cream, drink beer or eat delicious homemade dumplings. There is also a nice restaurant nearby, but we didn't have a chance to check it out :)
We were stationed in Bąków for three days. We visited the nearby Kluczbork . Unfortunately, despite the recent revitalization, it did not have much to offer tourists with children. We were counting on the fact that in a city that prides itself on beekeeping, we would be able to at least buy some delicious honeys ... unfortunately, none of that. Although the center is charming, it is dominated by cars, there are few attractions or places where you can sit, eat or drink. We visited the beekeeping museum where you can see an interesting exhibition on hives, we wandered around the restored market square, and a bit disappointed we went further.
The nearby Byczyna turned out to be much more interesting . This small town is the only (apart from Paczków) town in Poland where the authentic medieval city walls have been preserved, unfortunately terribly neglected at present. Two enormous faiths guard the walls on both sides of Byczyna and inside full of winding, charming streets. The city's climate is still unique and you can only imagine what it might look like if it had more funds for investments. At the local exhibition, for a small fee, the passionate curator told us a bit about the history of the city and showed us an exhibition of antique pencil sharpeners.
After visiting the cities, it was the turn of attractions for the youngest member of the team and we went to the castle in Biskupice . A typical commercial building does not have much to do with the authentic appearance of a medieval castle, but there are many attractions for kids, knight camps and shows for organized groups. It is worth going there during one of the events, but we managed to see a lot of nice things and talk to the nice staff of this place. There is a shop / bar on site and the possibility of buying some typical knightly souvenirs (wooden swords, shields etc.)
Near the camping in Bąków (15 minutes by bike through the forests) there is also a reservoir , opened in 2011 . On site you can sunbathe, fish or use the water equipment rental. In the season, there are also parties on the beach - unfortunately, we did not manage to hit any of them, because the day, although the holiday one, was the middle of the week. Peace and quiet, practically no sunbathers. We ate pizza at the beach bar, replenished the shortage of fluids and returned to Bąkowo, getting ready for further.
The vicinity of Kluczbork is a paradise for cyclists, full of scenic routes and bicycle routes (e.g. along the trail of historic churches), but this time we did not have a chance to ride too much. Maybe we will come back one day to catch up :)
2. Bąkowo - Świdnica
Świdnica was chosen by us by accident. It was just a convenient starting point for other cities we wanted to visit and they had quite a decent camping site. On the way we were supposed to visit Kościerzyce in the Stobrawska Primeval Forest, but in the end we flew straight to Świdnica. And very good - because Świdnica turned out to be a bull's eye!
On the way, we also visited Opole , which turned out to be a beautiful city, full of people and activities. At KrakOFFska 36 , we searched a social commission, played music from a special music booth on the market square and watched the construction of a huge cardboard maze on the market square by local kids. Around there are cafes, galleries, painting exhibitions and lots of interesting nooks and crannies (e.g. the railway station that was being renovated at that time). There would be something to do there for a few days, but we flew on - to Świdnica.
The campsite is small but perfectly maintained, each camper has its own separate square surrounded by greenery and a bench for garden furniture. Sanitary facilities clean and still smelling new, fenced area, located on a moderately busy road. Next to the Sports and Recreation Center, and therefore it was possible to use the swimming pool for free during its opening hours, there was also a small candy bar on the premises of the resort. It was definitely the coolest camping we visited this summer. It turned out that it is located about a 15-minute walk to the center, so trips to the city did not involve the need to move the car.
Świdnica welcomed us with a concert of the Analogs band (in the park - 5 minutes from the campground), which for us, old punk rockers, was a pleasant surprise :) The town itself is charming, full of beautiful architectural details, smaller and larger cafes and restaurants in the market square where we liked to stop to rest for a while. A beautiful place with a lot of potential that I hope will be used wisely. We returned to the market square during our stay in Świdnica with pleasure a few more times.
Another surprise turned out to be taking place in the nearby Książ carriage driving competitions. We are interested in horse riding and we couldn't miss this opportunity. Although we had plans for the castle and the stud anyway, it turned out that they had to be rescheduled a few days earlier - it meant crowds of visitors, but it was still worth it. Beautiful carriages, the best competitors from all over the world and an amazing spectacle in picturesque natural circumstances. Visiting the Stallion Stallion and the castle was just the icing on the cake of this exciting day.
The health resort Jedlina Zdrój seemed to be an interesting option to visit, although we did not expect any special attractions there. A small, pretty town with a small pump room in the center. Just a quiet, peaceful resort. And here comes a surprise again - because the Czarodziejska Góra entertainment center has been opened in Jedlina and there are many attractions for children and adults: a toboggan run, climbing, a rope park and pontoon rides (also skis in winter) are just some of what you can find in this beautifully situated complex.
After two attempts (traffic jams due to the competition in Książ) we finally managed to reach Wałbrzych , which is currently undergoing revitalization. Among the excavations and renovations, one could see the charm of this city. The fountain on the square encouraged the kids to sit down, we wandered around the city a bit, but nothing kept us there for longer. In a nearby gardener, we made up for fresh vegetables and fruit and returned to Świdnica for dinner.
3. Świdnica - Bystrzyca - Wolimierz
From Świdnica we headed towards Wolimierz, where the Alternative Communities Festival was to take place from 17/07 to 20/07, for which we had an appointment with friends. For now, however, we visited friends who welcomed us in their magical house in Bystrzyca.
The area of the Bóbr valley hide many surprises, charming castles, breathtaking landscapes and buildings that we passed along the way, at this stage of the journey we focused mainly on social attractions :) We saw Wleń and the beautiful ruins of the Lenno castle , but this is only a small part of what can be visited in the vicinity. We did not want to leave there because the hosts were wonderful and the place was amazing, but after three days it was time to move on.
On the way, we stopped in Gryfów Śląski, interested in the ruins of the castle visible from the road. It was Gryf Castle , the ruins of which are now owned by some Christian Foundation and serve as a Healing House. Between the ruins of the castle there are buildings made of wooden boards and makeshift altars, which gives the whole a slightly spooky atmosphere, but it is still worth seeing, although you have to pay a lot for sightseeing. You get a map that allows you to imagine what the castle looked like in the past and you walk practically on your own through the amazing ruins of a once powerful castle.
On the same day, we boarded in Wolimierz at the Alternative Communities Festival. Wolimie Wolimie Wolimie is a place that brings together extraordinary people, full of music and good energy. For many years, it has been the seat of the Puppet Clinic theater , whose amazing performances could be watched during the festival. In addition, a lot of various music, wonderful vegetarian food, workshops and meetings. There is also an alternative bar, Atelier Wolimierz , where a couple of elderly Asians served wonderful sushi and music events were held in the evening. The festival town, filled with various music, practically does not sleep for three days, and it is definitely not a place for people who value peace and quiet. We were delighted, especially the children, who could fly around the whole area with impunity, very friendly to kids, and use them at will on the newly built playground with a real beach.
Despite the large number of premises, efficiently operating bars and food stands, the conditions are practically field conditions, which we felt in the record heat of that time. So we went to the Czech Republic to cool down in the morning, where, near the village of Nove Mesto pod Smrkem , there is a lake on which you could improve your hygienic condition. Near the lake there is a camping, toilets, bars and the popular Singltrek pod Smrkem bicycle station, which is an unusual attraction for mountain bike fans who ride with their families along the route connecting the Czech Republic and Poland. After five days in Wolimierz, however, we missed the luxuries of civilization and rushed towards the sea to check off the next point of our holiday trip.
4. Wolimierz - Czaplinek - Karwienskie Błota
After the charms of festival life, we wanted some luxury. We were supposed to visit the area of Zielona Góra on the way, but in the end time was chasing us and we decided to make a jump to Czaplinek from where it was a stone's throw to the sea.
Camping Drawtur we visited was a typical big camping with bungalows, a marina, a canteen and lots of campers. There were large and well-kept toilets adapted to the needs of campers and a bar overlooking the marina. Warm water and a charming beach encouraged to swim, and the first steps (glides?) On the water were made by young surfers. There is also a diving school on the campsite, you can rent bikes and water equipment. For us, the camping is a bit too big, but we prefer smaller places, but you could definitely recommend it, although the prices were not low - it was the most expensive accommodation during our entire trip. Czaplinek itself , unfortunately, has little to offer apart from the lake. We visited the nearby Drahim Castle , which unfortunately did not make the best impression on us. Although the service is very nice and the idea for the commercial development of the ruin itself is fine, the cheap workmanship (e.g. plastic candles as candelabra) leaves a lot to be desired. Dzieciok liked it because you can change clothes and shoot with a bow and there were live rabbits, but we, adults, were a bit disappointed with the indulgence of the whole. We were also interested in the Ceramic Settlement in Sikory, but despite our efforts, we were unable to find it - we lost our way in the forest and turned back discouraged. Maybe someone will be lucky :)
After two nights in Czaplinek, we finally went to the seaside to meet our friends in Karwienskie Błota Drugie . The nearby Karwia is a real seaside resort with modern guesthouses, restaurants, fish bars, waffles and inflatable toys at every step. However, we do not miss such a crowd, which is why we were relieved to discover that Karwienskie Błota Drugie, probably due to the regulations restricting buildings in this place, are still more wild and less crowded. There are also restaurants (quite good too), shops and beach bars, but definitely less and it's not difficult to place. The nearby forests encourage bicycle trips, and among the forest paths we have met campers camping in the wild every now and then.
The water in the sea is eerily cold this summer, so one day we went to visit the nearby Żarnowieckie Lake to take a bath. Warm water and picturesque surroundings meant that despite the small beach space, the Lubkowo DPS swimming pool was densely crowded with tourists. We crouched down in the shade under a tree and enjoyed perfect weather, although it was not without difficulties. Modern toilets and changing rooms have been built next to the bathing area, but to use the toilet you have to get 2 zlotys (only such coins are accepted by the vending machine) and there is no possibility to change money in the area. You will also not find a shop or a chip kennel here, so we advise you to take your sandwiches or plan your stay back for dinner.
On plots of land in Karwienskie Błota, where, thanks to the kindness of our friends, we were camping, with electricity and running drinking water, after a few happy days we had to move on, towards civilization, to recharge our batteries and refill the water. We missed a big city, so after five days we set off towards the Tri-City where the Dominican Fair was taking place.
6. Karwienskie Błota - Sobieszewo Island
The Dominican Fair was just underway in Gdańsk and we were afraid of the crowds typical of the season on all campsites. Therefore, we chose a campsite slightly away from the city center - on the Sobieszewo Island , a good twenty kilometers from the Tri-City .
A large campsite located in the forest , despite the fact that it was occupied by regular visitors, still had a lot of free places where we could pitch. There are plenty of cabins, campers and tents on the campground. There are also playgrounds and toilets, which, however, did not encourage bathing. Fortunately, the beach is close and the water in this place is a bit warmer. The camping is pleasant, but all the joy of being outdoors was spoiled by the stench of burning rubbish, which someone from the campsite staff was passionately utilizing in this way: /
We rode a giant Ferris wheel and tasted the regional specialties of the Kashubia region. The wallet was also emptied at an alarming pace because every stall is something cool. Around noon, however, the crowd and, above all, the terrible heat were unbearable. We ate lunch in the Gdańsk Green Way and returned to the Island full of food. On the second day we left Gdynia - the port and the aquarium . Dar Pomorza captivated the little one and we, as sailors, were delighted. The Gdynia Aquarium also turned out to be a bull's eye - the system of early start of the trip also worked well here, because we did not spend so much time in the queue and we quickly got inside to hide from the heat. Exhibitions and wonderful fish, additionally you can download a free application on the phone, which will tell us everything about the exhibits. We stroked cod, discovered the secrets of the Baltic Sea bottom and learned how long the rubbish thrown into the sea decomposes. Soon, however, the aquarium was filled with visitors and after a while the crowd became a nuisance. Unfortunately, these are the charms of visiting this type of attractions in the season :)
Having visited what was to be visited and unable to bear the smoke of burning rubbish anymore, we headed towards the mazurka, where another meeting with friends awaited us.
7. Wyspa Sobieszewska - Ostróda - Jabłonka - Kalisz, that is the finish
Waiting for the agreed day of the assembly of the whole team, we decided to go around Masuria. We planned to visit a few places, but in the end we went straight to Ostróda.
The camping at OCSiR turned out to be a very nice place so we stayed there for longer. The campsite is small, grassy and surrounded by trees. For campers and tents there are separate, fenced off with low fences, quarters with an adapted, flat surface. Along with paying for the accommodation, we get a card - a key to the sanitary facilities, which this time turned out to be first class - everything new, clean and fragrant. Next to the building there are sinks and a roofed place for cooking. Although the campsite is located near the OCSiR, the watchman only watches over during working hours, also at night we are on our own - which did not bother us. Despite the fact that there is a marina and a busy disco nearby, we had no problems. The music did not disturb either, as did the trains running on the nearby tracks. However, it is definitely not a camping for people who value peace, quiet and intimacy - from the nearby road, the entire area is clearly visible and you can feel a bit like a candlestick. We liked it, especially since we were the only residents most of the time. Along with the weekend, there were some campers, but it was not a crowded place.
Ostróda itself, outside the period of the famous Festival, turned out to be a quiet and sleepy town. We quickly reached the city from the campsite on bikes along the newly built promenade by the lake. Most of the attractions are also located there - restaurants, a marina and a wakeboard track , apparently the longest in our country. We watched with interest the players' struggles on the boards and we felt the urge to try some day. In the park, we were interested in murals with a dragon, avant-garde painted garbage cans and city lamps dressed in sweaters. Despite the bad weather, we also went on a boat trip - unfortunately only on the nearby lake. The offer also includes cruises to Elbląg , with a ride on the famous slipways, and longer and shorter sightseeing cruises on the beautiful Masurian lakes, but unfortunately it involves a few-hour trip and our child is not a fan of long cruises. Even this two-hour voyage, despite the possibility of temporarily sitting at the controls of the ship, turned out to be too long for him. There is a shop with drinks, sweets and toilets on the ship, however, in the case of a longer voyage, we advise you to take something to eat.
Near Ostróda, there is the Ethnographic Park in Olsztynek . A magical place that we decided to visit, encouraged by last year's visit to Dziekanowice. Old cottages from all parts of Poland, with meticulously recreated interiors, farmyards and equipment spread over a gigantic and extremely charming area are what we love the most. A church, an inn, an old school, mills and farmsteads, beautifully kept greenery and farm animals (goats, chickens, geese, Polish horses) - there is a whole day to visit and each hut enchants with its originality. A great opportunity for a walk and practical learning about the former Polish settlement. Before entering the park, you can buy souvenirs, most of which are original folk handicrafts, and eat in a beautiful inn serving truly Polish specialties. We, as a veg, did not have a large selection of dishes there, but we drank a delicious dandelion drink and ate fresh salads straight from the garden. We recommend!
We were so good in Ostróda that we spent 4 nights there, which, apart from stays with friends, was our longest stop. However, "zero hour" struck and we set off to meet the rest of the team from Kalisz. At Lake Omulew , in a rented farm, we camped together for a whole week, enjoying the clean lake ... and the nearby distillery :) Jabłonka is a small town with a large number of summer houses and agritourism farms. There is a shop on site, you can rent floating equipment or eat in the restaurant at Pheasant's (we didn't have the opportunity to try it, but for carnivores, the menu looked very encouraging). Apart from the performances of the local village of housewives, which we managed to catch, there are not many attractions there - apart from the distillery mentioned above, which will be appreciated not only by fans of good drinks. Unusual alcohols in beautifully decorated bottles have become our most valuable travel loot this summer. The distillery can also be visited for a fee and the owners will tell you about all the secrets of producing these interesting drinks.
Parties, sunbathing, swimming, bonfire and fun - after an intense week in Jabłonka, a bit tired, we all went back to Kalisz. On the way, we visited the castle in Ciechanów, which is still being modernized. After standing in the queue, we were shown around the castle at an express pace, i.e. to the tower and back, serving maybe two sentences about the castle itself (e.g. "from here is a very nice view, but unfortunately you will not see much, because the walls are quite high" and "there used to be dungeons here, but now it's not") So we saw a small exhibition as a consolation and headed home. Friends after leave to go to work, and we repack for another trip - this time along the water route :) Well, that's a story on a different page.