Day 7 - Riding Through the Polish Countryside
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When people talk, VBT listens! Our original route was to take us down out of the Old Town and through the countryside south of the city of Sandomiertz. The return leg of the journey would lead us up some rather challenging hills and many of us were concerned. Our morning meeting allayed our fears and our dedicated VBT leaders offered an option to return to town as we had come and avoid the steepest hills. We could choose which route suited us best. The afternoon trip was also available - something for everyone
This leisurely day was just what we needed. The sun was shining, thanks to BB the weather girl (maybe she should take up meterology), and we threaded our way through fields of apple trees, berry bushes, cabbage and broccoli. onions, tomatoes and numerous greenhouses. People everywhere we out working in their gardens, stopping only to stare at all the bicycles as we rode past. We took to waving and calling out a friendly greeting to all. Response was mixed but we could only hope that our smiles and greetings would convey the pleasure we were having as we biked along.
At our snack stop, that seemed to come up so much sooner than we expected, we watched the farmers cultivating around the newly planted apple trees (as they paused in their work to watch as we stopped our bikes and ate our snacks). Row after row of new trees surrounded us, with the occasional plot of broccoli or onions. No wonder Tim felt at home in this part of Poland, so like his native Tuscany.
There were several Tricky Turns on today's route and the first challenge was particularly puzzling. The route notes told us to "ALWAYS STAY ON THE MAIN ROAD DO NOT TURN OFF ONTO SIDE ROADS" and at km 4.8 turn Left "Facing red & white arrows, & electric pole with religious monument of R" Now what are the chances of two, nearly identical turns that match this description within 5 km of each other
Tricky Turn Number Two, surely was a tricky one as we arrived just in time to see BB fly right by said turn. (If BB had missed it, we didn't have a prayer.) The pond that we were supposed to be looking for was hiding behind a hedgerow as our attention was distracted by the religious monument that we were also supposed to be looking for.
We carried on and overtook "Walking Sarah" who had just tangled with one of the local mongrels. Most of these noisey creatures, merely set up a loud din as we passed and sometimes came out into the road to be sure we knew we were not welcome near his domain. Sarah met one who backed up this warning with a nip at her shins. The incident was duly reported to our leaders and Sarah joined the evergrowing list of people with minor maladies.
Tricky Turn Number Three had been eliminated by the newly added route option to abort the challenging hills at the end of the original route. We could now ignore the 23.6 directions ( Left Turn "Just after the 3rd bus stop across from the brown wooden house.") It was a good thing we had this new option because I am sure we would have missed this turn anyway
All that was left was to bike right up the steep road that we had biked down earlier this morning. (I should add that this Minor Malady person had to push her bike up the steep slope, pausing about every 10 steps to smell the flowers and admire the scenery, anything to keep from keeling over on the spot. But I was happy that I was able to bike today through one of the nicest areas in all of Poland.)
After a short rest, a shower and a change of clothes, we walked back to Old Town to shop and have a lunch of LODY (aka Ice Cream). We joined Connie, Jean and Joanie for a piece of pizza at a sidewalk cafe on the town market square and then took a leisurely walk back to the hotel to rest, pack and update this blog.
Tonight we look forward to a cooking demonstration by the family who owns our hotel and sample a local favorite, Sandomierski mead, a traditional mead, brewed only in this region of Poland for one thousand years.
What an awesome evening we had
Dinner was fit for a Polish king. We began with Horseradish Soup with Potato Pancakes. Russian dumplings, chicken with pasta and Chambeau cheese and a luscious dish of beef rolls stuffed with beets were served in huge portions. The crowning touch was the dessert, our very own Apple Cookies. Finally, three kinds of mead were served as Chris explained the process of making mead and how one kind differed from another. Coffee and tea rounded out our meal. This hotel is truly one of the best experiences of our trip.
As dinner progressed, we realized that Chris was one and the same person who located our lost luggage on our first day in Sandomierz. We also learned that Chris was responsible for getting Bob to the hospital this morning.
Good night and thank you, VBT, for another wonderful day.