We cross the Sudeten Mountains into the northern European plain and then the Polish border. It always takes time to enter a country, to feel its vibration, its atmosphere, to taste its beauty. Slowly, we learn a few words of Polish and these are as many doors that open to us, these moments of sharing, sometimes for a few minutes at the roadside. These few words allow us to create a connection with the people and their spontaneous impulses. Their enthusiasm is then a wave of strength and courage for us. It allows us to cultivate that deep joy and gratitude, that connection to humanity beyond borders. Poland, by the way, moves us. We feel in this people a deep joy of living, a strength and a powerful resilience. The smiles of the people, their Dzień dobry to greet us. Andrzej explained that friendship in Poland is the greatest of all riches. It is more important than a house or money, because in case of need, it is only on them that one can count. It also reflects the geographical situation of Poland, surrounded by 7 nations. A multicultural people who were the first to recognise the rights of minorities. A people whose individuals have transformed the world, be it through the revolution of Nicolaus Copernicus, the composer and virtuoso Frederic Chopin, or the scientist Marie Curie. Above all, we feel how connected the Polish people are to the history of Europe and the world. Cycling through Poland is like diving into the corridors of Europe, its history, its ideas, its heritage and its tragedies. Poland is more than a reflection of it, it is a part of History.
In the heart of Poland
We sometimes feel History in marks of the past, like the scars of trauma. At times it seems to catch up with us in the violent images of war exposed, but still present in memories or in the subconscient. Yet tragedies have gone much deeper, not only into the known places of destruction and horror, but also into the forgotten, hidden ones, the ghosts of the forests. Perhaps like those torpid awakenings during our nights in the woods. Sometimes it is the barking of deer that wakes us up. The animals have been present to us as they have never been before. As if they were our guardians. Or like the lightning that struck the water a few metres from us, in the middle of a storm at 6 o'clock in the morning. The thunder and the flash were simultaneous, while the wind tormented the tent. Not forgetting the painful Soviet era. As a satellite of the USSR without being part of it, the Poles were subjected to this brutal, imposing and cold empire. However, communism transformed thoughts and ways of being. There is a luminous heritage like the Dziadka. These small country houses remain the heart of Poland. Or the bar mleczny, the canteens where traditional cuisine is served. The girls loved the chlodnik, the cold beetroot soup with a bright pink colour.
The people of Poland are a festive people. We feel this joy of living everywhere we go. This desire to be alive and vibrant! In fact, in Poland water transformed into vodka or whisky, and evenings were spent dancing on the patio. Poland called us, invited us to cross its lands. Our friends Nina and Matthieu's invitation to taste the best ice cream in the world in Warsaw turned into a real exploration of the country, and a crush. We had no idea or preconception of what to expect. We didn't even know which route to choose. The small country roads and cycle paths surprised us. We ride without traffic in the heart of the country. Nayla and Fibie are happy to be able to ride alone, completely relaxed, discovering the moments of life that are revealed to us. We instantly feel a kind of gentleness, in the people's eyes, in the landscape's configuration, in the small villages. Nayla will even say that the language is soft. Fibie was marked by the cows tied to a stake grazing on the grass. There are no fences or parks. We discover the churches, the magnificent ones made of wood or red bricks, of a very religious people whose songs and praises resound with joy. Above all, we find a population that is present in the villages. We feel that they are inhabited, alive. In the countryside, there is a feeling of simplicity, an impression of being outside the frenzy of society, in a return to more earthly or sober activities. It may be only a perception, but the smell of hay has lined our experiences with the scent of the earth. Then we discover these markets, these places where we instantly feel we have entered the backstage of the country. We then revel in the atmosphere that reigns there. .
On The Way To Warsaw
The mission was to reach Warsaw before Fibie's birthday so that we could celebrate it with Nina and Matthieu. It was the girls who chose and they rode more than 60 km a day to get there in about ten days. But nothing can be taken for granted. 600 km is a long way. The time to get discouraged and frustrated by the climbs, whereas Poland is flat, as everyone keeps telling us. Above all, time to live the adventure! Xavier is stopped short. The wheel of the cart is at a frightening angle. The axle has broken! Impossible to move! The community feels involved in our forced break and hopes that we can repair the wheel. They help us and bring us fruit and cakes. However, for 3 days, our route will be punctuated by repeated forced stops in the middle of the road for repairs. Xavier's golden fingers and ingenuity allow us to continue and arrive for Fibie's fifth birthday in Warsaw! She woke up with balloons in the tent and the reunion with her friends was enough to make this a perfect celebration!