Day 53 – Friday 16th of August – Vilnius to Warsaw (477km)
Maybe it was because the travelling was taking its toll on me, but today was one of the worst days of riding so far, and it should not objectively have been so. We got off to a great start – it was not raining anymore, temperatures were up and the sun was shining. The road out of Lithuania and into Poland took us through deep forests, so the landscape was great, and the road itself in very good condition, but the moment we crossed the border the day quickly changed for the worse. The landscape was still beautiful and the road was good, the problem is that I would not call it a road, it was rather a 400-kilometer long truck maneuver yard. I had never seen so many trucks on the road, not even in Russia, it seemed that 90% of the Polish population were truck drivers, and being stuck behind them was horrible. It was the same story on the oncoming lane, so I could not overtake them, I had to ride behind them, paying attention to keeping a safe gap, which meant not enjoying any of the landscape, while they lumbered at a snail’s pace down the road, belching black smoke into my face, and worst of all, since a truck has even worse aerodynamics than a brick, I had to suffer being buffeted about in the turbulence they generated.
Getting to Warsaw was a horrible ride, so I was very glad to find that there was no rush hour traffic and it was very easy to get to the hostel in spite of the size of the city. It had been a long day, and by the time we had unloaded and had a shower, it was starting to get dark, so we did not really have much time to visit the city, and I must say it was a real pity.
Here was another city we were not expecting much from, since any Pole you talked to recommended visiting Krakow and skipping Warsaw, but while it may not have the old town charm of other European cities, it is still a vibrant place, with lots to offer, and I regretted not having a couple of days to try some of the bars and restaurants in the area where the hostel was located.
The hostel itself was really nice, and when we came back to it after having had a wonderful traditional Polish dinner in the center, we found the girl from the night shift having a cigarette out on the street; she asked whether we were the ones travelling by bike (it was parked on the front door) and said that she had been looking at all the country stickers. We chatted a bit with her, and she said that it was really nice to see couples who had the thirst for adventure to go on such trips.