Thursday, 17 May 2012

Easter 2012 tourist visit...

So it's now a month since we got back and there hardly seems to have been time to spend on pleasure and future projects like posting on here. Of course it's always a pleasure spending time looking after Maia who's now 9 months old and already seems much more like a little girl than a baby - but she doesn't give us much time for extras.

Anyway, me and Andrew and Phil flew to Vilnius in Lithuania which is closer than Warsaw, plus we managed to get cheaper flights. It was great to be in Vilnius and we spent two days sightseeing - an uncommon pleasure for our visits to Poland. Part of the deal with Andrew and Phil was for them to comment on whether travelling to our rural corner of Poland could have an appeal to more ordinary travellers, and not only to keen eco-builders and permaculturists.

Phil only had a few days around OrchardyHaven but we did manage to explore the local town and library, and we went on a tour to the source of the Biebrza river and near the border of Belarus. There is all sorts of history here, and the Biebrza National Park is the biggest in Poland. The places we went aren't very touristy though - in fact it's not well set up for tourists yet...

View Our driving tour from Suchodolina in a larger map

In Lipsk we did find a well made camping and picnic area and an old bit of Polish WWII artillery over the road which pleased Phil. Then on the way back we took a detour to an agroturystyka (rural tourist accommodation) in Hamulka where they've done a great conversion of an old chata (small wooden hut) into a really comfortable place to stay. In fact we had our wedding reception in the barn there and they have other facilities for making traditional cakes called sekacz (see picture), having bonfires and rafting on the river. Click on the image or here for their website.

Photo of modernised old Polish cottage

We also found this old ruined windmill on the way which was very photogenic:

After Phil left we explored Bialystok (the regional capital) a bit, enjoyed the traditional Easter celebrations with the family, and visited Augustow (the most touristy local town).

Despite the fact that there were no cafes to be found for many miles (except Bialystok and Augustow), Phil and Andrew both say the enjoyed their visit. It is a beautiful spot we've found, although there's a lot of work to do. I'll have more details of the work we did in my next post.

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