September 30, 2005 GMT
Poland

From the very beginning I promised myself to be a law obedient driver paying attention to the local speed limits. In Poland that was a problem. It was not that I felt like going faster, but everybody else did. For my own safety I aim to keep the same pace as the rest, but in Poland it was impossible without an extra tilt on the throttle. Evidently sixty means eighty, and eighty means hundred and ten. There is a race car driver in every Pole. They just canít stand being bypassed, and when I did I could be sure that he or she would put the pedal to the metal to reestablish the previous position in line.

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Would you spend two nights with these guys?

In Gdansk I met Maciek who not only have the same bike model but also share the passion for overlanding. His positive experiences made me feel even better about choosing a Yamaha for such a long ride. The prior idea was to stay at his place till next day, but the demanding underground club scene shattered the plan and we all had to recover till Sunday. It was raining again, but the guilt for not leaving sooner pulled me out of town. What a bore. The E75 going south must be the dullest drive on earth, especially if youíre driving an offroader. There was nothing to see and my automatic backup entertainment system activated, meaning that the rest of the day was spent inside the helmet.

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Yawn

The many guarded parking lots are marvelous. For a few coins you can safely leave your vehicle for hours, and the guards often prioritize two-wheelers by offering a spot next to the booth where they might fall asleep but not so much that they do not wake up if someone outside is fiddling with your chain lock. In Copernicusí birth town Torun I parked in such a place, indulged myself with a hotel room, and went for an evening walkabout. The main shopping street was wet and shiny and abandoned. An eye-catching woman in her late thirties hasted in the opposite direction as if she was late for an important meeting. She wore a tidy dark business suit, secretary style, beaming professional success. It was an odd sight on a Sunday night. The home of Copernicus was supposed to be in the neighborhood, but I soon gave up searching by the assumption that the museum was closed. On the way back I noticed a crowd with umbrellas outside a massive renaissance church. I elbowed my way through the open door and on to the overcrowded rain soaked main hall floor where a ceremonial was taking place. The prayers were deeply involved; I felt misplaced, and as I turned to leave our eyes met again. She was ruining her neat dress by being on her knees in a filthy puddle while doing business with the man above.

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The sheer evil that took place in Auschwitz is just too much to grasp

In Krakow I was welcome to stay with Pawel at a student home, but his room was also shared by his wife and new born child, so I camped with a friend two floors up. I do not remember this friendís name. Letís call him Bob. Well, Bob wanted to show me the town and was constantly asking what I wished to do, to see, etcÖ I know, it was with the best of intentions, but not very satisfying for me who wanted to experience their recreational preferences rather than repeating my own. After lingering for a while in a dubious side street I suggested we move on, but he said I had to be patient. Soon there would be girls around. Yes girls, I had said that I liked girls. No no Bob, not that kind of girls!

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Here I could have attached a photo of Zakopane, but Pawel and his wife is much better looking.

I was climbing the hills to Zakopane, as usual being bypassed by all other vehicles, when a green minibus came into sight in front. To my amazement the driver was doing no more than the sixty speed limit. I squeezed some extra fluid into the carburetor, oozed by, and settled at eighty. Hah, finally I defeated a Polish driver. Oh yeah, I am a really tough biker. But the self appraisal was barely at birth when the minibus became very large in the rear view mirror, and as it passed on my left side in no less than a forty above legal I got a glimpse of the driver. It was a nun. The whole minibus was filled with nuns!

Posted by Erik Saue at September 30, 2005 07:09 AM GMT
 



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