If I Eat Another Donut: Vilnius to Ganne - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

September 27, 2013

If I Eat Another Donut: Vilnius to Ganne

In the square of a small town.
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The donuts have to be a couple of days old. They were the only pastries in the shop, in any shop so far that I've been in in Poland.

I am sitting on a bench in the square of a small town. The houses around the edge are single story, some are wooden and a white church with double domed spires close off one end. The sky is almost cloudless and its ten o'clock on my watch, but I haven't put it back an hour yet, so its nine in reality; Lithuania being an hour ahead of Poland. Though, I'm my own time zone and world for the moment, because of the lack of verbal communication.

Some of the written words are obvious enough, such as: Sklep-shop. And on this bottle of Sprite I'm holding: Rabutu; and there's also: Do, in the same phrase, like in Portuguese.

I am still in north east Poland; lots of forest and marshy edged lakes. Where there's farmland its open to the road with old nineteen-seventies tractors cultivating and sowing cereal crops on strips between stubble. There are potatoes being harvested, some mechanically, but for the most part, there's a slow chugging tractor with a machine leaving a furrow of freshly turned earth dotted with potatoes where then, four or five men stoop gathering the potatoes into baskets to fill white hessian sacks.

Augustow has been the only town I've been in. That day I didn't have anything to eat since breakfast and so felt depleted approaching the "Centrum" (more Polish) a little after three. The street was rough uneven cobble stones up an incline to cross a bridge, then uphill into a large tree filled square. There was a Santander bank where I withdrew two-hundred Polish Zlotys from the ATM. I have no idea what the exchange rate is but that was the highest amount shown on the screen. I could then stock up, spending thirty in a grocery shop a little further along which didn't have much apart from sweets, soft drinks and beer. And donuts which I'd three of. Luckily I still had spaghetti and sauce for the evening and muesli for the morning: there was yogurt. There were no coffee cafes, just places serving beer. The information place was easily spotted, being a modern glass building with a big i on the inside corner of the square. The woman behind the desk didn't quite understand when I said hostel. She kept saying back "Hotel! Hotel!" Not wanting to sound impolite, I went along with her as she opened the book and pointed out a hotel by the river. Then I said hostel again and funny she said bluntly "Hostel busy!"

I decided to ride out of town and find a place in the forest to camp. But when I came out the dark clouds which had been looming upon the horizon since early afternoon had closed in and big drops of rain splattered the square. I waited, knowing the rain would soon pass.

This morning I ride on while the sunshine lasts. I remain on small byroads which have cycle-signs at crossroads showing the way ahead. The next town is Bailystok, twice the size of Augustow according to the area covered in brown on the map, meaning built-up; so, I veer and bypass to the west.

I lunch in a forest layby on cheese and bread, about the best I could get in that shop by the square in the small town earlier. Again, there was just sweets, soft drinks and beer and a display-counter with sausages and various bits of pig.

I eat another dry donut. Meanwhile there is a car parked nearby and a man is picking mushrooms. He come over and held out the small bucket for me to see the mushrooms he's picked, then laughs and continues laughing as he walks to the car.

Cloud-banks today.
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This afternoon has been the first since leaving Vilnius where the rain has stayed away, though the customary noon-onwards gathering dark clouds and black-blue curtain moving in from the side hasn't brought more than a brief shower, wetting the road before quitting. Today there's just been big banks of broken cloud making it chilly as they block-out the sun.

I see on the map that all the little roads stop ahead in an arc running from north west to south east along a snaking blue line, a river. The only way round is to ride east to a highway and over the bridge; but that'll be tomorrow.

It is now half seven (my time of course) and the sun has just set beyond the trees. The days are getting short and when I crawl into the tent shortly, I'll be in there twelve hours, mainly asleep. The mornings start cold and I've to warm my hands stuck in my pockets before putting on thick gloves. It takes nearly an hour riding warming up then.

This little fellow visited at supper time.
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Today's ride: 377 km (234 miles)
Total: 6,598 km (4,097 miles)

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