Friday, June 27, 2014

Day 49: to Görlitz, Germany via Poland (79; 3129)

The last Czech bit was again very satisfying, slow uphill through Hansel and Gretel villages and then a long long downhill with a view out over Poland and Germany. I did finally see a horse and cart but I suspect it was a hippy, rather than peasant, in the driver's seat. 

I stopped for brunch in Hradék nad Nisou where, as the name suggests, I picked up the beginnings of the Nisa (Neisse in German, Nisou in Czech). This river and the Oder which joins it later, will form my path for the next few days. 

This is a funny little corner of the world, where the Czech Republic, Poland, and Germany meet. My brain hurts with attempts at currency conversions and country-appropriate greetings. 

So back now to Deutschland, via a few km of Poland (where the petrol stations advertised their prices in Czech, Polish and US currencies). Despite Poland being the 12th country, I am thinking of referring to this trip as the 'four corners of Germany' route. I'm not sure I set out to see so much of Germany! 

I saw yet more hills this afternoon due to a river path closure - beautiful riding up and along a high ridge of cornfields, but hard work with endless swooping ups and downs.

There are flags flying absolutely everywhere in Germany now. The standard for your car, as well as flying flags from the windows, is to have red yellow and black booties covering the back of your wing mirrors. I'm not actually sure when the next World Cup match is... But Germany is definitely ready for it!

Tired, but with no camping spot in sight, I asked in the tourist info in Görlitz. I was told firmly there was no camping, and then very helpfully found a cheap room at an unusual herberge in a huge gothic house. I'm very happy with the arrangement, but amused to note there is indeed camping marked on the town map that the tourist centre gave me - but it's on the Polish side of the river so presumably invisible to the German tourist info office!

This is an amazing town for architecture (4000 listed buildings!). Blows Cambridge right out of the water, though the old town is strangely quiet this Saturday night, suggesting it's strictly for tourists. 

The headline of the promotional brochure says 'Görlitz: For many simply the most beautiful town in Germany'. I love the modesty / qualification presented by the 'for many'. 

After a cheap and cheerful German supper I strolled back through Poland. The cafés next to the bridge were full and thriving (note to self: eat in Poland), as were the cigarette shops. Differences presumably in tax - also minimum wage and profits? Away from the bridge it is obvious that the German half has had a huge amount of care put into restoration work, which is only just beginning in Poland. Still there are signs showing plenty of EU money flowing across the river so the two will doubtless match again soon.

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