Kashubia and the Słupia river

With what do I associate our last majówka with? (Majówka is a Polish term for days free of work that covers two national holiday and people usually) I associate it with the questions asked: “Do you sleep under a tent?”, “Isn’t it too cold?”, “Was it freezing?”. And also with a bottle of hot water inside my sleeping bag to keep my feet warm. We did sleep in the tent, it was cold, but we didn’t get frozen. In comparison to last years, it’s visible that spring was much less ‘mature’ and we wore winter clothes! The most important thing though is that it didn’t rain, so we didn’t have problems with drying our clothes and setting the fireplace to warm up in the evening.

This year as our theme we have chosen the Słupia river trying a year before the Brda river, and two years ago the Drawa river as the trails not for the canoes only.
And again this time – we were not disappointed. Słupia Landscape Park and the trails along the river, turned out to be friendly for cyclists and for camping. We used camping places ready for canoe groups, whereas we met only a few canoeing people, so the places were empty (I guess why). We paid for campsites, for example in Soszyca, staying at a private place, as well as we camped in unpaid spots usually with some infrastructure (benches), always with a fireplace and positive inhabitants of near villages. In Lubuń for instance and Gałąźnia Mała we came across quite fancy touristic infrastructure. Innovative but not really convenient.

Before we went to majówka, we have read a bit about the Trail of hydroelectric power stations. This is the area between Słupsk, Lębork and Bytów, with power stations, bridges and canals generating the water flow. There are quite many of these objects on the way, many still at use. We reached a number of them, but also we missed some of the turnings to visit them, that makes me wonder whether they were badly signed or a couple of speckies with an analogue map was looking ahead only. However, what we managed to visit and see, you can spot in the gallery below:


kasHUBIA

We came across this simple slogan: Live positively! 🙂

If in Kashubia at the beginning of May the wind blew the opposite direction than it did, definitely our majówka would end up at Gotland or in Kaliningrad. To picture how strong the wind was I would say that we had to pedal even cycling down the hill. That’s all I would like to mention about the weather, as there was sunshine at least and we had nothing to complain about.

In Kashubia there is no time for being lazy. Downhill follows the uphill, at the winding roads. We liked the region because of its scenery diversity, broad fields and thick woods. Being almost at the seaside with mountainous landscape like in the southern Poland!

Touristic trails led along the lakes, rivers and protected areas. So there appeared information boards about basin profiles, curiosity of given areas, animals living there and plants. Reading that, one can feel a bit smarter, and there is always a chance to have a little break… for chocolate for instance 🙂

And so we felt wiser reading about Lobelian lakes in Pomerania. These are specific small lakes of characteristic water type, relatively clear, that only some plants and organisms of little mineral needs can live. Their name come from a plant Water Lobelia, typical for these kind of basins under the protection. In Soszyca we had a chance to have rest by the side of lobelian lake. We even saw quite big fish in the water… Pickerels?

As everywhere in Poland, a great number of wayside shrines and Catholic crosses say much about regional style and traditions of people. As everywhere it shows off much more than it is worthed. But that seems to be the aim – one cannot pass it without noticing. I like the colour and natural wood, these crosses might be the decoration of the landscape, but not plexi glass imitating the walls with marble-like sticker, with Jesus inside. Too much for me, no picture!

Sculpture, this is one of artistic medium in Kashubia. These are not only religious themes, also secular characters show up. However, number one, when it comes to art, is embroidery, with simple plant themes in just few colours. The decorations are really characteristic, I remember them from my family home, brought by my grandmother, motives on embroidered handkerchiefs and painted on plates. Now, I know that these had to be Kashubian souvenirs. Also, this is a Kashubian tradition in art – painted glass; decorative, colorful works, not to be found in Greater Poland region for instance. What I wanted to focus on, is the fact that being in Kashubian is something more, many interesting aspects, various traditions, a journey into different patterns and different attitude. We didn’t really have time to visit churches, museum or exhibitions, but it would definitely help to understand the local reality. At least they even have their own language! Whereas I wondered about double city names.

What interested us, these were old train routes, of which embankments go through Kashubian forests and tourist trails cross the train viaducts. We camped once in the neighbourhood of train bridge ruins, that was partly blown-up after the Second World War and we also talked to a grandson of a woman who remembers that day. The bridge was a part of infrastructure of railway route number 237, between Lębork and Bytów. After the route only embankments are left, some of viaducts and railway stations, which turned into houses and only their slim shape gives an idea of their lost character. As the rails themselves aren’t there any longer.

There are the things (to eat worth saying), that became a part of our ‘majówka canon’: soya sausages and toasts with ketchup done over the fire. Marinated garlic in a jar, best when added to evening pasta party. Oatmeal cookies with dried fruits. This year we have added jelly kisiel. We hadn’t eaten it for years, it is once again discovered taste of our childhood. I don’t even want to try it at home, I’m afraid of disappointment, as outdoors everything seems to be so delicious!

After our previous May weekends we wrote about some ‘special parts’ of trails that we came across this time as well. Maybe it was cold, maybe we pushed our bikes in the sand again, maybe it was against the wind, but it wasn’t that important really. As never before, we saw that many animals. We spotted shy hares, quick does, storks and some water birds, and even majestic erne eagle that noislessly disappeared in the forest seeing us. Variety surroundings of the Słupia river, wonderful landscape of Kashubia, sounds of birds singing in the morning, all these gave us a lot of positive energy. Again, the aura favoured us.

The season of camping-and-outdoor-beer-drinking is officially open! 🙂

G.

 

 

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