Grodno, 23.05.2019

About 250 km north of Warsaw there’s an area dotted by lakes called Masuria. Having heard so much about it in the past I was very curious to see it. As I approached the Wolf’s Lair (see previous post at the bottom), the lakes were all around the hilly landscape, between the forests of tall, white trees. Sometimes the trees stand in a swamp of green-black water. The fields are either deep green, or bright yellow in this time of the year. When I stopped to get out of the car, especially in the afternoon, there’s a whole concert of birds, insects and frogs.

After leaving the bunker complex, I had another 90 mins to sundown. I thought about spending the first night in my tent, and after 40 mins driving, in an area with less villages (peace), lakes nearby (view) and hills (less humidity/no swamp if on top) I started to look for a spot to camp. The Mini can’t go too far off road, so my range was limited. After about half an hour I had found a spot. No lake-view, but some wonderful fields ahead an a forest protecting from the wind behind me. Wonderful, excited to light my first camp fire! I got out of the car, checked the perimeter, listened to the concert described above, and got my tent out. As I opened the bag, fine white sand fell through my hands, a souvenir from the last time the tent was used in the flat deserts of Oman! Time to roll out the tent (10-15 seconds), and an army of mosquitoes started to attack me. And what mosquitoes, these were dino-size ones. I tried to resist for a minute, as I generally am not too appealing to these beasts, but the type here in Masuria was a lot more in love with me. No chance – pack the tent again. Tonight hotel – epic fail!

The lake at Elk.

As the sun disappeared on the horizon I rolled into Elk and drove to the lake promenade to find a room to sleep for the night. All hotels/apartments didn’t have rooms, except the very last one, Faust apartments (what a name…). They also had some delicious pierogi, beet soup and local pivo, and my night was safe.

Learning to fly.

The next morning I left Elk, that turned out to be the birth town of author Siegfried Lenz. After a quick stop at a supermarket when I came back I noticed a crack on my windshield. WTF, how could this happen in a garage parking? Anyway, I’ll have to live with that, as I’ll not fix it before Central Asia, where it’s likely the windshield will be hit by more stuff. Driving out of town in the bright sunshine, there were picturesque white clouds on the blue sky. Time to stop at a lake and take a break. And so I left the main road and after a few villages found a track off the road that lead to a spectacular lake, with a parking space right at the water. At a distance fishermen on a tiny boat made the perfect picture scenery. I got my brand new and tiny camping chair and table out, as well as my moka, and prepared the first outdoor caffé of this trip. After days of filter coffee it tasted delicious. It also made me arrange my stuff differently in the car, to make cooking/eating more practical and storing away stuff I don’t need right now. This usually is a process on these trips, and in a few weeks the car will be a lot more spacious.

First caffé spot from the moka.

As I sat at the lake, enjoying caffé and panorama, I worked on my drone-flying skills a bit. The lake concert was in full swing, and the rustle in the reed around the lake confirmed there was a very active fauna. How wonderful this felt! After days of driving, a lot of history and thoughts on the road, the relaxing is starting. Finally.

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