Sunday, 16 August 2009

And watch the river flow

I've been wanting to cycle up to the Vistula for some time now; the weather being perfect (+30C, not a cloud in the sky, light south-westerly breeze), so off I went. A ride totalling 43km. I reached the village Gassy (presumably not named after the effects of an egg-and-cabbage diet on its inhabitants). Here are some sandy islands on the river, and two promontories from which a ferry service once linked the two banks. Click on panoramic photo above to see it full size.

We are 9km upstream of Góra Kalwaria and 19km downstream of the Siekierki bridge; in other words, there's no Vistula crossing in over 28km! (Imagine the Thames with no bridges downstream of Twickenham until you get well beyond Chertsey.) Poland needs more river crossings!

On the other side, plenty of wild sandy beaches. The river, sadly, is not fit to swim in, being in effect an open sewer. Water quality will rise sharply once municipalities stop pouring untreated effluent into rivers; this must happen by 2012 if they are not be incur heavy fines from the European Commission. But that means a massive programme of water treatment plant construction - which I don't see happening right now.

I cycle a long loop back, off road alongside the Jeziorna river, then across it, and through Bielawa back to Powsin on home.

There were a great many cyclists out today - a very positive thing for the nation's health. Below: A cyclist on the opposite bank of the Jeziorna river (70m away). Warsaw's skyline is ten miles away, foreshortened through the long zoom.

Bielawa looks like a nice place to live - plenty of new houses though quiet, plenty of countryside all around, not too far from the city centre, and the Vistula so close to hand.

And a common thread with Jeziorki. Two-thirds of its way from Okęcie sidings to Siekierki power station, a fully-laden coal train heads northwards.

1 comment:

White Horse Pilgim said...

I have a splendid book here, one of those pre-1989 Polish photo books (all black & white) showing the Vistula from end to end. What an interesting river. I hope that the photographic tradition is still alive and well in Poland - beyond your blog which has such interesting photos, of course.

I remember some great bicycle trips across southern Poland in the 1980s - in those days the roads were very quiet. Whole troops of Scouts were off cycling to the mountains. Highlights included seeing a railway junction with five steam locomtives at work, travelling quiet roads in the Bieszczady, and camping with numerous students in wild and tranquil places. At Biesz I came across a medieval walled hilltop town without a tourist in sight - I expect that has changed since then.