I drive the car again out of the lair and head for the target number two.
This target will now continue for many days. In Lesser Poland are a lot of old wooden churches and other interesting wooden architecture. Although the architecture trail is in many sources mentioned as a hiking trail, I’m not sure that it is meant to be walked. There’s no uniform trail but it is possible to combine one’s own itinerary. So I made a rather random choice from the few hundred churches and other buildings.
The choice was reduced by one already yesterday evening when I discovered that the first planned church is actually located a long way from where I planned to go. There are repeating place names and the architectural heritage map does not work very well. The map and other information can be found here: http://www.drewniana.malopolska.pl.
The Chapel of Joseph the Craftsman in Ojców is easy to find, it is even on the Google map. First high cliffs appear next to the road as if I was in Meteora. The chapel has been built above the river and was a spa in its previous life. Czar Nicolay II forbade to build churches on the land in the area and so the clever locals didn’t build it on land. The chapel is of course locked but from the advertisements it is obvious that the place is being used. Getting into churches outside of the summer season is a matter of luck, persistency and ability to speak Polish.
As the address of the classical manor house in Glanów has been given the address of the fire department. In cooperation with tablet, coordinates and hand-held GPS I’m able to locate the correct building that is firmly fenced in and belongs to the Novak family. There are security company signs on the fence, two red cars in the courtyard and for a picture I should climb on the fence. This does not seem reasonable. The homepage could warn about angry owners.
A good example of manor architecture in Miechów is at first also in the fire department and then a bit further. On the door stands a young man. He says that the place is closed and it’s open actually only in summer. Then he admits that it is not complicated to let me have a look inside. He is waiting for school kids to arrive. Switches on the lights. He is about the third Polish person I meet here who can express himself in English. A low wooden house, more peasant-like than the previous one. Nice furniture and stuff inside. I sit already in the car when the young man runs to me and asks me to write in the guestbook. While I’m writing the school kids arrive and when I exit the house have they have been arranged by the door, say hello and look at me expectantly. But I only say ‘prszepraszam’ in order to push myself through the crowd and get back to the car.
Bells are ringing in the church of the Holy Trinity in Iwanowice Włościańskie. The outer door is open but I hesitate seeing funeral wreaths inside. Peeking through the glass on the inner door it is clear that nothing is going on there. Only one woman sits on a bench. I sneak quietly in and sit in the last row. The church is being renovated, scaffolding is in front of the side walls. I look around but don’t want to disturb the woman. Take a few pictures from where I am (it is good to have a silent camera) and go back out. There a brass band is gathering and a car with the deceased rolls in. Again, good timing.
The accommodation in Myslenice. Only Polish is spoken and a lot of it. The room is big and pretty. Since the day is still young one has to go explore. From the map I see a trail going up the mountain and someone has uploaded a picture from the in Google. Getting on the mountain takes some time because on the way I have to fight a dog. The dog and I might disagree about who started the fight but in any case I won. If the dog comes so close that I can kick it (and feel the need for it) then the damn dog is too close. And too aggressive. The owner yells in the background and shouts later some kind of apology that ends with a gentle dog. Good to know. Dog owners could go to the dog school more often or build a fence around their territory.
The trail is nice and the so are the views. Forest is high and quiet, except for a bird. Sounds like spring. Every now and then the massively rolling landscape comes into view from between the trees. After some time I reach a marked trail. It is also on my topographical map in the GPS. Suspicious. A really cool trail. I feel sorry to leave it when it starts getting dark.
Hiking trails are top secret in Poland. But what else can they do unless they want the Germans to flood the trails. But now a spy has got behind the Polish lines and found an online map of hiking trails. On these are all long and longer trails that the tourist information kept quiet about. Next time in Poland I will be walking 500 km in Beskides Mountains.