Fueled by the "defend the Białowieża" media frenzy my wife came up with an idea to visit Białowieża National Park. We carefully processed this idea and inspired by Green Velo commercials we've seen last year we decided to get there using mostly our muscles. In short: family bike trip.
Surprisingly my teenage kids did not protest much - this must have been a good omen!
I started planning the trip along the Green Velo bike trail (I used bikemap.net for that purpose) and it turned out we need to make about 900 km to get there. The plan was to start from Elbląg (this is where Green Velo starts) and get there by train also we didn't intend to ride all the way back but rather take a train from Białystok to Gdańsk.
We had 16 days to spare and after deducting 1 day for the return travel and 2 days for our stay in Białowieża we still needed to make about 70 km per day regardless of weather/accidents/whatever else you might think of.
It was not possible to precisely plan where we would sleep on any given day so we decided not to book any accommodation in advance but still we planned in what area we would stay for the night. As it turned out in about 25% of the cases we had to abandon the original plan and search for accommodation somewhere else. It was a good decision to pack tents which we used twice during those 2 weeks, other than that we once used my family hospitality, once we spend a night in a renovated XIX century palace but usually we ended up in farmhouses with rooms to let.
So there were 4 of us: myself, my wife Kasia and my almost 16 year old twins Mateusz and Szymon. This meant a lot of stuff to pack.
When you organize family vacations you usually pack all the stuff to the trunk of your car. Here the problem was that there was neither trunk nor car available. We used another solution which was two Extrawheel bike trailers and regular bike trunk with two panniers. Panniers mounted on the bike trailers were quite spacious so we were able to fit in:
- 3 tents,
- 4 sleeping bags,
- 2-3 sets of bike jerseys and shorts for each of us,
- rain jackets,
- regular clothing,
- tools and spare parts,
- supply of food for 24 hours,
- and a cat ... just joking - this was indigenous cat of Kandyty and we just asked him/her to pose for a photo (see intro image)
In short: we made it. After 12 days (2 days later than planned) we arrived to the heart of Białowieża National Park.
This is how we rolled through warmińsko-mazurskie and podlaskie - 950 km in total.
Here's a taste of some of the amazing sights from the trip. Click here to see more!
(1) Frombork. Copernicus was working here. (2) Swamps in wild Warmia. (3) One of many orthodox churches in Podlasie.
(1) Masurian lakes. (2) Crossing the Narew marshlands. (3) Augustów canal.
(1) Old railway station - today there's a bike trail instead of tracks. (2) All this green. (3) Traditional old farmhouse.