In Złocieniec, whose romantic name now harmonizes with the colors of the surrounding hills The Old Railway Trail, I got here from Kołobrzeg intersects with another one, in principle, the longest bicycle route in Western Pomerania - the Western Lake District Route.
For now, it intersects quite virtually - at this point the trail is marked out, but not marked - that's why this time I opted for a GPX track (available for download just like map PDFs from official sitesand).
Like the Old Railway Trail, The Western Lakeland route has two branches, which connect in Ińsko - one runs from Szczecin through Stargard, the second one from the border with Germany in Siekierki. The end of the route in Miastko near Bialy Bor on the border with the Pomeranian Voivodeship. That's more than 400 kilometers of bicycle paths and over 300 km from one end of the voivodeship to the other.
Looking at work map can be seen, that the percentage of completed roads dedicated to bicycles is lower here than in the case of route no 15, but also the route is longer and the most construction is underway. As a result, you need to prepare for now, that in some sections there is already "West", but on others it is still very wild - in a word, sometimes the route looks perfect and sometimes there is still nothing.
The name of the route itself - WESTERN LONGITIES – is a promise for me in the hottest weeks of Polish summer. LAKE -> LAKE -> WATER -> COOLING! In the native Mazovia, there have always been few summer baths - there are no lakes or sea, as a child, I used to splash around in a large tin bathtub in the backyard. And it's fantastic, when on our bike path, the reservoir appears especially in hot weather. Even better, when you can bathe there. Here, as it turns out, the possibilities are numerous.. Well, and pedal and take a break to splash in the water - it sounds perfect. A day without a bath is a wasted day.
Before me it was about 200 kilometers of the Pojezierna route from Złocieniec to the border with Germany in Siekierki. There I was able to jump on the next bike route - Blue Velo and pedal to Szczecin. Good plan, just in time for a week (at my pace ..).
Section ZŁOCIENIEC - DRAWSKO POMORSKIE - IŃSKO
For Złocieniec, in the initial section, the trail coincides with the blue bicycle trail "Around Lake Siecino" and runs through the forest. The asphalt is a bit old, but there is shade and peace, no need to complain. Over there, where there is a completely new car park and a resting place with shelters, turn into a forest gravel road, but I'm going a few hundred meters further, examine, are there any traces of the construction of "Berlinka", because the map shows, that its course was planned nearby. But there is nothing conspicuous here.
Though it's always fun in the woods, it's about 10 kilometers of driving towards the village of Zamęcin on a dirt road made me even tired. A bit of elevation and quite a lot of rubble, the road has done their job. Maybe it was not yet a moment, to manage rest, but when i saw, that there is a village beach on Lake Zarańskie some kilometer from the route, I turned right there.
The beach is small, how pretty, There is also a picnic area next to the water. And it is a zone of silence - admittedly, it is not perfectly quiet because it is a hot Sunday and a lot of bathers, but at least on the lake of boats with internal combustion engines you will not experience. While resting, I dug into the curiosity – there was a stronghold on the lake in the early Middle Ages, whose traces have been found quite recently. The bridge has been located, the castle rampart and such monuments as ceramics and weapons were excavated. You can drive up there, there are visible traces, but not maintained. And there might be another Biskupin here.
Bells are ringing on the market square in Drawsko Pomorskie - the faithful enter the historic parish church in the city center, Mass will be soon - I'm not going to visit now. A large painting on the wall of the neighboring building informs about over 700 years of history of the city. In the historic building of the Salt Warehouse, right next to the church, there is a Tourist Information Center - unfortunately it is closed on Sundays. Probably more interesting than Drawsko itself is the area, and that is another reason, to hang out there longer.
I left Drawsko Pomorskie in the late afternoon and the wind was blowing on my back, that it is almost a shame for a cyclist to blow so much, because according to a famous saying, always blows in the face. Well, not always. My loaded bike was speeding, and I didn't even have to pedal too much. I only slowed down near the village of Kumki, because the asphalt has run out.
Often there will not be the route description napisano "Episode Wiewiecko – Drawsko will be completed at a later date, however, only part of it is difficult to pass (Kumki-Brzeźniak forest dirt roads)”.
This is where I found a bicycle "wild west" – be too (more optimistic version) an ideal attraction for followers off-road. Along with the meters of pushing the bike through the sand, and then driving along a no less arduous cobblestone passage and the setting sun, fear grew, I'm stuck here for the night. To my surprise, but also joy, that I did not get lost, symbols of bicycle routes appeared on the trees. It's a bit bizarre, because this is the place, where it is rather impossible to cycle for a few kilometers… And to be clear - I do not need smooth asphalt, but a compacted surface at all suitable for cycling on the so-called "bicycle" routes would be welcome.
However, when you look at the map, it's hardly surprising.. An alternative to driving towards Ińsko is the national road number 20, but driving on national roads by bike - don't be afraid to be afraid. Let's avoid it like the plague. South of Drawsko Pomorskie lies the famous military training ground - no route can be drawn here either. It remains to wait, until the fragment of Kumka - Brzeźniak will be improved, and for now focus on less comfort.
These are interesting areas. In the middle of a forest, at the junction of roads from Brzeźniak, Wiewiecka I Ginawy lies the abandoned village of Brzeźnica. There are several houses and one church on the hill, still remembering German times. But also the surroundings, through which the "Berlinka" motorway was to pass. There are no residents, there are buildings, which you can look at – the place is supposed to be impressive. The next point to know in more detail, if I returned to this area - and preferably "lightly".
– It has been in many of your conversations, and I want to ask – what should i know about Insk, what Wikipedia won't tell me? I asked on facebook
– Ińsko is magical, will guide you by itself …
Finally, I also came to the mysterious Insk. And I got there with a bicycle path through Waliszewo and Storkowo, freshly poured with asphalt ribbon. The asphalt was almost hot.
But it is BUILDING here! While driving, I watched as work on the construction of new bicycle routes continued - ground leveling and pouring asphalt over many kilometers, passable, although they still have to be marked and collected – fantastic to see, how does it happend!
Ińsko welcomed me with a sleepy atmosphere, exactly like that, what a monday morning could be after a long weekend, when most of the tourists have already left. There were also few bathers. Perhaps the cloudy sky scared away the willing, or maybe they were invisible under the water - there are popular diving bases here and many attractions under the surface of the water.
The observation tower was opened last year. I've climbed many lookout towers, but they were usually wooden structures, and a modern steel structure with a colorful decorative mosaic was erected on the lake in Ińsko. Upstairs it blows well - it's almost 30 meters high (yes, I was afraid when going down), 8 levels and viewing terraces., if the elevator was still open, which is there .. already broke. Fantastic view of the area. Lake surrounded by forests and in the distance Mount Głowacz - the largest hill in the area - "whole" 182 metry.
It's not empty everywhere – there is a small queue at the fish stand at the end of the promenade. Fresh, smoked ... whole and in carcasses.. The whitefish is gone.
Fish and crayfish from Lake Ińsko were famous in the entire Pomeranian province. This is evidenced by the cancer monument at the lake Insko, it alludes to the legend of a giant crustacean, which came out of the lake's waters and destroyed the surrounding buildings - captured by deception, to this day stands chained on the lake shore.
Crayfish are said to be seen in the lake water from the pier in the city bathing in Ińsko. It is situated at a distance from the center on the border of the Kamienna Buczyna reserve and that, I blame the fact that I didn't get there, the weather that didn't encourage bathing. A shame, because it's a big area, nice sand and a new U-shaped deck, which separates the bathing area. It is said to be the largest pier on Polish inland waters. And above all, first-class purity water – nothing unusual, that there are crampons, which live only in the cleanest waters.
The idea slow travel wcielam w życie na każdym kroku, ale jednak chwilami zaczyna mi przeszkadzać, że kilometrów prawie nie ubywa. Przeszkadza mi też ubywająca ilość czystej garderoby w sakwach no i braku prysznica na wczorajszym noclegu na dziko, skręcam zatem na kemping Linówko zaraz przy trasie nad jeziorem. Prysznic kosztuje 5 PLN , coś tam przepieram a właścicielka dopytuje o moją podróż.
– jeszcze wczoraj proszę pani to namioty tu wzdłuż ścieżki stały tyle było ludzi!
Ciekawe dlaczego wczoraj nocowałam na dziko 🙂 – nie lubię tłoku i hałasu, unikam polskich kempingów w weekendy, szczególnie w sezonie. Nocując na łonie przyrody tez bywa głośno, ale są to jedynie odgłosy zwierząt – barking of foxes or deer, roar of deer, croaking of boars.
In Ińsko, two branches of the Western Lakeland route connect - one of them leads through Stargard to Szczecin, the second one to the south towards the border with Germany in Siekierki. I choose the latter.
Behind Linowk, through Biała a nice section of the route along local roads through the western part of the Iński Landscape Park. As befits a postglacial area, it's not flat here, moraine hills add variety to the horizon and force more effort in pedaling.
After crossing the national route, the number 10 The GPX trail leads me across the Ina River to Sławęcin and further to Choszczno, on google maps quite indistinctly. My approach to the adventure is somewhat controlled. While on my way, I check the practical information, tourist and sightseeing and weather forecast taking into account the wind direction. sometimes, that it affects my itinerary and accommodation plans. After the episode of Kumki – Brzeźniak also started to consider checking the surface, so in Suchanówek I make sure, whether the passage is possible and what is the surface.
– Yes Yes, you can the host when asked confirms. A lot of people like you are here on a bicycle.
Here I go.
This time it is not particularly difficult – ordinary forest road, then a large meadow, some concrete slabs and thickets – one must look for the bridge. Before Sławęcin, sandy a few hundred meters before going to the asphalt. This is a weak point, but to survive.
Episode CHOSZCZNO – MYŚLIBÓRZ – BARLINEK
Just behind Choszczno - when leaving, keep to the trail, because the route is unmarked - surprise. The new cycle path runs roughly parallel to the road 151. Finishing works are still going on until now, as of this writing they are probably finished. Yep, Here again, the embankment of the liquidated railway line was used to create a bicycle route.
Lubiana station, which you pass along the way looks like a railway open-air museum. There's a steam engine here, semaphores and lots of other railroad details. The place is in private hands and the owner wants to give it a look, as it was supposed to in the past and memorize the inhabitants, that it was once a train station. Bravo.
And to Barlinek there is a dream bike route. Again the European standard / The worst, however, is right outside the city, where the path comes to a busy main road and there is no alternative there, just ride on it.
A holiday in Pomerania is associated primarily with sunbathing and splashing in the Baltic Sea. Error. After all, the entire inland waterway south of the coast is the lake district. Myśliborskie, Choszczeńskie, Ińskie, Drawskie.. What, that there are lakes in the lake district is obvious, but I didn't realize, how nice the bathing areas are here. Cieszyn, Insko, Zaransko, Barlinek and then Myślibórz and Moryń.. lots of others, whose names I don't remember and those, where I haven't been at all – offered it, which is the most fun – clear water and nice sand. Infrastructure, too (although it would give me complete happiness, I would add outdoor showers and changing rooms to it).
The most beautiful - and here I can not stop admiring - is the historic bathing beach "Pod Sosnami" - the city beach in Barlinek. An absolute hit!
The historic building and the swimming pool on Lake Barlineckie were built in the interwar period – in 1927 year. Unique "alpine" style, completely unusual in these areas. And what was it like in those days?? Well, almost the same as today! And this must be appreciated.
For many years the place was managed by a tenant, which was not good for him. The city recently took over the facility and it was a good decision. Fact, I was lucky - it rained all morning, and when the sun looked out, there was no crowd on the beach – only a few people. Few footprints on the evenly raked sand. Semicircular wooden building of the swimming pool, in which there are cabins - changing rooms (currently only two available), absolutely captivated me. The pines in front of the main entrance add character to the place, creating an atmosphere, which no old health resort headed by Sopot would be ashamed of.
– It is a brand new pier - said the gentleman serving the bathing beach. And seeing my interest, he brought a photo board - we had an exhibition about the history of the bath here, he said. Mrs, we just opened 1 August - was supposed to be renovated, but an investor would not make it this year. As soon as it turned out, the city was used by visitors and residents for free. You've seen the toilets? Renovated, clear. And some rooms are for rent up here. Only 60 PLN , what is that price, it will probably go up. added. I am you.. it's also a rare species.
And since a large dark storm cloud appeared on the horizon, I ran quickly for a swimsuit - to be able to soak at least a moment. How to pass such an opportunity here, it would be a sin.
The cloud passed by and I went to visit the center of Barlinek. Historic red brick parish church, which dates back to the 13th century, market, promenade by the lake, near the Barlinek promenade, with a view of the fountain emerging from the lake's surface, the preserved and restored city walls and next to them (as well as in other parts of the city) - freshly placed marking of route no 20 – Western Lake District.
Barlinek, next to Trzcińska-Zdrój, it is the second city, which I liked the most. It is a medieval city founded in the 13th century, zwane Berlinchen albo KleinBerlin, that is, little Berlin. For many centuries, life went on inside the ramparts, with which it was surrounded. Along the preserved fragments of walls with several gates, a tourist route leads through gates and towers. For more information, you can visit the Museum of the Barlinek region.
In the 19th century, Barlinek became a holiday destination for the inhabitants “great” Sedan. Needless to say it's so popular – it is probably the most beautifully situated city in Western Pomerania – over the water, among forests - the city is bordered by the Barlinek Forest and the Barlinek-Gorzów Landscape Park, which extends over 26 thousand hectares.
The location among forests was decisive, that Barlinek became the European capital nordic walking – fans of this sport have at their disposal as many as 7 routes of varying difficulty with a total length of up to 50 kilometers.
It lies on the outskirts of the city Paper mill, which the hostess in agritourism recommended to visit, in which I stayed. The half-timbered building was built in the 18th century as a paper factory, later transformed into a mill and operated as such until the war. Fortunately, he avoided demolition and thanks to the interest of a group of enthusiasts, a Cultural Center is being built here. The building is undergoing revitalization, but apparently it is possible to visit the partially restored interiors after making an appointment by phone.
A beautiful DDR runs from Barlinek towards Myślibórz to Dzików (road dedicated to bicycles). The fun ends on the road no 156, where a gravel detour through Podgórze is currently proposed. Wanting to gain time, I continue my drive along the main road to Mostków, to jump there again on the freshly devoted DDR to Sulimierz. The former building of the Sulimierz station is now a residential house, and in front of it an architecturally interesting solution was built - two bitumen strips and a pavement in the middle. The whole thing looks interesting.
I follow the trail to Myślibórz, which runs along the path and along the forest road behind the villages of Głazów and Dąbrowa, a bit of weaving and weaving here, but this is only a temporary detour. Apparently, there is already a tender for the construction of this section.
Myślibórz is similar to the cities in the region - in the center, the medieval urban layout is preserved, partially restored city walls, tower, entrance gates. A very beautiful parish church dominates its panorama. Unfortunately, a bypass would be very useful here, TIRs run along the street close to the city center and the historic gate, which definitely does not encourage walking in this area. I am also shocked by the architectural chaos within the old town, which is unfortunately common in Poland – for example apartment blocks right next to a historic church or city walls.
However, a large park on its outskirts encourages you to rest, on the shores of the lake, there is a nice city beach and a bathing area. You can rent pedal boats, a boat and treat yourself to a holiday by the water. So I did. To get to know the Myślibórz Lakeland better, it should take off from the route to the north, where there are several beautiful lakes.
Trzcińsko - Zdrój and Myślibórz are connected by a national road, Unknown, that it is not a suitable place for cycling. The proposed detour through Nawrocko, Piaseczno and Stołeczna is pleasant and leads largely through the forest – against my fears, that I will drown in the sand there almost all the time is of poor quality, of asphalt.
I have it somehow, that I am interested in palaces more than churches - it is not only about the building, architectural form, but also usually a piece of an interesting story about people, who lived in it. The more I can not forgive myself, that I missed the beautiful palace in Stołeczna. On the other hand, however, I did not notice any information boards there. And it is a very interesting building with two different towers with distinct elements of Art Nouveau. As if someone was interested - it has just been put up for sale. Although neglected, it is not a complete ruin that is one of the greatest attractions of the Trzcinsko-Zdrój commune. Don't miss this place.
TRZCIŃSKO-ZDRÓJ – SIEKIERKI (most, border)
Do you also start your visit to the town by looking at the Tourist Information? Yep? No? Then start! Tourist information in Trzcińsko Zdrój probably has it all, what a person visiting a new place may need, and even more - everything, what a cyclist may need.
Mr. Jarek, an enthusiast of these lands and a guide in Trzcińsk, he opened the tourist information on his own initiative. This is a new place on the city map. Need maps of bicycle routes and the surrounding area? They come in a huge selection. Cold drinking? Here it is. Tube? Also. Quick couplers or ties? - it is a little bit useful for every cyclist. What else will come in handy? Shower! Yep, there's a shower here! Although it is mainly open on weekends, the owner will come over if you call earlier.
I recommend a walk or a ride along the defensive walls in Trzcińsk Zdrój - these are medieval town fortifications preserved almost around the entire perimeter, along with defensive gates and towers, which is a rarity.
Well, and Trzcińsko received the second part of the name for a reason – "Spa". At the end of the 19th century, deposits of peloid peat were discovered in the area, with a high content of minerals, especially iron and sulfur, thanks to treatment, patients started to come here, and Trzcińsko became a health resort. A beautiful spa house with a concert pavilion and a ballroom was built on the lake shore. Unfortunately, after the war, it was not possible to reactivate the spa and the building of the spa house had various functions - for many years it has housed a Nursing Home. Unfortunately, I couldn't see the building closely, access to the DPS area is currently closed (pandemic restrictions) - which is a pity, the building looks really interesting.
What impressed me the most in Trzcińsk was the historic town hall building in the city center. Seven centuries of history, is one of the oldest and best-preserved monuments of this type in Poland. A squat body with a high gable roof with decorative tracery at the top. Apparently, the interiors with beautiful gothic cross-mesh vaults are no less interesting. An architectural gem.
The last time for me, and perhaps the initial part of the Western Lakeland Route for some. The border section of the cycle route, approx 40 km can be considered a model and it reminds me of the Połczyn Zdrój - Złocieniec section on the Old Railway Route. Almost its entire length follows the old railway embankment - construction was completed in 2018 year. The chronology of the construction of the railway line and its conversion into a bicycle path is interesting, which can be checked on the commemorative obelisk located along the route. The implementation was possible thanks to EU funds - I would like to applaud once again such spending of money from the common European and regional funds.
I leave Trzcińsko late, because I asked at tourist information, and I want to make it to the campsite in Mirów before dusk, which I was recommended. On such a route, drive these 18 kilometers, however, is the moment.
– accommodation in a yurt or a tent? You can choose at will, dziś jest pani sama, to rzadkość słyszę po dotarciu do Mirowa.
Jurcie? Niech będzie i jurta, ostatni raz spałam w niej w Kirgistanie, albo jeszcze Chinach. Tu jurta jest bardziej zeuropeizowaną wersją tamtejszych, ale na pewno stanowi atrakcję tego fajnego i nietypowego miejsca, które jest doskonałym przykładem inicjatywy lokalnych mieszkańców związanych bezpośrednio z budową w pobliżu trasy rowerowej. Ale bez obaw – miejsca na namioty jest tu dużo.
Dzień ma być upalny i taki jest. Kto może jedzie nad wodę. Na szczęście w niewielkiej odległości od trasy rowerowej znajduje się leży jezioro Morzycko i miejscowość Moryń. I co tu dużo mówić – kąpielisko jest zadbane i ładne a woda czysta i przede wszystkim mokra.. 🙂 Warto.
Spacer alejką wzdłuż brzegu jeziora dostarczyć emocji dzieciom – znajduje się tu „Aleja Gwiazd Plejstocenu” z naturalnej wielkości figurami ssaków epoki lodowcowej i modelami ich tropów, oraz lapidarium z głazami narzutowymi. To fragment Geoparku – Kraina Polodowcowa nad Odrą. To też wyjaśnia, dlaczego przed zachowanymi murami obronnymi miasta stoją dwa mamuty. Jeszcze tylko rzut oka na kościół pw. Ducha Świętego, which is an interesting composition of architectural styles - gothic and romanesque, and the top of the tower is wooden, Inside, there is a baroque pulpit and an atypical and unique altar made of granite.
The last kilometers of the bicycle route lead through the picturesque areas of the Cedynia Landscape Park. The world and I melt into the hot afternoon air, therefore the inscription "ROWERZYSTO, TAKE A BREAK!”Klępicz appears at the right moment at the former railway station. Chairs, a bench, shadow, some funny elements of zoning – is a cyclist-friendly place, another example of a local initiative. A large poster encourages you to come to a charity picnic for a sick child, which will be held here tomorrow.
Just the sign “Border of the state 1 km ”and a fence, end of route. Somewhere down there, the stream and the backwaters of the Odra River. But that's not the end of the project – the fence protects the construction site – namely the reconstruction of the bridge over the Oder. "Adaptation of the European bridge Siekierki – Neurüdnitz for tourism ”within the INTERREG cross-border cooperation, implementation program 2019 - 2021 the information board says. Translating this into a more understandable language - the bridge over the Siekierki Odra is undergoing reconstruction- Neurüdnitz. Rebuilt after the war, it served only the army, now it will be adapted for tourist purposes – pedestrian and bicycle traffic. When the road to Germany by bicycle is built next year - and vice versa is open and the Western Lake District Route will join the system of German bicycle routes in Brandenburg and Berlin.
It will be a tourist gem. Looking forward.
Together with the first drops of the rain that nature desires, I changed my direction to the north - this time along the Blue Velo route to Szczecin.
I look at the use of EU funds with both a friendly and critical eye, especially, that I had to deal with it professionally.
For the last two months of traveling by bike, I passed dozens of boards with the EU logo. It can't be denied, że te środki pomogły i jeszcze pomogą nam tutaj w Polsce cieszyć się coraz lepszą infrastrukturą rowerową, zrewitalizowanymi obiektami jak kąpielisko w Barlinku czy odnowione mury miejskie w Trzcińsku Zdroju. Przyszło mi do głowy, że nawet ja, podróżując w pojedynkę bezwiednie realizuję politykę “równości szans” w polityce horyzontalnej UE – jakkolwiek koszmarnie by to nie zabrzmiało – zachęcam wszystkie kobiety do wdrażania 🙂 (tu może przydać się mój poradnik w temacie). Nie pozostaje nic innego jak korzystać no i dbać o to dobro.
In the region of West Pomerania, approx 1100 km of bicycle routes. 85% financing the construction of bicycle roads is secured by EU funds under the Regional Operational Program 2014-2020.