And where are we going? Correct! To Lodz! Why are we going there? This year the Wima Rally takes place in Estonia, and we decided to participate there and to enjoy the ride to Estonia to the max.
The last days were just stress. Business trips, and approvals at construction sites, and I finally managed to come home on saturday.
I had only the evening to pack and to print out the route map for the coming day sections in detail .
Additionally I changed the complete tank lock, as it did block over the last weeks mre and more, and I do not want to risk to get stranded in Estonia on the way, without fuel. Also a small rivet arrived yesterday and I finally could fix a hole in my fairing. But now, we can really start the adventure! 🙂
The rest of the family will have to look after him for the next two and a half weeks, because the great adventure of traveling to the Wima Rally 2017 in Estonia starts in 30 minutes.
Su and I meet, as usual, at the Green Mountain, then we will go to Hochleithen together, where Renate will join us.
Su arrives at the meeting point a minute after me, our bikes are filled up, and so we ride further on.
Our two Versys are equipped with the side paniers and a tankbag and in addition with a top case or saddlebag, respectively.
It is always an interesting challenge to estimate the weather and the basic conditions to expect on the journey, and on this basis to estimate the actually required clothing and utensils.
My approach was as follows:
First, everything is spread out at the bed, unnecessary parts will be removed first.
Second, items, only used at the destination, or items used only in emergency cases are in the left side panier. The garment and regularly used items in the easier accessible (right) side panier. The saddlebag is usually equipped with sleeping bag, sleeping mat and other camping equipment, but this time it carries the flags for the national Wima presidents, as well as stickers and pins for the participants of the rally. Our Austrian flags for the parade are stored here, too. For the return way I will use it for my souvenirs. So it does not return empty, the poor one 😉
Renate has arrived in Hochleithen already, she has chosen the Duke 390 for her ride to Estonia and so she will sit the next 2400 km wedged between tankbag, luggage bag and luggage reel on the thin seat, admirably spartan to travel and perhaps also a little masochistic? We will see.
For the first stage – in Polish Łódź – we only use expressways and highways, according to the plan.
It is also the longest travel distance for a day. After about 650km we should reach our destination in the evening.
The weather is fine and so we drive without great obstacles over the A5, then in Czech the A1, close to Ostrava, where we refuel the first time. In our case, the Duke measures the refuel distances, the Versys covers almost 400km with moderate gait and this will be our pace traveling in the group, nevertheless we refuel in such cases too. Of course, we use these stops also for toilet visits.
Su and I always share a fuel station, so we alternate the payment and do not have to reckon much.
The border crossing between CZ and PL is a new motorway (A1), it was unspectacularly, at the least, to get through here, only a few signs on the roadside indicate the border crossing, and we are in Poland already.
Here, too, the road continues for the time being without any special incidents, but the motorway soon becomes a kind of expressway with traffic lights. Sometimes we manage to cheat with the loaded machines to the front row, sometimes we just have to wait for the green phases to go on again.
In Czestochowa there is still no bypass, so we have to torment ourselves with the cars through the city. After that, we continue on the same expressway system for a while, until a fully-fledged highway suddenly appears in front of us, this in the area around Kamiensk.
Of course, we have to refuel and so we fill our tanks again in the “same procedure as every tank stop”.
Lodz, Łódz, is already much earlier than expected announced on the signs. Short after Piotrkow over the S12, then over the S8, the S91, and in between there are even smaller exits, which are also signal Lodz as exit.
So, how big is this city? Finally, the expected Lodz Centrum exit appears and we take it, just to turn right at the first roundabout in the wrong direction. Now, you might suspect that there is an alternative route after so many exits to Lodz. That was at least our hope, after we had noticed our mistake, but it took us almost 10km until there was again a possibility to turn towards Lodz and take aim at our hotel.
This we had – on the basis of the good progress done in the afternoon, on the road, with the help of booking.com – reserved and we were not disappointed. Housed in an adapted old factory building, the Hotel Focus offers newly furnished rooms, which also provide a lot of free space, a well-developed Wlan infrastructure (important to keep home updated), a locked parking lot. What can You wish for?
After we had set up – photos of the room afterwards will not be shown – we decided to go by tram to the city center, maybe to eat a little. Because, up to this point, muesli bars were our only food, which was supplemented with plenty of fluids – of course alcohol free.
But, to use the tramways in Lodz isn’t so easy. They drive regularly, but the intervals are about 20 minutes and our tram had just driven off.
Short discussion, we will walk to the center.
Now, in the former Eastern bloc countries there is the tradition to cover pedestrian ways with tiles, but for a long time they do not represent a flat area, anymore. So, a walk on foot means to get to know the ground of a city very thoroughly, but the rest of the city is only very schematic to get to know. This improves however, the closer we get to the lovely restored city centre.
Perhaps it was also not so bad to lift the view not too often, the rest of Lodz shows only a glorious past. 😉
In the centre, street musicians and restaurants change at very short intervals and so it is not too difficult for us to find a place where we sit down in the garden in the pedestrian zone and dine delicious Shoarma. Not necessarily a usual Polish meal, but it is excellent. May the following days be as pleasant! 🙂
Returning back to the hotel is easier than in the other direction and en route we discover a few nice sculptures and buildings.
While Su and Renate visit the hotel bar, I return to the room to let the impressions of the day set on me and fill the diary with the first scribbled pages.
Our Gallery for day 1: