This will be a short entry. It is possible that even the shortest of all our external relations. At Easter, we were looking for something close - ideally, 2-3 hours drive from home. We have recently returned from Montenegroand we're flying to Albania this week, so it's hard for good logistics. We wanted something simple, undemanding, non-absorbing and, of course, CHEAPER. The choice turned out to be uncommon: Island of Usedom. It's where Świnoujście and a bit towards our beloved, western neighbors.
The island of Usedom is probably the most distant place from Warsaw in the whole country. Over 650 kilometers and a minimum of 6.5 hours of driving. Add to this the fact that we are driving along the most expensive highway in the country and that:
EVERYWHERE, NEVER BE SO SMOKE
and we already know that our plan went out the same as usual. That Germans would not beat us, we take real German bikes: Canyon Grail. The name sounds like an anti-aircraft gun, like a biplane Hannover CL-II from the Hawa Abteilung Flugzeugbau department at the Hannoversche Waggonfabrik factory. If you have read these names and you have been woken up by an attack or flight reflex, the island of Usedom is probably not for you.
It started with booking.com - as always. Good morning shot in the face and a beautiful message greets me:
In the chosen period, Świnoujście is a popular destination (97% of booked facilities).
I make a face WTF and I'm starting googlać. I think it may be so much an "alternative" destination that the accommodation is small. Reality is simpler and much more painful.
Annually, three million tourists come to Świnoujście. This is 25% of the number of people you visit, recently described Morocco (which is definitely less dependent on the season). Świnoujście is also in the top of the ranking of cities where tourists leave the most money. Let's just remind - we're talking about a city that has just over 40,000 inhabitants (less than Otwock). Finding overnight accommodation is a real challenge, but we are coming for a long weekend.
America is here.
What do I mean, say dear? If you are looking for accommodation, for example from Saturday to Sunday for 2 people, prices start at less than PLN 400 per night in centers / hotels and PLN 300 per night in individual rooms.
Using a higher school of cebulology, using advanced techniques to check all possible variants on all possible portals, and fanning dates, we manage to find accommodation for PLN 550. Classic-poor conditions: a room with a stoich and a fridge and a bathroom in the corridors. I know Christmas, but it's April!
The price trip comes out like this:
1100km by carPLN 350 for gas
Highways: 2 times for PLN 79 (?!)
Accommodation (3 nights in a room with a shared bathroom): 550 PLN
(and this is the price DEFINITELY below average. I think normal nights start at twice that. LINK TO MONISZIE 24)
Dinner in a random pub, that is 2 times soup plus 2 times pizza (so ordinary, though good): about PLN 100
Sandwich with herring on the German coast: from 2.5 €
Cake in a German cafe (with saucer and spoon): 2 €
Main course in a German pub/ cafes (some fish / chop with eggs etc.): ~ 15 €
Together: million. (calculations made by Panda, minor rounding is possible)
So when it comes to prices for accommodation and food in restaurants, I would rate it in the San Francisco area, because in the majority of hotels near National Parks in the States however, it was cheaper.
Well, not the prices themselves, after all ... I said, never.
Świnoujście, meaning high life and billige zigaretten
Świnoujście consists of three regions:
housing estates - as in any Polish city
promenade - as in most coastal towns, but a bit more. There is less typical, shining shash, and more modern hotels, restaurants and even ice cream and kebabs as if more luxurious. The Society is also more like it.
Frontier zonewhere there are huge inscriptions on each shed (hut is a good word): Zigaretten, Billig !, Wechselstube etc.
Because, yes, being in Świnoujście is a serious problem to assess whether it is still Poland or Germany. Even listening to conversations on the streets. In addition, there are Żabki, Lidle, Biedronki, Kauflandy and everything else you need to survive.
Why do people go to Świnoujście? I do not know.
Maybe because other people go to Świnoujście.
... or maybe just the fact that they will sail for free by ferry, because that's the only way you can get there (that is, prawilną (lewilną?) Hello)
When it comes to attractions recommended on the internet, we have, for example, a windmill on the pier. Cool, a windmill like this, it just does not spin. And he stands on the pier. We have the widest beach in Poland and apparently the sunniest place also. We also have forts and monuments, an example of a fort (Fort Angel), which attracts tourists in the picture below.
I think that Świnoujście can be considered as the most overpriced place in my life, but maybe we just are not the right target.
Is everything better with the German?
Where Świnoujście ends, Germany begins (the country, because Germany as a nation is everywhere).
On blogs we can read about culture shock. The fact that we have a festival and badziewie, and abroad is high-life and full culture. Well…. no. And certainly not when we compare Świnoujście with them, which is much more Western than Ustka / Łeba / Rowy / Mielno and so on.
Yes, it's a bit more German. These hidden, characteristic booths are missing, the neighborhood seems more neat, the average age is about three times higher (around 150 years), but I would not call it a shock. What surprises for good morning is the architecture of the buildings. Modern hotels and square blocks-houses are replaced here by huge, 19th-century villas. The combination of this type of buildings, the promenade and the wide beach makes a really good impression, and above all, it is coherent (i.e. exactly the opposite of our samowolka). Of course, everything is flooded with people, and if you think that the promenades themselves are the height of elegance and good taste, I invite you to take photos:
The most important advantage of the German coast are sandwiches with herring. Dot.
The basic sandwich consists of fresh, crispy kosher, onion, lettuce and herring. It should cost 2.50 €, and if you want more, you can take it and drive 10 meters further. Basically, there are two options: Matjas (from maagden haringor herring) and Bismarck (ie marinated). In our opinion, Matjas is infinitely better. It is worth adding here that probably all Matjas we eat every day are not real Matjas, and just a'la Matjas, or "almost like". I treat it like the famous cycling shirts for PLN 100: "replicas, look like real ones".
Silently, with shame, I must admit, I do not see much difference between herring fillet and Matjas premium Lisner from Biedronka (genius!) And the original one. The only difference is that on the bike everything tastes better - just like on the promenade overlooking the sea.
Island Usedom to the eye of bloggers
Let's get to the meat, because we have not come here to huddle along the promenade (I think).
I knew nothing about the island of Usedom. Until the end I did not even know that it exists. Something in my head was somewhere in the head knocking some text from the ROAD, but I was not sure. As you probably already guessed, the island in the east begins with Świnoujście, and is pulling less than 30 kilometers towards Germany. In total, it has an area of 445 km², which is less than Warsaw.
We were attracted to the island by hyper-positive texts on the internet that looked something like this:
quote from krytykakulinarna.com:
Then we watched the green-blue photos with animals, thatched houses, perfect asphalts, bicycle routes and we knew that we had to check it out. Which, of course, is a lie because the herrings convinced us. It was only later we remembered that the pictures are a different reality.
According to the internet, everything is better on the German side. Beaches are nicer, water is more blue, people are more polite and it is a perfect place for a weekend getaway. We quickly remind ourselves that such texts are written by people who have been paid for by someone and any clash with nature, after leaving the factory, is a paranormal experience for them ... without offending anyone. I suspect that if they were to show them a real Mazovian village a few dozen kilometers near Warsaw (let us take such a neighborhood of Garwolin) they would be shocked.
Our clash with reality turns out to be ... heavy. It's hard because we do not know how it is.
Island of Usedom - how is it really?
Good morning warning: the highest peak is Golm (69 m above sea level), so a man from Mazovia will feel at home.
The first thing that strikes is the number of people at the seaside - this may of course be the fault of a long weekend, which we get here, but I suspect that it is identical in the summer season. The second hit, the ratio of the number of cyclists to pedestrians, I bet about 30-50%. The island of Usedom is a bicycle paradise.
There are several reasons, but of course the most important of them is infrastructure. There are lots of bike paths and routes here, and to tell the truth, we have gone completely without navigation, usually guided only by arrows. The main roadways are ideal asphalts (perfect German ones) and besides the two main roads (yellow on the maps: 110 and 111) are practically empty, and yet bicycle routes are routed outside of them. They run mainly asphalt, equal to the cube, sometimes terrain or sand - to choose, to color. If you want to do road training you will do it, but you will probably break from time to time, bypassing the path next to it.
Add to this an extensive bicycle rental system (the equivalent Veturillo) that are practically everywhere and we have a recipe for success.
While coastal paths are a bicycle critical mass and crowds as on the July evening on the Warsaw path at the Vistula, all routes to the island are mastered only by passing every several minutes sakwiarzy and older people with power exceeding 300W.
If from Kaszuba to buy hills for the euro ...
It's nice at Uznam, but let's be honest, spring is nice everywhere. It's a bit of Masuria, a bit of Kashubia ... if they take away their hills, and in exchange, quit some money. It's clean and neat - it's a bit like that Netherlands. Green grass, yellow rape, villages without advertisements and with cohesive buildings, ponies, goats, sheep, sometimes some ostrich - just as it should be in the countryside. Only we miss some of these hills.
It is not that we are pathologists and we are suffering through a flat road - an example of the area around Amsterdam showed that it is not. Just a slightly undulating landscape is infinitely more interesting. It takes us a moment to understand that simply our perception of the world is already slightly disturbed by frequent trips and we evaluate the island through the prism of many hours of driving, and this is unfair. The island of Usedom is simply not for us.
It may be normal but it is super expensive.
If I had to choose, I would rather go to Kashubiaor even in around Słupsk, described some time agoin which it is the same, just more interesting ... maybe even to Masuria! In Ustka there is also a beach (smaller) and the sea (the same), but there are also cliffs that give the walk a lot of charm. The problem is that I can not recommend these places to anyone, because I do not want to have them on my conscience when they are run over by a milk tanker (tanker in the sense).
The island of Usedom is a great place if:
You do not ride a bicycle at all and you do not even have a bicycle. Here you will be safe, you rent equipment and drivers will not kill you (probably)
Are you looking for a place where you can ride with kids (counting on the fact that no cyclist will ride them on the crowded coastal path ... but what would the cyclist do there?)
You want to ride with your child in a trailer. The lack of mountains, good infrastructure and general stress-freeness should be a key advantage.
You have a trekking bike and you just want to "relax" to the other half to relax from the crowds, crowds and noise.
You have too much money ... because the question, whether somewhere further, in the depths of Germany, will not be the same, but cheaper. Or maybe Bornholm or Rügen?
You like a good herring.
You have Brompton and you do not know where to ride it
You want to start the adventure with panniers, but "you're ticking a little".
We're back with a bit of mixed feelings and it's hard for me to make an honest post. I am sitting over the summary and I come to the conclusion that I am definitely not the right person to talk about the island objectively. In any case, we will never go back to the Uznam island, and certainly not to Swinoujscie.
* the text is written by the ignorant. There are a lot of cultural and architectural curiosities on the island: monuments, churches, museums as well as many attractions for families with children. To read about this, I recommend another, more substantive blog.
** I fit in 2000 characters! Bravo me!
*** everything is not important, and the trip was considered successful, because we also visited Szczecin and Rydl Street - who played Franko, he knows!