Partitour to the Polish Motorcycle Week
July 25th to 10th August 2019
By Dave Hall
This tour was organised by Dave Richards, there were 8 participants on this tour:- Kal & Sue - Neil & Linda – Graham – John – Dave & myself. Our meet up point was at the Hotel Pilgrimhaus in Soest Germany.
The theme for Hotels on the way to Poland “The Brew Houses of Germany”
I decided to travel down on the Friday catching the Harwich to Hook of Holland’s 9.10am sailing, so it was an early start – the weather forecast was for rain moving from the south coast northwards, I had a dry run down as far as Stamford where over to the west were black rain clouds but as luck would have it only caught a few drops, It was on the M11 where the roads were wet – but no rain – only spray. I arrived in good time and did not have to wait long before loading commenced . The weather changed for the better and was warm and sunny on the leeward side of the boat so I spent some time on deck.
The reason I went Via the Netherlands, some years ago while travelling with Friend Alan we came across a fortified town south east of Amsterdam called Naarden, I could not remember anything of the town other than riding over a Moat bridge to get into the town, so I wanted to re-visit the place.The ferry docked around 6pm and I made my way to a Campanile on the outskirts of Gouda.
Saturday dawned bright & Sunny, although it was windy and a little rain overnight, I set Naarden into the TomTom – it took me through some lovely villages and along canals, a most enjoyable route, there were some built up housing estates on the outskirts but soon arrived at one of the bridges over the moat, to the left and right were massive ramparts – similar to Luca in Italy. There is a road that runs all the way around the old Town inside the walls, there was one main Street running across the centre of town with most of the small shops and a large Church - other smaller roads leading off with mainly houses. There is also a canal with a few boats. A really nice place to visit especially when it is warm and sunny.
After about 11/2 hours I was back on the bike working my way across Holland using A roads towards Germany, – Hotel Pilgrimhaus in Soest was our first nights stop.The Town centre has a wall around it, outside the walls by the Hotel is a small park with flower beds mainly filled with roses a few yards up the road from the hotel on the edge of the park is a public W.C. on the side and rear external walls were painted some great Murals of People from a bygone era.
On the Sunday John & I rode together stopping off at Bad Fredeburg for a coffee, on route to our next night at Hotel Zu Den Drei Kronenin in Seligenstadt although at some point we got split up so travelled the last bit on our own, as I approached Seligenstadt there were some very dark rain clouds about, the Hotel was situated in a pedestrian zone, with quite a lot of people around but decided to risk it and ride slowly towards the hotel, getting a lot of looks, it was only a few hundred yards. Outside the Hotel were a number of tables with large canopies over them full of people eating and drinking, Neil spotted me and directed me just past the hotel where there were large double doors leading to the hotel yard, - I also discovered than there was a side road had I known which I could have used to get to the hotel, no sooner had I parked the bike when It began to rain hard, even before I could get the panniers off the bike, sending the diners scurrying indoors. The rain lasted for the best part of an hour. Close by the hotel is a Monastery enclosed by walls which I visited the grounds after the rain had stopped. It remained dry for the rest of the evening. Due to a mix up about times Neil & Linda missed out on our short walk to the Brewery Restaurant where we spent the evening, followed by a sight- seeing walk about before returning to the hotel.
Continuing eastwards John & I again rode together, stopping off for an hour in Rothenburg Ob der Tauber on route to Essing – Hotel Brauerie Gasthof Schneider, the Schneider family run the brewery. This was a nice little village set off the main road, with a river between the road & village & large cliffs behind the village, this was to be a 2 night stopover. The restaurant had an outside area over- looking the river, was the other side of the street, this was a very popular hotel as the restaurant was very busy, highly recommended.
As Tuesday was a free day, John and I caught a bus and then a train to Regensberg, having an enjoyable day looking around the old part of the city including the Cathedral. Our evening meal was again in the Hotel Restaurant.
John got stuck with me again on the Wednesday for the ride into the Czech Republic. I think most had roughly followed the same routes between hotels, but today I wanted to deviate once in CZ to a place called Prachatice - it is another walled town with 12,000 inhabitants which I had read in the Bradt guide as worth a visit, we parked the bike outside of the walls in a carpark, walking under an archway we soon found the main square, it then began to rain, so we sat under a large canopy having coffee, fortunately the rain stopped after a few minutes allowing us to have a look around, there were a few locals around but I think we were the only tourists. Apart from the Buildings around the square there was nothing of significance to see. On our way to our next stop Ceske Budejovice the sun came out, parking in the main square we spent a pleasant hour looking around the square and climbing up the tall “Black tower” which was situated in one corner giving great views over the city. Our next Hotel – Contertino Ziata Husa in Jindrichuv Hradec situated on the small town square, it had an underground car park at the rear. this was another 2 night stop.
On the square were a couple of small marques erected – that evening a group with a young woman singer were using one of them to entertain a small group of spectators. For our evening meal John & I found an Indian restaurant close to the Hotel.
The following day I had a day on my own visiting the towns of Telc & Trebon. Telc is a must- see town with a Castle, and an long Medieval square, although I was not impressed with Trebon, I may not have found the best part. That evening we all ate at a small restaurant in the square – the chap running the restaurant (Proprietor) was on his own, he was very accommodating as he made sure we had the meals we wanted.
On the Friday we were Poland bound, The Polish Bike week in Karpacz is actually a 4 day event, this year it was held from 1st – 4th August - Friday – Sunday. Our Hotel- Greno Hotel and Spa was a modern hotel a 20 min walk into town, this was a 3 night stop.
Karpacz is a winter ski resort, with a cable car system going up the mountain by the town. That evening we all ate in the Hotel Restaurant, afterwards some of the group walked into town and found out were all the action was taking place.
On the Saturday I walked into town where I came across the end of a biker wedding in a small square, There were a number of Harleys parked in an arc as a backdrop with a large piece of lilac coloured material behind them – very stylish, The 8 Bridesmaids were wearing a Black with a bright pink net skirt -1960’s style, naturally there were lots of spectators around. I then walked the length of the main street but never saw any of our group, I walked back to the square and bumped into some of them, we went to a café in the square sitting outside so we could see what was going on, and had a large hamburger & drink. It was sunny & warm and stayed in town, later we visited another establishment in the main street for a drink again sitting at an outside table. As 4pm approached people started to line both sides of the street for the entire length, shortly after 4pm we could hear a lot of engine noise and 2 Police Motorcyclists appeared followed by hundreds of bikes, mainly Harley Davidson’s with a few other makes thrown into the mix and a handful of big American cars nearly all Polish Registered, I did see an Italian reg Ducati, I do not know where they all were parked prior to the procession as there were few bikes around, great to see them all.
We again ate at the Hotel that evening and afterwards went into town which was buzzing with hundreds of people, The action revolved around the towns playing field where lots of stalls were selling an array of goods mainly for Harleys, like leather clothing, leather saddle bags etc, a lot were selling the same kind of goods, A Heavy metal Band was entertaining the large audience.
On the Sunday the weather was cloudy and not that warm, John had gone up the mountain, the rest of us followed, using 2 cable cars firstly a short section and then the main one, followed a walking section up a paved track - we headed upwards with lots of other people, after a fairly long walk we came across a large Café with lots of wooden tables outside filled with people. It was getting windy and felt like rain, looking towards the summit there was another hut of some kind near the top, sometimes obscured by heavy cloud, Dave, Graham & Kal wanted to go to the summit and did a brisk walk to the top while Sue and myself decided to start our way back down the mountain, when after some time we arrived back at the top cable- car station there was a large crowd waiting, the cable-car had stopped working, thankfully it started again after approx. 10 minutes, we eventually got on to it as it started to rain luckily they had amber coloured Perspex covers fitted that could be pulled over to keep you dry, the 2nd cable-car had no such luxury but the rain turned to drizzle so was not too bad, we headed to the hotel for a coffee, the others must have got a move on as they arrived at the hotel about 10 minutes later – followed by John a few minutes later still.- This was supposed to be a relaxing day. As usual we ate at the Hotel that evening.
On our last free day in Karpacz was sunny and warm, John & I rode to the city of Wroclaw some 80 miles away, the nearest big City. It was busy but we had a good day visiting most of the tourist spots, It looks to be a very nice place for a big city.
The following morning after breakfast I took my panniers down to the bike and met a German who was loading up his Harley ready to head home near Dresden. I returned to my room to collect my topbox – on returning to the bike he was ready for the off, just waiting for his Beautiful leather clad wife, who came a minute or so later.
As I left Korpacz there was a Banner above the road advertising the event so I stopped to take a photo, while doing so some of the others went by, I rode on my own until I reached the Border with the Czech Republic & Germany, Dolni Poustevna where I stopped, a few minutes later , Kal, Sue & Graham arrived, on the Czech side there was a Chinese Food Warehouse and opposite a Chinese restaurant , as it was dinner time we went there for a bite to eat.
On leaving, there was a diversion which we followed, on a back Street over a tall hedge I could see the heads of large models of Dinasaurs. We had a good ride on quiet roads .Later it started to rain so we stopped to don waterproofs, but as it turned out was not necessary as it only lasted a few minutes.
Our destination in Germany was Aue – Hotel Blauer Engel, an interesting hotel, parking for the bikes was by the side of the hotel out of sight of the busy main road that ran in front of the hotel. The Restaurant was at the rear facing the town square, after the meal we went for a stroll around the area.
Leaving Aue, on the Tuesday morning some of the group were going to stop off at a Motorcycle Museum in the castle at Augustusburg and then Colditz – but as I had been twice to both I chose another route to Wittenburg and Hotel Brauhaus Wittenburg.
I arrived around 3pm, after a bit of a game trying to get to the hotel with all the one-way streets and “No Vehicle” signs. I parked the bike and walked to the hotel, then getting directions to the rear where we could park the bike in a secure yard, it was a 5minute ride.
The Hotel was quite large and faced the town square and the Town Hall, outside of the Town Hall workmen were busy laying paving -so part was cordoned off, It is an impressive town with lots of history , going left from the hotel at the end of the shopping street is a massive Church which was well worth a visit, at the end of the street going the other way was a large town house which once belonged to Martin Luther. Down a narrow side street off the square was another interesting old white painted Church.
A lot of the old properties have courtyards to the rear which are accessed via an archway, one had an Art studio the hotel had a large courtyard, tables with canopy’s in the centre and a brew house at the far end. On both nights we were there at around 7pm we had a thunderstorm.
On the Thursday we were on the move again, this time to Muhlhausen, Hotel Brauhaus Zum Lowen, it was a sunny day, with quiet roads, On leaving Muhlhausen I programmed the TomTom to find the twistiest roads possible on my way to Kassel, the direct route was 40Km my route was 100Km it turned out to be one of the best rides I have had in 55 years of motorcycling, riding through villages and up high through farmland over the rolling hills, you could see for miles in all directions, the only down side was I hit Kassel late morning, which was very busy but soon got through and back onto quiet roads.
At Muhlhausen we had to park the bikes in another hotels underground carpark which was across the street from our hotel. I was the first to arrive at around 4pm, which gave me time to do some sight- seeing, opposite the hotel was a large church and behind that the short walk to the main pedestrian shopping street and lots of interesting buildings.
The weather was mixed on the way to Eslohe for our final nights stop, on arrival Neil & Linda were already there, The hotel was up a side road away from the main road that ran through the small town, I moved the bike to a large garage over the road where there was space for all the bikes, our rooms across their yard from the main hotel had only just been built, workmen were still working on the stairway. For a small out of the way place the restaurant was very busy that evening, we had a very good meal. It started to rain just after I arrived and rained all night. Eslohe is a few miles to the east of Dusseldorf, which is approx. 250 miles to The Hook of Holland and my sailing was at 2.10pm I arranged with the hotel to have an extra early breakfast at 7am as the normal time was 8am but no one informed the lady in the kitchen, but she was very accommodating and made sure I got a good breakfast even though she could not speak English.
After all the rain the weather changed for the better-sunshine, except for a strong head wind, the motorway was about 8 miles from town and I filled the bike up before I got to the motorway, then it was a relentless slog against the wind cruising at around 65mph any faster was hard work. After crossing into Holland the wind got even stronger, I caught the edge of a storm at Utrecht but didn’t get too wet as I did not have my waterproof trousers on, I could see blue sky ahead so kept going, it took me 4 hours to get to the Hook. Riding along the raised roads which run alongside the dykes was not a pleasant experience because of the strong gusty wind especially when a lorry went past, as I had 1 hour to spare I found a cabin which was serving fish & chips, as it was small it only had space for one table, but it was good to get out of the wind, he could speak some English and told me he used to be a lorry driver and often had to travel to Manchester and other UK cities.
Due to the strong head wind it took an hour longer on the crossing to Harwich so I did not get on the road until around 9pm, although the wind was not as bad in the UK I still had a head wind as I rode north cutting through Norfolk to Kings Lynn and up the A17 to Sleaford and then Lincoln arriving home around midnight, at least the roads were much quieter than in the daytime. Thanks to Dave for organising the tour and fellow members for making it such an enjoyable Holiday. The Honda NC750 averaged over the 2500miles - 85MPG.