14 January 2009

Poland Cycle Chic

Warsaw Cycle Chic
A big Cycle Chic witamy to two new members of the cycle chic family. Upstairs we have Warsaw Cycle Chic with a brilliant example of everyday European cycling.

Downstairs we have Krakow Cycle Chic, featuring all the everyday cycling news from... not surprisingly... Krakow. They're both newish so they'll be getting more content as the months pass.
Krakow Cycle Chic
Add to the Polish potpourri Lodz Cycle Chic and you're off rolling.

Which reminds me of a week I spent in Warsaw back in 1992. I had heard that the Soviet Intourist office in Warsaw, and only Warsaw, could be bribed to issue visas to parts of the Soviet Union that were previously impossible to get visas for.

I was working as a travel writer and journalist at the time so I was the first one to make the overland journey from Europe to China, travelling exclusively through the then Soviet republics, now countries in their own right, of Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakstan.

Travelling third class [illegal for foreigners] but armed with conversational Russian and the all important phrase, in Russian, "I'm from the Baltics" to explain why I didn't speak better Russian. Worked like a charm and it was an amazing journey.

Back to Warsaw... I stayed in a high-rise block of flats in a 'bed and breakfast' with a lovely older lady with whom I could barely communicate and remember watching reruns of Dallas dubbed into Polish, but dubbed with one, monotone male voice who merely recited the lines for the all the characters and with the original sound just audible enough to catch snippets of the real actors. All while drinking excessive amounts of tea and eating bread and sausage.

Okay, okay... back to the cycle chic...


spiderleggreen said...

There is no such thing as "an excessive amount of tea". You just didn't have the right kind.

The dubbing reminds me of watching the movie the Fugitive in Austria, and having the voice for Tommy Lee Jones sounding like Inspector Clouseau. Very funny.

Dave Feucht said...

We lived in Lithuania for a year from 2003-2004, and I remember seeing all kinds of shows dubbed into Lithuanian with that same male voice reciting the lines for everyone. We thought it was incredibly humorous :)

I think they drink more tea in Lithuania than in England - and you go to the supermarket and there are about 50 different types of sausages and salamis just waiting your choice :)

Unfortunately, bicycles were almost unheard of at the time (at least in Vilnius), but cars were also relatively rare, almost everyone walked or took public transit. It wasn't unusual for us to walk 5 miles a day. It was a great pedestrian city.

Anonymous said...

I had to pretend to be Estonian for a few weeks once in Ukraine. Those were the days...

jhaygood said...

I love these European "everyman" bikes. Is there something like this available in the States? Thx. JH

Colville-Andersen said...


Cris Piera said...

wow what an amazing story!!!

tell us more about that trip pleeeeease! ;-)

back to cycle chic, I absolutely adore the second picture. The square, the bike, their outfits and their love!

Straight to my inspirations folder!

Greetings from Barcelona :)