2009-11-08 51 14

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Sun 8 Nov 2009 in 51,14:
51.6808936, 14.7485891

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Between Klein Bademeusel (DE) and Tuplice(PL) on the Polish side of the border.



The closest available border crossing is north of Forst(Lausitz).

  • There is one really close (Bademeusel), which is a highway and unpassable for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • There is the rail operating between Cottbus and Tuplice, with three trains a day, either at ~6am or ~4pm.

Hence, we plan to go to Forst(Lausitz) by train (10,70 Eur reduced fee + bike pass¹, departure 10:03 on Hauptbahnhof), cross the border to the north of Forst, and cycle along the Polish side of the border until we hit either the geohash or the end of the passable roads. But it should be all forest tracks or something. Unverified sources say, there is a historical explosive factory somewhere in the area.


  • We'll take the next train at 11. -- relet 08:51, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

That's how the day started for us. Re-calculating the time we would need for the expedition, we opted for an extended breakfast instead of an early depart. And while the trains to Zazieki and Tuplice on the Polish side of the border run only three times a day, the same train to Forst circulates on an hourly basis. We reached all the trains in time, and were soon greeted by the first Sorbian village names. Sorbian is the second largest minority language in Germany, spoken by some 20000 people in Upper and Lower Lusatia, an area that is today shared between Poland and Germany.

During the trip we memorized the melodies the German rail uses to announce stations, mainly to annoy other voyagers when playing these on a xaphoon. The first notes which form the station announcement jingle are immediately recognized (and acknowledged with a distressed groan) by anyone who ever took a regional train in the area, yet the actual folk songs or their lyrics are largely unknown to our generations. ¹We also realized that we could have ridden far cheaper by using a different combination of tickets.

Our bikes and the two of us reached Forst (or Baršć, as they call it), organized our backpack and the devices and set off in direction of the border crossing. Knowing that we wouldn't have cheap uplink on the Polish side, we were prepared with a hand-drawn paper map instead of relying on the downloads. Thus, we managed to lose our way even on this side. So, relet turned on the GPS and even found some still cached map tiles of where we were going to go.

We reached the border on excellent cycling trails that are part of the Oder-Neiße cycling network. The border crossing was unspectacular, as expected. However, they still do have an operational customs station here where you might stop to declare your goods. We found out that, as a pedestrian, you could just as well opt to continue on the walking paths along the river if you have any reason to avoid the officials. We didn't, crossed the station and over the river, and continued on the Polish side on equally good cycling trails.

The trails continued until the Zasieki roundabout, from whence we planned to go south until the road ended, and to continue on what trails the forest were to offer. We passed a small cemetery, Zasieki station (where the formerly mentioned train stops, three times a day), and reached the village of Brożek. The road continued from there on as a concrete slab track into the forest. There was some building activity on the one side, and some disused buildings on the other.

Cycling on, we discovered that the whole area was covered in small concrete mounds, overgrown with trees, and bushes and greenery, by now windowless and derelict. Relet preferred to think of it as the hobbit homes in the Shire, while lyx said it looked like a war scenery. Might have been a bit of both. However, it is amazing how fully grown trees can grow on a mere layer of concrete (and the earth that has been collected on it), pillowed two or three metres above ground.

Eventually, we reached the end of the road. We were greeted by a lowered boom, and a security booth guarding the scrap metal processing area behind it. We spotted a security guy in the booth, and relet walked up to ask him for directions. About that time, he realized that all his holiday knowledge of the Polish language had shrunk to a "dobry" greeting (half of a "good day", but perfectly acceptable in an informal context), not remembering how the Polish prefer to continue it. He tried to explain that we were to continue along the Odra. The security guy pointed back the road, and said something.

We decided to backtrack a bit, and search for further trails, which we had seen on the satellite images. In that respect, we were quite lucky, and found a truck-wide sandy (what is euphemized as waterbound by construction people) trail pointing in roughly the direction we wanted to take. We soon found an even sandier road heading into an even better direction and took this one. There were even some kind of road signs on this road.

About 1.5km later, the distance on the GPS was down to 150m and began to increase again. Time to call it a stupidity distance and head into the forest. We found a former forest track (less trees, and about a truck wide) in the direction of the hash, locked our bikes to a tree, and headed into the forest. Lyx was still hoping to get a good view of the Odra, but we soon found out that a large girdle of reed and fields separated us from the water. Still, we found the hash, and celebrated this with a stupid grin.

To return, we had to backtrack our way - which went quite well, but was a bit unspectacular.

  • success! we're back in Forst and waiting for the train. -- relet 15:59, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Wildlife sightings:

  • We saw two roes on a lot next to the road, which were particularly unimpressed by our human presence.
  • Lots of cats were out hunting, or sitting, or whatever cats are doing.
  • We chased about 1.533 ducks from a field while cycling by. The noise was immense.


lyx and relet earned the Border geohash achievement
by crossing the German-Polish border on 2009-11-08 to reach the (51, 14) geohash.
relet earned the Musician Achievement
by playing xaphoon at the (51, 14) geohash on 2009-11-08.