Gerlitz

Today we went from the Czech Republic through Poland to Germany, then back to Poland, a quick trip back to the Czech Republic and then from there to Poland and back, then back over to Germany, over to Poland for lunch, then back to Germany and then, finally, back through Poland to the Czech Republic, but it wasn’t  as dramatic as it sounds.
The plan was to take a day trip  to Germany, but the road zagged a bit through Poland, so there was  that.  Then, near Zittau, we saw a sign that said Dreilandespunkt fussweg cca. 10 min., except it wasn’t a double ss but that weird German letter that looks like a bloated capital b that’s come apart at the bottom, but fubweg wouldn’t make any sense at all, so it was about 10 minutes by foot to Dreilandespunkt, or Three Nation’s point, where the borders of Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic meet.  Now, I kind of think  (or thought, perhaps, that’s kind of what I’m saying here) this is a stupid form of tourism.  It’s like 4 corners in the U.S. where Arizona, New  Mexico, Colorado and Utah (4 beautiful states in their own right, no disrespect intended) meet and that’s it.  There’s nothing else there.  There’s a plaque, there’s a gift shop, and there’s a parking lot, probably  more than one of each, but there’s no  particular item of scenic beauty there, nothing of  great historical importance ever happened on the site.

Nonetheless, we started walking and it was a lovely day  for  it.  It wasn’t too hot yet, and it was a pleasant, shaded sidewalk.  Bicycles  passed us.  We saw  a group of 3 canoes on the Nisa (German Neisse) river, which is not that big of a river at that point, I would have said the Nisa is to rivers sort of what Pluto is to planets.  More on that in a second.
I started thinking “It doesn’t  matter if it’s an arbitrary  place to be, it doesn’t matter if  it’s an arbitrary thing  to  see, we are walking on a bicycle path by  the river on a lovely Saturday morning in the summer, in Germany, and this is very nice.  You could arrange your travels by only going to castles, cathedrals, or cities with the letter J in their name.  It doesn’t matter.  The way there will be interesting.”
We got to Dreilandespunkt and there’s not much there, the Polish part has a humongous crucifix, the Czech part some tall tower of welded metal plates with a bell at the top, and the German side contented itself with a flag.  There was no  bridge so Sam, his girlfriend and I waded across.  (told you it was small)  Walked over to Poland, back  into the Czech Republic, and waded back across.
It was time for lunch so we headed up to Gerlitz for  lunch and a bit of sight-seeing.  It’s a beautiful town.  We know it because my wife had an aunt who lived in Zgorzelec, which is the Polish side of it.  Walked around old town square but the restaurants were pricey, so we decide to get away from the center a bit, carried on past a really impressive Cathedral, then there was a break in the buildings and we could see down the hill and there was the river, and there was a restaurant on the Polish  side.
It was reasonably priced for  a very good meal, although it seemed a lot of people were going there just for the ice cream, and the ice cream  portions were huge.  Next time I’m in Zgorzelec…

I had pierogis with a sauerkraut and mushroom filling, and we sat on the terrace with a view of the river which, somehow, had tripled in size, at least, in the intervening 40 kilometers or so, and there was a bubble maker on the bridge sending down bubbles in flocks, like butterflies used to have.
Then, it was back  over to Germany to get the car and we headed for a lake a bit south of town for an afternoon swim.  The water was perfect, not too cold at all, and it wasn’t too crowded, because it  was probably about 5 o’clock by that time.
Then back home, via Poland, of course.   Didn’t get home until almost 11 but it was, indeed, a fine, fine day.

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