The border back into the EU between Poland and Belarus wasn’t crossable by bike, without heading on a 100km detour, but thankfully the train wasn’t too much of a hassle. I took some boring photos on the way over and must have been spotted doing so as the police specifically asked for my camera and made me delete those pictures when I crossed the border.
I was back in the EU, and definitely saw more signs of wealth than had generally been visible in Belarus, but the bus stops were not an example. They were awful whereas the ones in the Baltics and Belarus had been consistently good. Not that I judge a country solely on the state of their bus stops, but it stands out as somewhere that I often hang out.
Lublin was the main city that I’d visit in the area, mainly because of Majdanek. I’d never visited a concentration camp before, and it lived up (or down) to the expectations I had of it. Despite being the end of September the weather was still quite nice. I can only imagine how much more depressing the place is in the winter with slushy snow on the floor. The lack of humanity was striking.
Michael, my host in Lublin, was an expert at dumpster diving and when he said he’d go I was excited. I’d heard about so many people’s experiences in the US but had never tried. I went with Gaz in Iceland in the summer, but we mainly found onions. My experience in Lublin wasn’t much better. Pretty much all that was there involved rescuing a few good-looking bits of fruit out of a packet where the rest was rotten – not quite what I’d been hoping for. While I ended up filling a pannier, it was all to share with the others at the house rather than for me to eat myself.
In Zamosç, a UNESCO city, I had been in touch with a couple of couchsurfers. One, from Spain, who could host me, and the other who was a bit busy but was free to meet up. On my day off I hung out with him for the experience of proofreading titles for a catalogue of his father’s paintings – the most bizarre being “Look Mauritz, what a pair of tits” for a work of art that involved 3 people (one with a blue face) looking at a painting of a naked body. I’m sure that the supply of each type of local beer was a great way to help with the names. Before the beer, the artist himself gave me a guided tour around the museum which he had been curating for north of 20 years which you just can’t complain about.