Tarnów is an interesting city. Pretty large (over 100,000 population) and located at the intersection of major rail and highway routes, it still features a cute town center and old town. They do an excellent job informing tourists and highlighting their Jewish heritage.
Before WWII, nearly 25,000 Jews living in Tarnów. During the German occupation, nearly all the Jewish building were burned and the ancient cemetery desecrated (in addition to serving as the location of a mass grave for 3,000 Jews massacred in the cemetery). All that remains from the original synagogue is the brick Bima which has been preserved and highlighted in a nice courtyard. The cemetery is about 2km outside the city center and when I arrived I found the front gate locked with a sign that the key is always available…but back in the city. Instead of walking an additional 4km, I scaled the wall figuring I would be forgiven since technically the cemetery was always open. Found many old graves and a memorial column from the rubble of the old synagogue.
Very impressed with Tarnów’s history and friendliness (and hopefully lenience) to visitors.
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Start: Krakow, Poland
End: Tarnów, Poland
Elevation Gain: 1339ft
Elevation Loss: 1391ft
Reading Material: Red Cavalry and Other Stories – Isaac Babel
Audio Material: Elvis Mitchell’s The Treatment (interview with David Benioff and D.B. Weiss); WTF podcast; On The Media
Almost hit 100km on the nose!
My new routing method seems to be working well. Using Google Maps pedestrian directions (while not documented, over long non-urban distances seems to preference small roads and might also try to minimize elevation gain; in practice, finds sideroads which parallel main arteries). I use these as a base, then import them into GPS software and make tweaks and sanity checks. On the bike, I use the resulting route as a guide and improvise as conditions dictate. Today’s ride was mainly on low-volume roads with decent pavement and quite flat. Even with multiple stops, I averaged 15km/hr.
Stopped at a hamburger stand/convenience store for lunch. Tried a Mike Tyson “Black Energy” drink. Tasted like Red Bull but appeared to leave a metallic taste in my mouth the rest of the afternoon. (Only later, do I realize the drink is marketed as “Sex Energy” — not sure you really want to be like Mike in that department). Hamburger was awesome and the woman who owned the place was super friendly. She didn’t speak English, but was able to inform me about a salt mine about 10km down the road in Bochnia. Her daughter (who spoke excellent English) stopped by and helped translate. When I told her I was trying to reach Tarnow today, she told me I should come back and visit them in the future because Bochnia is really nice.
With the hot salt mine tip, I took a small detour to the Bochnia city center. While the salt mine sounded impressive, the tour takes three hours and I decided it was time better spent biking.
Passed an impressive church in Szczepanów which I believe is the birthplace of St. Stanislaus. Had the entire church to myself for a peaceful 10 minutes. Met a granny who was visiting as part of a tour. She told me about her children (one lives in Chicago, one in Ontario) and gave me good wishes for my journey.
Met packs of dogs several times that chased after the bike. I’ve learned that as long as you keep moving they won’t bite but I worry about mistakenly running one over.
Made it to Tarnów in time to explore before the Champions League Final.