Follow the band

Friday 25 May

Tempers having cooled overnight, it was decided to give the bikes an airing and have a look around town: a Leclerc had been spotted on the Google search for local supermarkets. A military parade had been heard and seen crossing the arched bridge beside the marina, pretty at night with colour-changing LEDs, so we followed their route and found a row of wooden huts, like you see at continental Christmas markets, full of all kinds of tourist-tat. Down along the town quay, where the pirate ships were lying, was a statue of a man in military uniform, and lined up in front were ranks of representatives of Poland’s armed forces, along with their standard-bearers. Beside the statue, a small gazebo protecting a length of red carpet sheltered a line of glad-handing local dignitaries. What it was all about, we had no idea.

We followed the coast out onto the promenade, which mostly lies behind the sand dunes in a lovely shady wood. Notices along the route explain in Polish, German and English that the dunes are protected as they offer storm protection to the low-lying land behind, and highlight points of historical interest along the way. Even close up, the sands are still pristine white, between the locals soaking up the unseasonally hot sunshine.

We turned inland and came out on the edge of town, where a convenient restaurant with tempting pavement seating offered us traditional Polish dishes. Mate enjoyed fish soup, while Skipper tucked into a chicken kebab wrapped in a tortilla. On the roadside we stopped at a stall selling strawberries and tomatoes, both of which proved delicious.

The supermarket was the best we have found in Poland, especially for Mate’s gluten free supplies, and our favourite brand of red wine. Soon all four panniers were straining at the seams, and it was a slightly wobbly ride home through the old town to take in the sights.