If you are familiar to this blog, you must know by now that we like our holidays to have a certain amount of nature and a certain amount of physical activities. We are not hardcore and our vacations may seem pretty unadventurous but to us, especially to me, it’s adventure at my pace and it’s completely OK.
This year we wanted to find an adventure for us and the kids, aged now 5 and 8. We did some very small hikes with them but thought we needed to practice a bit more before going onto a whole week’s hike.
We like Poland a lot because we both have roots there, nature is fantastic, cities are great and it’s cheap. Perfect combo so perfect choice of destination! We decided to go on a kayak trip along a beautful river called “Czarna Hanca”, in the eastern part of the country, close to the Bielorussian border. It took us 6 hours by train from Warsaw.
Jeremie did a great job planning our route, renting the kayaks, finding the different campings and deciding on the stop-overs. We did not camp, instead I called every place along the river to book a small hut for 4. Space is far from unlimited in a kayak and with 2 kids we went for the easy option. And we did not regret it. The huts were mostly from communist times,made of by now half rotten plywood but it was outdoor life and we did not care a bit. We were just happy to crash there at night without having to deal with all the logistic of camping with kids. When it comes to the equipment there, we never really knew what to expect, some places had blankets and pillows, some had nothing, just a bare matress. We had taken pillowcases and thin sleeping bags. The weather was fantastic and we were never cold.
The kayaks were sturdy double seated boats with few years on the neck. The paddles were made of wood. Quite a change from our packrafts and carbon fiber paddles. But they did the job. Mathilde (8) had a smaller paddle and Sasha (5) did not have any. He just chilled in the boat enjoying the scenery and the numerous apple/blueberry cakes we bought along the way from old ladies.
Czarna Hanca is a well known destination and in the midst of July you are bound to meet other kayaks but all in all it was not as crowded as I expected and relatively quiet. The river itself is beautiful, gliding from méanders to small lakes. Towards the end, the river becomes a canal with locks, we passed 8 of them, great fun for the kids.
We stopped often to go for a swim, to buy homemade cakes or just to enjoy how beautiful it was.
When it comes to food, we had no problem finding small places to eat at. There are plenty of villages where you can find small shops. Often we had to walk few kilometers but no one minded that, quite nice to stretch your legs after sitting in a boat.
The river and the canal took us 6 days, we ended the trip by staying a couple of days in an old holiday resort where we enjoyed the beach life by a nice lake before going back to Warsaw.
We also had a city break for a couple of days. The weather was not great but the kids got to see a bit of Warsaw and we stuffed ourselves with good food (Wedel for the cakes and tea, Chlopskie Jadlo for the traditonnal polish food)
For the kids the adventure laid in sleeping in different places every night, adapting to whatever you are going to find, eating different food, being outside all the time with no tv nor Ipad and they absolutely loved it.
For us adults the adventure was to watch them evolving in a new environment and to get them started on the outdoor life. And we loved seeing how happy they were.