Hard Times

I have been adjusting the time on the watch continuously due to time change.  

But it seems like the watch got time change problems too since the alarm went off at 5am 

when it should have gone off at 6am.  

I had hung the watch on the bike, so when I heard the alarm went off I didn’t know what time it was really.  

I felt I had just gone to sleep and now I had to get up again.  


Sleeping in the tent I could see what is going on outside,

the dark sky shows the sun hasn’t came up yet, so I stayed in bed and will get up in a little bit. 

I slept for an extra 30 minutes before getting out of the tent.  Looking out of the window, 

I see it is foggy outside even though it didn’t rain last night.  I am very lucky I didn’t sleep somewhere in the field last night.

Packing my gear up and I said good-bye to the bird underneath the house.  

I stretched a bit before getting ready to ride again.  

Now taking a look at the watch I realized it is not 6am yet.  I got up too early because of the faulty alarm.  

I had thought I had slept in a bit, but I still got up early and packed up 

my stuff as well so now there is no way to go back to sleep.  Let’s go then!

This empty shack wasn’t covered in fog, however if I ride a bit then I will enter the white foggy area.

The light signal shows red, but even if it shows green I would be afraid to ride in there 

anyway that is because I can’t see anything in front of me.  

Carefully I rode though, the visibility level is very low, and I have to be careful when I ride.

I am afraid the cars driving that fast will miss me; if they hit me I am in big trouble.  

I turned on the red flashing light on the back of the bike to alert other drivers of my existence.  

I am not sure what is the visibility in this fog.  


About 10 minutes later the sun rose up inside the fog, but it seem so small and insignificant.  

But in about an hour all those fog will disappear due to the sun shining on them.

I found electric outlet outside this restaurant.  

This time I am smarter, I took out one thing to test if there is any electricity here, I didn’t take out everything at once.  

Too bad there still wasn’t any electricity, so I will ride while the weather is still nice and cool,

I will find a restaurant during lunch time to write the travel journals.


This hotel has price shown outside.  In Europe, the hotels will show what level of ratings they are using stars, 

this hotel has no star.  A single room costs $60Zit ($27USD), which is approximately $900NT.  

The owner must felt the price is cheap enough so they show it, but it is still too expensive to me.  

Even if I took out all the money I got right now out, it is still not enough for one night stay. 


New street sign, a little girl holding a red balloon, does it mean to be aware of kids?  Its design is really cute.


Once entering Europe there are more and more churches everywhere. 

At first I think it is so neat so I will keep taking pictures, 

but after awhile I would get bored and not even take out the camera anymore.


Solar energy powered traffic signal, even though Polish people use English alphabets, 

but they are not English at all, since I cannot understand any of those.  

That is ok, as long as I can understand location and distance. 

If I get lost on big roads like this, then I must be too stupid.


I always see this blue “L” sign on top of cars on the street; at first I have no idea what it means.  

When I get bored, I would imagine what this “L” word means: “L” 

got killed by the night god, then how can it be driving on the street?  


Or does “L” mean it is left side?  But almost all the cars on the road are ones with driver on the left, 

and I have never seen a car with sign that says “R” meaning “Right”.

After seeing this driving course, then I realized the “L” means new driver.  

So next time when I see “L” sign I need to get away fast since their driving skill are not that good yet.  


Riding on the Red #2 freeway I saw this sign early in the morning saying no bike.  

I have no problem with “no carriage” but what does it mean “no bike?”

This is annoying after entering Europe, lots of main roads forbids bike on there.  

But there is no other roads I can take, even if there are I don’t want to take the long way either. 

Initially I pretend I didn’t see this sign so I continue to ride.  

After few 100 meters there is another sign just like it, now I pretend I didn’t understand it.  

Then there is another one and I pretend it is in the wrong spot.  

The forbidden bike sign continuously line up on the road, but I just ride along. 


I will figure out what to do if I get stopped.  

Even though it says bike forbidden, but there is a huge area marked for the shoulder of the road,

it would be too disappointing not to use it. 


I wish there are less of this sign; it is very annoying.  

Around 9am I stopped at a gas station to purchase some food to eat.  

I finished most of the water in the water bottle for my cleaning the night before.  

Then I drank the last few mouthfuls when I ate the cake this morning. 

There are lots of things here at this gas station. 

The map that I couldn’t find before is here, and there are lots of maps here as well.

It depends on if you want the map of whole Europe, or just maps of Warsaw, 

there are lots of selections, each are about $200NT ($6USD).  

It takes less than one week to ride through Poland so I will save the money in purchasing a map.  

I will just follow my way from the road signs; I will try to stay away from the big city to avoid getting lost.  


Browsing through the refrigerators, the prices aren’t that cheap.  

The best price is this juice, 2 liters of apple juice is cheaper than other juices that are just 1 liter each.

The price is labeled $4.69Zit ($2USD), I gave $5Zit to the cashier but he didn’t give me back any change.  

The smallest coin is $50 cents Zit, so anything less than that automatically goes into the store’s pocket. 


I continue to ride west while drinking the apple juice, and around 11am I arrived at a gas station area with restaurant.  

At this time my stomach was rumbling, I should eat something warm.  If possible lets bring on lots of food.

There are three trolls displaced in front of the store.  The store is pretty comfortable.  

Before I would clean myself a bit in the restaurant’s bathroom using a towel, I am using the same way in Poland too.  

Besides, it is safe to eat tap water here in Poland.

It is Polish all over the menu, but I can still understand some words such 

as burger and hot dog that are the same as English writings.  

I ordered one $5Zit ($2USD) pizza, and took out my electric charge things.  I will probably spend at least 3 hours here.

The made to order pizza will come to the table in a bit.  

When I was cleaning myself with the towel in the bathroom I saw a guy playing the slot machine. 

I saw him pretty happy; I guess he probably won a lot of money here. 

The guy shared his happiness with me and invited me for a big mug of cold beer

right after I finished washing my hair in the restaurant bathroom.

The beer plus the pizza I ordered for myself for lunch.

Sitting in the restaurant writing the travel journal really takes a long time, 

as I have to organize everything that happened when I was entering customs in Poland.  

Around this time when I hear the slot machine with coins dropping out, 

I know the guy will share his happiness with me by inviting me to more cold drinks. 

The guy bought everything in 2 portions, the other portion he always shares with me.  

After the cold beer I also got iced tea and orange juice.  He even asked me if I am hungry.


 He asked me if I am going to Warsaw?  

No way, if I go into Warsaw I will get lost.  I am avoiding Warsaw and going toward Poznana to find my friend.  


Around 2pm when I was getting ready to leave the restaurant,

the guy gives me a big bottle of soda to take on the road.

I had filled both water bottles with water at the restaurant, 

and my stomach had also been filled with drinks. 


It was hard to drink this soda since my stomach has already been filled with lots of beverages,

so I put the soda in my jacket pocket and continue to ride on. 

It was hard to ride carrying the 2-liter soda next to my chest.  

Several times the soda fell rolling to the ground.  I was really worried the soda bottle would burst.  

It wasn’t long after leaving the restaurant I reached a town, here are special bike lanes, I felt respected.  

This is totally different from the signs I saw this morning that forbids bikes to be on it.

There is no safety hazard to bikers here because even with heavy traffic, this is special bike line.  

The bike has their own separate path to ride on; it is the same side as pedestrians.

Once entering a town I will start looking for Internet access.  

However, this is Europe, there is no need to look for Internet store signs. 

In any street there are wireless Internet access available.


It was very difficult while carrying the 2-liter bottle of soda and the laptop looking for Internet access.  

In one setting I decided to drink the whole bottle of soda, but now I am worried my stomach will burst.  

Now there are fewer things on my hands, and I also found some wireless Internet.  

But I couldn’t hook onto the wireless Internet; I am a little disappointed now.  

Entering a computer technology store, the store clerk looked at me holding my laptop, 

did they discover that I am secretly using their wireless Internet? 


So I honestly told them I am traveling through, and all three of them said they could tell.  

They saw me walking by in front of their store twice already; 

they are wondering if there is anything they can help me with.  

Yes, is there Internet access I can use?  

Then they took me into the store along with my bike, since I heard bike theft is really high in Poland.  


So during this time I cannot let the bike leave my sight.  

Luckily I got hooked onto the Internet here, so I uploaded all 3-travel journals.  

This includes the journal I just finished writing an hour ago.  

This is the difference after entering Europe; the Internet speed is fast enough for me to be grateful. 

At the same time I also updated Google Earth map, 

I still have no idea what paths I need to take for the rest of the trip.  

While I was at the store, the store clerk looked at the online travel journal.  

They also purchased some beverages for me, and offered some cream buns with coffee.  

While spend an hour here I got stuff to eat and finished what I need to do.

In front of the store I took a group picture with everyone, 

everyone is asking why there is no English version of Poland’s travel journal yet? 

So for people who are translating, foreign readers are anxiously waiting for the English version of the travel journals, 

now they are just looking at the photos.


After leaving this town where I found Internet, 

the sign says in another 30Km (18.6 miles) on Red #2Freeway will reach Warsaw.  

But I don’t want to enter Warsaw at all.  

But they drew the sign so easily, it looks like once you enter 

Warsaw you can easily leave Warsaw and get on Red #2 freeway again.  

However, I think once I enter there is huge chance I will get lost in there.

The goal is get on Red #50 freeway and go around Warsaw. 

But this road says no bike allowed.  Even though I had ignored the same sign this morning,

but now I have to follow what the sign says, no bike here.  

This is because trucks aren’t allowed on Red #2 freeway so now they are all taking Red #50.  

Besides there is no shoulder to the road, so regardless how many lives I have it isn’t enough to ride on Red #50.  


Unwillingly I rode into Warsaw, it was around 6pm in the afternoon.  

I only have a small wish, which is to let me get out of Warsaw before it gets dark.  

I have no other wish at this moment.

Initially I still saw signs that point to the direction to Poznana, so I followed those sign dearly.  

Unfortunately after I entered the city there are less and less of those signs, and then it completely disappeared.


This is probably the home of some famous Polish person; too bad I am not familiar with him so I can’t introduce him.


Since I was just following the sign going towards Poznana, 

I accidentally got on this freeway connecting bridge that is used only for automobiles.  

I got a little scared, but it is even more dangerous trying to 

get off the bridge by riding opposite direction, so I had to continue on.

After getting off the bridge, I cross to the other side.  

The whole Warsaw has special bike lane all over the city.  

There is no place bike riders can’t get to; it is safer to ride here.

However, I cannot see the signs posted on the bridge from where I am, here at the bike lane. 

I am not sure if I am riding toward the correct direction.

Even though there is special bike lane, but I got on car only path again.  

All this is because I was riding the bike and following the signs.  

So I dangerously got into the city while riding on car only roads.

Right next to me is bike and pedestrian only path, but there is a barrier between, and I can’t get over.  

So I just ride carefully on the very edge of the road.  It is a good thing no one here will honk at me.

The wide river right next to me, three minutes ago there was just small rain going on so the sky is a bit dark. 

The view is gorgeous, if I can only cross the barrier and get on the other side.


There are lots of bike riders in Warsaw, just as many bikes as cars.  

Other than looking at the signs I also asked people for directions.  

Everyone very nicely answered my questions, and the first things they ask me are “Do you speak English?”

Yes, of course I can speak English!  

Suddenly the language I haven’t used for a while opened up. 

The European feel surfaced once again.  It is wonderful to understand someone and to be able to have a conversation. 

There are two types of cross walks on the street.  


The white is for pedestrian, and the red is for bikes.  Pedestrian and bike have their own light signal.


The map before I enter Warsaw said that if I ride continuously I would exit the city and connect to Red #2 Freeway. 

I swear I was riding straight but it changed to Red #7 freeway.  It feels as if I am getting lost.

On the safe side I continuously ask both bikers and pedestrians for direction. 

I was hoping there wouldn’t even have a chance of getting on the wrong road. 

However, since I am in the middle of the city center, 

even for locals it would be hard for them to explain how to get to Poznana.  

With lots of left turn, right turn, crossing the street, crossing the bridge, taking the under pathway,

I kept telling myself don’t feel like I am getting lost.  

This is because as soon as I feel I am getting lost, then I must have gotten lost.

So now I use my ultimate tool, the compass.  

I took out the compass with the combination of the sun and riding toward the west.  

Looks like I will have to cross through Warsaw to get to #2Red now.  

After leaving Red #7 I connected to Red #8 on the west.  

Even though the color is right but the number isn’t right. 

But at least now I am toward west so it shouldn’t be too far off.

The sun is going down, don’t leave me behind!  

I got up earlier than you this morning and now I am trying to find my way around, how can you leave me behind.  

The road I ride on changes, now it changed to Orange #719.  If this isn’t lost, then what does it mean getting lost?

Even if I am taking the wrong path, but at least I am sure I am leaving the city.  

Now my expectation is even less, as long as I can get out of the city, even if not connecting to the right street will be ok.


I will just figure out a way to get on the right road again, just let me get out of Warsaw.  

The sky is getting dark, and there is no sign of the sun but the sky still has some lights to it. 

But this is the last hour to the light in the sky; even the street lamps are lighted up.  


Even though I have gotten lost since the first day in Beijing, but I never thought it was a big deal getting lost, 

I figure there will be a time finding the right road.  

But at the time when I was lost I couldn’t calm myself, why does the city have such complicated street design.  

I really miss the comfort of riding on the countryside with just one road going straight ahead.  


Even though I had asked at least 30 people for direction, 

and I still can’t believe the path I took in crossing Warsaw after I looked at the GPS map.  

However, by miracle I still road out of Warsaw, it was around 9pm.

Because the sun already went down so I am now wearing my normal glasses.  

From the time I entered Warsaw it took 3 hours to get out of it. 

I didn’t browse around happily; all I did was spending a lot of time trying to find a way to get out of it. 

Smoothly I got out of Warsaw, and I even connected to Red #2 freeway, 

it is the miracle inside a miracle.  Right now I am less than 300km (187miles) from Poznana, 

I should have no problem getting there in 2 days.


After getting out of the city, I need to find a resting place.  

Even though I have left Warsaw, but there are still as many people here on the street. 


It wasn’t like the moment I got out of Warsaw it became farm fields.  

Around 10:30pm, I found this factory but the gates weren’t closed up. 

It is very obvious they are closed for the day.  I just need a corner to spend the night. 

I am pretty sure it will rain tonight, so I need somewhere there is a roof covering.

Pulling the bike into the factory area, even with all the doors closed I didn’t dare going inside. 

There is a small porch area, so I plan to lean against it for the night. 

Unloaded the bags from the bike, washing my face and changing into my pajama, 

even if today end like this for me is still fine.  

A car entered the factory area, I didn’t feel right in my heart.  

But since I had unloaded the bags, there is nowhere I can hide.  


So I honestly stood underneath the porch area waiting for the car to drive by.  

The shiny car headlights shone on me.  The driver stopped the car and asked me what I was doing here.  

It doesn’t matter if I say I am just passing through with my bike, the driver didn’t sound nice.  


Rather than saying asking me to leave, he was asking me to get out immediately.  

So I put all the bags onto the bike again, and I had to change back into my riding clothing. 

I had thought today was going to end like this with me sleeping on the porch area, but it wasn’t so simple. 


With the driver’s eyes watching me leaving the porch, I rode into the night.  

Since I can’t stay here for the night, I will have to continue to ride on.  

The second place I found was another factory like area.  

Again this one doesn’t have the gates pulled up either, and there doesn’t seem to be anyone in. 

On the edge of the wall there is some roof covering sticking out, it will work sort like a roof covering.  

Putting the bike against the wall, I unloaded the 3 back bags to lessen its weight. 

This time I am not going to change into my pajama since I don’t know when I will get kicked out again.  

So I wore whatever was on me and leaned against the wall to sleep.

I didn’t take out the sleeping bag, tent, or the air mattress. 

I am still wearing my slippers because when I was getting kicked out earlier

I didn’t get a chance to put on my socks and shoes. 

I leaned against the wall with my eyes closed. 

Even if I don’t’ fall asleep I still need to get my energy back since I still need to ride tomorrow. 

Around midnight someone approached me so I opened my eyes again.  


This time was an old security guard.  He shone his flashlight at me asking me what I was doing here.  

Again, I said I am traveling through with my bike; can I stay here over night?  

I will leave as soon as light is out, I won’t cause you any trouble.  

The old man didn’t say anything and then left. 

I thought he agreed to let me stay here for the night, and felt it is easier to communicate with old people.  

Right then I pulled out the sleeping bag to cover myself, but with the dark clouds and thunder, 

I wasn’t sure how good this roof covering will be if it actually starts raining.  

Five minutes later a car drove by, this time is a big man and next to him was the old security guard next to him.  

So when the old security guard left he went to find someone to get rid of me.  

At first I thought it was a cop, but then I found out it was another security guard.  

No need to say he was asking me to leave.  So the sleeping bag I just took out now I need to roll it back up again.  

But at least there is no need to change my clothing. 


This is the second time I got kicked out, I was a little sad.  

Why is it so hard to find a place to camp?  Is it because this is a big city?  

But then rest of the way to Paris is all big cities.  

Getting back on the road again, looking at the sign I figure I might as well ride all night.  

With the distance I can ride during the day I can probably ride 300km.  


This way I can go find Goose tomorrow. 

Too bad I immediately overruled myself since it is too dangerous to ride at night.  

Even if I can ride safely till morning, but will I have enough energy to ride during the day? 

I continue trying to find a place I can spend the night.  

The third place I found was this residence area.  All the buildings line up neatly;

I picked one that is toward the inside, and one I felt has less people going in and out. 

Even though it was 1am in the morning, but there shouldn’t be anyone going in and out right?  

There is also a red roof covering shielding me from the rain.  

Surprisingly when I pulled on the door handle, it wasn’t locked.  

So I pulled the bike inside, and I sat on the floor by the entrance and tried to sleep.

This is the third place I tried to spend the night,

I hope I won’t get kicked out again but I am still prepared just in case I might be kicked out any time.  


So I sat up and leaned against the wall to sleep.  

Around 3am someone came, she looked like a college student.  

When she opened the door seeing the bike and me parked there it scared her.  


She entered her home and then came out again.  

I had thought she was going to ask me to leave.  

But no, she asked me if I needed water or something else?  I thought for a second but told her no. 

I just need to stay here for the night since it was raining thunderstorm outside. 


I had been kicked out twice, but this time I felt so warm having someone asking me if I need anything.  

But I didn’t want to bother anyone, so I better not ask for much. 

I have to thank the two people who kicked me out earlier.  

The moment I arrived at this residential area, rain started pouring.  

The howling wind feels no different to a typhoon. 

If I had stayed at either of the two previous places, I don’t know how wet I would have been by now. 

The title of today’s journal is “Hard Times”, 

it doesn’t mean today is hard time, but it is Polish “thank you”, the sound (in Mandarin) is “Hard Times”.  

As soon as I learned this I started saying this more often to people, always thanking people. 


In reality this trip isn’t hard, but lots of “thanks”.  

While resting inside listening to the thunderstorm and feeling the nice gesture from that girl.  

The city wasn’t cold at all, just one niceness from one person will be enough to 

overcome 1 million people telling me to get out of here.  

English version of trip log is translated by H2、MD、Liz、mouse、John、Robin、Eric、Moe、virginia, many thanks to them.