Sunday, May 28, 2023

City Break - Krakow

Krakow, Poland. Friday/Monday 26/29-May-2023.

My first ever visit to Poland and, by my reckoning, Mary's 19th as she travelled there a lot for work around 10 years ago. I was hugely impressed. The city is fascinating, the food excellent, the locals courteous (especially the drivers) in the old town. And, oh look, a couple of parkruns to choose from! We flew in from Bari and were joined by Mary’s sister and brother-in-law from Glasgow. 

We had a lovely apartment in the Stare Miasto (old town) close enough to all the bars and restaurants without being too close to the noisy town square.

Friday 26th. We ate in a local restaurant, Bistro Bene by Tomasz Wesniak, and then went for a beer.

Saturday 27th.

Zielony Jar - a new parkrun in a new country and got a Z. The Run Director asked for a Tail Walker so Mary volunteered. She had a great walk round chatting to Michael on his first ever parkwalk and saw a red squirrel. Quite a few visitors, nice to meet Michelle & Lance who we look forward to seeing at Salento parkrun.

Mary got a volunteer credit for Zamykający Stawkę which slightly made up for the fact that the hi-viz clashed with her new Tikiboo outfit - I knew that!

Lunch in the town square. I have had pierogi in the UK and found them disappointing and flabby. These on the other hand were crispy and delicious.

The afternoon was spent exploring the city.

Saturday evening meal at Moo Moo steak and burger club. George does love a steak.

Vodka is another Polish speciality so after supper we went to a vodka bar to sample a selection of flavoured vodkas. 

Sunday 28th.

The old town is surrounded by a circular park where the city walls used to be.

Mary went for an early morning power walk and met a fire breathing dragon.

Schindlers Factory. A fascinating exhibition with a lot of information about the invasion of Poland during World War 2 and the treatment of the Jews as well as what Schindler himself did.

River cruise, view of the shore and Wawel Royal Castle.

Aperol drinking and people watching in the main square.

Old Town Restaurant was an excellent choice of restaurant for our last night in Krakow  Mary and Sandra had the traditional soup in a loaf for starter.

George's starter of wild boar looked like a piece of art.

All the food was delicious.

There were no direct flights back to Puglia on a Monday so we went via Milan Bergamo. Not too long a connection and home in time for a meal with friends near the airport who let us park our car there for the weekend.

Edit 2 [11-July-2023].

An update from the Zielony Jar parkrun Facebook Page:

  • You can no longer reach our #parkrun Zielony Jar by tram. 
  • We recommend bus number 182.

I suggest checking their page (and CityMapper) before setting off.

Edit [11-July-2023].

PS. For the benefit of fellow parkrun tourists this here is further info on Krakow transport we have learned: 

  • Use CityMapper! Search for “parkrun Zielony Jar” and it will give you all the public transport options.
  • train from airport to main train station (Kraków Główny) is really easy, cheap and frequent. Ticket machines on platform, on train or buy from conductor on train. 
  • tram 4 took us from old town to near parkrun. Bought ticket from machine at tram stop. Need a 60 min ticket (6 Zloty per person) because of the length of the journey. Validate ticket as you board. 
  • have sufficient change or the Jakdojade app as backup in case machines not working. Travelling without a valid ticket can mean an on-the-spot 120 zloty fine!
  • we used tram both ways. About 50 min each way. Use Citymapper to check your route. 
  • I like to drop a What3Words pin at the apartment so it’s always easy to plot a route home. 
  • parkrun is in a lovely wooded park. 
  • there is a portaloo next to the start. 
  • Mary saw a red squirrel (and a black one!)

Monday, May 22, 2023

Acquedotto Alberobello

Cisternino, Puglia. Friday 19-May-2023.

We have often walked the nearest section of the Acquedotto Ciclovia from Locorotondo to Ceglie Messapica (map) where it has been upgraded to a good trail for walkers, joggers & cyclists. Now we have discovered a new walkable section from near Locorotondo to near Alberobello. 

In April whilst perusing a book of walks for ideas Mary noticed another walkable section to the north of Locorotondo, just 10km from Cisternino! We immediately went to explore with a picnic lunch and what we found was a delightful path through wooded landscape awash with wild flowers and butterflies plus pigs, horses and raptors. 

The first time we walked it we stopped for lunch after eight kilometres and then turned back. Later we did the remainder of this section and discovered that we had been only one and a half kilometre from the end. On a fine day recently we went back and did the complete walk (9km each way) in one go!

Edit [Wednesday 24-May-2023]:

Q. Is it smooth enough for cycling?
A. Easily good enough for cycling. As smooth as the main ciclovia but not as wide so definitely single file. We saw several cyclists. A couple of caveats. 

  1. There are a couple of locked gates where you’ll have to lift your bike over, one at the Alberobello entrance and another a couple of km in from that end. 
  2. The straight section in the middle is where the acquedotto goes through the hill and the path goes up and over to rejoin the other side - partly rocky. Watch for that corner if coming from the Locorotondo end and don’t go straight ahead into a dead end.

View Google map version online:

Alberobello end: 

Locorotondo end: 

Download the GPX file for your device.



Bee Orchid.

Rose chafer beetle.

Common blue butterflies (male and female).

Common blue butterfly (female).


Ponte di San Marco.

Navigation in case you were confused.

Dennis the Menace beetle.

Foal - a new addition to the horses since our first foray.


Green lizard.


Painted lady butterfly.

Entrance (Alberobello end) [Google map].


Near entrance (Alberobello end).

Rootling pig in field opposite entrance (Alberobello end).

Purple emperors (male and female).

Tree blossom.

Red flowers on verge. 

Near entrance (Locorotondo end).

Triffid (aka wild fennel) with me for comparison.

White flowers.

Giant dandelion.

Horses on path.

More wild flowers.

More wild flowers.

Purple emperor butterfly.

In each section of the path different flora prevailed.

An amazing profusion of nature in action - lots of flowers and pollinators all working together.

Friday, May 19, 2023

The Eamont Way

Penrith, Cumbria. Tuesday 18-April-2023.

The Eamont Way is a new walking route of 5.5 miles from Penrith Railway Station to Pooley Bridge Steamer Pier. It is the work of Friends of the Ullswater Way. It is actually a collection of existing paths with new signs and gates and was only inaugurated on Friday 14th April, a few days before this walk.  

Having missed the inaugural walk we decided to give it a go ourselves and then walk back via Askham following another walk from my Lake District Walks with History book. The latter is described as "an atmospheric walk across lonely moors dotted with mysterious Bronze Age remains". 

Part 1: Outbound along the Eamont Way.

We downloaded and printed off the map. 

We then walked up to the station and found the start point. A short walk down to the A66 and then cut off down a side path.

River Eamont. Fairly full after recent rains.

This barn conversion near Sockbridge is called Wordsworth Cottage. Apparently it was formerly part of the estate once owned by Wordsworth’s grandfather who lived in nearby Sockbridge Hall.

The route goes through a mixture of fields and lovely country lanes.

We saw many daffodils but not yet up to Wordsworths "A host, of golden daffodils". We also saw many cute lambs who all ran to Mum when you approached the fence to take a photo.

Kirkbarrow Hall. This Gothic house on the main road, now a dairy farm, once belonged to Leonard Dacre, described by Queen Elizabeth as a "very cankred subtill traitor" for his role in the Rising of the North (1569).  Read more on the Friends of the Ullswater Way site.

The walk is pretty level, no huge ups and down through beautiful countryside.

The boat house at Pooley Bridge and the end of the Eamont Way.

Part 2: Return via Askham Fell.

A lovely place for a rest, looking over Ullswater.

Getting up onto Askham fell with views of Ullswater.

Galava & Brocavum were two local Roman forts. The Roman mile (mille passus, lit. "thousand paces"; abbr. m.p.) consisted of a thousand paces as measured by every other step—as in the total distance of the left foot hitting the ground 1,000 times.

The bronze age Cockpit stone circle. According to the book no-one knows for sure why it was built or why, as friend have pointed out, the grass is always greener inside the circle. 

The Cop Stone, another Bronze Age mystery. About 1.5m high and 1m thick, today a solitary stone but believed originally to be part of a cairn ring about 20m in diameter.

Heading back to Askham, the imposing Lowther Castle with the Pennines in the background.

Moving time 5:09:20. Distance 25.23km.

Lovely day for it but about 25km in all so definitely felt a bit weary afterwards. Our poor feet!