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No idea! Something along the lake
Summer buzz at Mikołajki

We had our boat trip on the lakes day out today, and had a slightly earlier start to make sure we got there on time. We walked into town, past the small yachts where people were having breakfast or getting dressed and ready, or still sleeping. Quite a few had chosen to sleep on the deck, or even just on the pavement, one guy in a sleeping bag. People walked around with towels and toilet bags, or brushing their teeth and shaving, making use of the water taps from the houses backing onto the river/lake. We bought some of the nice yellow-red cherries from a vendor, and at the main square bought water and a sausage from Super Sam, the local mini-market. I always find places like that colourful and full of info about …erm… local things. Just seeing local brands and products you can’t recognise, as well as familiar ones, and fresh local produce. They give you a bit of an insight into domestic local life rather than the world of terrace cafés.

We went and found our boat and got a nice little table on the sun deck. More people gradually arrived, a mixture of Germans and Poles and not a different nationality noticeable. We were the odd ones out here – great! The boat trip went first out onto the big lake Sniardwy, making a loop over the flat calm mirror-like waters and then entered a side lake, a passage which led round curves and bends and up to a set of locks connecting with the smaller lake Beldany behind, and then on to the little town of Ruciane-Nida. Along the way passed many Polish boaters, usually a group of teenagers or slightly older, who had hired a yacht together. None of the snooty yachtie scene here, just uncomplicated fun and mucking about on the water. On a boat off to our left two girls were flashing their boobs at us – we passed them again later on, much closer this time, as they lifted their bikinis again for our benefit. On a similar theme, a couple of Polish lads on a different boat mooned us, not quite such a nice sight.

There were many informal mooring spots along the shores where yachts had just tied up and were having a bite on board or among the trees, some boats were tucked between the reeds along the shore. A real summer atmosphere. Lots of nooks and crannies everywhere, people just enjoying the lazy summer. We met up with another boat which took a load of passengers from ours back to Mikołajki while we continued on the longer trip to the locks. On board our “guide” delivered his spiel in Polish and German, and then tried a good sell on vodka and lacy cloths. I popped downstairs to get a coffee, we read our books, I scribbled a bit in my diary, and we just sat on the deck enjoying the sunshine. At the locks there was a large group of yachts with their masts dropped.

We reached Ruciane-Nida around half past twelve and got off to have some lunch. There was nothing else to do around here, and a lazy lunch had been part of our plan anyway, so we enjoyed a tasty salad (square plates!) and a cold beer, followed by a vodka and a game of gin-rummy, and then it was time to get back on the boat. Being sufficiently “German” secured us the same little table on the way back. There was also a group of playful school kids but they got off somewhere along the way and the rest of the boat trip was as calm as this morning.

We got back to Mikołajki around 4 o’clock, feeling very sun-baked and totally chilled. We grabbed a coffee and a waffle with fruit and cream and strolled back to our hotel. Later we came back out and did a little “crawl” of the beer tents in the back gardens, which was much more fun than the proper bars and restaurants. At each we had at least a beer or a vodka. It was very quiet, very empty. Strangely, as it is high season and there are people about on the boats, but there were only ever just another couple of people in each bar, at most. After a most successful little crawl we headed back to the hotel in high spirits, had another drink – coffee and vodka – on the terrace, and spoke with two of the older Germans who were both pretty tipsy. “Ja, ve like coming here. You know, zis used to belong to us!”