We have planned our trip to the Bieszczady Mountains by motorcycle quite intensively: Solina, Bieszczady’s Motorcycle Marina, Ustrzyki Górne, the ruins of the castle in Sobień and at the very end the serpentines in the Słonne Mountains. Of course, we assumed that the weather would be great. The forecasts wasnt good, but we still went to sleep with a light heart, because, as Kaczmarski used to sing, “here in autumn, like in a paradise garden, you don’t care about anything but the existence”. Regardless of the weather.
Motorcycle trip to the Bieszczady Mountains – stop number one – Solina
Solina is one of the favorite places motorcyclists like to visit, but not only. It’s the kind of Mecca of the Bieszczady Mountains. No wonder, because it is a beautiful place, and in September it appeared to us from the side from which we did not know it yet. This time it was not full of life and cheerful, there was no laughter and bustle. It was calm, nostalgic, the coming autumn could be felt in the air. Most of the local peoples closed their business for the winter, the marina was still open, but only for a few lonely sailboats and remnants of tourists. The perfect time to calm down with a glass of mulled beer and the sounds of shanties.
How was it with Solina? A few words about the history
The Solina Reservoir has a sad history. Before the war, almost 800 people lived in that place. Quite a lot. People were connected with a beautiful, green valley. They lived there for years, from grandfather, great-grandfather. They built schools, Orthodox churches, temples, cemeteries where they buried their loved ones. They linked their future with this place, this was the land they loved. Later, everyone was forced to move out, pack their life’s possessions and leave their home, to which they were not supposed to return. The construction work of the Solina Reservoir began in 1960. In addition to engineers, builders, and workers of various ointments, Solina was also visited by “specialists” working on the exhumation of corpses. It was by the authorities promised that all cemeteries would be moved.
– They dug out human remains from the graves and transported them to the cemetery in Wolkowya. Some of them were still lying in decayed coffins, others in bulk. It was a terrible sight…
However, this did not happen, because in the 90s anglers from Polańczyk noticed floating crosses and coffins. This caused a great commotion because there were five cemeteries in the flooded areas, which were supposedly exhumed and moved to other places. However, human bones and coffins found on the shore of the lagoon contradicted this. In the document “Solina Hydroelectric power plant – final works” we can read that there were only three cemeteries on the flooded areas, not five – Solina, Wolkowyja and Teleśnica – and a funeral ground for animals in Solina. The remains of the animals were burned and the cemeteries were exhumed. The question arises: what about the other two cemeteries – Sokolski and Chrewski?
– I won’t forget how they destroyed the church. In one moment a storm broke out, the lightning struck as if the apocalypse was coming. Mom stood in the hallway. Elderly people later said that it was God who got angry with the assassination attempt on his House.
Solina wasn’t the only one that was supposed to be flooded
Solina wasn’t the only village to be flooded. Also villages Zadział and Podkaliszcze, Teleśnica Sanna with the Łęg hamlet, Horodek, Chrewt, part of Sokole, Zawoz, Rajskie, and Wołkowya. The houses had to be dismantled on their own. If anyone opposed, they were ordered to move out, and their farm was razed to the ground with bulldozers. People had to transport their belongings in horse-drawn carts, many kilometers, with roads with many holes. By the way roads there even now, in the 21st century, leave much to be desired. The authorities did not care about the inhabitants’ requests for even one truck. The places of the cult of the saint were not treated any better. While the Solina church was demolished and reassembled (today it is in the Sanok open-air museum), the fate of many churches, which were simply blown up, was worse.
– Heart’s breaking. There is only a great depth now, and I still see my home. 400 meters from the shore, I can point it with my finger and I won’t make a mistake.
All this in the right cause, sadness only overwhelms that it was done on tears and human harm. We do not want to judge the people who made the decision to flood Solina and nearby villages. If there is a concept of the lesser evil, they certainly chose it. Thanks to them, the water resources of the Vistula tributaries were regulated, but all the time we are wondering whether the whole process could not be carried out in a different, more human way. We’d probably hear “such times”.
Motorcycle trip to the Bieszczady Mountains – stop number two – Motocyklowa przystań
If you were not, you must visit the Bieszczadzka Przystań Motocyklowa. Although we were not lucky enough to meet the host, about whom we have already heard legends, but we were greeted by a nice, young hostess, creator of a brilliant cheesecake and coffee. We are true admirers of all kinds of cheesecakes and this one was really delicious. We will definitely come back to this place because we can feel the power from this location, unfortunately in the September season, a bit empty. We drank coffee and moved on, around the Great and Small Bieszczady Loop through Ustrzyki Górne in the direction of Lesko and the serpentines in the Słonne Mountains. If someone is a bit hungry and the coffee is not enough, you can have a good meal at the Black Rooster Inn, its worth its price, but it is not a low-budget meal there.
Motorcycle trip to the Bieszczady Mountains – stop number three – Ustrzyki Górne
We couldn’t avoid visiting Ustrzyki Górne, which has been a guest in our hearts for many years, as a place of youthful excursions, bonfires with a guitar, SDM songs, the taste of the first wine and sandwiches with ketchup (because there was no money for more). Now, with the passage of time, at least in our opinion, that place is losing its original atmosphere more and more. The biggest disappointment was the pub with reggae music “Bieszczadzka Legenda” in the place where once stood “U rzeźbiarza” (At the Sculptor’s). Either we got old too soon, or too many memories connected us with this place for the new pub to charm us. Mr. Andrzej Lach, who had run it before, is no longer living in Ustrzyki Górne.
Probably many people remember his songs sung near the firecamp and stories, which may not always have been true, but they had their own unique atmosphere. He handed over the business to his son, who was not so successful, and that’s why he sold the place. Mr. Andrzej still lives in the Bieszczady Mountains, plays guitar, sings and sculpts. We heard that it can be found near Łopienka, this time we didn’t check that, but surely we will want to do it in the next year. If you haven’t had the pleasure of talking to him, you should, because it’s always worth knowing the true legend of the Bieszczady Mountains. While there is still time. We moved on, through Lesko to the village of Wujskie, where the well-known Słonne serpentines begin.
Motorcycle trip to the Bieszczady Mountains – stop number four – Slonne’s Mountains serpentines
The longest serpentines in Poland are located in the Subcarpathian region in the Slonne’s Mountains. It is no longer the Bieszczady Mountains, but not so far away from them, and everyone who likes a bit more sharp corners should drive a motorcycle between the village of Wujskie and Tyrawa Wołoska. This is one of the most spectacular routes of this type in Poland, it is not as picturesque as we expected, but it gives a lot of fun and excitement. Interestingly, when there was no asphalt surface there were more corners. Until the 1970s, the road there had 42 serpentines, now there are 18.