Our first night’s accommodation is two hours away, on a homely family-run farm in Poreby. The area around Poreby is dotted with family smallholdings. It is also dotted with approximately 200 lakes, some of which were dug by monks in the 13th century as carp pools. It isn’t long before we’re relaxing in the dining room after a hearty Polish dinner and a superb day of cycling.
The following morning, just as we leave the farm, we catch the daily mobile bakery and stock up on a breakfast dessert of sweet buns and cakes to help fuel our day ahead. We head north towards the charming town of Milicz, where we explore the 18th century Lutheran church of Saint Andrew Bobola. This post-Reformation church is one of six Churches of Grace that were allowed to be built as a symbol of religious equality, peace and tolerance.
We leave Milicz and steer ourselves west, passing through a village called Gruszeczka (pear) en route to one of our many tour highlights. After staying the night at the peaceful Claretian Monastery in Krzydlina Mala we continue our journey towards Lubiaz: a relatively unknown 12th century Cistercian Abbey.
Although it is the largest in the world, and UNESCO listed as an object of outstanding universal value, it suffers from a lack of exposure and a lack of funds for restoration. The Baroque Silesian architecture in the Princes hall, library and dining room has been restored to its former glory but the rest of the massive complex provokes thoughts of the scale of work yet to come.
The English-speaking guide mentions that since the time when it was home to Benedictine and Cistercian monks, it has survived differing occupants: German and Russian officers during WWII with their secret research labs, several manufacturing companies, and a psychiatric hospital. The restaurant on the Abbey grounds is a wonderful place to eat, drink, and relax before heading south towards the Sudety Mountains.
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