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I remember that region from a childhood camp with a canoing trip. I did not knew how special is that region,  but the landscape, forests, lakes and marches are beautiful.

The relatively untouched nature strip continues along the  Lithuanian-Belorussian border. I am sure the marches on the other side of Augustow (towards Koningsberg/Kaliningrad) are just as beautiful. Those marches are famous in the medieval history of Germanic Crusades to the Baltic region, and fights between their orders with Lithuanian-Polish tribes/states. The crusaders tended to raid in winter, when the marches froze.

My home tome is in Southern Lithuiania, just some 50 km from the Polish border.

On the other hand, land travel from Warsaw towards the Baltic states is terrible. Air travel is still the only comfortable option of visiting Latvia and Lithuania. Crossing Poland by car takes 12 hours at least, and the Eastern piece is most dreadful and dangerous. The direct one-lane road has busy traffic and awful quality, crosses all villages. You either have to go slow with trucks, or take risks overtaking them. I did not use that route for several years, but the traffic could have gotten only worse. (Train travel beyond Warsaw is primitive as well.) In actuality, the Baltic states have even more interest in the improved Via Baltica road than Poland itself.

The right thing to do is to build a good alternative route avoiding Rospuda, of course. But these common good things go slow, and the Easteuropeans do not perhaps expect much.

by das monde on Fri Aug 3rd, 2007 at 04:22:26 AM EST

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