Frankly speaking I did not have anything to ride on when the time of the ITT'99 rally came. I had sold my new AT motor, because I had not fallen in love with it and I ordered a new TA. I knew that it must have taken some time but I did not expect such delay. This way or the other I was without my steed when the day of the rally came. Still, there was somebody who gave me a helping hand. It was my old companion from the times of my cruise to Turkey - Iwo. Yes, my Noble Iwiusz, a friend indeed is a friend in need. It was your red steed that took me to rally... thanks.
The day of the departure
The day before the rally was rainy and cold. From the eight raiders who once wanted to go, now only two confirmed their participation, third was still hesitating. Morning of the 12 of May was cloudy and chilly but it was not raining. On the place of gathering, a Shell petrol station, appeared, couple of minutes late though, two riders on black Translaps. According to seniority first is Michał "Domino" and second is Maciek. We met personally for the first time, previously we corresponded by e-mail and had three unsuccessful attempts of meeting in town. Looking at the cloudy sky above us we rode forward. We crossed the border in the afternoon. Then, what a pleasant surprise, appeared some sun, but also some very nice drizzles. Near Magdeburg we got stuck in a gigantic traffic jam. "Stuck" in this case means squeezing (sometimes folding side mirrors) between cars, once on the right side, then in the middle or on the left side of the cars. There were quite a couple of us ,riders, travelling in that way, in time 'the broader' of us got finally stuck. We lost about two hours on that game.
We spend night at the friend's place but before we went to sleep we ate big supper. Sausages and beer in a shepherd's house were our enjoyment of the evening. At the end of the feast something for our minds - slides from Ireland. Some of us saw it to the last slide.
First day of the rally
After big breakfast we went for a pre-arranged meeting with Deltev "DeTi" and his friend Carsten - a rider beginner. DeTi, as a reasonable and senior native led us to Denmark via "not the main" roads. The weather was capricious but that was not what worried us. DeTi, to my great astonishment, rode on his rather well- worn TA with enormous speed. I will only say that we passed even the fastest groups of motorcycles and sometimes we rode 100% faster than the road signs allowed. Well, well, DeTi, I did not know that you were such a tough guy. We lost our way at least two times, reached the ferry in a last minute and, speeding on highways, we finally got to the place of the rally.
I wouldn't have traced back our way to Tienhoven. After we got our registration cards and paid our fee, we were let into "Translap Town". For some people the first thing to do was to put up their tents. In the evening there was again feast for our minds - slides from Europe - Asia, Australia and Africa tours. What a tough guy. Presentation, as the audience was international, was in English. After slides there were cowboy dances, beer, tales and so on. Our dreams were sweet...
Second Day of the Rally
We woke up late in the morning and immediately felt very hungry so we went for breakfast. There was so much to choose from - menu was set by the person who had no consideration for good figure, diet, etc. I ate just enough to put my trousers on without problems, I took only one second helping, but a nice plump girl from Germany took more, as I noticed.
At ten we set off on a planned Translapping. I looked on the timetable, tried to give the impression that I understood it - but I couldn't make it out. As an old scout I can find my way on the maps easily, but word description - that is something different. Fortunately Hans de Waard , who lived in the area, joined us. So we set off in a five member group. As many teams started at the same time, we rode in a rather big herd. The landscape was wonderfully Danish, but I have no proof, as stops for a photo were impossible in such a big group. Riding on the bank we saw in the distance small, toy-like houses, dams, ferries, bridges and all that stuff. One could say "just like Polish Żuławy", yet slightly different.
The tour completed, we came to Translap Town in the evening. There awaited us a profuse meal. All of us got rather hungry by that time, so people queued for food just like in "crisis time" in Poland. But the substantial difference was that this time all off us got something delicious, even the most hungry of us got satisfied. In the evening the usual stuff - dances, beer and long talks..
Third day of the rally.
We woke frozen. The morning was sunny but chilly. With a small headache (result of the previous night's feast) we lowly went for breakfast, which was traditionally substantial. Trying to avoid yesterday's mistake - riding in a crowd - we asked our guide to ride a bit slower than the rest, and to stop from time to time to take photos. Four of us, with Hans as a tour guide, translator and director, set off. The tour was definitely different from that of a previous day, different landscape, and, at last, windmills. We even had enough time to spend a moment in a small picturesque town, occupied by bicycle riders, for a piece of cake and drink, non - alcohol one, of course. Nice and rustically. We got back to the headquarter with the feeling of photographic mission completed.
We had to wait for our dinner, but when it finally came, there was enough for everyone, sausages, salads, and all such stuff.
In the evening there was rodeo. Not on translaps, though, but on a bull. We fought bravely, as usual and we had a lot of fun. And in a saloon there was traditional entertainment, and beer, till the morning. We did not see the sunrise with the rest of the people, as we went to sleep earlier, we had really long way home ahead of us.
The forth day of the rally
The day of the departure. We said goodbye to our friends and to the organisers, some of us said goodbye to their girlfriends, and we set off on our way home. Michał convinced us that it would be interesting to see the places of the battles and death of the Polish parachuters who took part in the battles for Denmark during the Second World War in 1944. So we saw Arnhem. In this famous "one bride too far" place, in a town called Driel, there is a Polish Square, with a memory monument with names of the soldiers who lost their lives there. We honoured their memory by reading loud their names.
After that there was only highway, fortunately without traffic jams. We crossed boarder at 10 p.m., and got into dense fog and 5 C. We reached Gdańsk at 4.30 a.m. after 1300 km of ride with no breaks. Still it was worth it. We wait anxiously for the next year rally.