A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

Getting to Galiny for my first riding lesson


View Horseback riding in Poland on bejjan's travel map.

I know I said in an earlier blog post that I will never ever fly with Lufthansa again. I should have stuck to that. My previous experiences with Lufthansa have been, to say the least, unpleasant, or should I say unlucky? In spring of 2015, I had a long weekend in Innsbruck, Austria. Flights booked with Lufthansa. And what happened? Well, strike. I was fortunate that an affiliate of Lufthansa stepped in and also SAS, so I got there and back home, without paying an extra penny. Bad luck struck again in fall of 2015, when I was travelling to Brazil. First leg of the trip to Frankfurt, booked with Lufthansa. And what happened? Strike, again! I was lucky to receive information in advance about the upcoming strike and booked new tickets with another airline. It cost med some money to book new tickets just a few days before departure but the option was to cancel the entire trip… so, no… there had to be new tickets then. At least I received every penny back from Lufthansa due to the strike.
And since then, I have not flown with Lufthansa again… well, until now. Or, the idea was so anyway. But as my previous experiences has shown… four days before departure, cabin crew at Lufthansa threaten to strike. Hmm… what are the odds?!? Third time in a row that I suffered a strike when I booked with Lufthansa! Murphy’s Law all over, I say. Or maybe someone is trying to tell me I should stay away from Lufthansa.

So, Sunday morning. Up early in the morning to pack the very last things. When I briefly read about Lufthansa strike online, I did feel a little spiteful… haha, strike all you want. Nothing I had to worry about now after booking new tickets with other airlines. Loaded my bags in my car and started driving at 5.30 am. All according to plan. The rain was pouring down, cloudy and heavy fog. Only a few degrees Celsius outside. But I had changed the tires on my car to completely new winter tires just two days before, so that felt safe.
Parked the car in long-term parking and took the bus to Arlanda. Checked in my large bag and got though security check. Despite being almost seven in the morning, it was relatively busy in the terminal. Bought something to eat and awaited boarding, starting at 8.15 am. The flight was operated by SAS and flown by a Boeing 737-800. It took about 5 minutes for us, about 30 passengers, to board the aircraft. Felt silly that we all had been seated in a group in the middle of the plane, right above the wings. The front and the back were completely empty. I know it has to do with the balance of the plane, but still… it felt so silly.

large_1a.jpg

From Arlanda, it takes barely an hour to Gdánsk Lech Wałęsa Airport. Gdansk is a city in the northern part of Poland looking out over the Baltic Sea. So, in other words, I wasn’t able to see much of Poland from the air before touch-down. I had barley stepped into the arrival terminal when my bag arrived on the baggage belt (unlike Arlanda, where the bags more likely takes 20-30 minutes to arrive on the belt). Gdánsk Lech Wałęsa Airport is not big and I easily found my driver who would take me to the palace. He was only waiting for me, so we could get going right away. We traveled through a flat Polish landscape with trees in warm autumn colors. The first half hour we traveled on a highway then turned off, on smaller country roads for the last two hours. The villages became smaller and smaller and we passed the most lonesome and worn houses and, on the fields, you could spot farmers in their old tractors. It, somewhat, felt like one went back in time. Pałac i Folwark Galiny is situated almost straight east of Gdansk, relatively close to the border and straight sought of Kaliningrad. Along the driveway to Pałac i Folwark Galiny, maple and oak trees were glowing with their yellow red-orange colors in the sun.

Pałac i Folwark Galiny consists of the Grange, where the reception and restaurant are located, and so the Palace itself. There are rooms at both the Grange and the Palace where the guests can stay. I checked in and found out my room was in the Palace. My driver drove my bags to the Palace, since it takes a few minutes to walk and almost the entire road consists of cobblestone (not that fun to drag your large bags by hand).

large_1c.jpg large_1b.jpg large_1d.jpg large_1f.jpg

The Palace, that was built during the Renaissance (built in 1589), has been renovated and each room is individually furnished by country style. My room was large and spacious, the bathroom as well and it was also equipped with floor heating and towel dryer.

Time had become closer to one in the afternoon and I was starving. Luckily, one could just go to the restaurant and have a seat. It was full activity in the restaurant, all 13 guests who had been riding during the week had checked out and had their lunch now, before they would go home. It was bags and people all over the place and the noise almost deafening. But luckily, there was an upper floor where you could also dine in. The waitress handed me the menu, which I could choose from. Everything was included in the price I had paid for the holiday apart from the alcoholic beverages. Starter, main course and dessert and a whole page with dishes of the season. Chicken breast cutlet in almonds with baked potatoes was the choice. That satisfied one’s hunger. So, I had to take a short siesta in my room before heading out to discover the Palace property. The sun warmed and it was about +17 °C outside, which was, what I was told, very unusual for the time being. Normal temperature is around +5 °C and rain. The said that the last weeks in October was kind of a rainy season here, so they were amazed by the great weather. But once again, it is always great weather where I am traveling… doesn’t matter where or when during the year ;)

large_1e.jpg

At check in, I had received a map over the estate and its surroundings. I brought it with me and tried to follow it to get to the dams. But I soon realized that the map was neither scalable nor that the roads/tracks were not really drawn on the map as they were in reality.

large_1g.jpg

I walked down the Oaks Road and the large old oaks and maple trees lined the road. The leaves had just started to fall down onto the ground and leaves rustled pleasingly on the ground as you walked by.

large_1h.jpg

After a while, I arrived at the Lower Pond, a dam surrounded by fields. A lonely fisherman sat in the reeds and almost scared me to death. A little further away was a pier, from which you could jump into the pond for a swim. Maybe not in the end of October… but during summer it might be very inviting.

large_1i.jpg

Not far from there was Middle Pond, where three swans swam and lured in the reed. On my way back, it started to get really warm which was unexpected, so it had to be a very slow walk back to my room.

large_1j.jpg

Changed into my riding kit and made sure I was in the stable 15 minutes before my first lesson, according to what the receptionist had told me. But as I arrived in the stable my horse was already saddled and my instructor for the day told me I more or less need to be there 30 minutes before. How was I supposed to know? Anyway.

1k.jpg

My first horse I rode was Legenda, a chestnut mare. She seemed calm and secure. I was the only rider that was in the all-round program during this week, then there was a small end petite Turkish woman and a Frenchman that both had the jumping program. This lesson was held in the big indoor arena and it was the Turkish woman and I who rode our first lesson together, to show our level of skills. Since I had not been riding for a while, this was the flying start of the week with extended trot, leg-yielding and canter strikes. I admit straight away – I was definitely more tires then Legenda was afterwards.

After a well-needed shower, I went to the restaurant for dinner. Now, it was significantly more calm and relaxed mood in the restaurant now when previous guests had left. Tagliatelle pasta with pumpkin and parmesan cheese, had to do. I spoiled myself with a Hot Chocolate Lava Cake dessert. So heavenly good! Went early to bed that evening. Riding lesson in the morning starts at 9 am.

Posted by bejjan 07:44 Archived in Poland Tagged traveling horseback_riding Comments (0)

Riding lesson 2 and 3


View Horseback riding in Poland on bejjan's travel map.

large_2a.jpg large_2b.jpg

It was a beautiful morning with a light mist in the air. Sunbeams shined through the mist and it was rather chilly. The breakfast was served from 8 am. It felt somewhat stressful when you had your first lesson at 9 am and was expected to in the stable at 8.30 am. But what a breakfast buffet they offered! Different kind of juices, coffee, tea. Yoghurt and processed sour milk, many kinds of soft bread and a lot of fruits and vegetables. And there was something sweet to the coffee as well. So, it was kind of a pity that one hadn’t time to eat breakfast in peace.

Now we were riding all three together; the Frenchman, Turkish lady and I. We rode in the pretty much newly built big indoor arena. It was bright and light.

large_2c.jpg

The fences were always standing in the middle of the arena, so when one had a dressage lesson one couldn’t do many of the most common exercises like diagonal, down the center line or so because the fences were in the way.

2d.jpg

Not all horses are photogenic ;)

I rode Iskierka today, a dapple grey mare, that was in no way interested in posing for a picture today with ears forward. It felt better today. We exercised canter strikes from walk and halt. In the end we made a few jumps at low height at about 40 cm.

Lunch was served from noon. So, I had some time left. It had to be a walk along Pisa River then, meandering through the idyllic landscape.

large_2g.jpg large_2h.jpg

Oak trees mixed with maple trees and the leaves on the ground rustled which increased the well-being feeling with a 1000. On the way back a passed by big pastures with warm-blooded horses, new forest ponies, draft horses and Friesian horses. It should be mentioned that Pałac i Folwark Galiny not only offers riding school activities, they also offer horse and carriage tours and breeds horses.
For lunch I ordered Roasted boneless half duck with baked apples and homemade noodles. “Problem” was that you did get half a duck and so much noodles on the plate. You just couldn’t finish the plate. Luckily, my next lesson didn’t start until 2 pm so I was able to digest the lunch.

Gathered in the stable at 1.30 pm for my next lesson. Now I was riding another dapple grey mare by name Alabama. It was a private lesson that took place outside in the paddock and if I had known that, I would have put my sunglasses on. The sunshine was really strong and it was difficult to look straight ahead, and my instructor kept nagging that I should look straight forward.

2j.jpg

2i.jpg

Alabama was a really nice horse to ride, sensitive and responsive.
We trained a lot of canter strikes.

I went to the restaurant at 6 pm for dinner. It had to be the chicken breast cutlet in almonds with baked potatoes again.

large_2l.jpg

But this time I finished with apple pie for dessert. I don’t know if it was something wrong with my taste but it tasted a lot more like ginger bread dough and really not that much apple. And also, sweet and truly a Calorie bomb. It was big plate and it was solid.

During the evenings, one watched a lot of tv. Unfortunately, the majority of the channels were of course in Polish, dubbed, and only two news channels were in English. Some German and Italian channels as well. The dubbing was pretty boring to listen to. If e.g. an episode of Grey’s Anatomy was shown, there was one and the same voice that dubbed all people (men and women) and totally without empathy. Pretty monotonously, really. And it was texted in Polish as well. On top of that, you could hear the original voices (in English) partially in the background. So, in the beginning one didn’t know what to focus on… one got really confused.

Posted by bejjan 16:00 Archived in Poland Tagged horseback_riding Comments (0)

Hack out


View Horseback riding in Poland on bejjan's travel map.

With some difficulty, one got out of bed this morning. The muscle soreness had kind of caught up by know. Not so much in the legs, since I had been running regularly during the fall. It was more in the back and arms and of course the stomach. That’s why I was happy that the day would start with a hack out.

large_3a.jpg

Breakfast was served at 8 am. A buffet, just as mighty as before. It was almost difficult to choose. We gathered in the stable at 8.30 am, me, the Frenchman and the Turkish lady. Also, a fourth rider was joining us on this hack out. The morning had started off a little chilly so I dressed accordingly with a warm jacket and thermo underwear.

large_3b.jpg

Legenda was my horse for the hack out. At 9 am we rode off ant the tour started along the Oaks Road to then turn into nice tracks in the forest. The riding tour offered long trots and canters and then turned into Pisa River.

large_3c.jpg

We rode in the shallow water and rode a good 10 minutes in the river. One could tell the horses enjoyed getting out in the nature and I can imagine they mostly do riding lessons indoors or in the paddocks.

large_3d.jpg

large_3e.jpg

After the hack out, I changed clothes and walked in the park behind the Palace and found a bench at Pisa River. The sun fought its way through the clouds and it got warmer. I had now been riding 6 out of 12 lessons already and it one could feel it.

large_2e.jpg

Pałac i Folwark Galiny was built in 1589 for Baron Botho zu Eulenburg and one of few examples left from the Renaissance architecture from the old Prussia. The Palace was built on top of a hill and the Palace and its wings originally had the shape of an U. Pałac i Folwark Galiny was built for defensive purposes and resist attacks. At that time, the Palace was surrounded by a moat and the only way to enter the Palace was by a drawbridge.

large_2f.jpg

The main building was built on a square foundation and is the oldest preserved building, and today there are no rooms for hotel guests in there. The hotel rooms are in the connecting wings and annex (where my room was). Back in the days there was an underground tunnel from the Palace to the Church nearby. The exit was under the altar.

large_3f.jpg

In the year of 1745 a granary was built right in front of the entrance to Pałac i Folwark Galiny, with hipped roof and two floors. It is one of few buildings of its kind that still remains today in the Polish province Warmian-Mazurian. In the middle of 19th Century, two neo-Gothic towers were built and the water level in the moat was lowered and put out of use. In 1921, the neo-Gothic towers was removed and Pałac i Folwark Galiny acquired its present look. During the World War II, the Palace was plundered and its last owner Botho Wend zu Eulenburg died during deportation to Siberia. The exterior of the Palace survived, but the interior was destroyed completely. Then followed a long period of time of decay until the current owners bought Pałac i Folwark Galiny and started the renovation. Today, it is a fully functional hotel with a restaurant, riding school and riding club.

After a miscommunication, I thought my lesson started at 1 pm, with gathering at 12.30 pm. So, I planned for a late lunch after the lesson. But as it turned out, I was supposed to be in the stable at 1 pm, for my lesson at 1.30 pm. So, my lunch was going to be even more late…

3g.jpg

My horse this afternoon was Ducat, yet another dapple grey. The riding lesson was held in the big indoor arena and I was the only rider. I had to work a lot with transitions to and from halt. It was kind of difficult on a horse I’ve never ridden before. But very good.

Finally, after the riding lesson, I could eat my lunch. I went straight to the restaurant without change of clothes because I was so hungry. Ordered salmon steak with lentil and young cabbage. I’m not super thrilled to eat fish, but it was good.

large_2k.jpg

3h.jpg

For dinner, I had a large plate of Autumn salad with sous vide chicken breast and toast and Hot Raspberries and basil ice cream for dessert. Yummy!

Posted by bejjan 16:00 Archived in Poland Tagged horseback_riding Comments (0)

Tarzan and I


View Horseback riding in Poland on bejjan's travel map.

This morning I had the opportunity to eat breakfast in peace. Nice. My lesson started at 10.30 am.

large_4a.jpg

At 10 am, it was gathering in the stable and I had a private lesson in the big indoor arena. At the same time, a group of children had their riding lesson with another instructor but in one of the paddocks outside. My horse was supposed to be Impreza, but as it turned out, one of the other horses had lost its shoe.

4b.jpg

So, I had to switch to Alabama and the child was given Impreza instead. Not against my will. I liked Alabama. During this riding lesson, the main focus was on extending the trot and canter.

I had lunch just after 12 pm. The restaurant had been out of the beef steak during the week, but was now in stock. So obviously, it was time to try the steak. And very well done, of course! With the steak, they served oven baked potatoes. It was delicious! It became a favorite during the week.
Next gathering for me was 2 pm, for a hack out at 2.30 pm. It was me and the instructor that came along. The weather was supposed to be fantastic and I knew in advance I would join a hack out; I brought my sunglasses.

large_4d.jpg

large_4e.jpg

large_4g.jpg

large_4f.jpg

Tarzan, a dark brown gelding, was my horse for the ride. Pretty high horse and kind of stiff. But you couldn’t tell so much during the ride. He happily joined the canters and did a bucking a few times, out of happiness as he was outside the indoor arena. The weather was warm and nice, around +18 °C and sunny. The ride was amazing.
Pałac i Folwark Galiny also arrange weddings and wedding parties. It actually showed up a bride couple during the week with a photographer taking pictures of them at the Palace. They offer different wedding packages, available all year around. Except weddings, Pałac i Folwark Galiny offer big facilities to rent for conferences.

4h.jpg

Dinner again, just after 6 pm. Because I had eaten the beef steak for lunch, the chicken breast cutlet in almonds with baked potatoes had to do. It was finished with a Hot Chocolate Lava Cake as dessert. During dinner, I noticed the Frenchman and the Turkish woman sat at another table that evening… holding hands. Well, the Frenchman held and rubbed her hand. Think, a real romantic French man from the movie world, but in real life. A little vacation romance, maybe? I don’t think they knew each other before and the Frenchman was not that great with English anyway.

Posted by bejjan 16:00 Archived in Poland Tagged horseback_riding Comments (0)

Many dapple greys...


View Horseback riding in Poland on bejjan's travel map.

Yeah, by the way, only two months until Christmas Eve. Despite that, I wasn’t cold weather. No, this turned out to be yet another great day, around +18 °C and sun, sun, sun. Wonderful! Pity, I wasn’t having a hack out today. I enjoyed the delicious breakfast buffet that was offered by the restaurant every morning. It was always something new on the table to choose from.
Today, we rode together all three of us; Frenchman, Turkish lady and I. It was time for cavaletti.

5a.jpg

I rode on Carmen Slov today, yet another dapple grey mare. I began having trouble keeping all the dapple greys apart know. And it wasn’t like every horse had its own loose-box… no. The horses were put in the first empty box and the name on the box usually wasn’t the name of the actual horse inside. Anyhow, Carmen Slov was dull. It was hard to work on a better seat when you had to extend the step all the time. But the instructor still thought my seat was better today.

large_5b.jpg

large_5c.jpg

large_5d.jpg

After the riding lesson, I managed to have time for a walk to the Lower Pond and enjoy the nice weather. As said, it was a shame I couldn’t do a hack out today. Pałac i Folwark Galiny breeds horses.

large_5e.jpg

In one pasture there were some young unbroken horses that played with each other.

large_5f.jpg

In another pasture, mares and their foals were grazing.

large_5g.jpg

On the property, there was a pasture with mini Shetland ponies (they were sooo cute), donkeys and goats. Came back to the restaurant just in time for lunch and ordered a large plate of chicken salad and apple pie for dessert. Yummy!

The afternoon offered a riding lesson at 2 pm, gathering at 1.30. We rode together all three of us again during the afternoon as well. The main focus was a series of fences and a large fence after that.

5h.jpg

My horse Legenda and I performed very well.
After a well-deserved shower, a little relaxing waited in front of the tv. Even though all good tv-series were dubbed in Polish, there were nothing else to watch… and I had started to learn which tv-series were on which channel now. It was impossible to learn the tv-series names in Polish in the tv-guide, so one had to learn which channel and what time instead.

Dinner just after 6 pm. At that time Air Crash Investigation had finished, and before that Grey’s Anatomy and Chicago fire ;) Now it was time to order beef steak again. And VERY WELL DONE it must be. Tonight, they had lit the fireplace and the heat spread in the restaurant. One on the employees’ dog, made me company and tried to get some steak from me.

large_5i.jpg

It was hard to resist the begging dog eyes staring at me… but it gave up eventually and rested on the floor. The Frenchman and Turkish lady took the opportunity to sit in front of the fireplace and cozy up a little before they had dinner. By now (and after I had noticed their little romance) it just felt embarrassing to see him wait upon her. Well, well. You can’t control love, right?
So, after this day there were only three lessons left! The week has gone so fast!

Posted by bejjan 16:00 Archived in Poland Tagged horseback_riding Comments (0)

Ampi – the Grumpy


View Horseback riding in Poland on bejjan's travel map.

6a.jpg

Started breakfast at 8 am to make the gathering at 8.30 in the stable. The morning lesson was jumping and my horse was Ampi. She was pretty small, just above the limit for not being a pony, maybe 1,55 meters at withers height – no more. She had a little temper in the box and wasn’t really in the mood for a ride today. So, I named her Ampi – the Grumpy. She didn’t do anything but putting her ears back to make a statement.
With me on her back, Ampi looked more like a pony and she didn’t really have energy in her walk or trot. But boy, was I wrong… when we started approaching fences she woke up. Full speed! I had to slow her down to manage the number of canter steps in between the fences. Sometimes it is fun to ride energetic horses. So, it turned out to be a good lesson after all.

large_6b.jpg

Because I had one last hack out at 1 pm (gathering at 12.30 pm), it had to be a late lunch today as well. I got Alabama again, who had become a favorite of mine. It was two instructors and I who joined the hack out for an hour. Even though the sun wasn’t shining all day, it was warm, about +16 °C and in other words perfect for a hack out. We rode on great paths in the forest that was lined with big trees with leaves in all the warm autumn colors.

large_6c.jpg

large_6d.jpg

The horses walked among the leaves rustling on the ground. It was so satisfying! Long canters on perfect sandy paths in the forest.

6e.jpg

Lunch at 2.15 pm. A favorite, chicken breast cutlet in almond and baked potatoes. It was one of the dishes one could get pretty fast, and one was quite hungry by now. Also ordered Hot Raspberries and basil ice cream for dessert.

During the afternoon, I started to pack my bags. Tomorrow would be quite stressful. I was supposed to manage breakfast, one last lesson, shower and finish packing and check out by 11 pm. Dinner at half past six in the evening. It had to be the beef steak, again, that definitely had become my fave, with Hot Chocolate Lava Cake as dessert. A little sad it was the very last dinner during this trip. The Frenchman and the Turkish lady, who had been flirting with each other were just as sad, I believe, since they also were going home tomorrow.

Posted by bejjan 16:00 Archived in Poland Comments (0)

Last Day at Pałac i Folwark Galiny


View Horseback riding in Poland on bejjan's travel map.

So, the last day had arrived. Walked over to the breakfast and saw a happy 1,5-year-old stallion run by with a halter strop attached. For a brief moment I was considering whether to run after or not, but realized I wouldn’t make it for breakfast… so the choice was obvious. Gathering at 8.30 in the stable and I asked if the caught the young horse – which they had.

large_7.jpg

Today I rode with three other Polish people (the Frenchman and the Turkish lady had already checked out) and it was a jumping lesson. So far, all my lesson had been in English, but now the instructor spoke Polish (even though she translated in English afterwards) so it was a little confusing. But Tarzan and I manage to jump an entire course of seven fences anyway. And it was not the Tarzan I had experienced during the hack out earlier during the week. No. Now he was sooo slow, in the big indoor arena.

After the riding lesson, I rushed back for a shower and packed the last of my things in my bags to make the check out at 11 am. The staff came over with a car and picked up my bags and drove them to the reception. One last lunch at noon was included in the price. And guess what I chose? Beef steak and oven baked potatoes and Hot Chocolate Lava Cake as dessert. Then I had some time to kill before my transfer arrived at 2 pm. It was the same driver who drove to the Palace, that was going to drive me back to Gdansk again. The car ride took about 2,5 hours.

So, now I had to spend a night at a hotel at Gdánsk Lech Wałęsa Airport, and fly home on Sunday with Norwegian instead. And all because of the Lufthansa strike. So, no. Never Lufthansa, ever again. Checked in at Hampton by Hilton at the airport. The person at the reception was very nice and reminded me that the time would change tonight, that was one hour back. But of course, I had already thought of that. But I was a little nervous about messing things up and ending up missing the flight anyway.

Posted by bejjan 16:00 Archived in Poland Tagged horseback_riding Comments (0)

Do widzenia, Poland.

large_8.jpg

Woke up early, despite the extra hour. Ate breakfast and checked out. It was not more than 300 meters to the departure hall, so it was okay to walk with the bags. It was a short queue for the check in desk and I was offered to check in my small bag as well (for free), so why not? Then I wouldn’t have to drag it around in Oslo during the stopover. But why having a stopover in Oslo, you might think? Well, since I was forced to cancel the Lufthansa flight (that was originally booked) due to strike and this was the one of the better alternatives available.

This riding holiday was booked first and mostly because of the great reviews by the travel agency. The excellent cuisine and good riding. But I had expected a little more educated horses, than the riding school horses that I rode. But I got to work on my ugly seat and strengthen my body – which was the real goal. But it was kind of difficult to remember when the lessons started, especially in the afternoon. Sometimes the lessons started at e.g. 1 pm or 2 pm, sometimes at 1.30 pm or 2.30 pm. And you always had to ask one more time if the time they said, if that was the time for gathering or the time for the lesson.
The staying was nice, nature beautiful and the weather fantastic – as always when I travel ;)

Posted by bejjan 16:00 Archived in Poland Tagged traveling Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 8 of 8) Page [1]