What's up everybody? I'm Alex a.
AlexTheVagabond, and you are watching Vagabrothers.
In this video series I'll be exploring Poland, specifically the regions of Warmia and Masseria in collaboration with the Polish Tourism Organization.
For those of you who are subscribers, you may be wondering where Marko is.
He's taken a little vacation back in California.
So I'm bringing my fiance Carrie Rad to explore this beautiful country with me.
Let's get started.
Good morning everybody.
It is a beautiful day in Warsaw in the capital of Poland.
Today we're going to be leaving the city and heading out into the countryside to the lake district of Warmia and Masseria.
It's going to be super beautiful, super fun.
We have a lot to do, but we also have a lot of ground to cover So it's time to grab our bags, hop in the car, and head north.
Let's do this.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are at our first destination of the trip.
We're going to be taking a cruise down the Elblaski Canal.
it's an old historic canal.
It's got a very unique setup that does not exist anywhere else in the world.
The canals were connected at certain points by a train track- like situation, which we're going to find out more about when we ride.
I came into this activity not really knowing what we were doing, and now I'm like.
what the? Extremely confused.
It's really cool.
It's a boat; it's a train.
it's Superman Well, this is a cool way to start things off here in Poland checking out this canal.
It was built in 1844 until 1860.
It took 16 years to complete, and at the time it was the world's most advanced hydraulic project, and all together it connects over 150 kilometers of waterways.
This very eccentric, innovative system of canals was a workaround through which they could get their products to market without having to pay exorbitant taxes.
So it's cool.
Nowadays, it's really just used for tourism.
But it's an interesting way to kind of get a feel of.
of an earlier age here in Poland.
Anyways, let's hop in the car, head to the next spot.
Our next destination is a little unusual, a little unexpected.
Right now we are at Snail Garden, and it is an organic farm that produces snails primarily for export to France and Spain.
So if you know anything about French or Spanish gastronomy, you'll know that the catechol or as the French call it “escargot, ” It's a delicacy and here at this farm at the Snail Garden it's all organic and we're finding out a little bit more about how snails are farmed and end up on plates at fancy restaurants in France and Spain.
This is a snail a large, very large four year old snail that is checking the pH level of my skin to see if he finds it to be a comfortable spot to come out of his shell.
He's a little apprehensive.
You know, I understand.
Once he comes out he'll be cute.
That bad guy's all the way out.
We've got a one year old.
It's got a little bit more bravery This is the biggest snail in the world from Zanzibar, quite large.
This is his little cousin from mainland Tanzania, not quite as large, but that is a big, big snail.
Pretty interesting little story about how he got involved with snails.
He read an article in a farming magazine about snails and decided to start raising snails and now he's the leading authority on snail farming in Poland.
I didn't even know that snail farming was a thing.
And there's also a bistro back there that has snail snacks.
What are you eating Carrie? This is snail caviar.
It smells like garlic bread, honesty.
It's actually great.
Well, we have had snails.
We've stopped for a delicious ice cream, and now we're going to burn off those calories by taking a little walk through the Taborska Pine Reservation.
Taborska pines are native here to Poland, and they were very highly prized because they're extremely straight and the branches only really grow at the top third of the tree.
So they made great masts for ships back in the day.
Hence the canal to get the timber out to the Baltic Sea and then onwards to the rest of the world.
But walking through here now, there's something very interesting happening.
The pine trees are starting to be out competed.
The beech, another type of tree, the beech tree is better suited to the soil and it's kind of like a succession.
The pines were here.
They're still here, but there's not a lot of young pines growing, and that's because the forest floor is being populated by young beech trees.
So who knows? In a hundred years, maybe this pine forest won't be pine anymore.
It'll just be a beech forest.
But this is just so relaxing to be in a forest like this.
Every breath you take is just filling you up with fresh clean oxygen and It's just nice to be in the forest.
I think that nowadays in our modern culture, we forget about the importance of forests and trees.
These living creatures are actually giving us oxygen and they're taking away carbon dioxide, which as we all know with climate change, the more carbon that's in the environment and in the atmosphere the worse we all do, the hotter it gets.
The importance of forests and forest preserves like this one can't be understated because forest is home to all sorts of animals: foxes, badgers, pine marten, deer.
It's really nice to just kind of start things off with a nice mellow walk in the woods like that Bill Bryson book Walk in the Woods.
I'm liking the way that this trip is starting off.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, it's a beautiful day in Ostroda.
We had a super relaxing evening here last night watching the sunset over the lake But today we're going to be heading to another town Olsztyn.
It's one of the major cities here in the region and we're going to be checking out Ukiel Lake which is one of the biggest and most beautiful lakes in the Lake Region.
After that, we'll be heading to a thermal hot spring for a little bit of relaxation at the spa So we have a big day ahead of us.
Let's get into it.
Alright everyone we've just arrived to Olsztyn It's the capital of this region, and it's famous for its medieval old town and some really interesting architecture So we're going to pop inside and see what's up.
Let's go The city of Olsztyn was founded in 1353 by the Teutonic Knights.
Teutonic Knights were a religious military order originally founded to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land.
But once the Holy Land fell, the Teutonic Knights moved northwards, and they made their way to the Prussia region on the Baltic Sea.
It was reverted to Polish control in the mid 1400s, but statues like this were the reason the Teutonic Knights came here.
This statue is from pre- Christianity.
It was built by pagan people, and that was kind of the excuse that the Teutonic Knights had to come to this region to try to Christianize the people in this Polish- Lithuania area.
Right now we are in Olsztyn Castle, and in the 1500s a very important person lived here.
But at the time he wasn't all that important.
From 1516 to 1521 Nicolaus Copernicus lived here and worked as an administrator for the town of Olsztyn.
During his free time he was practicing astronomy and on his death he would release a theory that would upend what was believed about the heavens.
The Heliocentric Theory.
that the planets revolved around the sun and not the earth.
We have arrived to Sloneczna Polana, a beautiful little restaurant right here above the local yacht club.
This is where people learn to sail.
It's on the opposite side of the lake from where we began.
So had a nice little scenic cruise to get here, and we're starting things off with a local craft beer.
Poland is a beer drinking nation.
That means I am a fan because I'm also a beer drinker.
Ordered some fresh seafood.
I had a Zander, which is a local freshwater fish.
It's going to be super delicious.
I'm excited and I'm extremely hungry.
But first beer.
Well, it has been a super fun day exploring all of the natural beauty, but we're going to take things down a notch.
We're going to just start to chill a little bit more.
We're here at Termy Warminskie.
It's a natural thermal hot spring swimming complex and spa.
So we're going dive in the waters, rejuvenate, relax, luxuriate all of those things.
Let's get in the water.
Well yesterday was super fun, but not only fun, it was extremely relaxing.
This part of Poland Warmia and Masseria it's really well known for relaxation.
It's kind of where people go on vacation to enjoy nature and just wind things down, and that's exactly what we did yesterday.
We did the hot spring We had a super relaxing couples massage, and then we came and we stayed at Hotel Krasicki, which is a four-star refurbished castle.
Yes last night, we slept , in a castle.
No Dracula's, no problems no ghosts surprisingly, but it was a super fun evening.
And if you enjoyed this video as much as we enjoyed making it then please give us a big thumbs- up, share this video with your travel buddies, the people you'd like to come and visit with, and if you're not already, hit that subscribe button with notifications enabled.
Once again a huge thank you to the Polish Tourism Organization for making this video series possible.
If you're interested in checking out the places that we visited in this video, make sure you head over to the Polish Tourism Organization website.
It's linked down there in the description box.
And as we always say, stay curious, keep exploring, and we will see you on the road.