II Białogard - Złocieniec 69 km
Białogard deserves attention not only because Poland's former president Aleksander Kwaśniewski was born here. One of our country's best and most loved artists, Czesław Niemen, lived here shortly after resettlement from present Belarus in 1958. Ask anybody anywhere about him, and you'll likely hear a song or two. His family decided to repatriate only when there was a risk that Czesław would be drafted into the Soviet Army. His sister and parents lived here for many years. Today, his monument stands in front of the former town hall building from 1827.
Interestingly, the old seat of the municipal authorities does not stand in the middle of the town square but modestly - on the corner, distinguishing itself from the neighboring houses only with a wooden clock tower. No wonder - the building was just an ordinary merchant's tenement house for its first 20 years. The ruins of the former town hall are also exposed on the market square.
The High Gate is the most notable remains after the city walls from the 14th century. A metal stirrup can be seen in the wall of the building. It is associated with the legendary "War for the Cow". What is it about? The story has it that the war broke out between Białogard and neighboring Świdwin because of one unfortunate cow. Five hundred years later, the legend lives on, and two towns compete in a friendly tournament called "Battle for the cow".
It is worth traveling a dozen kilometers from Białogard to visit the Cold War Museum in Podborsko, hidden in the forests. On the way, we will pass two beautiful palaces - neglected in Żyletkowo and ruined in Dobrów. The purpose of our tour is an object that housed nuclear warheads during the Cold War. The bunker is open to visitors from May to October and leaves a great impression. In addition to imagining what the arsenal of death stored here looked like, we learn about the plans of NATO's nuclear attacks on Poland or the story of a Russian hero who saved the world from nuclear destruction. The perfect complement to the trip would be a visit to Kłomino near Borne Sulinowo, located near the Western Lake Districts Route. However, the bunkers there are in poor condition, and you should not enter them without a guide!
This section consists of two stages of a similar length but of different quality: from Białogard, we go along a district road with low traffic, along a lovely, undulating terrain, passing old churches and palaces. In Rąbino, you can visit a manor from the beginning of the 20th century or a medieval church from 1462 in Lipie. The second part of the route begins after crossing the regional road No. 152, before Połczyn-Zdrój. Here we enter a brand-new bicycle route on the former railway track. The trail turns before the city, but it is worth strolling under the "Magic Street of Umbrellas" hanging over the promenade in Połczyn, tasting the health resort's charms, or relaxing in the spa park.
If we were not cycling, we could try excellent local beer. The brewery was connected to the local water supply network, which has contributed to a nice urban legend. It is said that back in the 19th century, thanks to the generosity of the owner, on special occasions, beer was flowing from the taps instead of water. We don't have any evidence for that, but it doesn't hurt to check anyway.
From Połczyn, the trail leads to Złocieniec along a railway embankment through the Drawsko Landscape Park. It was one of the first routes of this type in Poland - no wonder - cycling on a former railway line is so much fun! The old stations make you wonder how they looked like a hundred years ago. Today you can often find rest areas next to them. We meet some other ghosts of the past beyond Cieszyno. Right next to the trail there are miserable remains of the never-finished "berlinka highway" - the road that was to fulfill Hitler's dream of connecting Berlin with Königsberg (now known as the Russian city Kaliningrad) through Polish territory.
If you have time, you should definitely visit so-called “Połczyn Switzerland”, which offers one of the most picturesque landscapes in the entire West Pomeranian Voivodeship. One of the highest peaks in Western Pomerania is located here - Wola Góra (219.2 m above sea level), on the top of which a fire observation tower was erected. The Drawa River has its springs here. Around the Valley of the Five Lakes, you can enjoy MTB trail “Połczyńska Garda” which can be an interesting, yet demanding change from cycling with panniers.