IW E70 – THE EAST-WEST (E-W) STRETCH
The first of the described parts of the Polish section of International Waterway E70 is one of the most interesting and immensely diversified water routes in Poland. This can be said for both the landscape and the hydrotechnical facilities. Natural and anthropogenic conditions make this waterway fit not only for water tourism but, above all, for cargo shipping. Except for the 50-kilometre border fragment of the Odra, its main part is the latitudinal Vistula-Odra Waterway (V-O W). This route lies in the Toruńsko-Eberswaldzka ice-marginal valley formed during the north (Baltic) glacial period – the most recent of the glacials, which extended over Poland and shaped the lakeland areas here. The V-O W is a nearly 300 km (186 mi) long class II waterway and smoothly passes from one watercourse to another, changing its character many times.
Our trip begins in Bydgoszcz and continues towards the Odra. The kilometres of the V-O W are also counted in this direction, starting from km 0.00 in Brdyujście, at the junction with the queen of Polish rivers – the Vistula – at its km 772.5. During the trip we will discover the route’s five major sections, each being a separate ecosystem significantly different from the others:
1. The Brda River (the canalised section) – from km 0.00 (km 772.5 of the Vistula) to km 14.4
(absolute length – 14.4 km / 8.95 mi) - class II waterway;
2. The Bydgoszcz Canal – from km 14.4 to km 38.9 (abs. l. – 24.5 km / 15.2 mi) - class II waterway;
3. The Noteć River – from km 38.9 to km 226.1 (abs. l. – 187.2 km / 116.3 mi);
Section: the Bydgoszcz Canal- the mouth of the Drawa River – water way of I b class, section: The mouth of the Drawa – the mouth of the Warta – II class;
4. The Warta River – from km 68.2 to km 0.00 (km 617.6 of the Odra) (abs. l. – 68.2 km / 42.4 mi)- class II waterway;
5. The Odra River – from km 617.6 to km 667 (abs. l. – 49.4 km / 30.7 mi) – class III waterway.
Covering exactly 294.3 km (182.9 mi) of the V-O W, we will travel across three voivodeships: kujawsko-pomorskie, wielkopolskie, and lubuskie. We will cross the former Polish-German border, reach the highest point of the route, and then proceed by slowly descending towards the Odra. We will see the enchanting spots of the Dolina Noteci (Noteć Valley) and the Ujście Warty (Mouth of the Warta); we will also admire the effects of engineering thought when passing the Bydgoszcz Canal and numerous locks. Finally, we will navigate Poland’s second largest river, the Odra, pass the Hohensaaten Lock after nearly 50 km (31 mi) and head for Antwerp.
KOSTRZYN NAD ODRĄ Lubuskie voivodeship
Kostrzyn nad Odrą is a town of 17,000 residents in the lubuskie voivodeship, near the Polish-German border. For centuries, the town has been a meeting place of two cultures: Slavic and Germanic. It used to be a perfect place for defence and trade, which made it one of Europe’s greatest strongholds in the 16th c. There is a large river port here at present, and visitors are recommended to see the ruins of a 16th c. Prussian fortress. Moreover, the town lies near the Ujście Warty National Park, with picturesque pools and numerous breeding grounds of birds in it.
GORZÓW WIELKOPOLSKI Lubuskie voivodeship
Gorzów Wielkopolski is one of the capitals of the lubuskie voivodeship and the present seat of its Governor. The 125,000-strong city lies on the Warta, at river km 53-61. Gorzów has a functioning shipyard as well as a river port, where the Kuna (the Marten) ice-breaker docks. The ice-breaker is in the care of Gorzów Boaters’ Association, which organizes cruises on that vessel. When visiting the port in Gorzów, it is worthwhile taking a walk along Bulwar Nadwarciański (the Warta Waterside Boulevard) and see the city’s fountains, the Lubuskie Museum, the Assumption of the BVM Cathedral and 15th c. fortifications.
SANTOK Lubuskie voivodeship
Santok, almost eight-thousand community in the lubuskie voivodeship, is situated where the Noteć flows into the Warta. The name derives from the old Polish word ‘sątok’, which meant ‘river confluence’. Santok’s major monuments include a neo-Gothic Church from 1858, a stone observation tower from 1934 and a medieval fortified settlement. For nature lovers, there is the Santockie Zakole Reserve on the southern side of the river.
UJŚCIE Wielkopolskie voivodeship
Ujście is a nearly 4,000-strong town in the wielkopolskie voivodeship, situated on km 105-107 of the Noteć. It lies on the border between two regions: Wielkopolska (Greater Poland) and Pomorze, marked by riverside escarpments broken up by ravines. The town has a river port and a lock built in 1896. Its major attractions include the neo-baroque St Nicholas Church, Ujście Calvary, and an eclectic 19th c. Town Hall. Those mooring in the port can take a walk to the Orla Góra (Eagle Mount), to admire a beautiful view of the Noteć Valley and Piła.
DREZDENKO Lubuskie voivodeship
Drezdenko is a small 10,000-strong town in the lubuskie voivodeship, at km 187 of the Noteć. Its name derives from the name of a tree and is connected with the town’s location in forested and marshy areas. When visiting Drezdenko, it is worthwhile seeing the late baroque palace from 1766, converted into a school at present, and the museum located in a half-timbered granary from 1640, which used to serve as an arsenal.
NAKŁO NAD NOTECIĄ Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodeship
Nakło nad Notecią is a town with population of 19000 people. It is placed on 39th – 40th km of Noteć River. In Nakło, the Noteć meets the Bydgoszcz Canal, whose construction contributed to the town’s fast economic development. The town’s name derives from the word ‘nakieł’, which meant’ a place to moor a boat’. When visiting Nakło, it is worthwhile seeing St Lawrence’s Church and the former Prussian barracks from the first half of the 19th c. Nakło’s indisputable attraction is the proximity of the Noteć Forest, and especially the Noteć Valley.i.
CZARNKÓW Wielkopolskie voivodeship
Czarnków, an 11,000-strong town in the wielkopolskie voivodeship, at km 132 of the Noteć, is well known to beer lovers. In the 19th c., Czarnków used to be an important grain trade centre from which barges carried grain along the Noteć. At present, there is a revitalised marina for yachts on the river there. The major historic monuments in Czarnków include the town hall, St Mary Magdalene’s Church and a late 19th c. brewery. Another attraction is the no longer functioning winter sports facilities: the ski jump Pod Grzybkiem and the toboggan run Śniegowa Baśń.
BYDGOSZCZ Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodeship
Bydgoszcz is the largest city of the kujawsko-pomorskie voivodeship, with over 356,000 residents. As the meeting point of two international waterways, E70 and E40, it constitutes an important inland navigation junction. In Bydgoszcz, the only fully ecological solar ship in Europe – the Słonecznik (the Sunflower) – sails regularly.