On 10-11 May 2019, the Joint Secretariat of the Interreg South Baltic Programme together with the Joint Technical Secretariat of the Poland-Russia Cross-border Cooperation Programme with support of the Association of Active Tourism Centre "KOŁODROM" from Olsztyn celebrated Europe Day and the 15th anniversary of the accession of Poland to the European Union. A group of 45 people from Kaliningrad, Olsztyn and Gdansk took part in a bike ride. The route of the ride took all together around 80 km. Along the route, cyclists visited projects’ locations realised within the two Programmes.
Danilo Distefano, a volunteer of the Interreg Volunteer Youth Programme in the Joint Secretariat wrote about this event.
Cycling united across Europe’s common ground contours.
On 10-11 May the Joint Secretariats of the Interreg South Baltic Programme and Poland-Russia Cross-border Cooperation Programme organised a ride bike in order to celebrate both the Europe Day and the 15th anniversary of the accession of Poland to the European Union, also thanks to the support provided by the Association of Active Tourism Centre “Kołodrom” located in Olsztyn.
In the course of the first day, the members representing the Interreg South Baltic Programme – as the first stage of their itinerary – reached the Port of Elbląg, which in turn is one of the Project Partners (PPs) involved within the project “South Baltic Transport Loops” within the Interreg South Baltic Programme 2014-2020.
According to the partners of the above-mentioned project, the main objective is based on the development related to the creation of new regular shipping connections and the growth of two strategic connected sectors: the transport of bulk, container and general cargo (fundamental in terms of trade), as well as the ferry traffic (essential for increasing the number of passengers, in particular tourists). In addition, these projects are also aimed at promoting the diffusion of sustainable transport and the improvement – in terms of quality – of transport services within the South Baltic Area: all that, by supporting the cross-border connections for blue and green transport area.
Subsequently, they visited the Museum of Archeology and History (always in Elbląg), where it was given to them the opportunity of knowing and learning the story of that Polish city situated in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship.
In the second day, they moved to Krynica Morska – always by their bikes – for visiting the marina, which in turn has been modernised thanks to the allocation of different structural funds under the project “Baltic Amber Coast” (in line with the Lithuania-Poland-Russia Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013), and nowadays in consonance with the projects “South Coast Baltic” with respect to the Interreg South Baltic Programme 2014-2020.
As concerns the project “South Coast Baltic” – the original title of which is “Establishing durable cross-border destination management on the basis of MARRIAGE cooperation network” – it has been stressed that the marina’s quality of facilities and services should be better, so that it may be possible to attract the greatest possible number of tourists by implementing the cross-border destination management.
Furthermore, as underlined by Ernest Hemingway, “it is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best since you have to sweat up hills and coast down them. Thus, you remember them as they actually are”.
In such a case, it is also possible to ride together for discovering the contours of a united Europe without feeling the presence of any kind of distance, whether physical or not, among its citizens and others coming from neighbouring countries such as Russia.