In october we travelled a part of the route followed by Iver Henningsen on the northern part of the Eastern Front in 1915 to investigate the possibilities of travelling all the way by hores-wagon in 2004.
After a whole night´s sailing from Karlskrona, Sweden, we landed in Gdynia, Poland. In the grey morning we headed east passing Elblag, Ostroda, Olsztyn and Mragowo on our way to Prusinowo which we reached in the afternoon. It was in this small Polish village Iver Henningsen wrote his first letter from the front. In the bright and sunny afternoon we followed the route along which the 80th Reserve Division had fought its way in the freezing and snowfilled days of February 1915. We passed Biala Piska and visited the German war graves in Drygaly, we also visited the small village Monety and at the close of night reached Augostow.
The next and third day of our journey we drove to The Dubissa River north west of Kaunas. Iver Henningsen spend most of June and July 1915 in the small village Rakawa on the western side of the river, while the fighting continued inconclusive on the other side. From Rakawa we walked down to the small river after "talking" to one of the villagers. We then crossed the river and drove north east. On the way we passed a school class cleaning the memorial of a lithuanian author, most of them spoke English and they were very interested in the copies of Iver Henningsen´s drawings we showed to them. We then returned to Marijampolé where we visited the former synagog.
On the fourth day we left Marijampolé and drove to Eglabalai west of Kalwarija. In 1915 it was a village, but all we could find was a lonely house. But its occupants gave us a confirmerning nod, when we pointed the ground and said Eglabalai (or something resembling it). We then continued on wide gravel roads to the border between Poland and Lithuania. On the way we passed a system of trenches, but it was impossible to determine whether it originated from World War 1, the ensuing struggles between Poles and Lithuanians, World War 2 or the partisan war waged upon the Russians untill the mid 50´ - a bloody area indeed.
We drove on to Augostow, making a halt in Novinka on
the way. In Augustow we turned south west passing Rajgrod and Grajewo
before reaching Bobry. Once again we followed the route of the 80th Reserve
Division, but in the opposite direction. Helped by a German speaking Pole
we found Miechowo, where Iver Henningsen nursed the wounded during the
battle fought there in February 1915. Close by were memorials for the
fallen German and Russian soldiers.
We continued to Orzysz, which we reached long after sun set. The next day we drove through the beautiful yellow october landscapes of nothern Poland and arrived in Gdynia late in the afternoon and in the evening we sailed for Karlskrona.