If you’ve been following every word of this natty little pamphlet you’ll need no introduction to Edward Gierek. He’s the half-wit who led Poland to financial ruin – like a student gifted a blank chequebook this nutter sent the nation into the abyss with his bananas attitude to spending. Poland’s still paying the price for his estimated US$40 billion spree, and to be frank the natives have next to nothing to show for it apart from a set of abandoned factories long since overrun by junkies, vandals and vermin. But that’s not something that applies to the natives of Katowice and surrounds. Born and settled in this region Gierek held it close to his heart, so much so that he spent much of his time as Communist Party Secretary in the area. This was in the days before presidential jets and uber-rapid helicopters, so to ensure he was never late for his commitments and appointments in Warsaw the guy commissioned plans to build what is still one of the finest roads in Poland. Work kicked off in 1972, and on October 8, 1976, the highway was officially opened by the man himself. Built in five parts by soldiers the route runs in sections from Warsaw all the way to Katowice with later extensions built to run through Tychy, Bielsko Biała and his retreat in Ustron. It remains in splendid shape today, and you’ll find the fearless drivers who take to the streets of Poland still referring to it as the Gierkówka.