Łódź się, łódź!*

Oh Łódź!
My joy and my pain in the ass! Adore you or despise you?

I choose to focus on the positive aspect of the city. Therefore I’d like to encourage you to visit Łódź and maybe you’ll find something special to love it as I did.

I have a theory that I can confirm by my own experience. When you have a week to discover all wonders of the city you are sightseeing you’ll find extra energy sources within yourself so that you could take advantage of the precious time you have. However, when you live in a place for several months or years you always think you have all the time in the world to see and experience everything. Well, you don’t.

My friend Andrew has lived all his life in Łódź. I dare to say he started to explore his home town because of me. I’ve come here almost 2 years ago and this big and neglected city overwhelmed me with its opportunities and peculiar beauty. I am a kind of an independent and self-reliable person. However, every single thing is much more enjoyable when it’s shared with a friend.  I am sure Andrew thinks the same way I do. This is why we have been discovering Łódź together since we met. I always thought the locals are the best guides in their territory. Another stereotype is abolished. This Sunday I will show Andrew the Poznański Palace. I’ve been there last week and I will be there every next weekend. It’s gonna be my own weekend’s palace.

The owner of the palace was Izrael Poznański known as a King of cotton . He was a successful textile producer. Since 1975 the palace was transformed into museum. Let me just say it is called the Louvre of Łódź and there is nothing more to add.

The museum is divided into parts. There is temporary exhibitions and permanent  gallery of art and the Pantheon of Famous Citizens of the City of Lodz. One of the most interesting exhibition is Music Gallery devoted to Arthur Rubinstein. He was very successful pianist. In the gallery you can see the Oscar award that he won in 1969 (L’Amour de la Vie) and the pictures of him standing next to Charlie Chaplin or Albert Einstein.

by Monika

I shall not reveal more details. I’ll let you discover them by yourself. Enjoy!

* Łódź is a name of the Polish city. It has two meanings: 1) as a noun it means a boat  2) as an imperative it means delude yourself, but it has different spelling (ó should be changed into u), but the same pronunciation (ó sounds exactly the same as u).

Strangers on a Train II (patrzeć jak wszystko zostaje w tyle*)

Punctuality is not valued enough. Or maybe I am a neurotic who cannot imagine being late. Well, I can imagine it actually, but the very idea of it makes me shiver. Me? Being late? Nah, it must be a joke! I don’t hate people who have the habit of not checking theirs watches, though. I simply condemn such behavior.  When I have an appointment I like to be at agreed place earlier without a hurry and have at least a few minutes to take a breath.

At the railway station I need a time to buy a ticket and check the platform where the train waits for me. I always hope for a place by the window. You already know why. But the wild animals are not the only reason to be so excited about taking good sits. There is much more magic!

I am already accustomed to solitary walks around the city. There was a time I listened to the music during this walks. I was passing the shop windows, bakeries and bookstores. The changing landscape was reflecting in my eyes but I couldn’t see anything. The music absorbed me immediately. I wasn’t really there. The staves designated the paths through the Land of the Sounds.

This happens every time I put my headphones on, also in a train. Therefore I prefer to listen to the sound of the surroundings. Otherwise I would feel like I am missing an important part of the journey. The train sets its own hypnotic rhythm that I find alluring.

In the season of winter thaws and in the early spring the water floods the meadows and ditches. When the Sun goes down the afternoon light reflects on the surface of water and pleases the eye. That light has a unique color. Just before dusk the Sun grazes everything it encounters: trees, houses and faces. In the summertime you can be lucky enough to see a stork. The sunlight allows you to read books until late evening.  Out of curiosity each day I check the exact hour when I am no longer able to see the letters. Amazing how long the day can be!

In the glow of the Sun I espy old houses with roofs covered with moss. Near the roads there are crosses reminding of the tragedies of former days.  Far away from the sight you can hardly see hunting blinds. The road runs through the minor railway stations that are forgotten and neglected. All of them share common traits: rusty tracks and decaying concrete constructions that are overgrown with weeds.

At nights I wonder where all the light comes from and why I can’t stop staring through the window…

* The title refers to the Polish song of Czerone Gitary and then Maryla Rodowicz titled “Remedium”.

Be aware! The clip is kinda old and sometimes creepy… Enjoy!

Strangers on a Train*

In the last two days I’ve spent in trains about 10 hours. I am not complaining, not at all! Just the opposite! I literally love all means of transportation. Starting from a common car (I compare driving to eating chocolate and you need to know I found Theobroma cacao one of the few wonders of this planet that bring happiness) through buses and trams in the city and bikes on the countryside to my beloved trains. Every single thing that can transport me from one place to another brings a smile on my face and a joy to my heart, no matter if it is skateboard, tractor or a barrow (that’s actually fun!).

Today I woke up with some kind of dysphonia. I reacted with excitation! I suppose I caught cold and this is why my voice sounds so silly. I’m impressed with this effect. I enjoy the sound of myself now. I wonder what should I do to make it last longer and without destroying my throat completely. You should hear me laughing, though!

Back to the train topic…
Today I found really comfortable place to sit. There were just a few passengers so I could choose a place wherever I wanted to and nobody bothered me. I don’t mind company but I also enjoy the silence (Words are very unnecessary – yup, Depeche Mode).

Now, imagine this: you are looking for a nice place to sit in a train and you hear extraordinary noises. You are intrigued by them, so you approach to the source of the unusual sound. You are confused coz you could swear you have heard it before… in a forest, but not in such place like train! And here it is! A silly girl who got cold and can hardly speak is sitting alone, staring through the window. She’s trying to talking to herself and she’s laughing like crazy because of the sound of her own voice. Cute picture, but kinda creepy! And awkward a bit…

Well, a smile is the best solution for this kind of situations while a blush is a side effect… Although I had fun listening to myself, however I changed the way to entertain myself during my 5 hours trip.

Yeah, five hours. I am always prepared for a long journey. Food – checked! Tissues – checked! Book – checked! Notebook – checked! Pen(cil) – checked! I am not able to read anything without a pencil and a sheet of paper – there is always a risk (or a chance) that a great idea will come to my mind and I can’t just let it disappear!

It can be tiring to read a book for a few hours nonstop therefore I came up with an idea how to keep myself busy and entertained. When a stranger (let’s call him Steve) is sits in front of me I like to imagine his biography. What are his flaws? Advantages? What does he like for a breakfast? Who is he? Does he have a family? Where is he going? And why? And what makes me think about certain answers? It’s fantastic when you can compare your vision to the reality later.

But sometimes it can be rude to play that game, especially when you are not discreet enough or if you lost yourself and you can’t even control it anymore. Staring at people ain’t polite. I hate the situation when the only empty place is in the middle of the couch. You don’t have easy access to the window (in a moment you will know why it’s important to me) and you have no idea what to look at to not make it awkward for anybody. The great option is to talk to people. From my experience I can assure you there are a significant number of people that will hate you for bothering them. However I encourage you to try it anyway.

What if there is no Steve to stare at? Well, I have my traditional “games”. I don’t remember when did it start, but I feel like since forever I’ve been searching for a wild animals through the window. The journey without seeing deer, rabbit or a fox is not a journey. I feel so lucky I was blessed by Mother Nature. She shares her secrets with me because I can appreciate it. I enjoy the views of wild nature, forests, single trees, and meadows. It makes me calm and safe. Thanks to that I can rest from a city life.

…to be continued.

*The title refers to the Hitchcock’s movie. And don’t worry, I am not going to kill anybody ; )