my place on Earth..

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Cheese Republic

Nostalgia has broken into my heart. Relatively high temperature outside and the first bright rays of the sun have taken me back to last summer.

Czech Republic is a land of beer and cheese.  Excellent beer (Velkopopovický Kozel černý- dark Kozel) and splendid fried cheese (smažený sýr)! Dammit, I made myself hungry…

Anyway, Czech Republic is my nearest neighboring country and it would be a serious sin not to visit my lovely neighbors!  I am sure every visit would be fun, no matter what. At least for the Poles. There is a saying that God created Czech language so that the Poles can laugh. And he created Polish language so that Russians can laugh, too… Yeah, it is so true! So, I went to a party in Tallinn and some Russian guys sat with us and since they noticed I’m Polish they asked me to speak my language because they wanted to see if they can understand it. So, I decided to tell them a joke, and I’ve said merely a first sentence and they laughed their asses off… yeah, that was crazy night. I wish there were also Czechs!

Anyhow, my friend and I got to Czech Republic without any problems. My dad found our idea for a trip very interesting, so to say, and he took us there by car with the rest of my family. They left us in our destination (Jeseník) and they went to termální lázně (Velké Losiny).

We started with necessary shopping, which means food and alcohol. And here’s what we’ve found: a cow trapped in a machine.

Ekhm, we decided to remain on vege diet during this trip.

 

My dad told me it’s fantastic in Velké Losiny, so went there, too.

As a kid I went to Velké Losiny for a camp for young members of the volunteer fire department in my village (funny story btw). But I remember only morning drills and exercises and great chocolate ice creams. Not many memories on the town, though.

We were swimming in a pool filled with stinky water. Ingredients in that water which were responsible for that smell were supposed to make us beautiful, but I am not sure about the results…  The odor was detectable only for a moment, then we got used to it. Although we were afraid that we will stink and we won’t even feel it, we took a bus in hope nobody will notice…

Czech Republic is located among the mountains, so there are plenty smaller or larger rivers and streams. People need to live with that in harmony. And they do.

The next day we thought maybe we can have a train trip, since we’ve already checked buses. I’ve already written how much I appreciate trains. Czechs trains are not really much different from the Polish ones. They are colorful, old and spacious. And almost empty… We took a train to Zlaté Hory (which means Golden Mountains).

The time has stopped in some areas of Czech Republic. Nonetheless I cannot complain on that! The city was ours! We went to see a church from the XVIII century and a  cemetery.

We found an interesting rope next to the entrance to the church. I am sure there is a peculiar story behind it… Sadly, there was not a living soul to ask.

After a dinner we still had some time, so we decided to take a longer way to the train station. At first I thought it was a great  idea, because we encounter cows. I love cows! What a grateful creatures!

But then we walked and walked and there was no end of our walking.  We were in the middle of nowhere. Before we almost panicked about spending th whole night with mosquitoes in the middle of some meadow with not a single cow we had enjoyed the music of grasshoppers and the views.

The worst part is that we didn’t really know which direction to choose. My friend wanted to go to the right and I wanted to go to the left. Fortunately I started to bitching around so in the end we (see: I) decided to go to the left. It was a good choice. We found a trail!

Step by step with rising excitation we managed to arrive on time to the station.

I guess we also walked into somebody’s “summer house”.  There was a fridge and an armchair. We didn’t check where is the rest of facilities. It would be just rude…

And we left Golden Mountains. One last glance from the train.

Time to go home has come. I always like to be prepared especially for unexpected. That’s why I checked all connections between Poland and Czech Republic. Thank you, Internet! We packed our bags and went to the bus station. It turned out that there is NO bus directly to Poland (to have an access to the Internet and do not make any updates it’s a sin…) We took a bus to Mikulovice and then we crossed the border by foot.

We were told it’s a common way of crossing the borders, but we haven’t seen any other pedestrians. No wonder why,  there is no sidewalk… but finally! One step closer to home! Głuchołazy.

Now just to take a bus and a train and we’re home…  Meanwhile we managed to have a dinner and  sightsee a bit of Nysa.

Oh, dear Czech Republic… I’ll be back soon!

 

 

T. Time

Is it possible that the time passes slowly and quickly simultaneously? I have been experiencing it for some time. ..

The very thought of the range of tasks that I need to do within a short period of time frightens me. Deadlines loom large in my mind. At the same time I cannot wait until holidays I’ve been planning since January (or even earlier). This is a great reason for the time to stop.

I want the time to go fast like a crazy to start my Great Adventure. Nonetheless I’ve already started to miss my Łódź. I know I’m running out of my time here and will never go back for a longer time.

My friends from Estonia and I have come to the conclusion we should have spent more time together when we had that opportunity. I am not saying we wasted it. I guess there is just a deficiency or a kind of a hunger for spending some more time than we have.  There are also good sides. I will visit them soon and I hope they will visit me here as well, so we can make it up.

And now I don’t want it to happen again with my friends in Łódź. Oh, and it doesn’t mean I’ve become a stalker… Or?

I have no reckoning of time, maybe this is why I cannot evaluate how fast or slow the time passes .

 

 

 

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 ; )