Monday, 26 March 2012

Family re-united in the spring time! ;)

Our lil’ boy is back home. He’s taller (I know it’s impossible to notice in a week, but forgive me that ;)) and tanned. And sooo cheerful. He definitely liked the trip. He couldn’t stop talking what a great adventure it was to fly a plane and to ride a camel.

Yet came the time when he had to come back to Poland. Luckily enough the weekend was quite warm. And with his birthday approaching quickly he got his first birthday gift. From my parent. A bike. A big bike for a big boy, as he keeps saying. And he is really eager to learn to ride it. He doesn’t get discouraged with falling down and with having trouble pedaling. That makes me happy as well, knowing that my kid likes spending time out, likes exercises and likes challenges.

Speaking of spending time out. That’s what Artur missed for the most of winter time. Yes, he was going for walks, he was going sledging, he was playing with snow. BUT! He couldn’t spend as much time outside as he wanted to. And he didn’t have his swing, he couldn’t use his slide. He missed it desperately. And now he has it back! Everything. If he could he would probably spend all the time in the garden. Although it’s not yet totally cleaned after winter, it’s enough for him. It’s his place, his own space, his oasis. He has his swing, his slide, his flowers, his favourite fruit (well, will have soon enough), his sand-pit, his little house to play in, his ball, his tunnel, his climbing rope, his ladder. Basically, everything a child needs to have a lot of fun.

And I can officially present you with all-the-best spring time pictures from our garden! Yup, spring is coming! We’ve shifted our clocks, we’ve had our first day of spring, all we can do now is wait for the plants to blossom!

I know I can’t wait for the big time spring time to come. Is it that obvious? I miss the warmth of sun on my face, the pretty green leaves on trees, the colourful flowers in my garden, the blossoming fruit trees. Yup, I love spring! Even more than summer, probably. For me it’s much more colourful, and much more anticipated. Probably because of the looong, grayish winter time that we have before spring. And I love autumn – again because of the colours. But not about that this time. Now it’s all about spring in the air. Birds singing, butterflies flying, cats meowing everywhere around us. March. And April soon to come. April. Yellow. That’s what it is – when I think of April I at once see everything in yellow colours! Such a strong and definite association.

After a wonderful weekend that we spent out because it was really pretty outside, not too warm yet, but sunny, this morning I found my car all covered in frost! And, worse yet to come, when I was waking up it was still dark outside! Stupid time shift…

 A happy, happy face :)

And a few pictures from Egypt (Arturek and my parents)

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Kashuby - why not?

I’ve already described the idea of our last Saturday trip. We simply headed off wherever we want to go. No specific goal, no special idea. And we finally ended up in Wieżyca – the hill.

Then we’ve decided that being so close to Szymbark it would have been a total waste of time and energy if we skipped CEPR.

CEPR is a special place. A special place for many people. For Kashubs, of course, as that’s a cultural Kashubian centre – traditions, history, culture – you can get information about all of these there. For Poles – as we share history to some extent. For ex-patriots from Siberia – as there’s a special place devoted entirely to them and each year in September they have a meeting there. For tourists – as in one place they can find out about so many things. So, as you can see, that’s a great place for many. (Or a place for none, as some might see it as a commercial bubble. But I think it's fine and I'm going to stick to my opinion).

Anything specific? – one might ask. Yes, of course, I’m soo willing to give you the specifics right now. So, in detail, what can be found in CEPR in Szymbark, Kashuby, Poland?

First thing is the longest plank in the world (Guiness World Record) for which CEPR became famous. That’s a really, really long table. The whole wedding party can sit at one table! And it’s that place where you can find out about the colours characteristics to Kashubs and where they come from and their kind of interesting alphabet.

Next get acquainted with the dark side of history and that is everything connected with Soviet Union and Siberia. Shocking, devastating, brutal, there are no words that can describe the horrors of those times. You can see the train and the wagons in which people were transported there. Many pictures, photos, poems, real-life stories… All (or at least most of them) translated into English.

Then there are replicas of Kashubian houses from Canada and from Turkey.

There is a replica of a bunker of a Secret Army Organisation “Gryf Pomorski” (you’re actually walking under the ground (freakishly cold down there), have to bend and everything in order to see a really small space in which soldiers had to stay for long).

There’s also a house that’s standing on its roof (or chimney, really). You can get in there. That’s actually kinda funny especially when your brain is trying to adjust but can’t! That’s much better than having a lot of drinks and there’s no chance for not remembering what was happening with you or others. That’s amusing to see people who can’t stand upright, can’t walk and keep laughing all the time. And there’s a glass full of water standing on the table on the first floor (or should I say ground floor? Although I have to climb the stairs to get there… Yup, that IS confusing!) showing that it is actually flat! No matter what your brain’s trying to tell you. And then you walk outside and experience the same before your brain switches back to the normal state.

Then there’s also a small chapel, all wooden. Saint Raphael’s, if I remember correctly. Next to the church there’s a sculpture dedicated to all that died fighting for freedom in a shape of a heart (not the “I love you” kind of heart, but a real human heart) with a bullet in the middle of it. In the chapel, you can find “souvenirs” from all part of Poland. All Polish history in one small room. The first monarchs, the three capital cities, Silesia, Pomerania, bits of land from all the places where Polish soldiers were fighting during the world wars, concentration camps, bunkers, the East Wall… Well, there’s so much in that one small place that it’s difficult to mention everything. The guide was much better at it that I am, trust me. He described all the bits and pieces to us.

There’s also a brewery there. Yup, they have their own, tiny brewery in which they produce six different kinds of beer, all according to some old and traditional recipes. You can drink beer there or you can buy some bottled beer for later. No problem with that.

There’s also one more thing that I haven’t expected. Another Guiness World Record item. The biggest… (forte)piano in the world. It’s black and shiny and each leg of it has a golden picture of one of Polish (or maybe not only Polish? Can’t remember exactly) composers signed with a name. And it’s playable. I mean if somebody can do it, they can play that instrument. The keyboard is of regular size. And hence the piano is sooo big and the keys are classical, what’s left on the side? Well, frankly speaking, that’s not only a piano. As nobody of regular size would have been able to play it otherwise, it’s simply to wide. The left part of the keyboard is actually the piano part. The right part is the organs. Two people can play at once on two different instruments. Great, huh?

Remember that in my last post I wrote that we were visiting the places that in my opinion weren’t suitable for a three-year-old? How true that was we found out in CEPR. I can’t imagine such a young kid being interested in anything that we saw there. Well, maybe the house that’s upside-down. Maybe the two playgrounds that are on the site. But the rest? Sorry, no. Wait, wait! There’s one more thing that could be interesting, just depends on the child for how long. It’s the animals, the deers that are there. For me, that’s it. And we saw many kids there crying, being sooo bored… Not cool at all.

The entrance fee for the site is 15 PLN. Children under the age of six have are free to enter. There is a place on the site where you can grab something to eat and to drink.

It’s a great place for older kids and for adults. It’s a place where you can broaden your knowledge. I am really amazed at the pure idea of creating a place like this. And the guides there are really passionate about what they’re doing. You could simply feel that, even see that. That was fantastic.

 Inside the wagon

 The Kashubian flag

 The bunker

 The house that's upside-down
 Us inside the house
 That's what the furniture looked like in the house, nailed to the ceiling... Or floor... Or whatever ;)
 The scariest part - to let go!
 Inside the chapel
 he heart-shaped monument with the bullet
  TDhe giant piano (see the regular-sized ones standing under it? and the woman standing right next to it?)
 The brewery - Kashubian beer meter
 The alphabet
 Kashubian plank - length in metres
 The loooongest table I've ever sat at
 Need a place to hide your valuables?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Roadtrip?? Yay!!

It’s been a really busy and active weekend for us. Our son is in Egypt, so we had a chance to visit places that, according to us, are not suitable for children. At least for children of his age.

Saturday morning. So quiet (apart from a cat meowing very loudly because he wanted to go out), so peaceful, so… strange. Nobody running to our bed to giggle a bit and to watch a cartoon. Nobody laughing loudly and demanding breakfast. Nobody waking us up. That was freakishly strange. But pleasant as well. Different. Nice.

I was planning to go to Gdansk for the celebrations of St Patrick’s and the Kashubian people. But with the sun shining so beautifully and the temperature rising so quickly, we though “how about a roadtrip?”. Not thinking for too long and not preparing at all, we packed our camera, a snack and something to drink and off we went. Where to? Somewhere! That was the idea. We knew there are some tourist spots around Tricity that we’ve never been to. Spots that are unknown to most people just because they’re somewhere off the beaten track. Literally. Somewhere in the forests. We wanted to explore these. That was the general idea. The Master Plan. Soon after we left, however, we had to resign from the master plan and satisfy ourselves with plan B. Why? Because we couldn’t find the spots we were looking for! Well, we found one but that was neither one of the spots we were looking for, nor was it in any sense interesting. I know, shame on us. We must have chosen the wrong route or something. But! Plan B turned out to be brilliant in its simple form. Yay!

We have a long weekend in Poland right at the beginning of May. This year, so it happens, that it’s practically a week off. We are planning to spend this weekend in Kashuby region. Lots of lakes, forests, fields and meadows. A small summer cottage in the forest by the lake. That’s where we’re going to stay. Hopefully, the weather is going to be nice. We’ve been to that place so many times, but we’ve never really visited its neighbourhood. We knew, of course, that in Szymbark there’s a Centre for Regional Education and Promotion (CEPR), but somehow we never had enough time to go there. And the viewpoint on Wieżyca… Although I’ve decided that it’s high time to visit these places I somehow felt that taking a three-year-old with us might not be the smartest idea. I must admit that I was partly right.

Continuing my climbing stories… ;) Yup, we’re not in the mountains this time, and yet we’re going to keep climbing. Well, this time climbing is seriously too big a word, however try telling it to my legs! I know we’ve been walking a hell lot this weekend but do they really have to ache so badly? Nevermind…

We decided that we’re going to Wieżyca first. Not the village, though. The hill. Although the visibility was quite poor, we wanted to check whether we’d be able to come back there some other time with our son. I’ve never been there before and my husband totally couldn’t remember what that path looks like. But I must admit that it’s quite easy. Not steep at all and not long. At the end of the path there’s a high tower (the viewpoint) from which you can observe the neighbourhood (we skipped that because of the poor visibility). However, we’ll come back probably in May with our lil’ boy. In order to climb the tower you have to pay, if I remember correctly, 5 PLN for a regular ticket and 3,50 PLN for a “half-price”.

That’s a safe place to walk with kids. Middle of a forest, no steep hills, no cliffs, some trees fallen on the way – all the more fun for our active kiddo ;) And climbing the tower would probably be a cherry on the cake. So a great idea for the May longish weekend ;)

From Wieżyca we headed straight to Szymbark, to CEPR. They’re really close one next to another. But I’ll describe that one another time. Cause it’s really a lot to describe. And how was your spring, sunny, warm weekend? :) 

 See the head of that teeeny tiny mouse in the middle?
 The footage of that cross reminds me of a giant spider...

 John Paul II's viewpoint tower
 A bit of snow still on the track