Friday, 27 April 2012

It's London, baby!

I love Friends. The TV series. I mean I love my friends as well, but that’s a totally different topic. Friends make me feel so relaxed, even though the characters annoy me sooooo often. Rachel drives me crazy with her “oh, I’m a girl who gets everything she wants” (can you hear my, or anyone else’s for that matter, squeaky voice while saying it?) attitude. Ross is just so out of this world with his nerdy humour that makes nobody laugh and the annoying willingness to be right every single time. And yet, Ross is so similar to my husband in so many aspects! I know, that is totally crazy! Well, so it is. What can I do? Just live with it ;) I actually like Chandler and Phoebe. Probably the most. Chandler’s sense of humour, his jokes, his foolishness and growth, his ability to make everybody laugh even in the toughest moments. However, I can also see the absurd aspects of this series. A chef (at times unemployed) being able to afford a flat near Central Park? Well, I’ve never been to New York, but that sounds strange to me… And not only that, but again, it wasn’t my intention to write about that. Then what was my intention? Well, recently we’ve decided to watch Season 4 Finale, that is the episode in London. And that made me think of the times when I’ve been there.

I know I have already written that I love London. Or that I love England for having London ;) Up to now I’ve been there twice. The first time was when I was only eleven. A school (not mine)/travel agency trip. A strange combo. Everybody being a stranger to me. A coach trip across Europe. Me suffering from car sickness (or whatever it’s called). But we managed to see a lot! Madame Tussauds, the Tower, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, National Gallery, British Museum, Greenwich… Well, a lot considering the short time we spent there. And we managed to visit Oxford as well.

The second time was with my husband. That was our Season England Finale. It was his first visit to London. Aaaand we only had a few days. I wanted to show him everything and still see something new for myself. Totally not possible. The only possible solution – a compromise between new and old, what I already know and what I want to get to know. What Chris wanted to see and what I wanted to see. Or do, doesn’t matter. It was a huge challenge to work out that compromise, but we succeeded. Luckily. We sat down and decided what we both wanted to see or do, what we expect from that visit to London and what we actually have time for. And, as a result, we ended up with a sightseeing plan. All worked out. Of course, our plan was a bit different from what we managed to see, but still we were satisfied with the result.We managed to see the Buckingham Palace (again, not the interiors), Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus... We paid a visit to the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum. We went to Harrods - well, we simply had to go there due to our high school English teacher. Nvm, long story...

But we didn't just spend time sightseeing in the city centre. We stayed in Ealing (if I remember correctly), which had its beautiful spots. We also had time to do some shopping, but only a little bit, considering the fact that we were short in cash. And we simply enjoyed the wonderful, multicultural atmosphere of London. I still think there are too many Poles in London. It's much easier to find a Pole in London than an Englishman. Well, that's the price you have to pay for muticultural atmosphere, I know. Anyhow, I still love London. And I sooo want to get back there this or next year!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

My bring-me-spring incantation works!

It's been a really long weekend. Well, normal in length, actually, two days plus Friday afternoon. But I had so many things planned to do. First I wanted to catch up on my garden work. I wanted to do most of it last weekend but our son got sick (high fever) and, frankly speaking, I got sick as well. So I couldn't do it. During the work week - well, we don't have that much time left in the afternoons. Plus I get up really early (5 am that is) so I'm really exhausted in the afternoons and evenings. So usually garden work is done on Saturdays. Everybody's home and everybody can help. Then, all the housework to do - washing (done), shopping (done), cooking (done), ironing (still to do). Takes up a lot of time and a lot of energy, but the satisfaction I get from having these done - big one.

I wake Saturday morning and what do I see? It's raining! I think to myself that, of course, when I'm healthy and eager to work, it simply HAS TO be raining. Tough love, baby. Ok, so we go shopping. And when we got back home not only did it stop raining, but the sun started looking at us from behind the clouds. So as quickly as we could, we changed into our work clothes, got the tools we were going to need and off we went to the garden. I must admit that it's the first year that I'm really into the garden work. I have lots of plans how I want to reorganise the garden a bit. And I'm really into all the weeding, seeding, watering, cutting, raking. The thing that I really hate is mowing the grass. But, fortunately, that's the thing my beloved husband does. So I don't have to.

So what we managed to do on Saturday was preparing certain parts of our garden for seeding vegetables. And we managed to seed some of them - carrots, and two kinds of radishes. We're going to seed more in the second half of May, after the so-called "cold gardeners". And we finally took out the most longed for of all of our son's garden toys - the house. That means spring has come for good. About time!

And today we were simply enjoying spring! Yup, spring is in the air! The second day in the row. Well, more than second, frankly speaking, but I can't count the work week as I can't enjoy the weather then, so forgive me that shortcut. I know, I've already written that... More than once...  Hopefully, this time it's going to stay with us for good or change into summer quickly. One of the first words our son said today were - can I go to the garden? And so he did. He spent almost the whole day out! That's how he missed it. He loves being out. Running around, swinging, watering the plants, digging in the sand, sliding, everything! He's so happy then. And we're happy with him.

And here are some of the proofs that spring is in the air. The whole nature can feel it. Butterflies, ladybirds, flowers, trees, fruit... Everything.So much can change in just one day! Trust me, the difference in the look of flowers and trees between yesterday and today was enormous!

Apple tree flowers-to-be


 Grape hyacinth aka muscari
 These are our neighbour's, but they look amazing!
 Here is where we planted our veggie seeds
 One of the tulips
 Common lilac flowers-to-be
 Rhubarb aka "pindolki" aka "barbara" (these are the names given to rhubarb by our son... or repeated by him)
 We're expecting strawberries here...
 ...redcurrant here...
... and raspberries here.
 A ladybird on our pear tree
 I have no idea what this is called... sorry.
 Our beautiful forsythia
 No idea about the name here either, but you can see the leaves and the flowers-to-be, right?

  And our lonely yellow pansy

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Having loads of fun in Polish mountains

I don't think that my making winter go away is working all that well, unfortunately. Maybe I'm not trying hard enough...? It was minus (!) two degrees yesterday when I was going to work! And it's almost May! Horrible, right? I sooo much hope it's going to get warmer pretty soon as we already have the long weekend all planned out. Aaaand warm weather is a must!

So today's post is going to be a kind of a merger between cold and warm. How? Keep reading, you'll soon find that out.

I have already described our climbing (big word) to the peak of Zugspitze, our climbing (an even bigger word) to the peak of Teide, our climbing to the top of the Three Crowns and Sokolica. Oh, oh, and I've also mentioned our walk (using the word climbing here would have been a total exaggeration) to the top of Wieżyca hill. This time I'm going to try and describe a very magical and, at the same time, a very strange place in Southern Poland. Our trip to the peak of Szczeliniec Wielki in Stołowe Mountains (919 metres above sea level). The weirdest of all the climbs I've ever done in my life. And climbing, once again, is far from being a perfect word to describe what you can find there.

Getting to the peak is not the whole story. Is not the pure goal. Is not everything you can do there. Szczeliniec Wielki is much more that that. The mountain isn't high at all, that's true. And yet you can get totally tired on the way. Weird? Yup. But that's what happens. Well, at least happened to many of us.

Szczeliniec Wielki is a kind of a combination of a climbing route, a funfair and a fantasy park. All in one place. It's really warm and really cold in there at the same time, depending on the area. And it's not about "the higher, the colder" phenomenon, but about "the lower, the less sun, the more humidity" one. It was very warm on the upper parts and really cold in the hollows. Even snow was lying in some places and it was July when we were there.

Walking the whole path (it is said that it's about 5 km long) is not for the fainthearted though. Not because of the height, obviously. It's because of the effort it demands. You have to walk loads of stairs to get up to the top. And then, walking up and down, over and under the rocks, sometimes you have to hold your breath to get slimmer and get through. It's all really tiring but a lot of fun at the same time. Sometimes it's scary as well - especially in the hollows - the dark colours, no direct sunlight, coldness, high rocks surrounding you. Spooky, absolutely horror-like. Perfect scenery for that kind of movies. You can totally imagine being chased by a strange-looking monster down there, having to escape possibilities. And, on top of that, one of these hollows is called Hell!  Can you point a better suited place for shooting horror movies? I think not. Well, maybe you can. But that's a really good one as well. And recently I found out that they were shooting one of the Narnia movies on Szczeliniec Wielki - Prince Kaspian or something. I know it's a family movie, but also considered a horror by some ;) But not in the classical definition of the word, though ;)

The rocks on the Szczeliniec Wielki route are in various forms. Something like twenty-or-so different shapes, as far as I remember. You can find them all on the map that you're given at the entrance and they're all named after the shapes they represent. But half the fun is spotting the rocks by yourself and guessing what they represent! Really a lot of fun, as quite often people might see different things in different rocks.

The entrance to the route is right next to the exit. And these two paths do not intersect as in fact it's one route. Or maybe I'm wrong on this one, not sure. My impression, though, was that once on the route, you have to go all the way to the end of it. No turning back. Just like on a one-way street.

Such a great time we had there. And we were exhausted after that trip. So, mind you, being fit helps to get to the end. But you can make stops on the way and rest if you like, of course. So no worries :) You'll get to the end. It only sounds scary ;)

 A quick rest

 Entrance and exit signs