If you can’t go to Bulgaria let Bulgaria ride to you

Emil and Snezha were my next warmshowers.org bicycle-riding guests. They rode to me from far away Bulgaria. I’m afraid they’re one of not many exceptions, as generally Poles and other “north” Europeans go to sunny Bulgaria to rest on coast of warm Black sea and visit beautiful and interesting historical places like Nesebyr or Caliakra Cape. I don’t think many Bulgarians were in Poland, especially for summer holiday. But maybe it’s nice to go north when you have almost day by day over 30 C degrees through half a year…

My guests told me that far more beautiful than seaside are Bulgarian mountains like Pirin or Rodop. Looking at photos of them I have to admit they’re right and I’ve already started to consider Bulgarian mountains as one of my holiday destination in future…

What was funny for me was what they told about Polish car drivers: they have respect for bicycle riders and don’t provoke dangerous situations. That’s quite different opinion from what I heard from bikers from Sweden or Canada. That’s why I would be afraid to ride a bike in Bulgaria… I wish my Bulgarian guests  a lot of happy adventures on their road.


Not quite ordinary day at work

It looked like just another average day at job. I work in an office on second floor, my window looks out to the street and tenement house across the street. It’s good viewpoint but usually nothing especially interesting to see. It’s in the center of my town, quite busy traffic, first rainy day after many beautiful sunny ones. Then police car pulls over and 2 policemen stand at the door. I’d heard that there was an illegal brothel in building across the street, so we thought maybe it’s police raid to catch panders. But a few minutes later two firemen appear with a plastic box. Fireman… probably they were ordered to liquidate a wasp nest – I thought, but was wrong. Fireman had long metal arm with pliers on its end and reached with it over little tin roof above entrance to the building. Although I saw the roof from above and wasn’t further than 10 metres from it I didn’t see anything he could catch. But somehow after a few seconds he was carrying … a snake, about 1 metr long. It had to hide somehow under tin. Later, I googled that 6 years ago other snake had been found on the street on other side of the same building… Obviously, a distracted snake breeder lives in my town…

Trip to Kamień nad Jaśliskami, Lower Beskids, Poland-Slovakia


On the Polish-Slovak border, in wild but not high mountains called Lower Beskids there is a massif Kamień nad Jaśliskami (The rock above Jaśliska). I started my 9-hours trip there and back from absolutely magic place – student shelter in Zyndranowa. It is wooden cottage once used by forest workers, now run by student tourist guides association from Rzeszów. I had an opportunity to act as a host there for one week and later lived there as a guest for another one. If one need a place to rest from noise of the city and is not afraid that the only running water is nearby stream (there’s also a well) that’s just the place. The cost per night is 10 zł, about 2 EURO. Vast forests in area still deliver a lot of timber. I took forest road which meandered on Kiczera Klepke hill and headed towards Kamień. After a few kilometers the road abruptly ended – forest workers had got only to this point. So, equipped with good traditional paper map and compass I set off through the bushes and trees.


About an hour later I reached an edge of the forest with beautiful view of meadows and green hills. Blue tourist trail led me to Czeremcha village. But not without obstacles. The trail crossed Biełcza stream, but beaver family dammed the stream up in at least two places, above and below my path and I had to detour a bit and walk through their dam.


It wasn’t that easy not to lose balance. Eventually I got to Czeremcha village or rather what history left from it… After the II WW, in 1947r. all inhabitants of village were replaced by communists government to USSR or north-west Poland, many hundreds kilometres away. Not a single building was left standing. Nature through almost 70 years took over the land. Now there is wonderful peace and quietness where once people lived along the road which were through centuries used as one of main track for import_ing excellent wine (e.g. Tokay) from Hungary to Poland. Nowadays one can see empty space where the orthodox church stood, only a cross left propped by a tree and a few old stony graves with or without crosses.



There’s also one new grave, in 2008 Janet Fuchila who was born in USA, but whose mother lived in Czeremcha was buried here with accordance to her wish.


Leaving the remnants of Czeremcha I found a bit rusty … don’t know what exactly.


It can be a musquette used in I WW as in the area were fierce battles between Russian and Austro-Hungarian armies. In Lower Beskids people still find traces of I and II WW. I moved further toward Pl-Sl border and when reached it entered again into thick forest, the red trail leaded me along the border up the range of Kamień, 857 m.a.s.


On rather flat top of the hill are 7 small cemeteries from I WW, 6 on Slovak and 1 on Polish side.


By an entrance to the “Polish” one there is a bell hunged on a tree with sign saying “PODZWOŃ… nam poległym w walce i cierpieniu. Na KAMIENIU powstała sława naszego życia i śmierci” (Ring the bell … for us died in fight and suffering. Glory of our life and death emerged on Kamień Hill).


Sad thought came then to my mind that it is possible that some of soldiers lying there were killed with bayonette I found. The weather changed for worse, fog began to cover top of Kamień so I started descending. On my way down I passed through old, closed years ago quarries, first one called Okrągła Wysypa and second Nad Sinym Wyrem.


Huge, over 10-20 metres high stony walls impressed me.


When I reached the dirty road again I followed first blue then black trail which leaded me directly to cosy shelter in Zyndranowa.


It was so good to sit close to hot old oven filled with burning wood after 9 hours of wandering including the last hour in rain.


The Sunny side up trail

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Probably the trail has nothing to do with eggs or hens, maybe much more with horses as it can be equestrian trail though I’m not sure it’s not just proper tourist walking trail. I should check it in spring or summer. Location – Wislok river valley, Rudawka Rymanowska and Pulawy, SE Poland.But the sign did reminded me of sunny side up egg 🙂

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Looking for the dreamed place to live in


  • I’m bored of living in town. My /and my wife’s/ dream is to move to the country, to have a little house, maybe with a few rooms for guests. To have lots of greenery around and nice views. Somewhere I don’t have to drive 0,5 hour or more to feel I belong there. Some of these places are in Beskidy mountains, close to Polish-Slovak border. We went there lately for a day-trip. The views were great, although it was very cold day (about -12C). Unfortunely enough battery of my camera didn’t want to cooperate with me after taking just 1 picture. But at least it turned to be good cause I managed to keep my hands warm enough by not taking any more pictures. The one I took shows remote wooden cottage with a cat on a window.
  • Ps The dream is only dream because my children don’t want to hear of moving to the country, so we still have to wait a few years…

My first time … as a winter swimmer


Yesterday, sitting at my Mam place over Christmas Eve abundant and delicious dinner I asked my brother and his wife about his last experience upon winter swimmi ng, cause I’d learned form his FB they had become members of Rzeszów Walrus Club Sopelek (Rzeszów winter swimming club Icicle).  They just told me it was fun and invited me to join them the next day. I agreed – didn’t want them to think I’m coward. This morning I had a few moments when I wasn’t sure my decision was right but it was to late to change my mind.

At 11.30 a.m. it was about +5C and we started a warm-up. Some jogging, squats, swings, pushups and I felt sweat on my back.



Many people gathered and we started to undress. Last time I did it outdoor was in hot August, by the lake. Now it seemed a bit crazy, but when you are surrounded by many people doing the same thing, it starts to look quite normal. Coming into cold water with gloved hands above water surface was much easier than I’d expected.



We stood there and thin layer of  ice floated among us (I wanted to write floe but my English isn’t good enough to tell if I could name floe such a thin ice, so I wrote ice J). The hardest part happened some 20 seconds later. I began to feel increasing pain in toes, it was so intense I couldn’t stand it any more and had to get out of water. 2 minutes of running on a sandy beach and again into water.



Similar feeling. I got out as one of the first and started to dry myself with a towel. It was funny – cold water acted as anesthesia and I didn’t feel my bottom when I was drying it. Two minutes later I regained feeling in toes, it was really nice to have them back in right place. To my big surprise I realized that the most experienced swimmers were still dipped.  Do they have other type of toes construction than mine? No, solution seems to be easier, at least some of them wore special shoos insulating feet form water.

After short and cold experience I felt great, returned home and took my family to the forest for 2 hour walking-jogging. It was the sportiest Christmas I’ve ever spent. We’ll go for next winter swimming this Sunday.

Ps. As you’ve probably noticed pictures above don’t quite fit description as they show real very cold winter with ice and snow. That’s because there were some technical problems with pictures I’d previously inserted and now I shifted them with the ones taken today i.e. 17 January 2016. And today weather is as it should be during winter.

New threat for public transport users ?

We’re (almost) all shocked by what happened lately onboard Germanwings plane over French Alps. Shortly after it turned out that this awful accident wasn’t caused by a fault of machine or by human error, but was wittingly scheduled by second pilot, Lufthansa ordered a rule of two pilots in cockpit. Maybe it will help to increase safety level in planes, but I thought what about e.g. buses. Even local city busdriver can kill his passengers falling from bridge, driving into river etc, Alps are not necessary and it’s not possible to place two drivers behind steering wheel. And just today I heard on tv that a young woman wanted to commit suicide  turning abruptly sterring wheel of a bus full of people between Warsaw and Lublin in Poland. Fortunately driver managed to pulled away and stop avoiding crash but it was really close. But what if a driver was woman and a suicider strong man? Everyone presumes that young woman was influenced by last news about Germanwings plane. What makes people act that way that they want to take with them to grave as many other people as possible? Do they want to become “celebrities” of some crazy kind? Should we be afraid of using public transport more than so far?

How to meet wonderful world at home

I belong to three internet travellers communities: hospitalityclub (since 2007), couchsurfing and warmshowers (since previous year; this one is for tour bicycle users).

I admit that  I joined the first one because I’d read in press about it and was tempted by opportunity of saving some cost of accommodation while travelling. So I joined and tried and it worked! In 2007 my family travelled to Romania and Bulgaria for summer 3-week holidays. Of all 20 nights we didn’t pay for 4 thanks to our great hospitalityclub hosts. But saving money was only a tiny part of what membership was offering and as it later turned out it was the least important part! The best of it was meeting locals who generally shares with you their local style of life: habits, food, ways of spending time, lots of information about interesting places/events in area (sometimes they tell you about things you won’t be able to find about in tourist guides) etc, etc. And what I do appreciate – while I travel abroad I have eventually opportunity to use English, here in Poland my contact with English is generally confined to reading and watching tv/films (and sometimes writing blog, haha).  The hosts/guests are usually fantastic, open, amiable people, to that extend that in 2 cases my hosts/guests became later my guests/hosts: in England, Slovenia and Poland.

Being a guest is great but of course there is a second side – offering accomadation for other travelers. And it is also superb. Imagine situation like that one – grey, not much interesting March day in Poland, the rest of snow melted long ago, but still no fresh greenery outside the window… You’re a bit bored and check your emails and … wow, a girl from Canada travelling since August 2014 through Asia and since January 2015 by bicycle (!!!) from Instanbul, Turkey to my hometown Rzeszów, Poland (some 2.000 kilometres through the shortest way from Istanbul) and further in Europe is asking if she can stay at your place for 1 night. You of course agree, she arrives to your town and tells you about adventures you wouldn’t hear or watch in travel programmes on tv. It was a big big pleasure to meet Stephanie and talk with her about her brave ride through Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Romania, Ukraine and Poland on bicycle with heavy panniers. And to listen about wonderful unspoiled nature of Canada … Such visits make your day. I wish Stephanie only dry, warm days during her further bicycle travelling, much less trucks on roads and save pedalling, and you – great adventures while travelling and while meeting travelers at your home.

Third time lucky !

Yeah, I did it and really third time was eventually lucky ! I’m happy again! But, what was it? Interview! This time the chairman of the company proposed me job and I agreed! Maybe it’s nothing special in rich countries like USA or Australia but for me here, in Poland (and far from Warsaw) it’s big big SOMETHING.

A few reasons I think so are:

  1. I was looking for this job 14 months, OK, let’s say that during first half of that period I wasn’t looking very intensely, because after 20 years of hard work I DID wanted to rest a bit, so I travelled, I was polishing my English, I did what I always wanted but never had time to etc etc. But even then I was looking for, and later I was looking really diligently sending every day a few CVs. For almost no response. People say one can’t find job in Poland when one doesn’t have acquaintances. I don’t belong to people who know lots of other people, so I had to find a job on my own. It looked gloomy. And I didn’t want to become millionth Pole looking for a job in UK.
  2. It wasn’t that bad. I had few answers and invitations for interviews. Two. The first interview was very nice, a recruitment specialists was deeply interested in my … hobby – bicycle riding, we did shared this passion, but he didn’t share my passion for getting the job the company offered. Second interview – nice lady offered me job, sure, but it wasn’t normal kind of job contract – I was to get only commissions from company and I was to run my own business. I wouldn’t be emloyed at all! And I didn’t want to run a business, I wanted to get a job!
  3. I won’t tell what exactly is my occupation, but it is in bank branch and kind of job that is not necceserily done in the same town where clients live. So, last few years was a period of moving these positions to bigger towns and the best to Warsaw. So, after that time in my town left few jobs of this position. I felt like fisherman looking for a job in the middle of Sahara desert. And I didn’t want to move to bigger town, let alone to Warsaw. And I didn’t want to leave my family for at least 5 days a week.
  4. I’m 45. I decided maybe time came to change occupation, to do something else. OK, I made 3-month course which broaden my skills of something I partially studied long time ago and started looking in this line. One big failure, I didn’t get a job because I didn’t have 2, 3 or 5 years of experience which are required and no one wanted to take me as an apprentice because I’m too old. Catch 22?

Today a miracle happened. I answered a phone and it turned out that it’s from company where I sent my CV half a year ago. Three hours later I was after nice interview and we shaked hands with the chairman agreeing on conditions of my work! I’m starting tomorrow! I’ll work again in my old occupation. Hooray!

Yearning for the summer


Now is my second most hated season of a year. The first is late November – days are very short and you can’t expect real snowy winter any soon. Now, end of February and beginning of March, I’m bored with winter, which was poor this year, with very little snow (yeah, I live in Poland, not in USA, esp. not in Boston 😉 and frost. I can’t wait till it’s bright, colorful spring and hot sunny summer!

So, waiting for a significant change in weather I reached for pictures from last summer holiday to cheer up. Wonderful Croatian island of Korcula. It wasn’t easy to get to beautiful little beaches hidden in narrow bays (sometimes you had to drive down from approx. 500 m above sea level through very narrow winding lanes, just for 1 car, sharp turn after turn), but the views were amazing. And this colour of sea!