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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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).

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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

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  • 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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?