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.

Waiting for the snow

It’s the middle of January. I live in Poland, in northern part of northern hemisphere, so I can expect winter conditions to rule in this season of the year. Taking this into account I booked room in Polish mountain resort for  1 week skiing holiday as my children have 2 weeks free time from school. The problem is there is no snow. What is worse, there is even no freeze, some 5 celsius degrees in plus, even at night. But it brought me an idea to take bicycles instead of skis, so we can visit beautiful green Polish-Slovak borderland on 2 wheels.

 OK, it’s not the whole truth, we have now in Poland severe winter, but only in central and northern Poland, where you can’t find (almost) any mountains. It’s something terribly wrong with Polish geography – we have mountains on south and lakes and sea (the cold ones) on north. Which means we have problems with lack of snow in skiing resorts and often too cold water in summer in lakes and Baltic sea and bad weather in summer destinations.

I postponed a bit writing this text, so meantime weather changed a bit and we, even in southern Poland eventually welcomed freeze. It made situaiton for skiers a bit better as skilift owners despite lack of natural snow can produce now an artificial snow with their snowcannons. Does it make me happier? You’d think “sure”, but not quite – my favourite sort of skiing has been cross-country skiing for about  last 10 years and this sport requires a lot of natural snow. I’m afraid I will have not enough of that this season. But at least kids will be happy as they of course prefer normal lazy skiing. My wallet won’t be happy with this either.      

Pole in his mid fourties still tries to learn English

Why did I register on wordpress.com and want to write a blog ? Hmmm, I’m Pole living in south-eastern Poland, 44 years old and my aim is to improve my English. I’d like to do it significantly, because now I can’t communicate in this language fluently, co I’ve decided that writing the blog will help me with this. Am I right ? Time will show. So, if you by any accident roamed here – please, excuse me low level and boring of my writing – I do it not as a writer but it’s a trial for me. I do hope I’ll not give up too soon.