Saturday August 12th

Our hotel in Tarnow was within walking distance of everything in the Town of Tarnow, so on Saturday morning (5:30) we rolled out of bed and headed over to Uncle Mietek’s place to say good buy to Malgosia, her husband Jacek and the little Zemus (formal is Ziemowit, a very old Polish name, he is 10 weeks old). Jason got to bounce the little fella on his knee and we had breakfast with them. We got back to our hotel around 7:30 but could no longer fall asleep. All that was left was to head to the city where I was born, Poznan, 20 miles away from Tarnow.

Poznan’s beginnings go back to the 10th century, when a settlement was founded there. In 968 the town cathedral was build and the city grew. Today it is a large city with a lot of history and my favorite art museum, the Poznan National Museum. In the summer the museum is not crowded with school children and we spent 3 hours in it. Among the various modern art pieces and experiments in cubism and surrealism there was one floor with the clasical Polish paintings. Many of these I recognized from ilustrations in periodicals, children’s literature, and even reproductions that adorned my pre-school walls in Poland. These paintings of other children or of the Polish countryside with Polish people working the land burned themselves in my mind and it was a great feeling of happiness to look at them again.

By the time we left the museum, we could feel the toll of waking up as early as we did. After walking around Old Town and eating lunch at the “Under the Goats” (that is what the restaurant was called since it was under the city hall tower on which 2 mechanical wooden goats come out evey hour to butt heads much to the tourists’ amusement) we made it to only one other museum before heading back to the hotel and dropping dead on our very hard matresses for the afternoon nap.

In the evening we walked back to Uncle Mietek’s place with a Wisnowka (Sour Cherry Vodka), which we could not bring back due to the recent developments at the London airports, then ‘by golly’ we would drink it with family. Nazdrowie/Salut. Uncle Mietek, who is the older brother of my Mom, worked in a steel mill and is now retired. He and his wife Crystyna, have three children (all adults, oldest one is few days younger than I) in order of age from oldest to youngest 2 girls and a boy: Malgosia, Kasia, and Andzej. Uncle Mietek has a great interest and talent for building his own house, garage, plastic green house, pond, and gardening. Jason bombarded him with questions on all aspects of building and gardening. It was a great evening filled with food, Wisniowka, and conversation. My mouth and head hurt at the end of the evening from all the translation back and fourth and I still had Sunday ahead of me. Tomorrow, we are spending the day with Grandpa and Uncle Piotrek’s family on the farm in Gaj Wielki and once again I am going to be the translator. For now we are going to sleep very well.