Archive for August, 2006

A Day of Travel and a Family Introduction

A notice to family about the recent travel concerns. We have not been affected by the new security procedures yet. We have only been taking trains. We are hoping the procedures and delays will be fixed by the time we take our flight back. We are also a bit behind on posts, but hope to catch up soon.

Friday Aug 11th

We traveled to Poznan. From Poznan, a very large city, we took a bus to the town of Tarnowo Podgurskie, where my Uncle Mietek lives with his family. From here, after dropping our bags off at our hotel, we took another local bus to reach the village of Gaj Wielki, where my Grandpa, Uncle Piotrek and family live on a farm. After getting of the bus I realized that I did not recognize where I was and the thought of “maybe I should have taken up Uncle Piotrek on his offer to pick us up, instead of re-creating for Jason the trip Mom and I would take in the summer to reach the farm, which was a one mile walk from the bus stop to the farm but seemed a lot more when I was 7, with luggage, and whinning”. It is good thing that I remembered certain landmarks (ex. Red brick school, chappel, and the cemetary at the end of the village) because the locals were able to direct us in the right direction. So finaly we were on our way as it slowly got dark and I realized that I was not sure how far the farm was, every which way were fields, some roads, trees, and once in a while a farm house with a barn. We were closer than I thought and soon we were having hot tea and cake with Grandpa and the rest of the family. We also visited with Uncle Mietek in Tarnowo Podgurne that night and got to see my cousin Malgosia with husband and new 10 week old baby. The last time I saw her was at her wedding 4 years ago. Her son, Ziemus (how we all call him) was very content in Jason’s arms. We saw them again in the morning at about 6am when they were leaving for home which is a 6 hour drive away, with a small baby, that is not an easy ride at times. It was a good day and I had an introduction to being a translator, something that although very enjoyable, was a bit draining in the next two days.

–Marzena


First day in Poland

Wednesday

Today we are still jet lagged but this time are spending most of the time at airports and on planes.

Our hotel looks like a mid-evil tower and may have been part of Gdansk’s protective wall of first defense at one time . The windows on the curved section are the kind that were used to shoot arrows from without exposing much of the archer to the outside atacker. We are on the 3rd floor and have a great view of the edge of Old Town. Its good thing that we had reservations because it the festival of St. Dominicus, 7/26 to 8/20 and every room at the city is booked. There are vendors all over Old Town and musical groups singing Polish Pop music. Its one big party.

–Marzena

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Jet Lagged in Amsterdam

Day 2 in Amsterdam was hard due to the jet lag that hit us as the day wore on. We ended up dozing off on a boat-bus, it was a nice nap as the boat went through the canals of Amsterdam lugging around tourist, mostly families. The previous day we visted the Rijksmuseum, where there is a large collection of a bit of everthing fom 17th Century Netharlands. There were hand carved rifles, doll houses – my favorite, dishes, a variety of other stuff as well as paintings. “The Night Watchmen”, Rambrant’s most known painting is about 13 feet high and 20 feet wide. Some of the watchmen were my hight, 5 feet. Next we went to the Van Gogh museum; which holds some of his famous paintings of irisis, sunflowers, wheat field with crows, and the blue room, as well as some of his self portraits. “Starry Night” or the one of the Caffe was not there. The museum focuses on his growth as an artist. There a number paintings from various times in his life: the early works showing the beggining of the style he became known for and later the paintings were greatly inflenced by epilepsy which he suffered from before killing himself. In the basement of the museum there is an impressive collection of Japanese pottery, painted and embroided silk screens and sculpture. I must admit that outside of only a hand full of Van Goh’s paintings, I prefered the Japenese pottery rather then the rest of the museum’s collection. P. S. The Red Light District was slightly disappointing experience since the Penis Fountain was removed from it..

–Marzena


First full day in Amsterdam

Moday, August 7th

Weather
The funny thing about weather: on Sunday the forcast was for rain showers, on Monday morning the forecast changed to sunny. By Monday evening it was raining. Good thing Jason and I had rain jackets with us, so while all the other tourists and natives hudled under the souvaniers stands, we, the Puget Sound Northwesterners, braved the wet dripping streets with backpacks and rain gear on and a grin on our faces.

Traffic
In America a pedestrian has to be on the look out for cars, in Amsterdam a pedestrian has to be aware of bicycles as well. Statisticly there are two bicycles for every person living here. A pedestrian meets more “head on” bicycle traffic here then the automobile traffic, something I became more aware of after almost walking into a fella on a bike as I walked one direction and looked in the other direction. Lucky for me, Jason pulled on my backpack just in time. And so I was saved.

Food – where oh were is the Dutch food?
What is interesting about Amsterdam is that there are so many cultures here, languages, people of all colors, shapes and sizes; hence we have not seen a traditional Dutch restaurant. We have however seen a bunch of Irish pubs, Indian, Italian, Argentinian, Chinese, etc.

Today was a long day. We went to the Van Gogh museum and to the Rijksmuseum, more on that tomorrow.

–Marzena

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We’re here!

We have finally arrived in Amsterdam and gotten a train and then a tram to our b and b. It very nice, just as I remembered it. Robert, the owner is very warm and helpful. We both actually got about an hour of sleep on the last flight. We are feeling better. But now that we have both taken showers we are feeling a whole lot better. We are off to get some food and I think we are going to try to stay up and go to bed at the local bed time here. I’m told it helps with jetlag. We’ll see.


Almost there.

We are now in London with an hour to go before our last flight to Amsterdam.

We just ate at a great place called Giraffe. It turns out the waiter is Polish, which we didn’t find out until Marzena was paying the bill and he asked after seeing here name. They chated for a bit in Polish and found out that he and wife are here for a while to save money. He said in Poland you make enough to get by, but not enough to save.

We are both really tired and can’t wait to get to the bed and breakfast. I’m pretty sure we will both be sleeping like the dead. I got about 30 minutes sleep. Also, I don’t think we will be taking British Airways again.

-Begin Rant
The folks and the food are very nice at ba, but the size is way too small. American Airlines had much more room. I truely felt like a sardine in a can. The other thing that really sucked was the entertainment system. One of the best parts of taking long international flight is that you get to see a couple of movies. I was trying to watch what was listed in the magazine as “Thank you for smoking” and turned out to be some funny movie about the faked alien autopsy. It wasn’t bad, but I was annoyed that I watched a movie I didn’t really want to. The reason I kept watching is because one of the characters in the movie was the same one that is in “Thank you for smoking”. By the time I realized that it really wasn’t the right movie, I figured it was too late to start another movie. Beyond that there was a really loud background clicking in the audio system and every once in a while the a really loud static that would be louder than all the movie audio. So, after I put with enough of that to get through the wrong movie, I listened to my audiobook on my iPod. I sounded so good after listening to total crap audio. I was not the ony one having the issue, I know that Marzena was. She tolorated it a bit better than I, plus she got lucky and got a movie that was not listed in the magazine that she wanted to see. “Kinky Boots”
-End Rant


Soooo Sleepy

We are in Vancouver now waiting for our flight here and I’m having a hard time staying awake. We have a four hour layover here. We are down to one hour before our 18:10 flight. Can’t wait to get on board and sleep. I think I’m running on five hours of sleep now after a long hard week. Marzena seems to be doing ok though.


And We are Off!

Marzena and I just got on the plane to Vancouver. Then it is off to London and then Amsterdam!

It been a crazy week trying to get everything done in time. We finally got everything moved off the first floor Thursday and Friday the crew ripped up all the old floors in a day!

Last night, we went to visit my grandpa Bruns in the hospital. We wanted to see him before we left, so we drive up at like 9 pm and got to see him. So much of the family was still there to visit I was amazed. It was good to see everyone and to see grandpa is his usual joking high spirts. He did look a little pale, overall pretty good. I thinks he is getting out today which is great!

After visiting, we spent most of the night finishing up packing and then the morning putting all the stuff on the counters away and tweaking the timer for the soakers hoses that will hopefully keep our garden alive. We are looking forward to having the hardwoods and tile work done when we get back. We are also replacing most of the doors are the first floor. For those of our friends that have not seen the place since we remodeled the kitchen, I think it will really look like a new house.

Anyway, I’ll stop my rambling on now, but we just wanted to say thank you to Marzena’s dad, Gerard, for coming this morning from Tacoma and giving us a ride to the airport and seeing us off.


T-minus 12 hours!

Really just testing the email post thing.
Sent via BlackBerry from Cingular Wireless


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