Bialystok... where Fanny Poplawski came from

Trip Start Jun 03, 2010
Trip End May 28, 2011

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Where I stayed
Strange Campground

Flag of Poland  , Lake District,
Monday, June 21, 2010

June 19:

Driving towards Bialystok, we deliberately chose side roads in order to get a feel for this countryside from which my grandmother, Fanny Poplowski emigrated. We got our wish, as we drove through single track roads, some of which were rough cobblestone, through farmland and villages so remote that we got stares and double takes from the women in the villages, the farmers on their tractors, and the young people on their bicycles. Some of the houses were authentic 19th C logs built, with stone and thatch barns and outbuildings.

We began to notice stork nests in this region, and they have been a regular sight for the last 3 days now. Usually they are in built in a wire bowl atop a pole in a farmyard, a field, or even atop a town building. Obviously they are courted and invited by the folk. At first we only swas one or two birds per nest, but today most of the nests had the young poking themselves out, getting ready to try their wings. Another day or two and they may be gone.

We had a difficult time finding a campground this evening, as the one shown vaguely on our roadmap did not materialize. We finally asked at a hotel and she directed us to another town about 20 km the other side of Bialystok. When we found it, it has some peculiarities… it was a field behind a hotel and bar complex. For some reason the complex had a rope ringing right around its parking areas with pretend underwear hanging from it! Why? Who knows… we never did find out. Because it was Saturday night, there was a very loud band set-up in the bar. Hardly any patrons… just a loud amp. We expected a bad night, but slept well enough as they seemed to turn it down some… though 2 or 3 guys were still at it at 7 am the next morning. There was a ice little stroll around a stream and pond beside the complex.

June 20:

This was one of our famed serendipity days. We planned to look around Bialystok centre this morning, expecting a quite Sunday morning stroll. We did get there by about 9am, and as we strolled into the main square we noticed that a market was being set up. It turned out to be apparently a very special market day with over a hundred booths selling everything from breads and sausages, beer and soft drinks through wooden crafts and tools, paintings and religious icons. There were unofficial buskers with accordions and player organs, as well as a formal stage with folk music of all sorts coming and going. What luck to come across this!

While awaiting the opening of the market we strolled around the "centrum", particularly appreciating the old market hall, the churches, the huge medical university set in a grand manor right in the centre, and to Bill's delight, an outdoor auto show with displays of the newest European car models.
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