On the Road Again

Trip Start Jun 16, 2010
Trip End Aug 18, 2010

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Flag of Poland  , Opole Voivodeship,
Sunday, July 25, 2010

On the road again! La, la, la, la la, on the road again!

Getting up at 7 a.m. was a nightmare but I made it up by sleeping on the train. Artur drove us to Poznań and got us safely settled in the coupé. Foreseeing a problem, I bought tickets in 1st class. Sure enough, soon after departure, train assistants came by looking for seats for some school-age children who were going to a summer camp and the organizers did not reserve enough spaces. Vanya and I both slept for two hours and the last one we spent eating goodies Babcia Helenka gave us for the road. God bless her!

In Opole, we had no choice but to wait and hour and a half for the next bus to Głubczyce. On Sundays there are fewer rides and taxi drivers charge double. So a 60 km trip would cost us $100 in a comfortable Mercedes or $8 and the wait for the bus. We chose the latter. The city seemed empty with the exception of a couple of people who like we decided to support public transportation. Long 90 minutes on the bench and then a bumpy 100 minutes to Głubczyce.

On our way I could see the damage done by recent floods. Many stalks of corn knee high in water and fields of wheat defeated and submerged. I feel for the farmers whose harvest will be severely diminished this year. The government's budget is already strained after the floods around the country, and yesterday another village in the south lost 52 houses when the ground was washed out from underneath them.

My Goddaughter Małgosia waited for us at the bus stop and helped us drag the luggage through town, while we turned heads of all the passers-by on their Sunday strolls. My mother, Babcia Halinka, had a hot dinner ready and after we recuperated for a bit, we set out for the cemetery.

July 25th will always be my least favorite day of the year, day nr 206. On that day, 28 years ago, my father passed away, taking with him a large piece of my heart. In Polish tradition, graves of the loved ones become an extension of them and therefore are or should be well tended all year round. In small communities it is expected that the graves will be visited on weekly basis, decorated with fresh flowers, and lit with many votive candles. That, paired with the creativity of the tombstone craftsmen makes cemeteries my favorite places to visit when I need the right atmosphere for reflection and solitude. I like the fact that in the same place rest my grandparents and my great-grandparents, because as said by a character in a comedy "Sami Swoi," “Our bones shouldn’t look for each other around the world.”

We were all tired after the excursion but everyone wanted to watch the Festival of Russian Song. I remember excitedly watching the Festival of Soviet Song in my childhood though the political aspect of it annoyed many people. I’m glad that we have gotten to the point of appreciating the language and the music instead of punishing common people for former political systems. Vanya had a chance to discover young Russian musicians and see that they perform songs in a variety of modern styles. Inspired by them, he gave us a concert form the bathtub.

Rain came again… The sound of pattering on the window was a perfect lullaby.

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