Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Dec 7th - Dec 22nd

It's been about two and a half weeks or so since the last entry and sadly not much has happened. Last week went as usual... Work, work, work. Busy, busy, busy. The weekend, however, was unexpectedly fun. Friday after work Luke and I went to O'Connell Street & Temple Bar to do the last of the Christmas shopping for our families and were pleasantly surprised to get a call from Sarah & Tom inviting us to meet them for a drink at Mojo's (That's the €3/pint joint on the north side of the Liffey). We picked up a few things and headed to meet them. Two drinks later we were all raring to continue the evening. It was early still at this point, about 7:30 and the pubs were packed with the after-work crowd. Luke took us to a pub/restaurant he had seen that looked like a good place but when we got there is was PACKED with office Christmas parties so we walked in, walked out and headed somewhere else. We happened upon a pub in the Grafton Street area called Stag's Head where we managed to find a table in the crowd. We sat down and ordered drinks. All of a sudden it was 12:30 and Tom was locked so we said our good-bye's and headed home.
Saturday I woke up with a sore throat and a nasty cough. No fun. Especially cause I had to go to work for an hour (Yes, on a Saturday, again). I got up, felt like s~*t, got on the DART for 35 minutes, bought myself some cough syrup and headache stuff and walked to the office where my boss was supposed to met me at 10:30. By 10:55 I was pretty ticked off as there was no sign of him. I called his mobile and he said he was on his way (Which was NOT true as I could hear toast popping in the background!). He arrived at 11:00 - he lives near the office - and proceeded to ask me to book him a hotel room. That was it. The man made me spend €3.40, wait half an hour for him to show up, and then all he did was have me book him a hotel room. Unreal. I won't EVER come in on a weekend again. What a joke.
Luke and I were supposed to go to Joyce & Paddy's for dinner and a sleep over but as I mentioned previously, I was sick, sick, sick. Instead I took the DART back home, put on my cozies and sat in front of the telly. Later in the afternoon Luke and I grabbed the backpack to go grocery shopping. I really didn't feel all that hot but it was a necessity and I figured that a little exercise would be good for me. We walked up to the grocery store, packed the bag full and more and then started walking home. On the way we noticed that there was black smoke coming from a building on the street we were walking down. Concerned, I went into the restaurant to calmly tell them 'Um, excuse me, I think the building is on fire'. And we were right. The fire trucks started to arrive as I left the restaurant. Apparently it was a chimney fire, nothing all that serious. No one was hurt.
Sunday Luke and I went to the Wool Shed to watch the Sens game on the big screen. The website said that the game was being broadcast at 2:00 but when we arrived there at 1:45, the end of the game was playing. We missed it! It was very disappointing as it is only the second time an Ottawa game has been broadcast since we got here. AND we had invited Sarah to watch the game with us as she has never seen a full hockey game. Disappointed, we ate our wings and salad, watched the overtime and then headed out to attempt to finish-finish our Christmas shopping. I was feeling a little better at this point so I was up for shoving my way through the throngs of people in the stores and on the streets - barely. Luke and I ended up buying him a great t-shirt but didn't end up finding anything else that we were looking for. We headed home and I put my cozies on again and while I wrapped the presents Luke took a walk with the camera, got some nice shots and hit the local pub for a pint of Guinness. When he got back a few hours later I was still relaxing after having wrapped the presents. Lazy of me, I know, but I really didn't feel up to much more than that.
This week has been good so far. Well, it's been pretty good for me as I have been feeling better but Luke is now sick so he's not thrilled. Last night the two of us went to see Stars at a club called The Village on Wexford Street. Great show. GREAT venue. Small club with a bar and a stage. Only a couple hundred people. Similar size to Zaphod's but with a better set-up. It was a grand gig. Afterwards we headed home, exhausted, had a cup of tea and hit the sack.
This morning there were major delays on the DART. Fortunately for me I just missed these delays but a few people here in my office weren't so lucky and had to wait an hour for it to come. The REALLY unfortunate thing is that apparently someone threw themselves in front of the train. Not a nice way for the other people at the station to start their day...... (Or for the poor bloke that died, of course).

Ok.... I know I've been slacking. Some other things have happened since this stuff (I started the blog and saved it as a draft and then forgot about it!) so Luke has put together a write up for you guys... It should get you up to speed. He also spend a few hours at the internet place last night putting all of the photos up - none of which I've seen so I'm just as excited as you. I haven't been taking many photos lately as Luke is enjoying himself. He often takes photos when I have no idea that he's doing it so I am surprised by them half the time. They'd better be good this time because they haven't gotten my approval! LOL.

**Some of the random pictures are just from my walk. I felt like going for a walk one day. Jess was still feeling sick, so she stayed in and I went out for a good 2-hour walk.
I took some pictures of pubs. They are really pretty here… maybe not in the pictures cause our camera sucks for night shots, but when you see it “live” they are very nice.**

I walked along the Grand Canal towards Georgian Dublin, which is actually 15 min from our flat. We live in a great location…we’ve got the sea, canal, docks, river, downtown, Temple Bar, Georgian Dublin all within a 20 min walk. Anyway…I walked along the Grand Canal taking pictures for the fun of it. The picture of the brick wall is actually a wall which goes around a block of apartments. Pretty darn nice apartments. You can’t really go onto the property - it’s guarded. There are also pictures of some pubs I walked by. It is honestly impossible to NOT walk by a pub in Dublin. I like the local pubs, the ones that I just stumble upon. Good pints (most of the time) quiet, filled with locals and good atmosphere.

Well, I walked and walked, until it started to rain a little so I decided I had gotten good exercise and enough fresh air walking for 2 hrs that I might as well have a Guinness. I downed a pint and headed home.

Friday I really wanted to find the old U2 “hangouts” and see the Christmas market in IFSC (near Sean and Aubrey’s house). Jess wasn’t feeling up to doing much, but since she dragged me around Europe for 3 months I figured I would drag her this time.
We started with the Christmas Market. Pretty weak actually, but Jess managed to get a good hot chocolate and I got a crepe with apples. We walked around it for about 20 minutes and then I wanted to find the U2 stuff. After walking and walking, we realized that the pub and the studio are no longer there. Everything on our side of the river, and right by the river is just booming. Apartments and offices – it’s nuts. The area where we live is going to be the place to live in couple of years. It’s becoming pretty posh. Therefore, all the land there is getting bought and rebuild. There was a pub on the way, so as you can guess we stopped for a pint. After that one, Jess got in the mood for another one (my plan worked). We walked towards downtown and stopped at a really packed pub (I had to pee). After that we went to a bar, which we always walk by, but had never gone into. They usually have live jazz there, but that night they had a DJ. We met a Polish girl who had arrived 2 weeks ago and we started talking and they decided that Jess would talk to her in English (she is learning, so Jess figured the more we talk in English the better for her) so we chatted and planned to stay in touch and have a nice Polish party after Christmas. She lives with 5 other Polaks. Then Jess met a guy, and he joined us. And that’s pretty much the rest of the night. Talking with new people. By the way, the Guinness at this place was crap!
On the way home, we stopped at our local “fast food” place. It’s a Chicken/Fish and Chips joint. It’s always busy with the locals. We had curry chips (fries) and went home. We have WAY too much fast food near our house. They just opened a Thai take out, which is above the Pizza place. Next door, a brand new Centra (7/11 type), across the street the Chicken/Fish and Chip place. We do eat well, and don’t often eat junk but what are you going to do at 2 am after being out on the piss. Cook? Or fast food it? I thought so…

Saturday we woke up and waited for Joyce to call us. We wanted to see Joyce and Paddy before Christmas. Joyce eventually called and invited us over for dinner that night. Paddy was the previous night for a work Christmas party and was in rough shape, but she wanted us to come over anyway. Well if you know Paddy, for that man to be in rough shape he must have really had fun. We really didn’t do much till then. We ate, cleaned the house and got ready. We got to their house around 4pm or so and started to make fun of Paddy as soon as we could. No way you can pass that up!
He was in rough shape. And what made it rougher for him was Joyce blowing the tire on her car pulling into the driveway. She went up the curb and the tire blew so Paddy had to go out and put on the spare. I was surprised he could even get off the couch.
We chatted for a bit, ate good homemade stew with mashed potatoes (I had 2 helpings - even Jess was shocked) then Sarah Jane popped in (she was off to a party) and dropped of Lorna. We all watched the X Factor (Canadian Idol type show, just British). Had some pints with Paddy…yes the man felt better after the stew and had a pint. He is a machine…from the future.
Then they drove us home…all the way to Dublin.

Guinness Brewery.
Sunday (Dec 18th) Jess and I went to the Woolshed to watch the Ottawa vs. Toronto game. Once again, Leafs sucked…hard! I think it’s time Jay and Cory switch teams. (Just bugging guys. Ottawa Toronto games are just not the same with out the LeBlanc household). So Toronto lost 8-2 and I was happy. I was also happy cause Tom and Sarah met us for the game. They had never seen a hockey game and this was a good one. Lots of goals, me yelling, fights (in the game, not me this time). Good experience for them.

After that we had planned on going to the Guinness Brewery, or Church, as I would like to start calling it. It was Sunday after all.
We got to the Brewery at about 3 pm (It took us a while to find the main entrance. It’s actually hidden in the back). We paid the 14€ which includes a pint (but we noticed when we were leaving we really didn’t have to pay, you can just walk right in if you are slick), but we paid and walked around. It was pretty neat…actually it bored the hell out of me. I wanted to see the actually see the beer being made. The workers, the smell, the heat…but I got nothing. It was more like a museum and I am sick of museums. So I was pretty annoyed and couldn’t wait to actually have a Guinness from the factory.
The whole Guinness Storehouse (as it is actually called) is shaped like a giant pint glass. It is all glass and, well, it looks like a pint glass. There are 7 floors. On the 7th floor there is the bar which is all glass and round and overlooks Dublin. Good thing about Dublin is that there are not very many tall buildings so you can actually see a lot from 7 floors up!
We had our free pints and somehow managed to get another pint. When we left the Brewery it was raining hard, and well, I still refuse to get an umbrella, and Jess didn’t have hers so she got Sarah’s old and half broken one, and Tom and Sarah shared another one. I took it like a man and just got soaked. But at least it’s not minus 20 so the rain really does not bother me! On the way back towards downtown we stopped at a pub we noticed on the way to the Brewery. It is the oldest pub in Dublin…that’s pretty old; I think it was about 810 years old. It’s really nice inside and outside.
We had a few pints and went our separate ways.

On the way home we decided it was too late to cook dinner and really we didn’t feel like it. Jess wanted to try this new Thai place next to our house. So 45€ later we had Thai and I finally got Duck! Good food, for take away. And that completed Sunday night.

Now it is Thursday the 22nd.
I spent yesterday after work at the Internet café uploading photos while Jess was at her Christmas party. And around 8pm I went to meet Aubrey, her sister and Sean showed up eventually, at Café en Seine. It’s a pretty fancy bar with a dress code. But did anyone bother telling me there was a dress code? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! So I get there, and they guy wouldn’t let me in cause I had running shoes on. I was ready to snap. But I figured I could talk my way in…and I did. After about 10 minutes the guy let me in. I told him I was from out of town (the “American” accent helps) and I was meeting people for a Christmas party, and no one told meabout the dress code.
Once I got inside I was blown away. The bars/pubs here are incredible. Especially the ones which look small but once you walk in, it’s like 4 floors or something like that. This one was very classy, more like a fancy hotel bar. Anyway, we had some drinks; Sean was loaded (he’s been having to take clients out for lunch for the last 3 days and all the clients just drink and drink…and, well, deals get made) so Sean was well in the bag by the time he got there. (Or as Aubrey would say he was well in and out the other end of the bag).
Jess finally showed up at about 10:30 pm, and we stayed there till about 11:30 pm. Good time, good, really good Guinness.

So Thursday it is. I am at work typing this. Tonight is my Christmas party. And thank God we only work from 8-11 tomorrow. I have a feeling it might be a late one. And then it’s Friday and Saturday we FLY HOME!
So see some of you in couple of days!
Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays. Health and Wealth!
Thanks for reading this for the last 6 months.

P.S. - Dad I hurt my back…I can’t do any snow shovelling. Ha-ha.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

December 6, 2005

Well, you had a chance to read about Luke's weekend in Poland (Our first time being apart since, well, a heck of a long time....). I was left alone in our lonely apartment for a lonely weekend. Actually, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I came home on Friday night and took it easy watching t.v. and eating take-out because I had to work the following day (Yes, I had to go into work on a Saturday!). I figured I might as well go to bed early so that I would get up early enough to eat and have a cup of coffee before grabbing the DART to work. Work went fine.... I was only supposed to be there for an hour but was there for a couple but that's fine because I didn't have to stay all day like a couple of other people did..... After work I headed back into Dublin where I went grocery shopping, went back to the flat, ate lunch, and then I hit the shopping district. I bought myself some VERY nice things. After shopping I went home, relaxed, ate, and then left to meet Sarah for a drink and a movie (Don't bother seeing In Her Shoes if you were thinking about it.... it sucks). We bought our tickets - here you have to choose where you want to sit and you are given a row and seat #. Very strange. Then we went down the street for a Guinness. Stayed out until about 1:30 and then headed home. Sunday I quickly cleaned up before Luke came. For those of you that know me well, you know that I'm a very messy person when I am on my own. The only reason I pick up after myself is because if I don't I drive Luke crazy! I slept in until about noon so I couldn't meet Luke at the airport like planned. As I mentioned, I tidied up and waited for his return.
When Luke got home I immediately tore open my suitcase and had a dig through. There was so much stuff I had forgotten about. It was like Christmas!

It is now December 6th.... a week and a half have gone by since Luke went to Poland. Last week we did the same old shit.... work, dinner, pub every now and then. Pretty regular.

This past weekend was fun. Luke and I stayed in on Friday night and watched movies and then Saturday we did some grocery shopping, bought a COFFEE MAKER and a TOASTER yay!. That night we met Sean and Aubrey (and Aubrey's brother and sisters) at The Duke off of Grafton Street where we had a couple of pints before we were due to go down to Solace on Wexford Street where a guy Luke knows was DJing. While smoking outside Luke met 2 couples and befriended them. We ended up sitting with them for a pint and then they decided to come with us to Solace to continue the night. We all walked over there and ended up having a ball. Great bunch they were. Luke and I walked home from there (a little over half an hour) and hit the sack as by this time it was about 2:30am. Sunday was rough for Luke... wee bit of a hangover. Who am I kidding... horrible hangover. He lazed around in bed and I watched t.v., tidied and made a big batch of chili. Overall it was a fun, relaxing weekend.

Last week Luke bid in a silent auction for 2 tickets to see the Russian State Ballet perform Swan Lake and...... HE GOT THEM! They are 2 €75 (€150 total) tickets (best seats) and he got them for €25 (€50 total). We are very excited and can't wait until next Thursday!

Yesterday he got tickets to see Stars (a band that both Luke and I like) at a club here in Dublin next Tuesday and we also got.... DIGITAL CABLE. No more fuzzy channels. Finally.

This weekend the plan is to do some more Christmas shopping (We're a little over half done) and a big badass load of groceries as well as pick up some other little things.... hangers, laundry basket, etc, etc.... the stuff we're starting to realize we need to keep ourselves tidy and organized.

I'm looking into joining a gym here. Apparently there is one in our neighborhood. I've convinced Luke to join with me so that we can GET INTO SHAPE before we wake up one day and realize that we're old and fat. I'll let you know how that goes.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

November 25-27, 2005 - Luke's trip to Poland

Hello folks, Luke here. Here goes my 1st attempt at the blog!

Last week, was pretty much just another week. Worked, hit the pub for a Guinness and watched T.V.

MY workweek was short due to the fact I was flying to Poland on Friday (25th). I went to visit the family and get our winter coats and other clothes we left there (we left 3 suitcases of clothes at my grandparents at the beginning of the trip).
It is really nice to be able to go to Poland for the weekend, never in my life did I think I would be so close and that it would be so cheap. The flight both ways cost me €70 and with taxes (taxes on flights are crazy) it came out to €120, but over all still cheap!
This was also the 1st weekend Jess and I spent apart in at last 6months. (FREEDOM!!!) Just kidding Honey.

My flight was at 7:30am so I got up at 4:30am, I ordered a cab for 5:30am and was at the airport by 6:00am. I didn’t have any bags there was no check in just straight to the gate. The flight was delayed leaving Dublin due to the ½ inch of wet and melting snow that fell the night before…pretty amusing. Planes in Canada take off and land all winter but they get a little snow here and it gives them problems. Anyway…I got to Poland at 11:40am their time (Ireland is 1hr back) and Tarja (my cousin from Amsterdam) was waiting there for me with Marcin (my other cousin). Tarja decided to come last minute since she can’t make it to Poland for the holidays.
As we were landing I took some pictures (attached) I couldn’t believe how much snow they had and how grey and depressing Warszawa looked.

Tarja arrived in Warszawa at 9:30am and we decided she would just wait at the airport for me, rather then having Marcin make 2 trips. It’s about a 20min ride from the airport to my grandparents but Marcin makes it in 10. Polish drivers are NUTS!
Once we got to my grandparents it was time for lunch, but the Polish don’t really do lunch. They do 2 dinners. So there was dill soup, really good roast beef, pyzy (dumplings), salad and breaded fish for Tarja (she doesn’t eat meat). All home made, all REALLY TASTY. After we ate I needed to do some shopping since 1 € is 4 Zloty, I figured might as well since its so cheap. Marcin drove us to Arcadia, one of the biggest shopping malls in Europe, and we bummed around for about an hour or so. I bought a carton of smokes (€17 as apposed to here €75), bought myself the new Eric Clapton CD I had been waiting to hear since August…it sucks! Thank God he can still play guitar. Bought some Polish movies, deodorant and bought Jess a Pashmina scarf.

We made plans earlier to go out with Marcin later that night, and Tarja was pretty tired (so was I actually) so we decided to head back to the house and nap. Once we got back my Aunt Joasia was there (just like always, when ever I am in Poland she comes to see me) and we obviously had to eat again since it had been 2 hrs since our last meal. We chatted with my Aunt (well I translated) for a bit and once she left Tarja went for a nap and I decided to suck it up and stay up and just talk to my grandparents. I cracked open a Zywiec (best Polish beer) and sat for a bout 2 hrs just chatting away. It was nice. Around 7:00pm I woke Tarja up and we slowly made our way to Marcin’s parents house, where Rafal (my other cousin) was going to meet us with his wife. Well, Rafal got sick and lives about 30min out of the city so he didn’t come. We chatted and sat around at my Aunt and Uncle’s place till about 11:30pm and finally decided to go out for at least one pint. We drove around for a bit, near the older, nicer part of Warszawa looking for a place. Most were either packed or we were underdressed for, so we decided to just go to a Pub/Restaurant type place. We went to Ufiszera, where Jess and I went last time we were there. It was pretty empty so seating wasn’t a problem. I can’t drink normal beer anymore (lager) I get headaches, pretty odd. I noticed they had Guinness and Kilkenny, but how good can a Guinness be compared to Ireland? Marcin said that I would be better off with Kilkenny, so I got that. And what does Marcin do, he orders a Guinness. Tarja ordered a big Pilsner and was shocked by the size of it. We forgot to tell her that Poland is not like Amsterdam with their tiny beers. She ended up getting a litre and once she got half way through it, she said wow that’s good; I’ll have another one.
I eventually tried Marcin’s Guinness and WOW it was good. Ireland style, no joke! So I ordered one. By the way, in that place you get Guinness in 330ml, 500ml or 1ltr.
After a pint we all got hungry so Dagmara (Marcin’s wife) ordered bread with smalec (smalec is lard, yes lard) and its sooooooooo good.
We left the pub around 2am or so and Tarja and I took a cab back to my grandparents.

We woke up at 8am on Saturday, giving us enough time to eat a breakfast, have a coffee and smoke, shower and meet Marcin and Dagmara downtown. Before coming to Poland, Marcin sent me an email saying how he was driving by “our” (family) house last month and noticed that the original plaque with the address and our great grandfathers name was still there. We decided that really that belongs to us and we want it, so I said once I get to Poland we should go there and take it.

Little background on the house (pictures attached): It is in a small town (it became a town in the last 5 yrs maybe - it used to be a village) called Lochow. It was build by our great grandfather (Andrzej Kubis) pre WWII. My grandmother and her siblings were born there, my uncle (Tarja’s dad) was born there and the whole family used to go up there every summer for 2 months. As soon as school would end the next day Marcin, Rafal, Wojtek and I would be up there with our parents, just the same as our parents went up there with their parents. So lots of years and years of family fun and history in that house. We would have the best time there, walking around the forest, playing war games, playing Robin Hood, swimming in Liwiec (the creek) doing what kids do. The whole property is pretty big, there is the main 3-bedroom house with a kitchen, and across the yard there is the outhouse, chicken coop, storage, and summer kitchen. There were 2 smaller gardens (veggies and fruit) in the yard, and the yard in the front of the house had apple trees, cherry trees and other fruit plants. I haven’t seen that house in about 18-20 years give or take. I don’t even remember the last time I was there, but I do have fond memories of being there. After our great grandmother died in 1991 the house got sold for peanuts and the guy who bought it didn’t do anything to it, and recently he just sold it to someone else and the new owner hasn’t done much except put a new gate in the front, covered the well, cut some apple and cherry trees down, and lets his son use it as a party place, so there are beer cans all over the yard. Over all the house is slowly falling apart, but man it must have been built really well if its been standing for the last 65 years or so. And its all made from wood. Good job great grandpa!

Growing up in that house we heard lots of stories and on the drive there Marcin and I started to reminisce. (I am sure my mom knows more and could correct me on some details).
We remembered the house being haunted…haha who believes in that? We remembered that great grandpa used to hide couple of Jews in the cellar passage (as I call it) it was a tunnel which originally went from the main house kitchen across the yard. We remembered something about a German soldier being buried by great grand pa in front of the yard…true or just over exaggerated tales that get different over the generations? Well if the house wasn’t haunted why would the whole village help my family lift the house with wooden planks and move it back 20 feet? Probably because once they moved the house and started to dig down, they found that the house was built on an old cemetery form WWI. I checked with grandma and she told me more examples of why it was haunted. So that one is true.
Buried German soldier, well a buried German yes, soldier we are not sure about!
The tunnel I know is true cause I used to hide in it when we played hide and seek. But I think it was eventually filled because I never remember going across the yard.
So as you can see, to me, being older now, that house and the memories are special.

Ok so the drive to Lochow was about an hour. We hit the cemetery first (picture attached). We couldn’t remember where the grave was, but we remembered it was “designed” by great grand pa, and well it’s the biggest and tallest in the whole cemetery haha. So we found it easily! Our great grand parents are buried there along with our great great grandmother and great uncle (who was murdered/robbed on the way to Lochow from the army. He was stabbed 17 times in the back of the head and thrown on the train). So it is a big grave. We cleaned up a little and left.
Next we made a stop at Liwiec, the creek we used to swim in (pictures attached).
Finally we made our way to the house. As we were driving up Marcin said he had trouble recognizing it last month when he was there, and bet me I wouldn’t find it. YA OK! I found it just fine. It looks exactly the same only the new gate in the front throws you off. Same paint, same everything.

We got out and took pictures, walked around it etc. We figured we would 1st knock on the house and see if maybe the owner was there and ask him for the plaque. As we were about to do that the next-door neighbour, still living there recognized us and told us no one was there, and barely any one comes here anyway. It was nice to see him and he asked if we would stick around for a bit so he could call his wife and daughter and tell them to come home as they would be happy to see us too. So we decided to leave the plaque for now and take a walk in the forest and we’d be back in half hour.

We took a walk in the forest, so many memories of playing there came back. Mind you this was the 1st time I was in that forest at minus 5 and snowing. As cold and wet as it was the fresh air, the pine smell, the peacefulness was great. I could see that Marcin missed it too. And seeing the house and being in the forest where her dad grew up I noticed it was pretty emotional for Tarja as well.

Marcin and I always take the piss out of Dagmara cause she is from a small village, born and raised. She came to Warszawa for school. So we always say we know better cause we’re from the city, we’re not village people. Its pretty funny actually. But being in the forest and talking she said “all you guys are is just city boys with a village persons heart and soul”. In return I said, “deep down inside we are village people, but we are educated village people from the city”. That got her going again…haha.

We were brought up there, milking cows, picking mushrooms, blueberries for pies, collecting wood/charcoal for fires, drinking well water, taking care of the chickens, etc so we are village people at heart.

After freezing our arses off we decide to head back. As we were walking back the neighbour (Aunt Wanda as we called her), was waiting at the gate. Hugs all around. She invited us in for a cup of tea to warm up, which sounded good and plus you can’t say no. So a Polish person that hasn’t seen you in years inviting you for a cup of tea is really a meal! We had some good smoked bacon with home made dill pickles, pate and other cold cuts and fresh bread. I ate the whole thing of pate. Damn it was good. Since Tarja doesn’t eat meat, she ate the pickles…it must suck being a vegetarian in Poland. Anyway, it was really nice to sit there and catch up and reminisce some more. She remembers us as little kids, so it was funny to hear some stories. As we were finishing our tea we mentioned the plaque dilemma to her. She agreed its ours and we should have it. So since she is the only original neighbour still living on that street (more like a foot path) she authorized us to take it down. That was good enough for me! She said the guy who owns the house wouldn’t mind any way and he won’t even notice that’s its missing. So her husband gave us a ladder and a hammer and I went at it. We hopped the fence (Marcin ripped his pants in the process on a old nail, city boy!) And by the time he was over the fence I was already was on the other side with the climbing the latter. The plaque was on hanging on there with 2 nails, but man was it ever hanging on. Took me about 5 minutes to get it off. I had to be careful too, cause if I pulled the nail sideways the wood started to chip and I didn’t want the roof or something to fall down…that would go over really well. But I got it!
We climbed back over and thanked them for the ladder. They invited us back in the summer, which I think we all want to do! Aunt Wanda said if we come we can pick some blueberries and she would make us those delicious blueberry pastries she used to. Great people, always like family. So hugs goodbye and we told him if he sees the owner to ask him what the selling price is. I would love to buy it, especially before the Euro comes in. It would be nice to have it to go back to in the summers. Needs lots of work, but even camping (like we used to) would be great. Well it’s a thought.

When we got back to Warszawa we were exhausted but my Godmother was there waiting for me so we chatted and yes, ate again. After that (about 2 hrs later) Tarja and I got on the 5:00pm bus and headed to my other grandparents house. We were going to go for about 2 hours but we ended up staying until around 11pm. Fun as always, couple of shots of Vodka with grandpa, more food, just nice to see everyone again. Tarja got drunk on the Vodka and she had a rough morning and flight the next day. I was up the next day to figure out how to pack, there were the 3 suitcases already and now I had to fit gifts and food with me. Oh ya remember how I was going to Poland to pick up our winter coats well they were not there, we thought we packed them and left them at my grandparents but looks like we left them in Canada. Haha. Oh well its not that cold here. So I packed sausages, candy, cookies, cabbage rolls for Jess, meat…I packed what I could. Marcin’s dad drove me to the airport and later he would drive Tarja. Her flight left at 4:00pm mine left at 12:20pm.
The flight back to Dublin was quick. We arrived 40 minutes ahead of schedule, and I took a cab home. It was good to be home. No grey skies, no snow, on the plus side, sunshine, and Jess waiting.
Good trip and pretty emotional at times. Jess and I are planning to go there in the New Year as well.

Here as some cool/historical sites about my home town. Enjoy!

Warszawa Website - Po Polsku - In English

Warszawa in 2020 (That city is going to be great!)

Recently (August) we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Warszawa Uprising.

Historical Sites of Jewish Warszawa - Po Polsku - In English