Part two of what is likely going to be my last major trip through Poland this year. Gdańsk was said to be founded in the same year (or close to) the creation of Poland in 966. Since that time it has passed hands many times and was even it’s own free state for a while. Grudziądz was mainly a military fortification where the famous Polish Calvary would have trained. It now resides in one of the poorer parts of Poland, but it’s amazing architecture still makes an impact on residents and travelers alike.
It’s been a busy few weeks that have been topped off with a trip up through the North of Poland. On today’s travel schedule we have: the port city of Gdynia; that old city, Gdańsk; and, finally, the unique architecture of Grudziądz. And, as with any good trip through Europe, there is a castle tour thrown in the middle. We spent some time visiting the ministries the Orr’s had been involved with over the years but had a little bit of time to site see along the way. It’s good to be back in Białystok again, and I figure I’ll probably remain here for a good long while.
On this day – November 11th 1918 – WWI ended. This day is celebrated as Independence Day in Poland because Poland was reconstituted with the fall of the Austro-Hungarian and Prussian Empires and the Russian Revolution. In Canada we celebrate this day as Remembrence Day to remember those that gave their lives during war. So, happy Independence Day Poland, and take a moment of silence to remember al those who died to defend freedom.
It was All Saints’ Day yesterday – a national holiday in Poland. Because Poland doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, this is the closest equivalent for many expats living in Poland. It’s nuzzled nicely in-between Canadian and American Thanksgiving and is a day off from school and work. Because of this, many people have their Thanksgiving meals during on this day instead. But, for Poles, All Saints’ Day is a day to get together with family to remember their departed loved ones and celebrate their lives.
As hinted at in my last post, on the last day of our trip to the Ukraine we were taken to Palanok Castle. I had to split the post because my poor little netbook could not handle all of the pictures I was trying to upload. Nonetheless, this castle sits in the center of Mukachevo atop a 68m high hill. Considering the area has belonged to a handful of different countries since the castle was completed in the 14th century, it is interesting to note that this castle was never taken by an invading force (that is, not in a fair fight at least).
Part II of my time with the group from Chilliwack: I was faced with a major decision whilst traveling to Krakow. As it turns out, the team had an extra spot on their overnight train to Lviv in the Ukraine and had offered to take me along. I had been raving all week about how I couldn’t join them in the Ukraine, so you’d think I would have immediately jumped at this opportunity. But this posed the possibility of an awkward transition from a leader to a follower. Nevertheless, I decided to head with the team to a part of the Ukraine which was actually a part of Poland during the inter-war period.
Well I’m finally back in Białystok now after over a month on the road. I left for the UK on September 13th, and I just arrived back on October 16th. Nothing unusual for me though; travel is a big part of my internship it seems. And, with that out of the way, I’d like to say goodbye to the short-term team from Chilliwak, BC. It was great having you here and spending time with you throughout our travels. I will definitely have to visit your Church someday.