Tuesday, 31 July 2007

the Pyrenees

I don´t have much time but i´ll try to write as much as I can - we´re finally in Spain, in San Sebastian! From Friday on we´ve been incredibly lucky - life´s not that bad after all ;)

On Friday we managed to get to Carcassonne, where we met an extraodinary girl - Marianne, who took care of us, hosted us in her flat and even took us to the melon festival nearby. We had really great time talking to her and her friends and looking at her crazy cat :)) We could relax for a while and feel like at home...

On Monday we left and were also really lucky - first one French guy took us to Palmier, showing us Mirepoix on the way (a marvellous place), then a Portugeese woman took us to Foix (she was also nice but we couldn´t understand a word she was saying). In Foix we wandered around a bit and 5 minutes after we got to the road, an English couple stopped - so we could relax a bit speaking English, though I started to like trying to say something in French...

Anyway, "those mad British people" took us all the way to Oloron in the mountains, where after driving for some time through some roads in the middle of nowhere, they found some accommodation for them and a nice spot for our tent :))) so we had a great night in the garden of a really nice French family, who owned the house and we even got some cake :))

In the morning they took us all the way to Pamplona, where we could walk for around 2 hours and then to San Sebastian. And here we are now, w´ve already had a bath in the sea and now we´ll go for some sightseeing :))) tomorrow we´ll try to get somewhere more South, we´ve already bought a sunscreen factor 50 :))

Thursday, 26 July 2007

What is money for?

So here we are in Aix en Provence again after one day, a good example that traveling without money is possible... but very very hard.

I will start from where I finished last time - that is Bologne - we got there, the city was beautiful but extremely hot and at night full of drug addicts and dealers. In the evening we watched a French film on the main square and... took a train to Genova, as we didn t have any place to stay. A bit tired but happy of seeing another great place we spent 10 hours visiting the city and - again didn t know where to stay. We found a camping place near Genova, it was suppossed to be cheap but turned out to be at least twice more expensive then it should be :) But we were too tired to pick and choose so we stayed there and the next day tried to get out of the place and get on a highway. It ended up with walking for 15 km (but along a beautiful coast!) and taking a train to Ventimiglia close to the border. There we had some sleep at the station and hitchhiked to France. We were picked up by a really nice driver who took us all the way to Aix en Provence (so we skipped Nice which was in our plan). Here - tired again - we stayed two days in a camping place - a very nice place, from where we could take trips following Cezanne s steps. But everything was quite expensive for us, so we decided not to go anywhere where we don t know anybody from HC. So you can imagine how happy we were when we got an e-mail from a guy from Marseille saying that he would host us, and how dissappointed when already on the bus (hitchhiking for 3 hours didn t work) we got to know that he had to leave...

So we spent the whole day and night sightseeing (we met a nice Polish family from Canada who accompanied us for some time) and in the morning we started hitchhiking - without much effect. We took some breaks; changed places, but in the end at 8 p.m. we got a lift to Aix en Provence.........

So here we are, without any accommodation, spending some time in an internet cafe...
And we ve been trying for years to convince everybody that you dont need to work hard to have some holidays and you can have it almost for free... yeah, yeah... dont listen to us anymore!

Friday, 20 July 2007

great days in Italy :)))

Tuesday was a marvellous day! In the morning we went to the castle hill in Ljubljana and saw the mountains. Then we found a very nice place to hitchhike (really!) and won competition with another couple also trying to get a lift to the seaside. We were really really lucky, cause our driver was an extremely nice Italian guy and first he agreed to take us to Trieste and later he suggested that we would go there for an hour and see the city and then he would take us all the way to our next stop - Padova. It was great and we were there in the afternoon. Unfortunately we had lost our address book before, so it took us lot of time to find an internet cafe and log to HC to find the phone number of the guy, who we were suppossed to meet here. But finally we've managed and even though he wasn't in Padova at the moment, he contacted us with his flatmates, who took care of us and took us to drink Spritz by the river;) They were all very interesting and nice (also Nicolas, who came back the next day), so we talked for a long time, also on Wendesday and today - I don't know if all Italians are like this, but I hope so...:))

This trip is really funny - everytime we go somewhere, we think it's one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen, untill we go to the next, even more amazing place. Padova is certainly one of the most breathtaking places in Europe. The huge square and the Basilica of Saint Antonio are really special. When we saw them, we were standing with our mouths open and couldn't believe our eyes! This place is really something extraordinary.

We've also seen a realy funny tradition of dressing up and getting drunk in public in the day of graduation :) but I don't know if i would like to go through it myself...;)

So now we're still in Padova, but in the meantime we have already seen Venice (!!). There's quite a cheap train, which goes there so we have made a one day trip and of course, we were also amazed by what we've seen. but probably I don't have to explain that - Venice is Venice, as we've heard several times, and now it's really time to go to sleep, cause tomorrow we're going to Bologna!!!!

Ah! I forgot to write, that on Tuesday I got to know, that I was granted a scholarship for 4-months studies in Copenhagen :) Hip hip hurray!


monday morning started very early for us, as we didn't really go to sleep :) I had a short nap in the park and Piotrek closed his eyes for ten minutes in the bus to the outskirts of Zagreb. I had checked the place to hitchhike before - I knew exactly were to get out (Lucko) and where to go (gas station), but I didn't remember the way and even with instructions written down it took us at least an hour of walking around through bushes and trying to find the place :(

When we got to the place we bought some cola and pineapple juice (it's actually very strange, cause we never drink it in Poland and now we do it almost every day!) and decided to ask some people if they're going to Ljubljana. And we were amazed, cause the first guy we asked said yes! He was an elderly man, who called himself a Yugoslavian living in Germany and he could speak Serbo-Croatian (I don't know if it's still politically correct to call it one language, but these were his words) some German, a bit of English and a couple of words in Polish). we were talking all the way (though it wasn't a really interesting discussion) and we were using all those languages sometimes all in one sentence :))) Anyway, he took us to the outskirts of Ljubljana, were a very nice lady told us how to get to the centre and even gave us the tickets (they look like little coins).

Ljubljana is also great! Another beautiful city, though much smaller then Zagreb, I think. We left our luggage in the hostel, took a shower and went to the city to see a girl from Hospitality Club, who contacted us before. She showed us the city and we were talking till night, I still don't know how we've managed to do this after not sleeping for soo long... Probably it was beause of the interesting conversation. So after all everything was great, we just wished it wouldn't be so hot...

Monday, 16 July 2007

Szombathely - Zagreb

Well, quite a lot of things happened lately but we just didn't have time to write about them. Szombathely was actually not that small as we suppossed it would be - we were not really in the centre yet when I was writing the last post ;) When we finally got there, we were very positively suprised, cause the city looks really pretty and it has a lot of interesting places to visit - for example an old cementary where the graves are all in ivy.

After some hours of sightseeing we met our host - Beata and we realised that we had met her in France exactly two years earlier! We had really great time talking with her and her other 3 guests - a girl from Germany, who spoke Polish incredibly well and a Polish-British couple, who came on Saturday with their dog. It was so nice, that we've decided to postpone our traveling to Zagreb, so that we could spend more time with them. We chilled-out for the whole Saturday, went to the lake and a village museum and finally drank some beer. It's difficult to say if this was a good decission, cause we had quite a lot of problems due to it later...

When we left Beata's place on Sunday morning we went straight to the road and after less then half an hour we got a ride to Kormend. People who took us were really nice, though we didn't really understand each other... The next person was a nice lady who took us about 10 km, unfortunately we left our marker somewhere on the road hurrying to get into her car. Then we waited for some time and a family stopped and took us closer to the border. All the time I had to practise my very poor German, but I think it's time to start learning some Hungarian... It's quite a shame not to be able to say even "thank you" when you hitchhike through a country. The only Hungarian words I managed to learn where words such us "cheers!", "truck" and "for sale" :))) Plus some names of fruit, which are actually amazingly similar to the Polish ones...

Anyway, the sun was shining as crazy, we started to get sun-burnt and tired. But that was just the beginning, cause in the next place we waited for more than an hour. The motorway from Hungary to Slovenia and Croatia was almost empty, the few cars that were going this way were full packed for the holidays... We were really loosing our hope, we didn't know if we should start to walk to the border (10km!). And there was no sign of shade anywhere... Finally somebody took us to the gas station near the border, where we could at least drink something and use the toilet. But all the trucks that were there couldn't move till 10 p.m. (Sunday!) so we waited another 3 hours...

At last we decided to walk and we crossed the first border, then several kilometers of Slovenia and with a little help of one local driver, we finally got to the Croatian border. There we also waited some time, but fortunaltely (yes, yes, yes!) a girl took us to Zagreb! We were so happy in the end but the whole day was really awful... we started hitchhiking at 10 a.m. and got to Zagreb at 10 p.m. And it was less then 200 km!!!

But Zagreb is really beautiful! When we saw the first buildings, we decided to see some more and instead of looking for accomodation, we left our luggage in the lockers and went sightseeing. It's such an amazing place even (or maybe especially) at night when it's almost completely empty. We've even decided to look for Ph.D. studies here :))))

Friday, 13 July 2007

Bratislava and Szombathely

So finally we got to Bratislava (it wasn't that easy - it was raining and after an hour we've decided to go back to the bus station... But it wasn't bad, cause buses in Czech Republic are cheap and after two hours we were in Bratislava. The city is still beautiful :) We had been here two times before and we still don't have enough of it. We stayed at a camping place in Zlate Pieski, but the weather wasn't good enough to take a bath :(( The good thing is that there's quite a lot to see in Bratislava even in the rain, and we saw some interesting exhibitions, drank home made beer in Slovak pub and finally went to a folk concert, which took place in an open-air library (I wish we had one like this where I live!).

So, today we woke up very early (for us) and took a bus to a little town or village South of Bratislava, where we waited less than half an hour for a very nice woman to stop. I don't know if she was Slovak or Hungarian, couse she spoke both languages, quite a lot of people in this region do it...Even the radio was Slovakian all the way to Gyor :) Our driver was so nice that she took us to the road going to Csorna. We got to this place with another driver and shortly afterwords we where in Szombathely. The two last drivers didn't speak any other language than Hungarian, but still we managed to exchange a couple of sentences ;))

Now we're in Szombathely somewhere in the centre I guess, cthe place looks a bit small but nice. We're sitting in an internet cafe, that we;ve found after some efforts and after a little bit of sightseeing we're going to meet our host, Beata.

Tomorrow we'll probably get going, still don't know if we should go to Zagreb or directly to Ljubljana...We'll see :)))

Wednesday, 11 July 2007


Our trip to Brno didn't start very well, cause when we woke up on Monday after the night with a concert, exhibition and some Kirgiz theatre (Brave Festival), we really didn't feel like going anywhere. Fighthing with ourselves and the rain, we went to the road going South and luckily after half an hour a car stopped :) The driver was a Hungarian, but he spoke Czech and a bit of Polish, so we could communicate without any problems and the four hours we spent with him were really nice (Piotrek even felt so good, that he fell asleep :))). The driver took us all the way to Vyskov, very close to Brno and after waiting a while and drinking coffee at a gas station, we got a lift to Brno - the driver was really kind to take us to the centre, even though he was going to Vienna and just passing Brno.

Anyway, Brno is a really beautiful place! Smaller than Prague of course and very calm at this time of the year, but there are a lot of things to see. We went sightseeing, then relaxed in a park and in the evening we met our host from HC - Monika, an incredibly nice and helpful person, full of energy and good humour - who took us home together with to French guys, who were staying there. We were talking for several hours, it was really great!

On Tuesday Monika took a day of work and showed us the city, we've visited the castle and a very good vegetarian bar (yummy!). Then we went to a museum and later Monika took us to a medieval pub were we tasted some delicious honey wine (medovnica, I think). It was a great evening, we went also to a pub were everybody, including the bartender, was smoking grass :)

Today we'll visit some museums and go to Bratislava :)

Sunday, 8 July 2007

What a beautiful day :)

That was a beautiful day! First we went to the New Agora symposium and listened to an interesting discussion, then we've heard and seen Bourderland Fundation's plans of creating International Dialogue Center in Krasnogruda - I hope they'll succeed!

In the evening we went to the Brave Festival. The aim of this year's edition is to show "drowned songs," the traditional music and art of cultures at the edge of marginalisation and "drowning" in the so called progress. The profit from the festival will be used for projects, which support traditional cultures, for example for education of Tibetan orphans (let's hope it will be in the spirit of pedagogy of place).

The festival's programme is so impresive, that it'll be a pity to leave Wrocław... We were lucky to take part in athe concert of Alim Qasimov and Fargana Movlamova, mougam singers from Azerbaijan - really extraordinary! Today we're going there again - I can't wait!!!

Saturday, 7 July 2007


When we were leaving Ustka it was so cold and rainy that we burdened our bags with some useless warm cloths. On our way to Wroclaw, nobody disturbed us in our train compartment - who travels back from the seaside at the beginning of the season?

Unfortunately we overslept the first part of the day. We didn't manage to come to the morning session of The International Symposium New Agora, where the star of the day was probably Zygmunt Bauman. And the topic of the day was "Religion versus civil society: The role and place of religion". The afternoon part of the session was good enough. Unfortunately, even though the participants spoke the same language, they didn't seem to understand each other. At the end some people were confused because a distinction between "church" and "religion" was blurred too often. Others were shocked that religion was too easily employed by speakers as a tool to build civil society. As a result, they had to remind each other why the state and the church had been separated.

We will come there tomorrow again :)

Besides, Wroclaw is charming as usually. When you stroll with somebody here, it is very easy to start kissing :*