Well, being as this was Saturday, it was a good day to visit the family of my mom that lives in Kamien Gorowski and the area. It was a rainy day as we woke up in Jemielnica today and cold.
Last night I had decided that I was really getting tired of being a mosquito's supper, so after closing the windows, (there's no screens in Germany or Poland) I got out one of my flip-flops and went into my room on a skeeter hunt. They were hanging out above my bed on the vaulted ceiling, so I got something to climb on and started smashing them. I thought I had them all, but after I layed down in bed, no sooner had I done so, than I heard that infernal buzzing in the ear. So I jumped up and turned on the light. There he was above the bed on the wall. Got him. Back to bed. About 2:00 am I saw what looked like a big flash of light outside. I had no idea what it was at that time. But tried to go back to sleep. Again the buzzing began...I missed one of those dang skeeters. I was too tired to go on a skeeter hunt again, so covered up and hoped for the best. I didn't get the best, it did and I added a couple of bites to my growing collection. I guess I will get the Poland East Odra disease.
Anyway, after getting up in the morning, I saw him and smushed him. As I went to hop into the shower, I noticed that there was no power to the bedroom or the bathroom. (the flash was a power outage, nearby)The rest of the house was fine. Strange. So I go to get into the shower and apparently that ran on the power line that wasn't working and the water was ice cold. Well, they say that is supposed to be healthy, but I wasn't really all that sure if I wanted to be all that healthy at the moment, so I skipped the shower for today.
After Sylwia got up and got ready, we headed to Kamien by way of GPS. We drove quite a ways when we came to a road construction area that was unpassable, so we had to turn around and start all over again. It wasn't my idea of fun, so as it went, we didn't have a good start. But the further we went the more construction we came across. It certainly slowed us down and now I guess that we eventually made it regardless.
On the way to Kamien, there were many great photo opps. This area of Poland has many more brick buildings that the stucco style in the Oberschlesien area. Quite a contrast. I kind of got into the old train station photo mode and hunt for the old wrinkly weathered skin babcia mode, (grandma pictures) as I keep seeing many of them (train stations) and they are quite old and interesting to look at. Sylwia was telling me that usually one or possibly two families lived in the train stations as needed to do the rail switches and take care of the crossing arms, etc., etc. I guess I never really realized that someone would have lived there. It is kind of cool. I also love those pictures of the old babcias with their leathery, wrinkled skin, and headscarves. We saw some perfect ones on the way, but I missed all the opps. But will keep trying,
So first we arrived at the home of Bozena.. She has a beautiful, large, modern home and she served us a wonderful lunch with thin noodle soup, where the broth is poured over it later. Something my mom does when we have special dinners at her house. Then potatoes, vegies, chicken, gravy and a nice drink with a fruit in it that Sylwia said is only available in this area. It is a German fruit and is green and just ready to harvest about now. It looks half apple half pear and is called "pigwa" in Polish.
Then was dessert, torte and fruit tea or coffee. It was really nice. The family was all there and there was quite a group of people. It was so nice. We had a nice talk, took many pictures. And then they were very interested in the family tree, which I showed to them and they would like to have me mail to them.
My mom's first cousins were there, Gerhard and his sister Anna. They spoke some German, but said it was really hard for them now. We had a nice visit and then we went to the cemetery and saw the gravestone of Karl and Hedwig and Anton Gralla, the parents of Gerhard, Anna and Karl.
The weather was getting really windy while we were at the cemetery and they tried to light a candle and it was a bit of a challenge to keep it lit. The cemetery was in Wasosz, which I believe was Herrnstadt in German times.
The people of this area mostly have farmlands. The sister, Anna, has 300 hectars of land. Some were now burning off the potato fields so that they will not have fungus in the spring. I knew they burned everything in the fields after the harvest, but didn't really know that was the reason for it. The fields were mostly empty and plowed under. It was pretty to look at. Sylwia really loves the area, she mentioned to me.
Then we drove to Gerhard's and I photoed a couple of pictures that he had. And again we were served food by Gerhard's wife, drinks, torte, poppy seed cake and cheese pierogis with sauer cream that the babcia, Gerhard's wife prepared. Later she made me a glass of raspberry hot tea or juice from their raspberries. Then we went on a little walk and Dariusz Gralla mentioned that the village population was getting really small, and mostly old people, as the younger people were moving to other places.
On the way back, I saw a large bug, one I have never seen before and it was crawling on the pavement. I asked Matteusz, who is Dariusz' son that speaks some English, what it was and it was a bug that can kill people if it stings them. Wow, that was not a good bug to run into.
After that we went back to Gerhard's and I called my mom to say hello to her Polish cousins, so that was kind of fun. Then I asked how things went there during and towards the end of the war. I was surprised by the answer a little bit, because everything went fine for them because they all spoke Polish already. I had no idea about this as I don't remember that my mom ever mentioned that to me. And of course, she never spoke Polish. So something new everyday.
Then we needed to get to our little lodging in Breslau at the Augsburg church in the heart of the city. It is quite nice, the rooms have 3-4 single beds in each one and a bath. They are up, up, up the stairs. And was that quite a climb for me. They are very reasonably priced and my friend Radek told me our church is in the same building, although I am not quite sure where and haven't been able to explore around yet as it is evening time and Sylwia was tired and so am I, actually. We will be here 2 nights and Monday the lady said not to worry about when we check out because no new guest are coming. So that was nice. So I am getting tired.
I didn't sleep too well after the flash of light last night and the church bell kept reminding me every 15 minutes what time it was. I am hoping that the Lutheran church does not toll the bells all night long. During the day, it's great and at night, not so much.... So tomorrow should be stressless, got a few coins in the pockets and don't hope for or expect any big surprises. Am anxious to take pictures and to bring back some memories for my little mama!