Thursday, 24 July 2014

Long Hard Road Out of Home

Been staying home for 4 weeks now! It's the second longest stay in one place this year and I really haven't planned it. Due to some unforeseen circumstances I was forced to stay in Poland for 3 weeks more than I expected. Firstly it was anger, later annoyance and frustration that I'm wasting my time, that I should have been on the way already etc. "Home time" I transformed into never ending meetings with friends (I can't really look at them now, after whole days spent with them, day by day), house parties, sunbathing, ice creams eating and everything else you can call "holiday activities". Well, at the end (maybe) it wasn't so bad, as I haven't done these things for years (apart from the fact I\ve thought about my last 3 years of life as one long holiday, but not in strict sense of the word). I got over the feeling of time waste and started thinking about it as a new life experience, with just a little time wasted...
But yeah, I'm finally moving from this "velcro seat" and soon will come back to what I sacrificed my recent life for - viajar! (And hopefully next trip will be quite a long one, but pssst, that's a secret so far...)
By the way, August 10th will be 3rd anniversary of my travelling lifestyle. Let's celebrate it somewhere! 

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Land of Polish poets


Again long break in writing. Well... sometimes I just don't feel like there's anything very interesting happening and on the other hand when something is, it's hard to put it into words and describe. Anyway, I did some minor trips since the last one to the Balkans. And again I've proved (or it has been proved) that I really am destined to travel alone.

In May, thanks to Hockey Championship in Belarus, the borders got wonderfully easy to cross, and you didn't need anything more than a ticket to any chosen match. So I got in touch with a guy who had already bought two tickets and we agreed on travelling together. It was OK until we reached Minsk (even though I had enough after 3h waiting in the rain 30 km from the border) and then the first break down when I started wondering why the hell I had a travel mate (all right, the truth is, that I wouldn't probably have gone to Belarus if I had been to go alone, so thank you my ex-travel mate for dragging me there). Me and my travel mate had some misunderstanding or maybe I was just very tired of 10h Minsk sightseeing, so I found myself a CS host. We firstly split for 1 day and afterwards, after my suggestion, we took different ways for 6 days - me going north-east and he went to get to closed Charnobyl zone (unsuccessfully).

For me, that 6 days were another attempt to fight my depression. Lack of motivation from other person caused thinking of leaving it all, ending the trip and going back home. That's what recently been going on with my, apparently after visiting ruined Maidan in Kiev, which made me quite depressed, nihilistic and melancholic. Then I realized having travel mate wasn't such a bad idea and it would be nice to meet up again, which we eventually did and continued the journey until reaching Poland.
While alone, I spent almost 3 days talking only Russian (both with the drivers-of course I hitch hiked around if you are still wondering- and CS hosts), visiting some patriotic events, inhaling socialistic air of Belarus (not that I don't like it, I was actually pretty amazed how many Lenin statues and socialism-related street names still exist in Belarus) and eating tons of sour creme.
In general, probably whatever you think of Belarus is far from the reality. It is safe and clean country. Almost no mafia, corruption, thieves etc. Nice roads, far way better than Polish ones. Poor, but kept under good conditions village houses and fences. And great people, who are happy that someone wants to visit their country and are always willing to pick the hitch hiker up even from the most remote areas.

We managed to get to some places related with Polish history and literature, which was my goal on this trip. Switez lake, Bohatyrevici village ("Nad Niemnem"), Orzeszkowa's house, Mickiewicz's house (one of my 3 favourite Polish writers). Of course Belorussians claim these people as their natives, and Polish do the same, but the truth is, that they usually wrote poems or fiction in Polish language. That was probably the most interesting and metaphysical part of the journey (the highlight was meeting an old woman carrying the same last name as the characters from "Nad Niemnem", which in fact I thought was a fictional story, but it turned out it was not).

We also had a bit of a local culture tested personally, when I got invited (at 8 in the morning but postponed to 7 pm) for a beer by two locals. I took my travel mate with me, and we ended up drinking beers in public, got stopped by militia, going to one of the guy's house while the other was taken to the militia station, drinking till 3 am and eating pork fat with raspberry jam. Life's great!