Monday, June 25, 2012

From Siedlce to Lublin

As I was walking back from the park, I turned the corner and found this view.

 It looks so very nice -- the colors on the fence, the green tree, the glowing summer blue sky with the fluffy clouds. It made me think of one time I saw someone from Siedlce write on the internet-- "My city keeps getting more beautiful every year." Yes, indeed it does.

On Sunday afternoon I spent a bit of time at the museum in Siedlce. It has historical artifacts as one might expect.

 It was fun to see some the documents, too. For example, I found a drawing of Siedlce from the mid-1800's, a much smaller Siedlce, but I could clearly see the City Hall, the museum building now in which I was standing. I also liked  seeing the photograph of the first train arriving in Siedlce in October of 1866.

I went there primarily to see the exhibit about icons that have come from a museum in another part of Poland.

At 4 PM Dorota picked me up and we went to nearby park to watch a bit of a cultural festival. This featured primarily children dancing and singing. Please do not think this is folk music or folk dancing -- no the songs were contemporary and the dance was ballet, jazz, and hip-hop. The little kids were really cute, the older students very talented, and we recognized a couple from language camps at Reymontowka.

We then went to get a bite to eat at a new restaurant in Siedlce --Kochanowka. After we ordered, the owner brought a folder over to our table and asked Dorota to translate the history and philosophy of the restaurant. We learned that the owner's grandmother was on a train from Warsaw to Vilnius during the outbreak of WWII and ended up on a damaged train near Siedlce. I didn't understand exactly what happened to the train, but the grandmother ended up with an injured foot and could not travel. She was taken in by some people from a small nearby village, fell in love there, and remained in Poland. But at the same time, she passed down her techniques and beliefs about cooking the Lithuania way. The philosophy is to use natural ingredients, and also to use herbs to promote health. For example, there is an herb that one can use that prevents insulin spikes when eating.

The owner sent a wonderful cherry aperitif to our table. Boy! I would drink that everyday if I could buy it. When I asked more about it, she brought over three different types of this drink -- some for summer and some for winter.

She explained her first professional degree was in dietetics and then she studied and worked in business. Now she is combining both of her skills in this new restaurant using her grandmother's knowledge and techniques.

This morning I checked out of the hotel in Siedlce and took a train to Lublin. I transferred at Lukow. If I had a Polish keyboard, both the L and the o would look different -- the town's name is pronounced as woo-cough.

The town's history includes residents with a unique building style. Here is a quick look of this from the train.

We continued through Deblin. This is an important rail center.

While stopped I noticed the engines shut down on the train. Then the conductor walked through our car and unlocked a door in the rear. The engineer walked into this center for operating the train, now able to do so from the opposite end of the train, for we backtracked several kilometers before turning south towards Lublin and continued to head south. The Polish trains are electric so all that is needed is an operating center, not a engine compartment.

I've often wondered how this was done, but this is the first time I've been on the ring-side seat to see it.

I arrived in Lublin and easily found a taxi, including a driver who spoke English.

The weather now is cloudy, windy, and quite cool. I went out to get something to eat.

I was delighted to find a pedestrian street lined with sidewalk cafes. It made me think of Kiraly in Pecs.

Chose a sidewalk cafe and ordered placki. I've been in Poland many times, but I think this is the first time I've ever had placki -- these were spinach and so good.

Sent a text to my guide letting him know I had arrived and would be ready to meet him in the morning. He replied that we will have occasional showers and a long drive!

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