Friday, July 12, 2013

Halloween In July

Wednesday, July 10 was another day on which our teaching changed from morning to afternoon because of the autobus regulation that the driver must be off for 48 hours, not even able to drive 10 K into Zakopane. One of the volunteers was highly determined to produce a Halloween party so Wednesday was a perfect time for that.

But first -- what to do in the morning. The campers went to a water park, along with our 12-year old volunteer. We adults went to Chochotow, a small village about a 10 minute drive away. This is an old, old, village, very picturesque with old log houses. Our goal was to visit the wood-carver.

The wood carver has taken one of the old houses and made half of it into a museum.

The museum is set as if it were a home in this part of Poland in 1818. There are two photos, but this is actually one large room. Attached to it is a small room that holds tools of the time.

The beautiful door shown across the hall is the door for the carver's workshop.

We have nine people on the team and the van can hold only nine. Since our team leader needed to go to translate, I volunteered to stay back since I had been there before and didn't need or plan to purchase anything. However, one volunteer decided to stay back at the hotel, so there was room for me. And of course I ended up purchasing things too. I was delighted to make this trip because I found this wood carver was one who helped with the carvings in the church that would be our next stop.

We could not enter the church because a mass was in progress, the first time this has ever happened during a week-day visit. I think this may have had something to do with a large group of tour buses in the parking lot. Normally one can enter the church and admire the Zakopane style, what I call new Zakopane style for most of the buildings done this way are over 100 years. This church was built to express thanksgiving for Pope John Paul surviving the assassination attempt.

So instead we wandered down the hillside to the chapel.

Here's a window in the "chapel."

 The weather was cloudy during our visit so this window is not shown with its true glory.

 Here are some of the volunteers trying to decipher the carvings of Biblical stories that are above the stained glass window.

We returned for obiad and then the fun began.

Jack-o-lanterns are traditionally made from pumpkins, but there are no pumpkins in Poland in July, so watermelons were substituted.

Here are my students carving their watermelon.

 I had purchased paper plates and as pieces of watermelon were spooned out, they were placed on the plates.

They carefully continued to drain the juice out of the melon and put into drinking glasses. When the carving was done we ate the watermelon and drank all the juice.

My group received an award for the most clever watermelon.

The next event was the party.

A meeting room in the hotel was well decorated for the event.

There were many games.

The above shows the balloon blowing contest. The object was to blow the largest balloon without breaking it.

When the games were finished we volunteers scattered about the hotel campus. A list of our locations was read in English and this same list was posted on hotel doors. They had to find us for trick or treat.

During trick or treat one volunteer was approached by a boy about 8 years old asking in English if he could have candy too. Turns out he is here from New Jersey with his family. Both of his parents come from the Zakopane area, but he is "a first born American."

So that's how we spent Wednesday, July 10 in Poland.

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