After a travel day that took us from Kiruna ( snowing and -5) , via Stockholm and Copenhagen we arrive in Warsaw, no snow and +5C.
We touch down with a brief catch up with my close high school friend Ewa who is sharing her apartment with us and our extensive 4 season luggage of 3 large bags and carry on. After a deliscious welcome of my childhood stomach favorites we take the train down south to the small but historically very important border town of Cieszyn. This is where my Mum’s family is from and I only have a cousin and his wife remaining here. My favorite aunt passed away in December 2015 and I feel I would like to say a little goodbye.
Cieszyn has changed a lot, it has a rich history through the Austrian Habsburg rule of the area but also going right back to the 800’s when the three Polish Princes came to the area.
We get a beautiful spring day to visit my aunt, just like her to get some assistance from above to make it special. Birds are chirping , the sun is warm, we get to say goodbye. Our visit is also made special by my cousin Krzysztof and his wife Ula who spoil us with local traditional cooking and for André a sampling of local high proof liquor. There is a longstanding tradition here on Easter Friday that on a fasting stomach first thing in the morning you are meant to jump into the spring melt flowing river , then race home and have a shot of liquor made of the root of the common wetlands reed. This is an exceptionally bitter brew that is meant to mimic the taste of wine and bile offered to Christ by the Romans, André gets to sample it without the frigid swim.
There has been a substantial amount of European Union funds invested in historical renovations and restorement of buildings. The one I am standing in front of is the restored “Hotel Under the Brown Elk”, I carry very fond memories of this one from stories, as my parents spent their wedding night in the room with the balcony. They have now been converted to individual apartments.
After two days soaking up the atmosphere here while staying in a beautifully renovated apartment by a local architectural talent we jump on the Euro city from Vienna back to Warsaw. Time for some more family visits in Warsaw.