Monday, May 21, 2007

Big Trip: Day 1 (Rzeszów)

Our first day in Poland was a warm one. I woke up late, around 11am Poland time (just like I sleep in at home). It was a Sunday and Ola's mom was making a big breakfast for all of us. The breakfast was delicious, especially the scrambled eggs which Ola says are prepared the same but are just really good local eggs. Breakfast included a lot of translations between Ola and her guests, with Benjamin speaking some Polish as well. There is even a dessert as part of Polish breakfast! After chilling out for a bit and showers for all the weary, we went into the town of Rzeszów to walk around. It was the Pope's birthday, so there was a huge celebration in town, including an 87m long cake competing for the Guinness World Book of Records longest piece of cake record. We wandered around for an hour or two and took lots of pictures (many photographers in this group) and then went to get coffee at Costa Coffee, the nearest equivalent to Starbucks that Poland has to offer. After our coffee and smoothies, we headed over to the train station to meet Ola's brother Stanisław (called "Stashik") at the train station. Then we headed back to Ola's house for dinner. Ola's mom had really hit it out of the park for dinner. With a little help from Ola, she fixed beet soup with meat raviolis (Benjamin isn't here to remind me of the Polish name for this) to start, and delicious pork and Kasha (a grain) as the entree (and salad). After the main course we had her homemade apple strudel, which was delicious. I guess she doesn't always cook this way, but we were the beneficiaries of her fabulous culinary abilities on this day. After dinner, Benjamin and I took a two-hour nap while others chatted or went for a walk. Then Steph kindly rousted us from bed to join everyone at an outdoor concert in town. We went and saw a famous Polish singer who has been performing for over 40 years in Poland and seems to be beloved by all. Everyone at the concert knew the words the songs, singing along, and sometimes jumping up and down cheering. It was great to see such happiness amongst all ages of Polish folks. Ola's parents and brother were there, too. We left a few songs before the end, unable to stand up much longer, and headed back to Ola's house. There we fell onto the couch and were shortly brought Polish vodka and kilbase by Ola's parents. We had a lively conversation and snacks until almost 1am, when the brand new bottle of Vodka was drained. And then to bed for some real sleep!

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