Tuesday, 18 December 2007

one wooden pencil holder and a grass rabbit please

Can’t get my arse into gear these couple of days and write proper posts. Maybe that’s because our little digital camera collapsed and I can’t be bothered lugging the SLR around with me every time I step outside. Or maybe because it has been freezing cold and stepping outside in itself is a bother. Although I do like my beanie. Or beanies. I have a whole collection.

Fave headwear, courtesy of Nat.

Christmas is next week and Krakow is lit with fairy lights. I won’t show you the pictures because I do not have any. There is a Christmas market out in the Square as well and it drives me bonkers, mainly because it is very shit. What’s with the Square’s necessity to constantly exhibit wooden folk crap to sell on every occasion possible? What about introducing genuine arty/graphic style stalls or handmade items that are not mass produced in a wooden mountain shack in the Tatras by a horde of arthritis-ridden goat herders? It’s all very quaint when you fly here for the weekend and you want a whiff of the cows, but when you’re dealing with this kitschy hey-Poland-is-so-villagie-vibe all year round, it gets on your nerves. Krakow, despite its large quantities of sheeps' cheese, is not an agricultural heritage park. Can we start showing its urban side, which, unbeknownst to most, is actually pretty bloody good. There are people out there who are producing great photography, design work, prints and crafty art, but who have not been business-mindedly kicked in the pants. Do you know which annual festival gets the largest amount of cash from the City Council? The Pierogi Festival (dumpling). No comment. Tourists please stop buying wooden crap. Locals start selling good shit that I can buy and give to my friends and family with my head held high.

The plus side of it all is, is that the Russians have arrived!!! They are swarming in through the streets of Krakow in alarming numbers and I love it. I think Russian is the greatest language on earth, and the Ruskies one of the more interesting societies, so I take great pleasure in following them around and eavesdropping on their conversations (just for the pure sound of their language, since I can only understand an eighth of what they are saying), being amazed at all the glitz, pink and trash they like to wear.

They are coming in large numbers to get their shopping done before the Schengen Agreement kicks in on the 21st of December. This means that Poland will no longer have border control with any of its neighbouring EU countries (Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania) and no check points (you will be able to drive from country to country like in Western Europe without even having to put the brakes on or flashing your passport). But what it does mean for the Russians, the Ukrainians and the Byelorussians is tighter border control, EU implemented border regulations, harder to get visas and tighter security. So no more popping in for shopping or skiing weekends in Zakopane. The highlanders are already wincing in pain. They will lose a whole heap of dosh over the Christmas break due to the lack of the very generous rich Ruskies who usually come in massive amounts and spend big. Decline in the hotel and hospitality sector will mean an increase in wooden shit production.

Our home does not look at all Christmasie, but it smells it. Michal decided to bake ‘paszteciki’ on Sunday, and poor Tukan just happened to arrive at the wrong moment and was forced to help. The filling is wild mushrooms stewed with sauerkraut (what else). The pastry is some sort of yeast variety. Very fluffy but filling. You eat them with a hot cup of borsch (which Michal also cooked and added a bit too much chilli). Good effort from Bake Boy.

I stole the table for craftiness.
Michal was forced to fight the slanted walls of the kicthen.

Marcin proved a very good pastry technician.

I like the turd looking one on the far left.

Monday, 3 December 2007

birthday weekend

Justyna: Where are we going?

Michal: I’m not telling you.

J: C’mon give us a clue.

M: It’s in Poland.

J: And?

M: And that’s it.

J: Will I like it?

M: Not sure. I know your mum would love it.

J: Do I take my backpack?

M: Nope, your wheely suitcase.

J: What do I need to take?

M: Your Blunnies. But also a dress and some heels.

J: Is it posh?

M: Nah.

the castle poshness in paszkowka - some 30ks south of krakow

castle blunnie poshness

castle bannister poshness

back of castle poshness

castle departure poshness

chamber poshness

I have never stayed in a castle before. It is rad staying in a castle. Thank you Michu for taking me to a castle.

Also wanted to say a huge and wonderful thank you to all who thought of me on the day, sending me excellent wishes, emails, smses, cards, phone calls and gifts! It was a truly tops birthday!