It’s been a while

Tuesday 25th April 2023, 02:39 PM No comments

We decided to take a new shot at New stories soon!

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What happens in Masuria stays in Masuria.

Sunday 26th August 2012, 10:31 PM No comments

For me (Hanne) it was the second time in a row sailing trip to Mazury. For Bronek, no idea, probably he himself started to loose count. For both of us it was already the second time renting a boat from the very decent Evelyn Marina.

Anyway a very nice crew of me, my niece Liesbeth, Milosz, Å»agiel (Michal, ‘Jagiel’) and Mariusz, was safely guided threw the very nice super great Masurian lakes by our super captain Bronek.

At first we were dropping a stitch here and there, as we were not yet used to take care of a boat together, but in the end everyone knew what to do when, which made us a very good team to be proud of  (“lakeworthy”).

This year we made a trip to the south part of the Masurian lakes. The route was not as long as last year, as there was a little wind. But the sun was shining all the time, blue sky, warm water and nice atmosphere… All great ingredients for a good sailing trip.

We did have two storms though, which gave us the chance to see Milosz in his super stormy outfit ☺ and brought the group closer together – closer because of the storms, not the outfit.

We camped in the wild together with a boat we didn’t know. (Greetings to Tauron RZT 001) That evening turned out to be really great. They had a guitar, djembee and made a fire place (with the help of our crew). We brought wódka, sausages, and ‘heavenly sweet’ singing voices. We sang the great Masurian sailor songs till early hours. I played the djembee and people danced around the campfire. Milosz also surprised us with his great guitar playing talent – “I know a couple of chords”.

Another time on a hot hot day without much wind we threw the anchor and refreshed us swimming in the lakes.
In Mikolajki the whole crew had a very nice dinner by the water (Restaurant Sielawa). That was continued in a bar, drinking,  and most importantly dancing. Who of the crew was dancing I can not tell as a promise was made that evening: ‘What happens in Mikolajki, stays in Mikolakji.’ Another truism we established that evening was: ‘shit happens’. 😉 (inside joke) This also very nice evening ended with waiting for the sunrise, but as we were falling a sleep and the clouds were hiding the sun, we decided to call it a day (night) and go to sleep.

For me and many of us it was also the first time we went in a lock with the boat. Next time I’d prefer to avoid any locks on our route. Unfortunately the other side of the lock has some lakes, but the only way back is through the same lock again. First time – it was very chaotic, and didn’t go so well. No boat had any patience and everyone wanted to go in at once. With boats hitting each other as consequence. Locking for the second time, the attraction was a 4 hours queue. Some other not nice boats without patience blocked our way so we were obliged to wait. Above that 4 ‘white cows’ (these are big white boats which take tourists  for round-cruises in the Masurian lakes and have priority above any other floating object) had to pass the lock. What a lock experience!

At some point this nice week had to come to an end. And so we were cleaning the boat cleaner than when we got it. And the bosman (person in charge in a small harbour) was very pleased – off course.

Everybody went his own way. Bronek, Liesbeth and me stayed. We stayed in a tent, as we promised to drop Liesbeth off to the airport the next day for her flight to Belgium. We took another nice swim, went to have some nice sweets on a terras, watched an airshow in Giżycko (my first ever, impressive) and had a nice fish dinner at a Giżycko canal promenade restaurant.

It was a super sailing experience. Hopefully soon again!

From a vistit to Poland in 2012

Sunday 19th August 2012, 12:13 AM No comments

How do I look like at a picture and how to photograph that uncle…


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View from our balcony

Thursday 12th July 2012, 09:36 PM No comments

Monday is also a day – Zeeland blue mussel season 2012 officially open

Wednesday 11th July 2012, 01:30 PM 1 comment

Monday evening with super nice dinner and a surprise dessert. Why not? Saturday after hearing it on the radio that the mussels season had some grand opening somewhere I spotted them in the local Aldi market. 2kg should be about fine for two people.

After scrubbing the mussels thoroughly and checking that all of them close nicely (“dispose off all broken and open ones that do not close after irritating them with a needle inside gently”) they got boiled in a delicate stoved ragout composed of typical soup veggies and fried (butter) onion. Usually it’s just onion and celery. The latter I did not have therefore the veggies – which turned out to be a great idea! Midway through the cooking I added 100ml cream and a solid dash of white wine. Parsley also, naturally! After 8 minutes boiling, shaking and stirring all mussels were open and ready to meet Belgian fries and deep-fried breaded courgettes.

The dessert was chocolate pudding with a secret layer of red currant underneath… Who is hungry?


First guests in a new place

Tuesday 29th May 2012, 03:10 PM No comments

It was the evening of Thé Dansant – dance project of Joka. A Flemish youth volunteering organization which puts young people to work with inter alia, elderly people. Hanne danced in that performance with her charming partner Charles. Later we had some guests – first dinner-guests in our just-moved-in appt. Fien, Sien & Valerie are originally friends of Hanne. What was in the pancakes Hanne made, or the sauce I made, I still wonder… Don’t forget to click through to the second page of the gallery! 😛

Exchange Caritas Belgium-Jerusalem

Sunday 9th October 2011, 08:13 PM 1 comment

Finally I can share a piece of my experience from the exchange Caritas Belgium-Jerusalem I took part in. As some of you may now I joined Joka-Caritas when I was 16. Doing a little bit other stuff for the organisation then when I was younger, particularly due to being a working person, I got this chance to go on exchange to Jerusalem. After consulting Bronek, I took the decision to take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This meant shorter holidays together, but Bronek was all the time on my mind, as you can see in some pictures.

The experience made a big impression on me, which is difficult to put in just some short text.

The situation between Israeli and Palestinian people struck me. The very strict control before entering the plane (better don’t mention you want to do voluntary work with Palestinians) gave me palpitations and shaky legs. “Security” controls of Israeli soldiers on Palestinian roads. The big high wall visible from many places (8 to 9 meters high, I can assure you, you only see the sky). Water-tanks on all roofs in case the Israeli people cut of water – which tend to do randomly for no apparent reason. And so on and on – it all leaves a mixed feeling.

We only had ten days and wanted to do and see a lot of stuff. We visited quickly Jerusalem, Ramallah, mausoleum of Arafat, Dead Sea, Bethlehem, many churches and many other small cities. We stayed with host families in Aboud where we did our first job (painting a multi-functional room of a church, where meetings and so on are held) and could experience the great hospitality of the Palestinian people. First day we arrived there we were even invited to a wedding. Next stop was in Bethlehem/Beit Jallah/Beit Sahour also called three-city (made me think of Gdańsk) where we cleaned a church bottom-up, almost completely.

This is in short my ten days exchange experience in Israel/Palestine. I am glad I can share it with you and would like to thank once again Caritas Belgium for the great opportunity!

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Masuria 2011

Wednesday 10th August 2011, 01:08 PM 1 comment

For the summer of 2011 holidays for two long planned did we have. My ready diploma was supposed to wait in Łódź while Hanne and I would be baking under the Adriatic sun. Joka, a charity connected to Caritas Belgium gathering volunteers willing to help in elderly homes, offered it’s veteran – my Hanne – a  10-day trip to Jerusalem in August, during the second part of her summer holiday.  A bargain – the trip was for free! I said “Hanne, you should go!”. The time we planned to allocate as our Croatia holidays has suddenly shrinked to 10 days. The planned route led through Poland. In Łódź Hanne was supposed to have an LPG system placed in her car. Recalculating our time once more it turned out that instead of resting we will spend all holidays in the car. It was the end of May – there was still time to change plans.

Maybe something closer to Łódź??? Considering our marine aspirations, together with my friends and Hanne we thought of going to old good Masuria to sail a little bit. Hanne & Bronek haven’t been there yet together. Hanne could finally see how it is on the swinging deck.

Masuria is a beautiful region in the North-Eastern Poland. For it’s forests it is called the Green Lungs of Poland. It is also famous for it’s post-glacier landscape full of holes and hills formed by the withdrawing glacier – lakes and moraines. And most of all, Masuria is famous for it’s Route of Grand Masurian Lakes – a water route with the length of around 100km consisted of lakes and canals, including the two “most” lakes of Poland, the largest with more than 100 sqkm area – Åšniardwy, and the deepest – Mamry. The region is one of favourite holiday destinations for sailing Poles as well as Germans who love to cycle around the grounds of their Prussian ancestors. Amateurs of quiet agricultural holidays will also find this place a heaven. Masuria used to be a part of the Teutonic Knights Order country, part of Prussia and part of Poland. Around the area you will find historical attractions of all these cultures – like the Wolf’s Lair – German headqarter-bunkers from the 2nd World War, the still carrying nazi symbolic Masurian Canal with it’s forest burried gigantic locks. The canal was supposed to link Masuria and the Baltic Sea. The legend says it was developed to lead to a secret nazi U-Boot shipyard in the lakes. Nextly urban locations like Mikłajki or Giżycko villages will allow you for summer art and entertainment. The Grand Lakes Route is full of fauna and flora natural reserves like the one on the Cormorant Island (the name speaks for itself).  Masuria has a very well developed tourist base, which allows for camping, sailing, fishing, water-skiing and much more.

The sailing team gathered quickly and spontaneously. In the beginning it seemed that we will be sailing with an entire fleet. After all it settled at 2 large (as for Masuria) boats – Marconi sloops. We rented them in the friendly Marina Evelyn in Bogaczewo n. Giżycko.  We payed advances, signed charter contracts and the only thing which was left was to wait for the 23rd of July. In the end the team consisted of friends of Bronek: Maciek & Asia, Łukasz & Paula and Staszek with his study-mate Kamil with Gosia. From the side of Maciek we were joinded by Maruda & Sylwia, from Asia’s side Karolina has joined us. On the spot it turned out that Patryk, the brother of Gosia will also sail with us. Together with Hanne & me we were with 13 people.

The time before the cruise passed very quickly. On the 13th of July I left to Hanne to bring her and her car to an LPG installer in Łódź. We bought new rubber trousers, sandals, batteries, a waterproof map and departed to the lakes. The new LPG didn’t blow up on our way! The installer was a trusted Łódź company. We left all the Belgian car formalities related to LPG for later…

On the way I practised assertiveness. Because of the car we were a little late and bound to arrive around dusk. Crews burning to sail were waiting for us. Even for a while I didn’t  think of leaving the port in the darkness – what a SILLY idea. 🙂  When we got to the marina Hanne was slightly intimidated by the yacht. She declared she will pass all the stuff to me from the land. OK. After boarding and denying to depart from the harbour in the masurian twilight, we all proceeded to inspect the bottles of vodka and other specifics.

The crew composed of me, Hanne, Łukasz, Paula & Staszek (Kamil & Gosia joined us later) accounted for Evelyn 2 – the Antila 26 class boat. The other part of the team with Maciek and Maruda (the Nagger :P) took Evelyn 4 which was a Janmor 28 class.  Both boats were fresh, clean and broadly equipped. Sailing fittings included: lazy jack – the main sail pocket, mast patent – used to easily put it up and down, rolfok – rolled front sail, convenient cleats, capstans and engines. Evelyn 4 had a stationary built-in engine. It turned out to be quite fuel inefficient and prevented the boat from being moored with the stern at shallow places. Under the deck we had chemical toilets, equipped galleys, cd-radios. Antila even had a gas fridge! Interiors of both boats were separated with little doors which provided better comfort and privacy. Communication between the two boats was held depending on capacity and distance with the use of two radio-telephones which we brought with us (European PMR standard).

With regard to sailing,  the slightly sharper going Antila 26 showed a higher sensitivity to weaker breeze, Janmor 28 on the other hand reached better speeds at stronger winds. Janmor sailed slightly faster also because it’s crew showed a tendency to get up and depart earlier. 😉 Antila was 26 feet or 780cm long and had a total of 30 sqm of sail, 28 feet Janmor was 840 cm long and had 40 sqm sail. Janmor suffered also a bigger draft – while in the wild it could only moor to our stern or to the end of a little pier. Both crews managed to stain the bottom of lakes with their centreboards.

The route took us from Bogaczewo, through Mikołajki, Kaczerajno Bay, Kula peninsula, Sztynort and Mamerki.  In 7 days we managed to visit both the south and the north end of the Route of Grand Masurian Lakes. On our way back from Kaczerajno bay to Kula we picked up the late Kamil, Gosia and Patryk.

Hanne shyness for the boat ceased quickly. The helm of Evelyn 2 was taken mostly by Łukasz (Captain, Captain, Captain), Bronek (Captain), Hanne (deck-hand Majtek Bow String) and also sometimes by Staszek (Captain, Captain). Due to the presence of Hanne we used a very funny fake English sailing vocabulary. You could hear us saying “sword” while referring to the centreboard or shouting PULL UP while giving command for topping lift, lazy jack or the mentioned sword. We also used a lot of Polish-English mixtures.

A lot of good laughs in general. Every morning we swum in the lake, during day we sailed, in the evening we drunk beer, sung at the camp fire, fished, played games or did all that together.

On the 30th of July, after a 7-day cruise we were back in Bogaczewo. The time came to clean and part with our boats. After reclaiming the warrant me, Hanne, Paula, Łukasz and Staszek went to Signor Caffetano – an Italian restaurant located close by the marina. This turned out to be a superior choice for the farewell dinner! After the meal Łukasz, Paula and Staszek hit the road. Me & Hanne took advantage of the beautiful weather, jumped once more to the lake and scampered to Łódź afterwards.

Hanne’s short visit to Bronek, June 2011

Wednesday 15th June 2011, 12:20 AM No comments

As we always need to take the maximum of our spare time to spend it together, I did so again in this four days of Christian holidays in the beginning of June. Immediately after work I left to the airport, so the same evening I arrived in Poland. After some nice sleep together we had a walk in the city centre of Łódź and did very little shopping. Next day I visited for the first time Poznan, very nice city. Only the market square was little wasted. The houses around the square were so nicely painted in different colours, but unfortunately they were hardly visible because of some ugly block building they build in the middle, than some ugly advert, too many terraces and so on. Still it’s a big, nice city worth paying a visit. On Saturday we visited the Zoo of Łódź for the first time since Broneks mother retired from there. So many nice things we did together, so the short weekend flew by, and quickly came the time to say goodbye again.

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Somme, Picardy and Amiens 2011

Friday 29th April 2011, 09:43 PM No comments

I took off some days extra of work so we could make some small trip while Bronek was visiting me in Belgium for Easter. We took camping stuff in our car, took a map, and left to the Somme Bay. Weather was very nice. We did’t take only highway but also some smaller roads through nice villages in the north of France. This way we saw some very nice big cemetery from First World War, about which(without knowing back than) Bronek had to learn for his exam of Architecture.

The first day we went for what we thought will not be that big walk. But we were a little wrong. Sun was shining very bright, not a cloud in the sky, only some small bottle of lemonade we took and our camera. The walk turned out to be a walk of about five hours. We started to dream of some ice-cream shops or some bar, but there was only the reserve: endless sand, sea and birds. Completely tired we arrived at our campsite Les Crocs and refreshed ourselves with some nice 6-minute-shower ;-).

Next day we visited the nearest by city Rue and bought some nice sweet bread from a French bakery. From here we went to the gardens of the Valloires to makes some nice drawings together and have an espresso. We stayed till the bell was ringing several times to scare the tourists away as it was closing time. Back in the car we headed straight away to the beach to have some nice sunset with our very tasty sweet French breads.

Today was the last day of our small trip. We packed all our stuff. Last was the tent as we first wanted to try to drive my car inside of it J. We visited Amiens, which was quit dead on this Easter Sunday. But after all we founded were all the people were hanging out. The old part of the city was a lot more busy, there was a nice big park were all the people were relaxing, playing sports and so on. There were small swinging roads paved just like in Brugge, you know with all those stones which completely shakes you awake while driving a bike. I immediately felt at home.

Next day we went for a family Eastern dinner next to a canal somewhere close to Brugge. Bronek and I took the bike, and probably drove in some record time for us, as we left home a little late. With nicely filled tummies we took another ride to the city centre to have a little last taste of Brugge before end of small holidays.