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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!

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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Tatra + Gdańsk 2010

Friday 20th August 2010, 06:56 PM No comments

After another long separation, we could finally spend 4 weeks just the two of us, what a nice prospect. 4 weeks so a lot of time to do different stuff. First trip brought us to the mountains to our all time favourite place in MaÅ‚e Ciche. We got our favourite room with the wonderful view on the Tatra mountains. The mountains were great as always, but unfortunately the weather was a little less great. The first day we started with an easier walk to help us get into some better shape, so we went to the sanctuary of Wiktorówki for tea and bought our favourite oscypek on Rusinowa glade under GÄ™sia szyja (Gooses neck – mountain). So far everything fine, but after eating some snack the water started pouring down from the sky and, in fact, it didn’t stop till the last day when we left to Łódź. But now don’t think this kept us inside, oh no! We went for a long walk everyday, cold and wet we enjoyed it, took some precautious medicines every evening, held a rami bridge marathon, read a lot in our books cosy together in the bed while it was raining on the wooden roof.

Before departure to MaÅ‚e Ciche, just like for Zuza’s first birthday we got again a donkey, but this time for Zosia,the daughter of Marysia, the daughter of our host Zosia. Again a present with quite some success.

Last day in the mountains we went first to the railway station, bought our tickets, put the luggage in a locker and went for one final walk. Suddenly the weather got summer-like nice, blue sky and sunshine. We took a walk to the more higher mountains and to finish the trip in style we got so lucky to see a mother brown bear with two children in the wild. Check the pictures!

After a few days of rest in Łódź we left for a second trip. This time to completely the opposite site ofthe country, namely GdaÅ„sk Oliwa. We had little sunshine here and there, but unfortunately the rain kept following us also at the seaside. By now we were used to it. Our home here, room in a student dorm in Oliwa, was little less luxurious than in the mountains, but still very fine and very budget-friendly. We visited the Zoo of GdaÅ„sk, had a walk to the tower with wonderful view over the 3-city (GdaÅ„sk-Sopot-Gdynia), took a boat to the peninsula Hel, had a walk around Oliwa with Broneks father (who grew up here), met the grandparents of Bronek, had evening walks on the beach (meeting some weird drunk people), visited the port of Gdynia and were very lucky again to have a very nice last day on which we could bath a little in the sea. We got a free, but a little too fast 😉 ride home from Broneks father. On our way we stopped to visit the castle of Malbork, originally named Marienbourg. This used to be the headquarters of the Teutonic Knights Order and capital city of the order’s country.

My skype darling(s)

Tuesday 23rd March 2010, 07:54 PM No comments


As we are still separated from each other, our most precious moments together are currently through skype.

And thanks to the camera, it is not just Bronek and me, but a whole family meeting. It is nice that, allthough I can not be there in Poland with Bronek, I can still see Zuza growing up.

So here are some nice memorables of our moments together on Skype.

cmok cmok


Christmas in Łódź

Wednesday 6th January 2010, 08:00 PM No comments

In second time yearly tradition, I took the plane to Poland to celebrate Christmas in a Polish traditional way. A lot more tradition than I ever was used to in Belgium. But this is the way I like it. I love the cooking together and decorating the huge tree. Unfortunately a small flue decided a little bit different this year. I could luckily still manage to make more than 200 pierogi’s, give a little help with the so many christmas cakes and offcourse the christmas tree.  Also I had a lot of fun in making the presents. For Broneks adult family I gave several cd’s with Belgian music, some Belgian chocolate and marzipan. But most pleasure I had in making and giving the present for Zuza, the daughter of Broneks brother. I made her a doll Lala, this way all dolls in Poland are called. I wasn’t convinced at first if Lala looked nice enough. But when her mother asked: who is this? and Zuza shouted: Lalaaaa!!!, I knew the present was a succes.

Two weeks are quickly gone. So the last day when Bronek brought me to Warszawa to catch my plane, we decided to spent our last day together as nice as possible. We visited a very nice modern museum in an old hospital. Bronek was super guide as usual. And it was fun as well to practice my Polish.

For now Bronek is still in Poland, and I am in Belgium. We both hope that we can be back together as soon as possible.

Two weeks are quickly gone. The last day when Bronek brought me to Warszawa to catch my plane, we decided to spent our last day together as nice as possible. We visited a very nice modern museum (CSW Warsaw) in an old hospital Ujazdowski Palace, originally owned by Polish royalty, converted to a hospital (quite brutally evacuated by German Army during Warsaw Uprising in August of 1944), bombed, rebuilt and finally allocated as Contemporary Art Center – Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej Zamek Ujazdowski. Bronek was super guide as usual. And it was fun as well to practice my Polish.

For now Bronek is still in Poland, and I am in Belgium. We both hope that we can be back together as soon as possible.

Remarkable: propably the last picture of Drapka our cat, as she passed away on 27.1.2010

Parents of Hanne visiting Lodz and meeting the parents.

Tuesday 22nd September 2009, 11:44 PM No comments
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Intensive Polish course in Łódź

Tuesday 1st September 2009, 03:27 PM 2 comments

Being here in Poland for several months, I have to keep myself busy somehow. Weaving is very nice, but sometimes I am also in the need to meet new people and I love learning new things. By the way, one day I would like to speak fluently Polish. So I took this intensive course, which I enjoyed a lot. I could share the love and sometimes frustrations 😉 of being in a Polish relationship with others in the same case. My Polish improved, as we were forced to speak in Polish. And I started to see Lodz through whole new glasses. As at first, two years ago, I was not so fond of this city, but now I must say I really like it and see and appreciate its beauty.

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On our way to Poland by car

Friday 3rd July 2009, 06:22 PM No comments

As Bronek has to finish his degree, and I recently fell without a job. I decided to join him for three  months to Poland as we are unseperatable.

This pictures show our trip to Poland by car with a stop of one night in Magdeburg. As I am going to weave there for three months, I took my loom in the car.

Other plans I have is learning more Polish on an intensive course.

Tatra mountains, 21-27 May

Thursday 28th May 2009, 05:00 PM 2 comments
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Meet Willy – The birthday of Valerie – Hanne’s friend

Monday 23rd February 2009, 11:30 PM No comments

On Saturday the twenty second of February 2009 we had an evening appointment in Bruges, the hometown of Hanne. First we had a dinner with Hanne parents and their guests: uncle and aunt of Hanne and a cousin of Nicole – Hanne’s mother. Needless to say – the dinner is always great in that house – we had a great meal. We had home made stoofvlees – a special Flemish goulash with French (Belgian) fries and a salad followed by a perfect tiramisu desert.

Valerie’s Birthday

The next stop this evening was the house of Valerie. At the mini party along with some nice drinks and snacks we had some pleasant chat. Friendships were celebrated, gossips spread and world politics discussed. Just after midnight we managed to raise back on our feet and cycle to the city center to search for…

Meet Willy

The centre of Brugge – UNESCO listed world heritage city – took us through it’s many narrow streets to a small cul-de-sac nearby the main market and city hall. Waldo – a friend of Hanne – invented this idea which after excitingly weird  prologue turned to be a really good one. With a little help of use-it map we finally got there.  The facade – hard to explain – was covered with chairs, and fire safety appliances (extinguishers etc.). The doors on the top of little stairs – closed. Behind them we could see an interior full of vintage, flea-market-aquired stuff. Music could be heard. After a doorbel and 2 minutes of waiting we were about to resign, when the doors opened and as it turned out – Willy himself invited us in informing about the formula of the house. To get to the cafe downstairs we had to buy 5 euro tickets – coctail of choice included. Led by Willy’s friend – a young guy in a tail-coat and a high top hat we got in the main room. As the place according to the use-it map was supposed to be a gipsy place indeed some gipsys could be seen inside. Above all th great gipsy jazzy band which amused the guests succesfully. Place was rather international. We could hear some southern european languages, along with the staff language – English and Dutch. The gathering of strange equipment, the collection of wooden figures, naked female saints paintings and other climate-matching elements were in variety. There was also a locked barking dog somewhere in the dark end of a garden through which gentelmen had to pass to toilet. Nothing else than “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” 🙂

The place had really a good climate. We drinked, talked and even danced enjoying this extraordinary place together with other guests. At the end everybody called it a complete package evening.

We did not notice when the hour had become late and at 4 in the morning the entire team cycled together home.

Best evening in a long time. I strongly recommend any visitor who would like to spice up his picture of Bruges as tourist city a little bit to check this place. Open on saturday till 2 am.

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