poland

Running in the forest

My in-law’s house in Krakow is on the border of the Ojcow national forest. It is a small yet beautiful forest, full of trails, steams and wildlife. So of course I spent as much time as possible exploring the trails in the forest.

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Running along the trail

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One of the many rivers; I found many otter dams on this river, and lots of trees that the otters had cut down (yes the otters quite literally cut down the trees to use as dam-building material)

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A most-covered tree; when you get deep in the forest it gets very earthy and wet. You can smell the earthy smell of the decomposing plants on the forest floor

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I even found an old castle in the middle of the forest

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Running uphill – the forest was suprisingly hilly – they were plenty of good climbs

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Finally, here is the route I ran – about 14k. If you’re ever in the area I highly recommend a run through the forest.

Pencil fence

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Many of the houses have these cute pencil fences. Most of them (like this fence) are plain pencils, but occasionally you see pencil-crayons as well. It almost looks like the city was designed as a huge children’s playground.

Gaudi in Zakopane?

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I saw this strange building on the main road into Zakopane, and it really interested me. It looks exactly what Guidi would have built if he was an artist in Zakopane instead of in Barcelona. I love the way the two architectural styles are so seamlessly blended in this building.

If you want to find out more about the house (and are willing to read Polish or at least use Google translate), here is an interesting interview.

By the way, they say that the best camera is the one in your hand. I shot this with my phone and the processed it in Photomatix afterwards.

Mila 18

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Mila 18, the location of the underground bunker where most the the ghetto uprising was orchestrated from is the grave of hundreds of resistant fighters during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. It is a difficult place to talk about, but it is an important remember of human suffering and the will to survive.

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The plaque reads:

Grave of the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising built from the rubble of Mi?a Street, one of the liveliest streets of pre-war Jewish Warsaw. These ruins of the bunker at 18 Mi?a Street are the place of rest of the commanders and fighters of the Jewish Combat Organization, as well as some civilians. Among them lies Mordechaj Anielewicz, the Commander in Chief. On May 8, 1943, surrounded by the Nazis after three weeks of struggle, many perished or took their own lives, refusing to perish at the hands of their enemies. There were several hundred bunkers built in the Ghetto. Found and destroyed by the Nazis, they became graves. They could not save those who sought refuge inside them, yet they remain everlasting symbols of the Warsaw Jews’ will to live. The bunker at Mi?a Street was the largest in the ghetto. It is the place of rest of over one hundred fighters, only some of whom are known by name. Here they rest, buried as they fell, to remind us that the whole earth is their grave.

If you want to read an excellent book on the subject, I highly recommend the novel of the same name written by Leon Uris.

Many of my recent posts have been about Warsaw in World War 2. The war is remembered wherever you go. They are determined to never forget what happened, and certainly they should not forget. It is recovering, and I think perhaps that it will never recover. And I don’t think that is a bad thing at all. Never ever forget.

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