Friday, May 27, 2011

More from the East-er trip

Whilst away for Easter in the East. I wanted to make sure we did something other than my normal trick of cooking and eating far too much, attacking the poor defenceless trees in the garden, as I am a prune-a-holic, and annoying the heck out of the cats and dog. So we decided to stop by the cemetery, ok not so glamorous as one may think, but in this part of the world it is a really important part of life.
They do have these freaky photos on the graves
Plenty of floral tributes.
It is a flower-a-rama at the cemetery
 So after the glitz and glamour that was the dead end of town, we headed off, and out of the city. I have been bugging everyone for a long time about learning more about the Tatars. The people who gave us raw meat (more on this when I talk about my birthday meal) for an entree, and controlled horseriding skills, still exist in Poland. They have suffered hugely in wars as they were highly regarded warriors. In the 17th century after some extreme bravity (saving King Sobieski's life), and assistance in defeating the Turks (The Ottoman Empire) at Vienna, they were granted noble status and give equal rights and land in what is now Eastern Poland. This is where we went to see one of the two villages left in Poland. There are about 3000 left in all of Poland and most live here in Podlasia. Something cool to note as well is the late Hollywood tough guy Charles Bronson was a Tatar!

The town has a church and not a mosque in the "city" sign
The actual Mosque in pristine grounds
The details like all mosques I have seen are delicate and simple
Me pretending to be creative
So as we pulled into Bohoniki we passed some adorable old men sitting out on a bench chattering away and then we parked the car right in front of the mosque. I was standing there taking some photos and I looked behind me. There was a lady standing in front of her house about 200m away yelling at me. I thought maybe we weren't allowed to take photos and then she came down on her bike. I was waiting to get bashed or something by angry town folk. She came down and pointed at the sign. She said "why didn't you come to me?" Marty told me the sign said to go to the address on the sign and the home owner would give you a tour. I was relieved and so for the next 20 or 30 minutes we sat, listened to stories, asked questions and had a good old time.
The lady I was at first scared of.
Prayer beads
Prayer rug with a "Mecca Finder" attached, also known as a compass.

I love a good carpet, and these were quality.

The caretaker of the Mosque tells us stories about Tatars.
Who knew?! I had married a Muslim.

Even her Mother is a Muslim!

After the Mosque we decided to head to the nearby cemetery and see what the differences were, compared to the Christian one that we visited earlier.
The grave stones are spread amongst a hillside covered in beautiful pine

It had a much more ethereal feel to it than any other cemetery I have visited in Poland
Most graves have both Polish and Arabic inscriptions. 
The graves were arranged so that the interned body had its head towards Mecca
Some of the inscriptions
A star and Crescent Moon with the inscriptions
It was a very well kept and beautiful cemetery

I think the almost ghostly pines added to the ambiance that is present there.
Some of the fascinating pine tree formations

 So that was a day with the Tatars. Interesting, no?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Kabaty Forest

Spider tree
In Warsaw there are many great parks, it is actually something the communists did well, was retain parks as they could have just as easily slapped down more apartment buildings but they didn't so we should be thankful. I have shown off before small amounts of łazienki, Saski and the infamous Granny parks. But, never have I shown off the biggest one that is nearest to me. Well, to start with it really isn't a park. It is actually a forest. Where during the war lots of people hid and apparently many Jewish families, and was also a scene of uprising when the southern militia tried to reach Warsaw to help the Warsaw Uprising units. It is called the Kabaty Forest or Las Kabacki in Polish.
So let's stroll through it.
The curved trees and good healthy humus layer

A sleeping tree, one of the recent victims of strong winds
Now what on earth is here? It is a bit of a tricky one, stare at it and try and find what is there.
Yes it is a little forest frog.
The freshest of the leaves are out.
They look so pretty when fresh and new
They pop up in all the oddest places
Low and high
Creating beautiful crisp shadows
Or coming out of the shadows.
Showing their veins
Popping out their berries
I do love great textures of nature
It can be seen on the branches that are scaly
Or the trunks
Where nature just makes it own patterns
It makes the beauty simple
And delicate at the same time
Sometimes you even get some flowers if the grannies haven't picked them already
So after strolling through the forest it is time to head home
Through the tall buildings, long shadows
And random graffiti
 That, was a stroll through an Urban forest, I hope it wasn't too urbane.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mokotow Strolls.

It is that time of year when strolls around Warsaw and it's burbs are certainly more enjoyable. Yes, there is sun, there are smiles and there are many more people whiter than me. So when the legs are out I don't feel so bad. A few weekends back we decided to enjoy the sunshine in one of our popular haunts in Mokotow. You may have already seen photos from the Granny Park and Królikarnia well the area in these photos is quite nearby.

So off we go.
The Metro from the stairs, this is the view of Racławica as we exited. I kind of liked the error as I obviously took the light reading off the lights and not the darks, photo speak for Garth screwed up but is relatively happy.

City love

Old ball boy
Two battered ball boys
Malinowa magic
You can see gramps thinking about another icecream, while his young companion tells a friend how great it was
is that Prince William?
it is all foreign to me!
Go banana!from Ralph
This picture reminds me on a song sung by Marty.

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