Posts Tagged With: RTW trip

Poles from Santa Rosa

Because of the Bank Holidays at the beginning of May in Poland and the 70th anniversary of taking Monte Cassino by Poles today I’m going to serve you a bit of history.

As you probably know, tens of thousands of civilians left USSR with the Anders Army, including many children and orphans and something had to be done with them. Civilians were deployed in such exotic places as Iran (at the Sikorski Museum in London you can see a Persian rug, woven by Polish orphans in 1943 in Isfahan – a gift for General Anders), Africa, India and… Mexico. And the Mexican chapter will be described today. Continue reading

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A New Hope…

It’s about time to start catching up. The post title suggests that the author should move his butt and start blogging regularly 🙂

We return today to Merida (again), and more specifically to the ruins nearby called Mayapan. My trip to this site was one of the most enjoyable so far. This is due to four factors: my starting point was Merida, which I love, the entire cost of the trip (transportation, entrance) closed at 76 pesos (£3.50), had the whole site almost exclusively for myself and was able to climb every building. Continue reading

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Mexico again…

The coach to Valladolid (second class of course) took us 3.5 hours. Our CS host, Tony picked us up from the bus station and took us to his restaurant, although it looked more like a bar in a small village in Poland. It was Friday 4pm, the bar half full, a guy was playing melancholic love songs on the keyboard, some elderly couple awkwardly danced around, the tables were occupied by men who probably happened to be on a leave from prison, and their lady companions were probably reinforcing themselves prior to the night shift in the world’s oldest profession, a very dodgy place. Unfortunately I have no pictures as I didn’t think it was safe to take out my camera at that place… Continue reading

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Viva Mexico Cabrones!

I have a small delay, but do not worry not much was happening 🙂 I had to take a break from traveling and rest on the beach – I went, among others, to the island of Holbox, but this time I had the sun all week. Probably I’ll go back again. But to the point, considering it has been 10 days I was in the States, it’s time to catch up.

In Merida we stayed with Cristina from CouchSurfing. We only had a moment to take a look at the city layout, which is duplicated in many Mexican cities and towns that were founded by the Spaniards. In the center there is always a large square, on one side of which is the church and on the other usually a public administration building. From the square, streets, intersecting at right angles and dividing adjacent to the square area into equal squares. Cities founded by Spaniards are very easy to navigate. Cancun, which was built over the past 30-40 years is very chaotic. Often along the square were houses of the Spanish nobility, in the case of Merida it was a family Montejo, which representative, Francisco de Montejo y León (“El Mozo”) founded Merida in 1542 on the site of T’Hó – a Mayan city. We visited the Casa de Montejo which was inhabited by the Montejo family up to the 70s of the last century. You can judge yourselves on what level lived descendants of the conquistadors.

Catedral de San Ildefonso, first in the continental Americas

Catedral de San Ildefonso, first in the continental Americas

Casa de Montejo (built in 1549)

Casa de Montejo (built in 1549)

Bedroom

Bedroom

Patio

Patio

In the evening we went to the Santiago square, where we had panuchos (deep fried tortilla with various toppings) and later we went for a ride along passage de Montejo, admiring beautiful residences, mostly occupied now by the banks.

On the second day Cristina had dropped us off at the bus station, where we took a bus to Uxmal (Ushmal), Mayan Ruins probably founded in the sixth century, built in the Puuc style. We arrived in the morning and before noon the bus tours began to arrive, so we could walk pretty much unmolested. Uxmal means “built three times”, although the main temple consists of… five different temples. The main attraction is the Temple of the Magician, 38 metres tall with characteristically rounded sides. This is the main building of the complex, but you can not climb it. Further buildings are also very impressive – Governor’s Palace (these names were given by the Spaniards), ballgame court (pelote – again, Spanish) and a square complex, with function unknown – could be a temple or military academy. I also had the opportunity to play the Indiana Jones when we went into unfrequented part of the complex and found an unrestored temple – of course I had to climb it ( ie to discover and conquer it 🙂 ). On most of the buildings, you can often see the masks of Chaac (god of rain) and Kukulcan (god of wind). It was a very successful day – finally I could see with my own eyes what I just read about…

This building houses the Museum of Anthropology

This building houses the Museum of Anthropology

Temple of Magician - standing and clapping in front of you can hear an echo - of course everyone clapped :)

Temple of the Magician – standing and clapping in front of you can hear an echo – of course everyone clapped 🙂

Idols' masks

Idols’ masks

The Governor's Palace, with the longest façades in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica

The Governor’s (Royal) Palace, with the longest façades in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica

Quadrangle - part of the building, as already mentioned, with unknown function. In the background, on the left the Royal Palace

Quadrangle – part of the building, as already mentioned, with unknown function. In the background, on the left the Royal Palace

The ball was played throughout Mesoamerica. Losers often paid with their heads... Maybe our football players would play better if threatened with that? :)

The ball was played throughout Mesoamerica. Losers often paid with their heads… Maybe our football players would play better if threatened with that? 🙂

And now we all hum the theme from Indiana Jones (apparently I looked very happy)

And now we all hum the theme from Indiana Jones (apparently I looked very happy)

View of the temple from the Governor's Palace side

View of the temple from the Governor’s Palace side

The day ended with the consumption of mezcal (vodka made of agave), dancing (I only looked) to the accompaniment of songs originating in Russia 😦

Mezcaleria

Mezcaleria

The next day, Cristina again had dropped us off at the bus station, and we went to Valladolid, where Tony was waiting for us – our next CS host. But more about that in the next episode.

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Changes, changes, changes…

I know it’s been a while since my last post but it’s not because I’m lazy. A lot of changes in my private life and as the consequence the trip has been postponed until January. Six months’ delay means I need to change the route as it’s all about the weather. Traveling to Ukraine during the winter sounds… suicidal 🙂 So, I’m going to start from Mexico. I’m afraid States and Canada will have to wait as I don’t want to start my trip from these expensive countries. Latin America is cheaper and I won’t need visas there as I can stay up to 90 days in each of the countries. I’m very tempted to see Central America in detail. The plan was to fly from Mexico to Panama but maybe I should just use chicken buses instead and see how people live there. I just have to remember to avoid Brazil during the World Cup as it’s going to be crazy. I’m sure they will invest a lot before World Cup so visiting after seems to be a good idea. Unless Polish National Team qualifies and they will need my support 🙂 (doubt that). With new route Australia and New Zealand will be the only expensive countries. When I get to Asia I should be an expert in cheap traveling.

Bieszczady Mountains

Bieszczady Mountains

So, with a whole year in the UK, I have to plan my holidays somehow. I’ll keep discovering Polish traces in London but that’s not proper holiday. The other option is Poland as I need to save money. I always wanted to see Bieszczady Mountains. On the way I could pop in to the Regional Museum in Tarnow to see the Sanguszko collection. I mentioned it here. But I still have a few months to plan.

Regional Museum in Tarnow

Regional Museum in Tarnow

Time flies (when you’re having fun :)), we’ve just had Easter. It was good to spend Easter in Poland, although I can’t remember ever having snow for Easter. Oh well, instead of white Christmas we had white Easter… When planning Easter in Poland I decided it would be too easy to just fly there. So I took Megabus to Amsterdam, spent a day there (the Maritime Museum was the main reason, but I managed to enjoy Amsterdam as well 😉 ) After a day in Amsterdam I took a night train (Jan Kiepura train) to Poznan, from where, after buying a couple of delicious Polish sweet buns, I took a train to my Wroclaw. I spent a few pounds more than on a “cheap” airline’s ticket, but I really had fun. Post about Amsterdam is being written.

National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam

National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam

Jan Kiepura's route

Jan Kiepura’s route

I promise to post on regular basis and I don’t mean every quarter 🙂 And Winter, let the Spring come!

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An update

Wow, the last few weeks at work have been hectic. I even forgot to count down the days, and it’s only 241 days left 🙂 I’ve started my vaccinations last week and that was when I felt that I’m really going on a trip! Today’s post will be just a quick update on the Big Plan. Thanks to the lovely couple from Brazil, Edu and Cinthia (Beijos guys :)), we’ve decided to add Brazil to our list. We hosted them through Couchsurfing and I must say we “clicked” immediately. It felt as if we’ve known each other for ten years at least. They were just starting their trip in June and London was their first stop. They’re both from Sao Paolo and hopefully they’ll be home when we get there 🙂 Sao Paolo is a city where I hope to see some of the Sanguszko Collection’s exhibits. The Sanguszko family (Pogon Litewska coat of arms) is an old polish-lithuanian noble family related to Polish king Wladyslaw Jagiello (1362-1434), through his brother Fiodor. The family collection suffered a lot during the WWI so when the WWII started in 1939 Count Roman Sanguszko decided to save it. He loaded everything on trucks and from Pidhirtsi in Ukraine via Romania he got most of it to Brazil. A Sanguszko Cultural Foundation is looking after the collection now, with Count Pawel Sanguszko in charge. But don’t worry if you can’t go to Brazil – a huge part of collection is at the Regional Museum in Tarnow, Poland.

Sanguszko palace in Pidhirtsi, Ukraine

But Brazil means much more to me. It was a destination for many immigrants from Poland, mostly in 19th century. Because of nationalization in ‘30s whole generations of Polish immigrants lost their touch with the language, culture and the Old Country. Luckily from ‘80s it’s all coming back to normal. People learn Polish, go to polish churches, read polish books. Some say it’s got something to do with the Polish Pope…

The second change to our Plan is slightly bigger. We were planning to fly to Tashkent from Crimea, but instead we’ll take a ferry to Georgia. We’ll visit Georgia, Armenia (which became a first Christian country, in 301 AD, even before Roman Empire converting to christianity) and we’ll travel  through Turkey from East to West and from Istanbul we’ll take a plane to Uzbekistan.

Tatev monastery in Armenia

Another detour will take place in China.  I think I’ve mentioned Harbin before, a city in NE China founded by Poles building railway for Tsar. I didn’t know how to convince my dear wife to go there. And the solution came to me thanks to Eden Channel and a program called Wild China. The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival takes place in Harbin each year and it starts on 5th January. There are full-size buildings made of ice! They’re all illuminated and in the evening they look simply magical. I googled it, showed it to my wife and I knew she won’t be able to resist 🙂

Full-size illuminated buildings made of ice in Harbin, China

The last major change regards USA. I said we won’t go there but maybe we will… If we still have money in Mexico we’ll go to States. I found a blog of a Polish guy, who bought some old piece of junk and just drove it through States. The car, taxes, fees cost him around $1000 plus he had someone there who helped him with the formalities. We don’t have that luxury. With no high hopes I checked Avis in States. I was checking Avis in Georgia before and they wanted £600 for a car for two weeks, but in States… A new car, with the insurance, for two months… $1000 🙂 Yay!!! We’re going to America! And if I’m in States, I may as well visit my cousin in Edmonton and friends in Toronto 🙂 If we still have money in Mexico. Or if we ever get to Mexico 😀

So that’s the update. Autumn has come, soon the time will come to buy pumpkins and make some Halloween Jack-o-Lanterns. I’m going to spend long evenings reading guidebooks, because time’s running fast. Stay warm (says me, sipping hot tea with raspberries…).

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And now for something completely different

The topic of today’s post will be slightly different from the previous ones. It is going to be about our RTW trip. I’m so excited that I’ve even started counting down days till my last day at work… My dear wife thinks I’m crazy but I don’t care – only 329 days left!!!

Where did the whole idea come from? Well, I described my reasons in “About me” so feel free to read about it. In a few words, the idea is that wherever I go I’ll try to find some Polish traces and write about it of course. And I think there is no place in the world without any Polish traces… I already have a few Poles in mind but first I want to get to those places, take a few pictures and then share the knowledge with you, Dear Readers 😉

I was asked what traces can I find on Easter Island…? 🙂  Well, even if it’s only a graffiti in Polish saying “Tony was here”, that is a reason good enough for me to go there.

I’ve attached a highly professional map with our itinerary. Of course the plan may and probably will change during the trip. If you check any of the travel blogs you’ll easily notice that plans do change. I’m sure that we’ll hear about must-see places and must-do things along the way. I remember breakfasts at a hostel in Madrid. Every morning, one of the seasoned travelers was telling his stories and every morning he was surrounded by a bunch of listeners. I can’t confirm if his stories were true or not, because I could only hear a calling of the streets of Madrid. But the fact is people love to talk about their travels and very often they are a very good source of information.

Highly professional map 🙂

Just in case my map is not readable, I’ll write a few words about the Big Plan.

From our beloved Wroclaw we’ll go to Ukraine. We want to see Western Ukraine and the Crimea. From Crimea we want to fly to Uzbekistan. In each country we plan to spend approximately 4 weeks. From Tashkent a quick and hopefully safe flight to Delhi. We won’t stay in India very long. We want to see Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Ahmadabad and Varanasi. Next stop will be Nepal. We’re thinking about semi-difficult trek with Himalayas in the background. We wanted to go to Tibet, but because you need a special permit, buy a “trip”, plus you never know when Chinese decide to close the borders, Tibet will have to wait. From Nepal we’ll fly to China. We don’t exactly know yet what do we want to see there but I’d like to visit Harbin, a city in NE China. City that was founded by Poles building a railway for Tsar in nineteenth century. After China we’ll visit SE Asia, starting in Vietnam and finishing in Thailand. I think 3-4 weeks for each country should do. From Thailand we’d like to go to Malaysia and Indonesia. We’re still not sure about Philippines, but I guess we’ll see when we get there.

Next stop will be Aussie land. We’ll do only east coast, because this country is just too big and too expensive. A short flight and we’ll land in Middle-earth, I mean Maori land 🙂

The last stage will be Latin America. So far we have Chile with Easter lsland, Argentina, Brasil (recently added), Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Panama and Mexico on the list. But because we don’t need visas there, we’re quite open-minded about the route. We’ve decided to go to Patagonia and I’d love to see Strait of Magellan, but like I said the itinerary is not set in stone yet.

Recently I’ve started thinking  we may be over planning a wee bit, but the worst scenario is… we’ll save too much and we’re going to travel even longer. Just in case we still have money in Mexico, we might go to USA and Canada, buy a car and just drive around…

So that’s the Big Plan… at the moment. I still have a few months left, so I’ll keep saving, reading and blogging.

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