[Photos of sunshine and breeze and at the end of the entry.]
I went to Kazimierz Dolny instead of Zamość because of the girls’ recommendation. I didn’t know whether I should go to an “atmospheric” place that has otherwise hardly anything instead of a tiny town with more historical buildings, but since even the Daniel who has stayed in Taiwan for a long time (and definitely have seen quite some stunning natural scenery in Taiwan), I decided to go for the former. Besides, Zamość is self-dubbed “Padua of the north,” due to all the architecture designed by an Italian architect; I am also not sure what Lonely Planet website means by “artistic exaggeration,” but I have seen the Padua in Italy, so maybe I should go for Kazimierz all these “locals” recommended.
And it’s very boring.
First of all, the mini-bus to Kazimierz Dolny sets off from the tiny parking lot for mini-buses. I couldn’t find it at first, but the various drivers who definitely don’t speak any English were willing to help, so at least I found the right place and slept quite a bit on the way to and back from Kazimierz. There is no information center there, the place is tiny, and many (most) things are under renovation.
When I climbed up the hill to reach a tower and sweated all the way, I thought to myself, “How is this different from hiking in one of the numerous mountain hiking routes in Taipei?” Well, it’s different – the views in Taipei, which is definitely not the most beautiful place in Taiwan, are better.
But at least there were the winds, and I can see why people appreciate how the town is perched on the hill, overlooking the river flowing by. Yes, hills and mountains always sing and smile silently, and it’s lucky to have them.
There’s also a hill with three unaesthetic (sorry, I don’t know how to put this in a better way) crosses, and there was a topless man waiting at the “entrance” to charge 1.5 PLN. Very interesting.
Having rested a bit, I walked back to the tiny Rynek and decided to return. On the way back to the tiny mini-bus stop, I picked up one of the rooster-shaped pastry that seems to be everywhere. Well, it’s dry and a bit chewy, and that makes it a good way to spend time. As I checked the bus time table, a very old lady asked me (in Polish, of course!) where I was going to, and upon hearing my answer, she tried very hard to write down the time for me: first with her fingers on the window, and later she even managed to get a piece of paper to write it down with a pen. How very sweet.
I completely fell into a coma on the returning bus – god knows how I can sleep that much; I was actually waken by a fellow passenger. When I stood on the street all sleepy-eyed, he came up and asked, “tourist?” Yes I am. “Old town!” he pointed the direction. Yes, that’s where stare miasto (old town) is. Another very sweet person.
I went to the restaurant recommended by the tourist info yesterday; it has a big plate that claims to have won the honor of “best restaurant 2010-2011.” I chose a Polish borsch (don’t like it) and chicken liver with baked apple (too greasy) with side salad (with sour cream all over). I felt irritable – there wasn’t much wind, and even in the shades I didn’t feel comfortable, being sticky and all. In addition, their wi-fi didn’t work, and the unlocked connection I could poach from a nearby point wasn’t very good, I decided to leave – either find a café or head back home.
The several cafes near Rynek (central square) all look and feel hot. Well, one way to do it is to walk all the way to another side of the town (35 minutes on foot, I estimate) to that shopping center Plaza for the “Polish Starbucks” Coffeeheaven. But as I walked on the main shopping street, I saw a nice café with an open-air area that’s graced by plenty of breezes. Hooray. I sat down, explained to the waitress I want a coffee and an extra glass full of ice. She thought it means ice cream. After trying a couple of times, I was prepared to turn on a Google Translation page, but a very nice Polish lady with her boyfriend sitting nearby asked me what the problem was and translated it for me. And voilà, I could make a proper iced Americano – surprisingly this is what many a Taiwanese crave for!
Back home Olga announced a friend was coming over at 8.30pm. She presented soup (tomato paste and potato, I think) and red wine, and we had a fine talk. During the whole time of my stay, Olga’s friend Elize has shown very attentive ears and is very very nice. (She can also eat a lot and somehow stays reasonably slim, but that’s another thing.) Towards the end of the evening I got Greg’s SMS, email and phone call again, and considering the new additions of details to his plan, I decided to go for Zakopane by myself either on Thursday or Friday, which means I’ll “save” a couple of days and also supposedly not see him and lovely T for the rest of this trip. Which feels odd.
[Kazimierz + Lublin photos = here.]
Lublin – Kazimierz Dolny迷你巴士往返：8*2= 16