Of course I had to bring home something from Poland. There was so much lovely pottery and I'm a sucker for such things. I almost bought a jug/pitcher to add to my not inconsiderable collection, but decided on these instead.
On our last day in Poland we went to Zakapone and Chocolow, near the Slovak border, and saw these beautiful traditional wooden houses. They look new but some of them are quite old - well over a hundred years - and according to our guide, they look new because the women scrub them - the actual outsides of the houses - every spring, which cleans off the... whatever it is that makes wood go silvery... and also removes the woodworm eggs.
Why the women, one asks oneself? A job for a man, I'd have thought. I'm glad no one depends on me to rid our house of woodworm. I don't mind cleaning inside but the line must be drawn somewhere, and washing the entire house definitely falls outside that line, in my view.
The house on the left is the old family house and workshop of a woodcarver. The one on the right is where he lives with his family.
This one is much more elaborate and was designed by the artist Stanislaw Witkiewicz (1885-1939), who was inspired by the distinctive architectural style of wooden houses in Zakopane and helped to make Zakopane a popular place for artists to live and later for tourists to visit.
Zakapone main street. We ate Polish dumplings for lunch. They were very sustaining: excellent for those who have to go and till the fields, shovel the snow or wash the house, but perhaps a bit filling for the average tourist.
The Tatra mountains. Look at the pile of snow! And the stunning scenery!
A wooden church.
And another. Quite beautiful.
Back in the apartment in Krakow, I rather liked this nifty arrangement: a cupboard with a drying rack and a drip tray underneath it. A boon for the housewife, exhausted from house-scrubbing and unable to be bothered putting the dishes away. Just close the door and the kitchen is tidy.
The weather was lovely in Poland: sunny and about 70/20 degrees. As we arrived back home and were alighting from the plane into a chilly, grey Scottish spring day, I heard one flight attendant say to another, "The first time I flew with you, you gave the arrival announcement and you said, 'Welcome to the tropical paradise that is Edinburgh.'"