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“What do you write about on a day like today when we did nothing mum?” asked Kboy12

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Krakow, Poland

Well, my dear boy, speak for yourself! YOU may have done nothing, but someone went to the market this morning to buy our food for the day.
So I could write about the things I saw, the conversations I had (people are so friendly and now that we’ve been here a week, and do our shopping on a daily basis, some of them are starting to recognise me and stop for a chat), I could write that I saw pineapples (last week I was saying there is nothing exotic like pineapple here), I could write about the secondhand clothes shops I pass along the way (the interesting factor to me is that they sell the clothes by weight).
But I’ll skip all that and just leave two photos of things I bought at the market before I write about what I had planned to.

fruity sernik on a chocolate base ~ m.mmmmmm

and smoked mountain cheese, an incredibly dense flavour-packed experience

Being a day spent mostly indoors at our hostel planning the Turkey leg (which, by the way, was far more satisfying than organising the Romania transport – possibly because we are ending up in what looks like a reasonable hostel in a great location in Istanbul, and partly because we have decided to hire a car and trip around for a few days and so now we have the excitement of choosing what to purge from a possible itinerary – Gallipoli, Troy, Assos, Pergamon, Ephesus, Helikarnossos, Aphrodisias,  Hierapolis, The Lake District, Konya, Cappadoccia, Ankara…..)… I was saying, having spent the day at the hostel, it seemed an appropriate day to take you on a hostel tour.

Here’s the view if you’re standing at the front door:

Here’s the front door itself underneath the yellow sign – and yes, the building does curve around that corner:

But we’re not staying in that exact building. We walk through that one, past a fancy staircase and the letterboxes, through a courtyard, and then into our building:

We’re up on the first floor in a very spacious room. The couch pulls out into a double bed, but it’s so short that we take down two mattresses each night for the adults and leave a small child on the couch.

There is plenty of storage – as well as this cabinet filled with our food and toiletries and shoes and books and wok, there’s another wardrobe (unphotographed) and the “laundry” you can see hanging on the heater. An altogether comfortable set-up.

Right next door is a kitchen and dining area with computer as well. Yes, it is that sickly shade of green. A contrast to the yellow walls and pink ceiling in our bedroom!

There’s bathroom, too, and toilet as well. Sharing with half a dozen other people, we’d have thought there might be queues, but we have been surprised to find it is perfectly adequate and only rarely does anyone need to wait. No picture!

So that’s where we are. It’s fantastic to be so close to the centre of town, and just a couple of minutes away from the market, tramstop on the doorstep, parks nearby.
What’s not so fantastic, something we had forgotten about, is that it is dark by 4:30. Yes, pitch black well before dinner. After eating later and later through the summer, we now find ourselves finished and tidied up and kids ready for bed far too long before seven to consider tucking them in for the night!
But it gives them time to do our homemade puzzles, draw their own maps, design houses and furniture, play games they’ve made up, write letters to me and even decorate paper for me to reply on. It also gave Kgirl10 time to hatch a cunning plan. It came in the form of a voucher, valid in any country in the world, for special food. However, it only works if she is given some of the bounty, and just in case I might be short on ideas of what to buy, she suggested sernik, kremowka or lollies would all make her very happy!

What did YOU do today Kboy12?
What did you find to write about?

now we know

Monday, August 10th, 2009

by Rachael
Nyons, France

We haven’t exactly left France yet, but our tiny taste is drawing to a close. We were just contemplating (read: blog post author just grilled everyone for ideas <wink> actually, the contributions flowed thick and fast and these thoughts represent a conversation that cannot have lasted more than quarter of an hour) what things we have discovered, things we didn’t know before.

  • Fifi, the French poodle, is a myth. However, every other Frenchie carries a handbag dog, many of which are not much more than overgrown spiders
  • the sky is unexplainably clear
  • France is BIG
  • and beautiful
  • the south is much hotter and drier than anyone expected – almost barren-looking in places
  • the Mediterranean holiday uniform is WHITE – white linen pants, white shirts and all I can think is obviously none of them are doing handwashing!
  • there are toll toads for Africa
  • from 12-2 everything closes – EVERYTHING. Driving through villages you feel as if you are in a deserted movie set, but if you walk round town at this time you hear the clinking of silverware on crockery, you hear the laughter escaping through shutters closed against the midday sun, you smell delicious aromas wafting out.
  • at night everything comes alive – as we are settling children into bed fellow motorhomers are bringing out their evening baguettes and salads, tablecloths and wineglasses…..if you wander into town about 10 the cafe tables have spilled out onto the cobbled streets and are overflowing with people, children run round the square, rats dogs sit patiently at their owner’s feet in restaurants, live jazz music fills the warm summer air, and the back alleys are romantically deserted…..

  • disturbingly (to the Kiwi psyche!!) men wear speedos. Kiwis don’t cope with speedos at the best of times, and after the modesty of Asia where we saw more people bathe fully clothed than in specialist swimwear, it is disconcerting to have the general populace wandering round in their undies, especially when there is no beach nearby! Mind you, it would seem the men wear more than the women. There are some big Mamas running round topless after their children or parading up and down, although this behaviour *is* restricted to the beachfront.
  • speaking of Asia, we thought we had left squattie potties behind….but they are prevalent in the south. And I am glad. I actually prefer them – much more hygienic.
  • clock towers are topped with swirly-whirly curlicue-y wrought iron structures
  • they make great saucisson (sausages)
  • the loudest cicadas in the world live here (well, the loudest that we have heard – at first we thought there were chattering monkeys in the trees – until we remembered ere we were – then we wondered if there were parrots here – but they turned out to be cigale)
  • frogs are olive-skinned, beautifully tanned (see comment up a bit, I suppose!)
  • frogs are also incredibly friendly and do not object (openly, at least) to you butchering their language
  • “tant pis” (that’s Rob’s linguistic contribution – can’t say I’ve even heard it once!)
  • the lavender harvest would be over….but we saw these: 
  • we didn’t know the cutest three-year-old would be the first to pick up oooh-la-la after a week….but we should have guessed that the novelty of everyone saying it all the time would wear off after another!

And now you know what we didn’t know. I told you we were ignorant!

Time on the road: none
Distance covered: 0km

good for a giggle

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009
by Rach, who does not like driving in the pouring rain with useless wiper blades that leave a smear at eye level and make her hunch over the steering wheel like a granny to see beneath it! beside a cricket ... [Continue reading this entry]

strawberry fields forever

Thursday, July 9th, 2009
by Rach Somewhere between Helmsley and Scarborough, after Beadlam, not exactly sure where, England Strawberry picking just before dinner. No-one complained about that unplanned stop! But it was hardly the highlight of the day. (Actually, just as an aside, this week I ... [Continue reading this entry]


Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
by a dreamer Helmsley, England In my imagination in the middle of sheep covered hills there is a town set around a market square. The market square has little shops – butcher, baker, cheese seller, cloth merchant, wool shop, tailor, candlemaker, ... [Continue reading this entry]

simple precious mama moments

Friday, July 3rd, 2009
by Mama Stratford-Upon-Avon, England At home she was Mama’s girl. Within weeks of being on the road she was Dadda’s girl, and far more fiercely so than she had ever been attached to me. This special fondness for Dadda was initially ... [Continue reading this entry]


Wednesday, June 10th, 2009
by a girl, who was overly protective of her knee today (with good cause) Burgum, Holland With over 200km to travel we knew we should get away early. But there were photos to be taken of street signs – one street, two ... [Continue reading this entry]

on every corner

Thursday, June 4th, 2009
by Rach Bacharach, Germany A castle on every corner, we’d read. Well *that* was surely a spot of for-the-tourist’s-benefit exaggeration. But we figured there would be a degree of truth in the statement. We rounded our first corner, and lo and ... [Continue reading this entry]

random thoughts from the day

Saturday, May 30th, 2009
by Rachael Guess where!
  • When Rob put some rubbish in a public bin tonight, it talked to him. When he added more it said something else!! I was tempted to go and try it out, just to discover what it said.
  • When ... [Continue reading this entry]

Introducing The Bear Cave

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009
by the housewife Berlin, Germany For most of us our first look at our new home for the next six months or so came in the middle of the city at twilight. Nervously inching along the road shared by trams, trucks, ... [Continue reading this entry]