One of those things we’d been thinking about doing for a while was a daytrip to Szczecin, Poland. 2 weeks ago, before Andy took off, we seized the day and took a two hour train ride over the border.
FYI: Szczecin is pronounced like "stretchin" in Polish and the Germans say "stettin." This is one of those border-ish towns that has a very disputed ownership, having been passed back and forth several times between the two countries. Upon telling a German friend here about our day trip, he instantly got incensed talking about how the Poles STOLE that city and blah blah blah. I find this very interesting, and have a hard time finding a similar situation in the US to even compare it to. Then again, I'm not from Texas or California or anywhere remotely stolen or controversial. I digress.
From our house we took: 1 Bus, 2 S-Bahns, & 2 trains to get to Poland. Are we there yet Mama?
We timed the train ride to coincide with Mayzie’s nap, which mostly worked out, though this isn’t where she usually naps even in the stroller.
Hey wait, that's not German!
Here are the girls waiting for Dad to get back from the ATM with some Polish money.
Because our visit was pretty spontaneous, we didn’t really look up what to do there. We were however, very excited that almost all of the shops in the city were open despite the fact that it was a Sunday. We still can’t quite figure out how atheist Berlin closes most shops on Sunday and Catholic Poland doesn’t. I digress…
We walked around for a while taking in the city.
Naturally we had to get some coffee at some point.
Andy & I both liked the looks of this church, but Andy did not appreciate my commentary on his lack of architectural knowledge. (For the record: I know very very little about architecture, but I think I fooled him because I can name more styles than he can. Do I actually know what those styles are and what is indicative of each style? Absolutely not. Do I still have fun making him mad when I pretend to know more than he does? Absolutely.)
This is a drug store. All those things lined up in the windows are various different brands of lotions, lip balms, mascaras, etc that you then order from the window. I found this amazing. Andy shrugged his shoulders and said, "I bet it cuts down on shoplifting."
We were especially excited about going in the grocery store, one of our favorite spots to visit in any foreign country. Annika found a self-service barrel of sauer kraut!
I got myself a lovely bottle of inexpensive (8 Euros) and tasty Buffalo Grass vodka and Andy bought a variety of different local beers to try out. We were especially excited about the exchange rate, which for that day was 1 Euro to 4 Polish zloty.
I was also excited about finding a canned beet salad bearing the last name of my friend who just LOVES beets. I knew she’d appreciate this one.
I thoroughly enjoyed this yummy black cherry ice cream, but there is no way I could pronounce that in Polish. Seriously, how do you pronounce Smietana z Wisnia? I heard the guy say it at least 3 times and tried to repeat it, each time the people behind the counter laughed more. It was fun...for them.
I did learn how to say thank you in Polish though, so that’s something I suppose.
Mayzie proved her clutzy roots by managing to have two gigantic parental-panic-inducing-silent-screaming moments. The first came while we were waiting for Andy’s pierogies. She managed to smash her head into one of those things (that happen to be made of iron), and prove just how much a 1mm puncture wound to the scalp and busted lip actually do bleed. It scared us for sure, but she was really fine once we got her cleaned up. Seriously, who put these painted iron pointy decorative things there anyway?
Annika was very skeptical of the Polish pickle, but Andy really did enjoy his "Russian" Pierogies.
At least there was a rainbow for us,
and a nice big hill for our little fast forward to climb.
We made our way over to a nice small beer garden, and in the 2 minutes it took Andy to pick up drinks from inside, Mayzie managed to get her leg wedged between the bench and wall of the barrel that made up our table. It was rather impressive, as was the blood-curdling squeal that came out of her mouth. Andy got her out, and we promptly attempted to wrap her in bubble-wrap. Oh well.
We didn’t let it ruin our time there.
All in all, it was a lovely day out of the ordinary. It was also a little exhausting. I'm glad we went, and I would do it again...if only for the cheap Sunday shopping.