Sunday, September 28, 2014

From Warsaw to Nowy Tomysl

What's more fun than a four-hour road trip with a bunch of people you have known less than 24 hours? Precious little, I'd say.

Don't you like our cute little bus?
After breakfast Sunday morning it was time to hit the road, leaving behind the buzzing capital (Warsaw) and heading west to Wielkopolska, or as I liked to think of it, to Beyond Poznan. Our Habitat build had been described as taking place in the Poznan area, but really we were driving almost an hour west of Poznan, what with having to take some back country roads once we got off the highway. Our true destination was Nowy Tomysl, and specifically our accommodations were at the Palac Wasowo, which is a really interesting place to stay (more on that later). The house we were building was in the tiny community of Marszewo, Nowy Tomysl, and more on that later, too. First of all, let's hit the road!

As I was riding across the middle of Poland, gazing out the bus window at farms and the occasional cow or church steeple in the distance, it struck me how much everything in Poland felt so normal to me. After doing my time in Asia, I guess I'm just used to world travels tending to involve a little
A little Poland countryside. Nice, eh?
weirdness thrown at you; when you go from the U.S. to live in China you get used to wondering what's going on around you half the time. And even in Mexico, where you're super aware you're in North America and things aren't particularly bizarre, there's still randomness strewn throughout daily life, like pedestrians running across the highway, or the impatient-to-pass headlight flashers, or the
persistent use of flashers (hazards) themselves, or the city buses that will stop for you, sort of, if you flag them down, sometimes. Stuff like that. Poland, on the other hand, does not seem to offer a lot of wackiness. Way to be normal, Polska!

It was pretty, and there was the requisite chatter and group bonding that happens, but also some reading and just relaxing as we settled in to our trip, and before long we had arrived at Palac Wasowo. You'll see (if you click the link) that it kind of is a palace, a full-on country manor, built by rich folks a few hundred years ago and now a hotel. Don't be too jealous, as we weren't in the most plush digs; the twelve of us stayed in the Gardener's House, so I joked that we were the hired help. Which, in a way...  No, seriously, though. If you are ever in Poland, take a little trip to stay at the Palac Wasowo. They have great meals, beautiful dining rooms, fun features like mini-golf and a horse-and-buggy ride on the grounds, plus recreation in the main "palace" building: sauna, a little pool, a billiards room. It was kind of like the Clue mansion.

All in all, Poland continued to welcome and delight us and feed us great quantities of quality food, and we were ready to plunge into our project. Stay tuned!

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