Monday, September 5, 2016

Brunch, Plazas, History, Nature in Cedynia, Poland

I love to go out for breakfast and brunch with friends and family.  I started thinking about all of the places I have gone for breakfasts and brunches both locally and on my trips.  There is a one in 2014 that stands out.  Is it the surprise factor of where I was going why I recall this one?

I will not be writing about the delicious German and Polish foods this time, I am going to  describe the “where” I went for the first time. 

Going out for breakfast in Cedynia, Poland

This particular morning I was whisked off in my carriage on a chilly December Saturday morning for our delicious brunch and get acquainted reunion conversation. The countryside I went through looked much like I remember growing up in Missouri as we crossed over the Oder River and the Poland border outside Bad Freienwalde, Germany. 

This is northeast of Berlin, Germany.  I went from my favorite urban city, to a small town, to a find this tiny village. I watched the rolling hills, forests, and wide open space pass by me through my carriage window.

I admit I was a somewhat apprehensive passenger following along on this day to unknown places especially since I do not speak the language and I was not able to do my own research first.  I do love to embrace new regions and I found familiar fun excitement rising inside me again.  How often do we really get to go to new, not familiar, and unknown places? I am grateful for cousins and friends that helped show me the way.

Poland Countryside in December

Why is it the time that passes going to a new place appears to move slowly when in reality, it may only be a half hour?  The distance (per Google maps) from Bad Freienwalde, Germany to Cedynia, Poland is  7.7 km or 10 mi and about 20 minutes. With my imagination, it seemed like a day journey in my carriage.

As we turned off the main two lane highway into Cedynia, I was reminded again of the Missouri town rolling hills. Of course I see the old Church building in the center of town that I recognize in pictures when I surf the web that is close to our restaurant.
The Village of Cedynia, Poland
The popular places people visit and write about of Poland are Krakow and Warsaw, there is not so much information about this village where I went.
I found this description from National Geographic website on Poland, “Café patrons enjoy a view of St Mary’s Church across from Krakow’s picturesque Rynek Glowny, one of the largest public plazas in Europe.”

This is true of Cedynia.  I admired the very old architecture still standing and the mural on the side of the building next to our restaurant in this off the beaten path village plaza.  And I saw one of the other buildings next to the museum undergoing historical renovation.

The drive through central Cedynia, Poland

Restaurants are usually called chata, gospoda or oberża, translated roughly as "tavern" or "inn". The ones I went into were made of wood and with plenty of colorful ornaments hanging on the walls. I did feel as if I was in a 19th century family house. Many of their menus include traditional dishes and beverages with food served on decorated tableware.

Murals, Plaza, History, Cedynia, Poland

I am grateful that I was with friends and family who translated the menu words to help me – this is when my Word Lens app would be an asset to read the words had I been on my own.

I love ordering a “Radler” with my meals. Radler also means 'cyclist' in German, this is your favorite Pilsner or Lager with lemonade or soda (Sprite or 7-Up) added. Why don’t we have this option more often in the USA?

An inside tip to remember is the tradition meal times, the Polish (and even Germans in rural areas) generally take their meals following the standard continental schedule with a light breakfast in the morning (usually some sandwiches with tea/coffee), then dinner at around 4PM or 5PM, then supper at around 7PM or 8 PM.

I found the impressive website (and translated) of Hotel and Restaurant Piast Cedynia  of our restaurant of our fabulous brunch – one of two or three places to eat in this village. My mouth waters when I think about the taste of the combination of delicious European breads and rolls, meats, and American scrambled eggs I ate. There was the fun surprise of candies in this special tiny little wooden box after our meal. Again, I probably would not have found this place on my own.
After Meal Candies!

Country drive around Cedynia, Poland

After our brunch we drove around the countryside through Cedynia Landscape Park, a wilderness forest with lots of history. Of course in December season, it was a very different look that you may see in the summer.  I am still researching my memories of the history spots that I saw on this drive. There is more information about this Park: 

 “Cedynia Landscape Park is a protected area in north-western Poland, bordering Germany. It was established on 1 April 1993, by order of the governor of the then Szczecin Voivodeship. The Park covers an area of 308.5 square kilometres (119.1 square miles).” 

I found this list of things to do from the AlltheCities website:

  1. The parish church of the thirteenth century in Cedynia.
  2. The observation tower of the nineteenth century in Cedynia.
  3. Settlement in Cedynia.
  4. Granite church from the thirteenth century in the Upper Lubiechowie.
  5. The church from the second half of the thirteenth century in Cząchowie.
  6. The church from the second half of the thirteenth century in Orzechowo.
  7. The church from the second half of the thirteenth century in Golice.
  8. Monument at the top Czcibor.
  9. Shrine of Our Lady of Peace in Siekierki.
  10. Cedynski park.
  11. Reserve "cabbage".
  12. Reserve Moors Cedyńskie.

Oh, the places I find myself wandering about these days! ~ The Fun Tour Guru 
I paid for my trip and pictures are mine taken on a cold December day.   My favorite and helpful research websites (some with Facebook pages) I found on my own about Poland and used with this story are: 

Poland's Official Travel Website
Guide to Poland from National Geographic website
Guide to Central Europe from Lighthouse Travel and Tours destinations
About Cedynia, Poland from AllTheCities
Hoteland Restaurant Piast
Radler Beer from the Wishful Chef 
Things to do with kids in Poznan Poland from Travel with Bender

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Santa Cruz, CA: Surfing Hot Spot

I like the ocean. Let me rephrase this. I am an ocean addict. When I look back at my personal day trips around the San Francisco bay area, I find one trip that I frequent every few months, year after year.

What is my favorite region? Every trip is special. I always find one feature that pulls at me. There is one place I consistently return to every few months.

I like to walk and watch the surfers along Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz, CA

Reasons why I enjoy:

  • Up close – I stand on the cliff edge (behind the fence) that is immediately above where the surfers gather in the water to practice. This is where the Monterey Bay reaches the Pacific Ocean.
  • Easy access – I drive my own car and park in one the many parking areas on Cliff Drive. If I am lucky, I get a parking place by the Surfer Museum Lighthouse. I advise leaving before 8 am during the summer months to avoid traffic and leave early afternoon around 1 pm. (or make advance hotel reservations and spend the night)
  • Free – So far, knock on wood, it is free to park and walk. 
  • It is a great place to stop and talk with people. I find people from everywhere around the world because of the fabulous vista point. And, I like the fun stories from the local surfers too.

I know my family in Central USA might think I am nuts that I spend most of my leisure time watching these surfers at this vista point. Perhaps they tire of my surfers pictures that I keep posting every year. When I go I find something different - weather, people, events. The wind was blowing so much on this day I took the video that it was difficult to hold my camera.

This is where I relax and an escape. Is it because I grew up in the middle of USA without the ocean? I enjoyed going to lakes, the ocean is different. The vast, endless body of water without a shoreline across from you – the unknown surprise of what it brings to you.

I love watching this water sport. I admit I am not interested in participating, I am a spectator. Surfers are independent, they watch and decide which waves to ride and pass, yet they are social with their friends while they wait.

I share videos and pictures on Instagram, this video is one of my top two posts with views and likes.

What makes you want to engage with this video? 

Surf History

Wait for the Right Waves!
 This is a picture from my Instagram feed:

Santa Cruz, CA - Bay meets Ocean

Watching the surfers along Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz, CA, my favorite escape ~ The Fun Tour Guru