Posts Tagged With: Poland

For Americans Considering A Move to Canada (If Donald Trump Becomes President)

If you are praying that Donald Trump isn't elected President of the United States and your prayers fail, no need to move to Canada. Come join these folks in Bangkok, Thailand, and pray he doesn't turn the world upside down

If you are praying that Donald Trump isn’t elected President of the United States and your prayers fail, no need to move to Canada. Come join these folks in Bangkok, Thailand, and pray for the world. Maybe make and offering. 🙂

 

So much talk from Americans about leaving the United States should Donald Trump become president. Canada appears to be where all these disgruntled Americans will be headed en masse, aiming straight for the northern border where hopefully “The Donald” will be too distracted building his “Great Wall” on the southern border and waging war with the world that he won’t notice the grand exodus to the north.

Canadians, of course, are not relishing this notion of Americans flocking like ants across the border to spend the next four years. They’d rather their pesky cousins stay home. Such is the relationship between Americans and Canadians. It’s best described as siblings who care about each other but can only stand the sight of each other for so much time. At least that’s the point of view of many Canadians. Have you listened to Canadian talk radio lately? 🙂

My fellow Americans,  there are hundreds of countries in this world, be more adventurous! Canada is the lazy way out and so Vietnam-era. If you are going to leave the good old U.S. of A. for four years, at least try to live it up! Canada is safe harbor. Try the expanse of the ocean, a desert’s endless stretch, a mountain full of hope, a placid beach or big waves. Plop down in a developing country and maybe do your bit to help it develop. Teach English. Learn a different culture, another language. Injoy. That’s not a misspelling: Injoy. Let joy come from within. And unleash it. Forget Canada! Make this hiatus worth your while. And use it to let the rest of the world know we’re not all like Donald Trump. Not sold? Okay, how about this: It’s freakin’ freezing in  Canada. You might as well move to Alaska. At least you’d still be in the U.S.A. and not run the risk of returning to the U.S. attaching “eh” to the end of every sentence.

“how’d you like that ice cream, eh?”

Having traveled to more than 100 countries in the course of my lifetime, I’m in a good position to offer alternatives to Canada to all Americans considering escaping the U.S. while “The Donald” is wrecking it and making an even bigger mess of the world.

I’ve spent weeks and in some cases months in these places. I know them firsthand. They’ve been carefully chosen to satisfy all types of individuals and lifestyles. And they’re all better infinitely better than twiddling your thumb while you’re freezing your butt off in Canada. Did you know it snows in Canada even in the summer? Okay, no it doesn’t, that was a last-ditch effort to have you choose, say, Singapore. Never been there, but I hear it’s nice.

And alright, maybe none of these offerings are better than Canada, but you will certainly be better off choosing one of them if you want those four years to go by fast. Remember time flies when you’re having fun.

Besides, since you’ll be away for at least four years, unless “The Donald” is impeach within the first week in office for something he said or more likely did, location is everything. All these alternative countries to Canada have also been chosen based on neighboring countries. So if you by chance get bored with the country you’re in, you can travel to neighboring countries to mix things up, get back your mojo.

Alright, let’s do this. Here are my 10 alternatives countries for Americans ready to move to Canada to escape President Trump.

Δ

  1. Medellin, Colombia: The weather is always perfect, the it’s the home of Botero, the beer is cheap, the food is great, the city has a nice vibe, the people are super friendly and welcoming and the party zone is one of the best in all of South America. Okay, I hear the groans: Isn’t Colombia dangerous? Doesn’t Medellin have a drug cartel named after it? Wasn’t this the kingdom of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar? Won’t I get shot or blown to bits upon arrival? No, yes, yes, no. Let me say this for the record. Colombia is not the same country you heard or read about on the news. Yes, there are still pockets of danger, but you know where they are and you have no business going there unless you know somebody who lives there or you are going to score some coke – highly not recommended! Stay within bounds of the city, ask locals, hang with locals, they know the deal. Medellin also has great shopping malls. Word of caution to the wannabe players: if you see a stunning woman – there are many – well put together, built of shall we say, some plastic, in a nightclub or bar, do not approach. Stand back and observe first. Make sure she’s not there with her sugar daddy kingpin, otherwise you will find yourself in a world of hurting. You’ve been warned, player. NEIGHBORS TO VISIT: Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia

    Δ

  2. Zürich, Switzerland: I once traveled from the United States to Zürich just to buy a watch I saw in a magazine. The watch was not yet available in the U.S. Yes, those were the days I could hop on a plane on a whim and go anywhere my heart desired. After my mission was accomplished, I stuck around Zürich for a few days and fell in love with the city. Diverse, friendly, hip, happening, great vibes. I hear you still groaning: It’s damn expensive! Yes, Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries on Earth. While there I tried not to pay attention to my bill. But one day, I took a peek at how much one beer I was drinking cost, and almost fell off my bar stool: $10 for one beer! What had I just ordered, brew imported from the ends of the Earth? Anyway, Switzerland is an amazingly beautiful country, especially if you love the outdoors. And those Alps! You can’t beat them for scenic beauty. It’s a small country, so it’s easy to get around. Great place to spend for years. NEIGHBORS TO VISIT:  Austria, France, Italy, Germany

    Δ

  3. Cuenca, Ecuador: Worried about your inability to speak Spanish? Don’t worry, there are so many “gringos” living here that English is the unofficial second language. Just about every turn I took in Cuenca I bumped into Americans speaking English or very bad Spanish. Most of them are retirees. Who knew that Cuenca was such a big draw for U.S. retirees? They live well here on their pensions. And because there are so many Americans, many businesses have clerks on hand that speak English. I didn’t particularly care for this side of Cuenca. After all, I had left the United States and I felt like I was on an unending tour with so many Americans around. On the positive, you won’t have any shortage of people ready and able to give you tips and directions in English. Beyond this, Cuenca is a cool city, with Inca ruins and great restaurants. It has a nightlife as well. Lots of hostels full of backpackers. I enjoyed Cuenca. You will, too. NEIGHBORS TO VISIT: Peru, Colombia, Galapagos

  4.  Wroclaw, Poland: Yes, there’s Warsaw, the capital and financial center. And Krakow. And even Gdansk, which I absolutely loved, especially its Old Town in winter. But Wroclaw, once part of Germany, is such a cool town, with its centuries old buildings that the Germans spared during World War II. Its town squares and bars and restaurants, the city teems with people from all around the world. Not a bad place to spend your next four years. NEIGHBORS TO VISIT: Germany, Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland, Norway

  5. Lagos, Portugal: You’d rather spend the next four years forgetting Donald Trump even exists? This is your great escape. Breathtaking beaches, mild winters, sizzling summers that attract party people looking for fun, but also families on holiday. Lagos is it! The town shuts down in winter, with a few businesses remaining open year-round, but come March the place begins to come alive. Careful here. You might become one of those people who came to Lagos for a weekend visit and stayed 10 years and counting. Which might be a good thing should Trump get reelected to a second 4-year term. You must go to Nah Nah Bah restaurant if you love burgers. NEIGHBORS TO VISIT: Spain, Morocco, Italy

  6. Santorini, Greece: Athens has the antiquities but it lacks a soul and it definitely lacks friendly people. Worst experience I’ve had anywhere. But get out of Athens and get to the islands and it’s night and day. The people outside of Athens are super friendly, welcoming and helpful. Santorini is amazing, overlooking the bluest waters of the Mediterranean. With Greece’s recent economic woes, things are even cheaper. Greece is all about relaxing and “The Donald” will be far from your mind on Santorini, as you sit on one of its narrow streets sipping coffee in the morning or beer at night. Or beer in the morning and coffee at night. Santorini is where I intend some day to drop out of society and chill for the rest of my days. NEIGHBORS TO VISIT: Turkey, Egypt, Cyprus, Israel

    Δ

  7. Vilcabamba, Ecuador: Ecuador, again. Such as small country with so much. By the way, I also LOVED Montanita. If you are a hippie or you just want to know what it’s like to be a hippie, Vilcabamba and Montanita are for you. Vilcabamba is where the Inca royalty came to play and relax. It was their retreat. Lots of trails to explore. The pace in Vilcabamba is extremely slow, so if its wild excitement you are looking for, look elsewhere. then again, it’s a great place to tune out from what “The Donald” is doing to the rest of the world, like ending it. Oh yah, like Cuenca, you will come across a fair share of Americans and Canadians, so you won’t feel bad about skipping Canada. NEIGHBORS TO VISIT: Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Chile

    Δ

  8. Bangkok, Thailand: If hot tropical weather, dirt cheap living, spicy food, best street food ever is what you need, look no further than Bangkok. This is a good place to sort of drop out and escape four years of Donald Trump. Enough here to hold your attention. Best way to get around is by riverboat. Lots of temples and Buddhas everywhere. Many similarities to China except freer, more open society. NEIGHBORS TO VISIT: Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, China

    Δ

  9. Berlin, Germany: So much history, a rich art scene, Berlin is popping. It’s my favorite city in Germany, although Cologne and Hamburg are cool, too. Check out the remnants of the Berlin Wall. Check out the public toilet that is now a burger joint. Just check it out. Every turn you take in Berlin will remind you of why you left the U.S. – “The Donald”, of course. Say no to fascism, right? Drawback: You will have to learn German. Oh, you might be able to get away with not speaking German for a while, but not for four years. NEIGHBORS TO VISIT: Denmark, Belgium, United Kingdom, France, Poland

  10. Fiji: The ultimate middle digit to “The Donald” – a tropical island where you can lounge in a hammock by the ocean, live in a wooden house built over the ocean, eating fresh seafood all day and drinking coconut milk. Indulge with tropical cocktails. Walk around topless all the time. Be king or queen in paradise. Live it up. You can check after four years to see if “The Donald” will be handed four more years in the White House. And if that’s the case, smile as you contemplate staying on 4 more years! Yes! Four more years. Life is good. NEIGHBORS TO VISIT: Hopefully none

Categories: posts, travels | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

In Western Poland, Peace On Earth

The chartered van made its way up a narrow winding road. With the slow climb, its engine sputtered and seemed to momentarily stall on this heavily wooded slope.

All around us there were miles and miles of trees – many of which have stood in Karkonosze National Park for centuries. On a hike, I paused and tried to imagine the centuries of history they’ve witnessed. If only these tall, proud trees could speak.

A stream of beauty

A stream of beauty

Despite the daily shot of trekkers who come to soak in its beauty and discover the 721-year-old Chojnik Castle (built in 1292), Karkonosze is an amazingly peaceful place. It’s Poland’s slice of heaven. One of many, really. It’s about a 10 kilometer run to its neighbor, the Czech Republic.

As we ambled up and neared our hilly destination – Chojnik Hotel – the houses that dot the ondulating landscape were fewer and farther apart. When we finally arrived at the hotel and the driver shut off the 16-passenger van’s engine, the silence was so evident, so extreme, it would become the subject of conversation and much discussion among hotel guests for much of my stay.

Outdoor seating

Outdoor seating

Having spent much time in cities, perhaps made the silence even more pronounced. It was so quiet that during my 5-day lodging I was taken quite aback when I heard in the distance the footsteps and click-clack of Nordic walking poles of a lone hiker coming up the road.

At least one hotel guest complained it was so quiet she could not sleep, her frayed nerves accustomed to the racket that comes with living in a noisy city. For me, this silence was pure delight. After spending months in city after city across Europe, it was a joy to hear, gasp, heavens, absolutely nothing.

I had come to Chojnik by happenstance, invited to take part in a nearly-weeklong English immersion program. I was joined by several native English speakers and several Polish people seeking to brush up on their English. Poles were paired with native English speakers and they conversed on a variety of topics.

We had set out from Wrocław, the largest city in western Poland. It is located on the Oder River.

Mateusz, the man with the plan

Mateusz, the man with the plan

And now here were, housed at the Chojnik, which we all agreed was the perfect guest house. A few months ago the hotel and restaurnant reopened under new ownership and management. It has been completely remodeled, inside and out.

Mateusz Szymon, a 26-year-old interior designer and architectural student, breathed new life into the hotel when his family took it over seven months ago.

Serenity: The Chojnik grounds

Serenity: The Chojnik grounds

“It’s hard work,” he said recently, seated in the restaurant. “It’s not a good option when you live in a place where you work. You are always working.”

Front entrance

Front entrance

 

chojnik2 The Chojnik is a labor of love. It’s also a great getaway from everyday madness of the city. With it’s private ski slope complete with lift; fish pond, and acres of natural trails, it’s definitely a place of peace. I certainly found it there.

Inside the castle, what remains

Inside the castle, what remains

Categories: posts, travels | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

AIMLESS WALK LEADS TO ENLIGHTENMENT

lamp7

Walked aimlessly for hours around Poland’s largest city – Warsaw snapping pictures of non-touristic things 

 

in touristic areas

and near tourist attractions, just because that’s the goofball mood I was inlamp10

lamp3

 

 

 

 

 

Strange cracks in the sidewalk. Weird angles. Weird kindred spirits. Whatever grabbed my attention.

At sunset, it was a neat row of lampposts.

The lampposts lined a side street that led to Saski Garden.

The sky behind the lampposts was a golden yellow and deep orange. I noticed as the sun set, the lights seem to glow. From the distance I was unable to tell if it was a strange effect of the dimming sunlight or the lamps were beginning to come alive as darkness beckoned. It was a curiously interesting tradeoff: natural light was making way for artificial light. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful dance, aglow with vivid shades of yellow, orange and amber. I aimed my camera at the tall lampposts and continued to shoot photographs as the sun began what seemed like an eternal descent. Camera-toting tourists around me paused and wondered what I found so interesting in the sky, especially given the abundance of amazing historic monuments and buildings and sculptures within the lushly green city park, including the remains of Saxon Palace, converted into the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and guarded at all times by two stone-faced sentinels. Funny how you can quickly draw a curious crowd when you aim your camera in unexpected directions.

Sometime after 1815, Saski Garden, a one-time royal garden that surrounded Saxon Palace, became a municipal park. lamp10Saxon Palace was destroyed during World War II and all that remains is the archway today known as the mausoleum, where an eternal flame burns an the two Polish soldiers stand watch. Periodically, and for brief moments, the two soldiers march around the monument, perhaps to break up the torture of having to stand still for such a long time. I caught one of the soldiers perhaps fighting back a sneeze, wiggling his nose – or was he just trying to fend off a pesky fly away from his face without actually swatting at the irritant?lamp3

 For many years, only appropriately dressed strollers were allowed to enter Saski Garden. Today, there’s no official dress code. In the warmth of summer, men and women wear very little. Nobody cares. The grounds are well-groomed, serene, and still have that regal air, with its stone sculptures positioned throughout the grounds.  There is a duck pond with weeping willows and a bronze fountain that spits water. Needless to say, the park draws its share of amorous couples. Sitting on the grass is not allowed, so don’t even think about it, lest you face a sentinel’s bayonet. But none of it held my attention like the setting sun and the lamps. Together they were a spectacular medley, worth the long, aimless walk.

lamp1

Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier in Warsaw, Poland

Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier in Warsaw, Poland

lamp6

Categories: posts | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: