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Saturday, 2 July 2016

Hard Parts About Being An Expat

Dearest hearts,

Being an expat is not always rainbows and butterflies, sunshine and unicorns. Sometimes it's really tough and sometimes it's feels like a breeze but somehow deep inside you know that there are feelings stirring... of course there are wonderful parts like learning more about the culture you are part of right now, travelling to cities you can barely spell out their names (like Pszczyna) or that you can spell out but when you do people start laughing as it does not resemble the way the locals spell it (take for example Lodz) but to these ups there are always downs - that how life goes ;) you can't have one without the other.  So here are some hard parts of being an expat, from the Twisted Red LadyBug 's own experience - you might find your own expat thoughts on this list as well: 
1. Loneliness - this feeling will hit you eventually like a hammer and there is no telling when it will happen. You might be in the new country for 1 minute or 1 year and it can hit you then... but it won't shy away from you, it will hit you with all its might. It will be the moment when you feel that even though you are surrounded by friends and collegues in your now place, you still wish you could go home to your family and friends there. It will get better, it won't pass away and you may get depressive... try to surround yourself with people who love you and do things you love doing in order to take your mind off things, unless you can grab your bag and have a short trip home.
2. Communication - you will probably be split in 2 between hating the phone vs. calling the family all the time. I know people who Skype with their families home daily, even if they have nothing to say, they just say hi and see them - that is important for them. I fall on the other side, seeing ans thinking about them makes me more and more homesick and sad. Makes me angry I can't have them here, so I prefer to have a Facebook group with the ones I love, to keep them updated. I let them know what is new and what are the latest news yet I don't call daily. Phone calls make me sad and frustrated and give me huge headaches... for some they are a happy moment, for me they are the opposite. Social media helps me on this case and even my granny has a Facebook page ;) yep, she's that cool!
3. Language - no one tells you, but if you don't have people around to speak daily to, you may forget your own mother language... practice makes perfect so if you speak in English all the time you will eventually think and dream and do everything in English and put your homeland language on second place. You will have problems finding sometimes words when you speak to your family. I even switch when I talk to my sister and we mostly speak in English... it's gonna happen, so don't stress! Also, you will have to eventually learn the language of the country you are in. And it can be easy if you go from a Latin country to a Latin country or from a country with Slavic language to another, but if you make the shift from Slavic to Latin or Latin to Slavic... you're in for some "fun time". The first fee months I thought they were speaking parseltongue ans I could not figure out where a sentence starts and where it stops... Eventually after 5 years I can speak it maybe on a B1 level... and I can understand most of it, if they don't start with regional words...
4. Outsider - let's face it, as much as you will try you will never be 100% part of the homeland that you are in now. You will feel at home, you will make friends, you will marry that hot Polish guy who acts like a gentleman and makes you very happy, you will change your job to something that fits you very well, you will learn the language and even attempt to speak it (even though you will do horrible grammatical errors that you will probably be aware of!) but at the same time you will have that feeling that you are not there 100%. That somehow some part of you does not fit in properly - maybe it's a thought, an idea, a vision, a story that people turn their eyes at even though you know that in your birth land they would smile or laugh... you will be there but not quite, stuck in the middle. The sad part is that when you would come back home, to visit, you will no longer fit there 100% as well. It's a paradox, one that every expat must live with: feeling at home in your homeland and adoptive homeland yet not being there fully. 
5. Rules and regulations - don't expect your homeland to be the same as your adoptive home. Don't start with this premise or you're gonna get hurt, most likely. Make sure you check everything you must do, once you enter the adoptive homeland. From registering yourself to getting a social security number / PESEL and or a NIP number, doing your taxes on a yearly basis, paying all the other taxes and VAT and making sure you are a clear and legal citizen in the country you are staying. That means also getting a visa if needed and not being on the black market of work. Also being part of a corporation and having private care also falls under here. Make sure you have everything up to order as you never know when some small paper will be needed! That also goes for not wondering inside the city without a ticket or a public transport card - the fines are huge and you will get caught and it won't matter that you are a foreigner! The public transport in Poland is amazing so I support them! I have a public transport monthly card that allowes me to take trams and buses unlimited :) 
There is much more to being said about being an expat, but I would love to hear your thoughts / feelings / opinions on this. Do you agree with my 5 points on what is hard to be an expat? Have you had the same experiences as I did? How did you pass through them? Sharing is caring ;) so let's help eachother! :)

Yours sincerely,
The Twisted Red LadyBug - the Romanian expat living in Krakow, Poland, for more than 5 years now!
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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Unconsciously Looking At The Past

Dearest hearts,

I sometimes wonder upon crazy things that people do and that give them pleasure or peace or serenity, things that we think make sense and give us enlightenment yet... they rather bring us more into the past. I know, that sounds silly yet look at a small thing that some of us do: gazing at the beautiful sky filled with stars, maybe sometimes on a clear summer evening. Did you know that you are actually gazing at the past? You are unconsciously looking at the death of so many celestial bodies... the stars you are gazing upon, most of them, are already dead. I don't know if you knew this or if you processed the information if ever you bumped into it, but the light travels at about 300.000 km/second, which is amazingly fast to process... The stars that we see are so far away that even the light from the closest stars take years and years to get to us, even travelling with that speed, so what we are actually gazing at, are the last moments... the dieing breath of the beautiful bodies that are already dead... 
For me it's amazing how somehow we are stuck, unconsciously, into looking at the past: even in a small act like gazing at the summer sky,  enjoying the beauty of the stars, we are actually looking at the past. I think it is marvellous for God to be able to be timeless and stare into the past-present-future at the same time. Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying looking into the past is wrong, looking into the past can help you move forward and settle things down that maybe hurt you; but too much looking into the past and not balancing it with present and future will harm you.
I love period movies, I love the times when women were treated like real ladies and they dressed / walked / talked accordingly and the men were true gentleman, but I am not thinking every moment and second upon that and I don't daydream and sigh and cry about it. I understand the times are changing and true gentleman can still be found, even if you have to look harder and maybe even change the country ;) I try not to get stuck on the past, on what could have been and what I could have done better. These questions can drive you mad and kill you, if you let them in!
Living in the past will destroy the present and future and that's something that will change the entire course of your life. I have seen people stuck on "what could have been" instead of being happy with what they have when they have it. It's a hard thing to do as you have to let go of your troubles and worries and looking into the past allows you to relive some moments that maybe gave you great pleasure. It's especially gard when you lose someone whom you love with all your heart and you feel like a piece of yourself is gone with that person... you will deny things at first and then the anger stage will set it... and you will get stuck in the past. Not thinking about the present and future and how that person would have liked you to be happy and not mourn for the rest of your life.
I like gazing at the sky, watching the summer sky, seeing them up there in all their "former glory" but I never thought about them being dead... I knew that but somehow it always passed my mind... You know what I usually think of when I look up at the sky? How small I am, how much like a grain of sand I am, versus the entire universe created by God. How small I am yet how grateful I am to be alive and how grateful I am for my past (with all its troubles and worries but also loving memories), present (especially grateful for the small LadyBug Baby that we are waiting) and future (that is a bit scary... yet I am sure God will grant us wisdom!). What do YOU think when you are looking up at the sky? What do you think when you see the stars? Do you dwell on the past or do you think about the future?

Yours always sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves the sky full of stars
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Sunday, 26 June 2016

Krakow - Gossip Cafe

Dearest sweethearts,

I hope you are having a fine weekend - relaxed and full of fine quality time. We have finished yesterday our school for future parents and we are crossing one more week off the list... just a bit more to go before the small LadyBug Baby will join us, in our arms :) We had a very nice school to prepare us, in English language, held by the Koala Birth School (close to the Kraków Filharmonia). The thing is the school lessons are always at the same hour, early in the morning, starting 9 am sharp! We always prefer to sleep longer in the weekend, in the mornings, so we never have breakfast at home. But we do have a long break around 11 am and... that's how we discovered yet another great breakfast place: Gossip Cafe
Gossip Cafe is hard to miss, very visibly located on the intersection of the Filharmonia (Kraków's Filharmonic Building). It's right next to the Radisson Blue Hotel and it's shaped in a one - room small meeting place for food enthusiasts who need a quick brunch and are ok with slightly different setups. There are 4 small tall tables with tall chairs located on the left and right wall, a small 2 tall chairs bistro table that let's you look at the people outside & my personal favourite: the middle, low bench table for 4 up to 6 people (again, sharing is caring!). It's a self service place so don't sit down and wait to be served! Go up to the counter and take your pick: the menu is extremely simple and it's an easy choice. Don't worry as the menu is a A4 page double side and it's available in Polish and English language. Also you can see the menu on the blackboard stuck on the back of the bar/waiting area (in Polish language). 
The menu is comprised of breakfast options - quite a few delicious ones with scrambled eggs, some with jogurt and musli, and even a romantic french version of croissants. There are also sandwiches, panini and salads. The sweets always look amazing, especially the sernik (Polish cheesecake) with strawberries. I also recommend you the John Lemon lemonade options at only 8 zloty per bottle - my fav one is the one with "pigwa" (that's Polish for quince) as it's smooth and non sparkling and Marek's fav is the one with "czarna porzeczka" (that's Polish for black currant). It has a twist off cap so don't stress if the waitress brings you it with the cap still on. Do your order and pick a place appropriate for you - or just order the "to go" option if you wish for it.
Location: Zwierzyniecka 4, Krakow - quite close to the Main Square & Wawel Castle
- lemonade - 6 zloty
- John Lemon bottled lemonade (different flavours) - 8 zloty
- fresh orange juice - 9 zloty
- scrambled eggs with ham + toast & butter - 13 zloty
- panini - prices vary from 7 to 13 zloty, depending on the size and ingredients
- soup of the day - 8 zloty
- tarts - sweet or veggie like, they have the same price - 9 zloty
Tips and tricks: there is no restroom so if you need to use the loo than you may be in trouble ;) Gossip Cafe is more of a snack place, something to eat fast and go about your business. Also, as I said, it is a self service place - you need to get to the counter and order and pay and the nice lady will bring the order to you, once it is done. Usually it takes up to 15 min to get the cooked food - like the scrambled eggs - so take that into consideration if you are in a hurry! Also I would not consider Gossip Cafe as children friendly due to the high chairs and all the possibilities of pulling something or bumping into something... Nevertheless I love this place and now we visit it almost on a weekly basis ;)))
I also love the way the small room is arranged and the tiles on the floor, they somehow make me smile :) the music is nice and not loud so you can hear your partner. It's a cozy little book for a break in the Old Town, not very far away from the Main Market Square or the Wawel Castle. It is open Monday to Friday from 7 am to 6 pm, Saturday from 7:30 am to 6 pm and Sunday from 8 am to 6 pm. Although it's been open only for 2-3 months or so it has gained popularity and it already has 35 reviews on Facebook scoring 4.5 out of 5 stars grade. It's a bit off the beaten track of tourists but if you get there its worth your time! They sometimes also have special offers for coffee, like 2 for the price of one, so it's worth also checking out their page.

Let me know once you visited it, what you tried out and how you liked it. I would love to hear from you, if you would like to share your experience as well ;) also, please don't pick on the pictures this time, as I did not bring the camera with me recently and I always end up using the camera from my phone - Samsung Galaxy S4. I know it ain't the best resolution but I hope you "got the picture" and you will be willing to try it out. They make one of the best scrambled eggs with ham! ;) simply yummy!

Yours sincerely,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves scrambled eggs 
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Thursday, 23 June 2016

Krakow - Pijalnia Czekolady WEDEL

Dear sweethearts,

It is said that a small portion of chocolate on a daily basis is actually good for you: a piece of dark chocolate of over 70% cocoa is good for your heart arteries, a piece of chocolate being eaten before heavy exercises at the gym also keeps the muscle pain away... there are multiple ways in which chocolate can be used to benefit the human body! Not to mention the positive feeling one gets after savouring a bit of it... what is best during wintertime than some hot chocolate with marshmallows? And in the summertime some chocolate icecream? Perfect for every season and moment in life, one could say ;) of course it is said that the best chocolate is manufactured in Belgium and I can agree those beauties produced there are fingerlicking good - especially the Guylian Chocolates! But I don't feel ashamed with the chocolate that Poland produces as well: Wedel being one of the oldest and the best producer of chocolate. It also has its own shops and coffee places where one can buy only Wedel products. They are typically named "Pijalnia Czekolady Wedel" - the "drinking" place for the Wedel chocolates - and located in extremely popular/touristic/busy attraction spots. For example, in Kraków, one of their oldest establishments is in the Main Market Square, very close to the ending of the Florianska street. 
It is an extremely popular place and you will rarely find a a place during weekends. If the weather is cold for sure everyone will huddle in for some hot chocolate. It's a popular place also for the locals so you will hear Polish language being spoken around you, but fret not as the menus are in Polish and English and the waitresses are very nice and speak English as well. If you are a chocoholic, a chocolate fan, for sure you will enjoy this place as it's all about chocolate. The menu pictures look amazing and if you are there for the first time it will be a tough choice what to pick! For sure I recommend though having something light to drink so it will compensate with the sweetness of the cake/ icecream/ pancake/ gofry that you will have. I had some still water with lemon, to make sure all goes down well + chocolate pancakes with cheese cream and strawberry sauce. They did not look as appealing as in the menu picture but they tasted heavenly! I ate them all even though they were quite sweet and filling. I must say I did not regret my choice ;) 
The inside of the Pijalnia Czekolady Wedel is quite large and at the entrance it has a smaller room with a bar where you can also buy chocolate to go. Then there is a small corridor that leads to a bigger high ceiling room - glass ceiling with natural light. This room also provides an upper floor small seating place. The bathrooms are in the big rooms at the back, between the columns and for ladies there are 2 cabins with quite a large area to wash - 2 sinks and dryer and paper towels as well. The seating area is nicely done, in dark and white chocolate color, with the seats marked with the Wedel brand. The menu is quite large and you can pick and choose between having several types of candies, hot chocolate, cakes, pancakes, gofry, sorbets and icecream. You can also enjoy local seasonal fruits dipped in chocolate or have a treat by sampling on the types of chocolate that Wedel produces - the liquid version or the hardened one. Either way I believe everyone would be satisfied and would have something to pick from the menu :) 
The horrible downside to it all is the waiting time... it will take you a while and there will probably be a queue to get you seated. Then you will wait around 15 min or more for the menu to be brought... then you have to wait for the goodies to be received by you; do when you get the goodies maybe it's best to ask for the check as well as that will take some time as well. It's the Main Market Square so you have to expect that... on the other side, the serving at the Pijalnia Czekolady Wedel in the Galeria Krakowska on the upper floor is way better! They are faster, so if you want to try the Galeria Krakowska place instead you can give it a go ;) either way the products are the same and the taste of the chocolate does not differ - it's the same good old receipe. Plus the one in the Galeria might not be as crowded as the place in the Main Market Square ;) but it ll depends where you are and where you want to have a break. The Pijalnia Czekolady Wedel on the Main Market Square is open daily from 9 am to 10 or 12 in the evening, according to the day of the week. You can also check their products online ;) and have an idea before you jump inside the store. Either way you are in for quite a ride!

- 18 zloty for 2 pancakes with strawberry mousse = 280 grams - very filling! I recommend you to have it with some lemonade or still water with slices of lemon. I am not a huge sweets eater ;)

Yours sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that ocasionally loves sweets ;)
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Monday, 20 June 2016

Summer Solstice

Dearly beloved,

Welcome to the Summer Solstice celebration! Don't worry, I have not turned pagan ;) but it is accustomary to know when one has the longest or shortest day of the year, just so you make the most out of it! This year the Summer Solstice falls today, June 20th, next year and the year after is on June 21st ;) just a small FYI!
Rejoice for the Longest Day of The Year is here!
The Summer Solstice is also know in some countries as "Midsummer" or "Litha" and, as I have said, it is the longest day of the year!  The amount of dailight will reach its full potential today and then start decreasing towards the days of winter with no sun :( Also the Summer Solstice is the meteorogical start of the summer so better get cracking on those summertime vacations that you have planned! Grab the beach gear and enjoy the sunshine of the summertime while it lasts.  If you don't have much time, don't worry, there are plenty options in Poland for some summertime madness - why not start with a trip to the trio of the Polish seaside: Gdansk - Gdynia - Sopot with a short but well deserved stop before at the Malbork castle! 
Trojmiasto = Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot. A must see for all!
Did you know that the sun does not set at the North Pole today. There are 24 hours of sunlight. Does it make up for that cold day in December when the sun does not rise above the horizon? No, but on this day it sure does feel good wherever you are! So make sure you grab your straw hats, sunglasses and SPF creams and head out to catch some of that looooong day sun... I know it's Monday and probably you are nursing a hangover from this weekend but suit yourself up for the longest day of the year. Maybe it would be a nice idea to take the day off today and just spend it relaxing? :) have a longer weekend? But who knows?! Maybe you are already on your holiday, enjoying the time on the beach, sipping on your iced tea while you read this... lucky you :p Enjoy the Summer Solstice :) 

Yours sincerly, 
Twisted Red LadyBug
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Friday, 17 June 2016

Top 3 Things To Visit in Pszczyna

Dearest travellers,

If ever you are in Poland, when you are in the Silesian region, you must not miss Pszczyna. It is also know as "The Pearl of Princess Daisy" and it boasts of the Polish version of the Versailles palace ;) but most of all, it is a place where time has seemed to stand still. If you will manage to get to this beautiful yet small city, make sure you do so when it's spring or autumn to check out the foliage of the lovely trees. Also make sure the weather is fine. If it is so, then you can make the tour of the most important things to visit in one single day - take it from early morning till the afternoon ;) 
The "heart" of the old town in its current form was built after a huge town fire that happened on the 8th of August 1748. The fire started in the blacksmiths house and in a fee hours it managed to destroy the whole town... but I think that was a good thing, as after that all buildings were made out of brick (to avoid similar kind of accidents). For us, when we first came to Pszczyna, it was essential to see a couple of places but 3 have remained close to our hearts, so let me tell you about our top 3 picks for this town:
1. The Polish Versailles = The Pszczyna Castle = The top pearl of Princess Daisy's jewels :) Calling it the Polish Versailles is in no way an exaggerated or complimentary expression! I really mean it! The moment I stepped inside the Palace I thought of 2 places: the house inner staircase reminded me of the one at Downton Abbey + the rooms with French style furniture reminded me of Versailles. And I was not the only one to say so ;)
A very popular place inside the Palace is the Mirror Hall, where concerts are being held and also the famous festival of baroque music "Evenings at Telemann's". Today the Palace contains a museum first opened on 9th May 1946. If you have a chance, make sure you visit it first as it is not open during the whole day - only up to 5 pm during summertime. The fun part is when you get inside you have to put special slippers on ;))) they look quite funny but the preserve the carpets and the lovely floors. Women who are pregnant and disabled people should not use them.
You probably ask yourself why it is called "The Pearl of Princess Daisy"... well Daisy Hochberg von Pless nee Mary Theresa Olivia Cornwallis-West  (1873-1943) was the owner of the Palace and had large properties in both the Upper and Lower Silesia (castles in Pszczyna and Ksiasz, hunting palace in Prom nice and coal mines, spas and even held the Tyskie brewery!).
2. Pszczyna Skansen = Pszczyna Country Farmstead. If you love history, architecture and old style wooden houses you will love this place! It was first opened in 1975, so it has more than 40 years on the market and loads of visitors who come and want to experience how life was back when there was no internet/cell phones/tv/electricity...
You can admire a stable,  a coach house,  a forge, a manor granary, a cottage, a barn and even a working water mill ;) a lot of interesting objects are gathered inside so I recommend you to get inside each wooden house and explore. The Skansen is usually open from 9 am to 4 pm (and sometimes as late as 7 pm in April - July).
3. Visiting the king of the forest = The Bison Reservation in Pszczyna. The first bison came to the forests near Pszczyna in autumn 1865 from the Bialowieza Forest. Today the bisons can be seen in a closed - almost 10 hectares - reserve in Jankowice where in October 2006 the Center of Ecological Education "Pszczyna bison" was opened. The Bison Yard was creates in the wild scenery of the Bestiary park, just a stone throw away form the Castle.
The animals live here safely amongst old oak trees,  beeches and hornbeam. We recommend you to check when the feeding time is on for the bisons and come then. There is also a platform to watch them from above - you can use the stairs or elevator for the disabled people.
Of course we are not saying these are the only things you should visit in Pszczyna but for sure these are the 3 places you should not miss. One day is enough and make sure you get there early. There is a nice restaurant nearby that we recommend - for some nice local lunch - very close to the Castle.  We recommend you to first visit the castle as it will take you a while... The town is quite small so everything is within  walking distance. Make sure you park the car at one of the nice parking spots near the Bison Yard and enjoy the time at The Pearl of Princess Daisy :) let me know what you think of it when you finished visiting it :)

Yours sincerely,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves to discover small pretty Polish towns
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Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Travel Tuesday: Backpack VS. Suitcase in Kraków

Dearest travellers,

Welcome to yet another #traveltuesday post :) it gives me great pleasure to share with you, from time to time, my thoughts and feelings about travelling. I believe that travelling is one of the most enriching things of life, travelling you learn more about the world around you but also about yourself. Travelling brings you memories and experiences and feelings that stay with you forever. I would rather travel and collect memories than sit tight in one place and gather things... in the end it is not the "things" that we take with us into our grave. Travelling always comes with different options that one can choose from:
1. Should I take this trip alone or with a friend or with family? Is it a business trip? 
2. How am I going to reach this place? Do I get there by plane, boat, train, bus, car, bike, public transport? Will I need to change the method of transport? Will there be a transit through another country? 
3. Where will I live? Where will I lat my head when I will be tired? Would it be a hotel, hostel, Airbnb location or will I couchsurfing?  Or maybe be wild and sleep under the starry sky? 
4. For how long am I planning to stay? What are the minimum amount of clothes that I need to bring?
5. What type of traveller am I at this point in my life?! = trust me, this is a very good and important question to ask yourself when beginning to plan the trip! Throughout our life our style and way that we handle trips changes a lot. It can vary from being able to sleep in a hostel with 8 other people in the room, waking up early in the morning fresh as a daisy and walking non stop until the middle of the night when you would hit a local pub VS. needing a 2 people room (if you travel with your significant other or with a friend) with its own bathroom included, in a hotel or an apartment rented and waking up around 9 am the earliest! As you level up (age) you will probably want to get more comfortable and spend your time in a more relaxing way. Probably the energy won't be the same as well and you will cut on those pub crawls ;) it gets even more interesting when you are 1+1=3 and you start having kids...
When you will decide to have a go and visit Kraków you should also try to decide what type of traveller you wish to be: Backpack VS. Suitcase. Both are perfect for Kraków bit you need at first to check out the 5 main questions above. I always say to my friends, when they come visit, to choose having a big luggage + backpack (as the hand item). Let's face it, everyone is so dependent on technology and social media that they always bring their laptop + phone. If they love to travel and take pictures that makes it even harder as they will bring the camera + probably additional lenses. All that takes space so the backpack should be suited for all the electronics (and other goods) that you wish to have with you at all times to make sure all is well. Don't worry about the safety, the hotels and hostels usually have safety boxes in case you wish to leave the goods while you explore the city. The suitcase I always recommend then not to overfill it as for sure they will but things here: be it souvenirs or gifts for people home or even clothing (Polish clothing stores have very nice brands that are not known worldwide but have exquisite collections at a very affordable price ;) trust me! My friends come to shop here!).
According to the weather, no matter the season, it would be good to pack an umbrella as it may rain and a jacket for windy conditions. Scarfs are a good accessory and they will come in handy as well ;) I recommend ladies not to take high heels as Kraków is an old town and it has mostly cobblestoned streets - flats and tennis shoes are way more comfortable and you won't get blisters. The weather is not as hot as Spain or Italy but we tend to have quite high humidity levels in the summertime, so matching a long dress with a thin jacket against the wind is perfect. When you will be visiting the museums in Kraków there is always a wardrobe where you can leave your umbrella/coat/jacket/backpack so don't fret about that ;) but if you plan a trip to Auschwitz or to Wieliczka make sure you bring a very light bag, a purse, not a backpack! You will be forced to leave it in the car/bus/outside or not go in (they do not have special deposit boxes).
Of course, again it depends on how long you are planning to stay: if you are in Kraków for a weekend I would not bother taking anything more than a backpack so you could travel fast/swiftly and have no problem, if you are in Kraków for a week... I would definitely recommend both :) the things you truly need with you in the backpack like the electronics + the suitcase for the clothes and potential goodies that you will buy (I recommend the candies and chocolate and for the guys the vodka, for the friends and family make sure you check out Sukiennice and the handmade items sold inside!). Of course the backpack only option provides you more freedom and more time when boarding the plane.  If you have the suitcase you have to take into account the checkin time for it as well + when you get to the destination you need to wait for it to pick it up (hoping all goes well and you are not so unlucky it gets lost). With just the backpack it's you and the wind upon your back, racing into the unknown :) but then again the backpack may be heavy and you may get sweaty and you might just want to take your time: take a suitcase and a small purse and feel as light as a bee (that's my option for when I do business travels). Think about it! It all depends on what type of travel you are embarking into and for how long. But for Kraków make sure you bring your camera, flat shoes/tennis, a scarf and an umbrella... just in case ;) there is so much to see and experience! Just ask me of you have no clue where to start! :)

Yours sincerely,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves both backpacks and suitcases :) depending on where and when one travels ;)
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Saturday, 11 June 2016

The Miracle Of Life: We're Expecting!

My dearest hearts,
My dear friends/readers,

I wanted to share this piece of news for quite a while now... but it always seemed rather intimate and personal and somehow I was not sure if I should shout it out loud yet. I know most of you read this blog because you wish to know more about Poland and especially about Krakow, maybe sometimes you get here due to articles I wrote about movies or about travelling. You would not expect this to be a mummy blog and don't worry it won't transform into that ;) I just wanted to let you know that the owner of this blog, The Twisted Red LadyBug and it's better half will increase the number of family members. Yes, you got that right: we're expecting! :)
Photo by Bellove Moments
It is said that there is no greater joy in a women's life than to be a mother. I don't wish to offend anyone or cause any pain but I must admit that I will always think that each person should choose their own path, their own way, and not listen to all the sayings of the world. Some women are born to be married and some not, dome to have children some not, some have children and are not married, some adopt children on their own. I believe that it is everyone's right to hold to their own path and their own story. Not everyone is the same and I believe that is the beauty of life. 

Ever since we made it public ("If it ain't on Facebook, it ain't real/happening!") I had more and more people telling me stories and giving us advices... it's a thing that people usually do when they think they know something ;)  they give advices without even asking you if you need or want one. Be prepared for that... everyone will have a horror story to share and everyone will tell you about their pains. You will instantly know that the labor pain will be as if more than 20 bones will simultaneously be broken in your body - it's true you can live without this piece of info... but you know, sharing is caring ;) 
Picture taken by Natalia, who is an amateur photographer
I love being 1+1=3 now :) it is a wonderful and yet scary and daunting feeling that you have someone growing inside of you, hearing what you hear... feeling what you feel... you are no longer yourself but you are 2 persons in one. Some days it will be hard and tiring and hormones kick in but some days it can be all raindrops and roses and whiskers on kittens. I can hardly wait until the moment when we will hold her/him in our arms and we will take her home. I have no idea what I an doing half of the time :) but I try to be as logical and careful as I can be. I pray to God that he/she will be a blessing to us and we will be a blessing for him/her in return. We are now in the 3rd trimester and I know time flies by... so... I just wanted to let you know ;) in case you sometimes wonder why I am not as active as one could be on a blog... it's called prioritising ;) but I will always be here for you, in case you have any questions about a trip to Poland/Kraków :) 

P.S. A Great shoutout and thank you goes to Izabella Garbarz from Bellove Moments for the lovely pictures she takes of me on a monthly basis, so we can see how the baby tummy grows, and for Palasz Paulina and her wicked makeup skills :) A big hug also goes to my dear friend from Ukraine, Natalia, who is an amateur photographer and took the pictures of me at the Wawel Castle (with the baby bump) so I can tell you about our pride and joy!

Yours very sincerly, 
The Twisted Red LadyBug + one lovely baby growing 
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Wednesday, 8 June 2016

10 Reasons To Love X-Men Apocalypse

Dearest comic book fans,
Dearest Marvel fans,

**WARNING!!! This post contains opinions on the latest X-Men: Apocalypse. It will be an extensive post and it will have loads of pictures and text so please grab yourself a cup of tea and a warm blanket and Enjoy!**

This one is decidedly for your. From one heart of a comic book lover to yours. On the week that X-Men Apocalypse was released I had the pleasure of seeing it with my better half and we had such a great time that it made me wish to share with you my thoughts.  If you have not seen X-Men Apocalypse yet tread lightly as there are many SPOILERS out there ;) but let's face it,  if you are a fan like myslef you probably watched it and rewatched it already ;))) We went for the usual cinema - Cinema City in Kazimierz - as we wanted to light, non headache version (not the 3D). I was surprised to see that unlike Captain America: Civil War the room was not full of people. For Team Captain we had to book the seats a couple of days in advance and it was almost full. Here I did it one day before and there were only a few others booking... I am unsure if I should blame this on Captain America being more popular than X-Men in Poland or on the fact that we saw X-Men on a Thursday - even if it was Corpus Christi and a free day in Poland. Either way the bottom line was the how empty the room felt - maybe half was full... but not more. But true to a fan nature, I was proud to see them all stay and wait though the very long credits just to get a glimpse of what is coming up next in the Marvel universe. 
Without any further ado though,  let me tell you about 10 reasons why I think you should love the new X-Men Apocalypse:
1. The pace of the action and the mood of the movie - it never seems to lag or cause discomfort for the viewer. I felt like there was always something happening and the transition between the top action moments was done very well, smoothly. It has a much better pace than the rest of the X-Men movies and I really liked that about it ;)
2. The new actors introduced in the series - were all very well selected for their parts and quite nicely presented. Sometimes maybe I would have wished a bit more screen time for some of them... especially for Storm as she is one of my pesonal favourites, but it is nice now knowing them in a "younger version", though it felt odd to see Hugh Jackman playing the younger Wolverine (especially that we have Sophie Turner now as Jean Grey... how's that love interest going to develop considering that Hugh can be Sophie's dad in real life...). 
3. The scenes in Poland - this will come as a fun bonus for the Polish fans of Marvel out there... if in Captain America: Civil War I was saying what a lovely Romanian language managed Bucky to pull... well you could not quite say the same about Magneto (played by Michael Fassbender) and his Polish... though the scenes produce quite a fun and relaxed effect with the Polish crowd at the movies. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Magneto destroyed Auschwitz, but not for destroying the impressive landmark but because he finally unleashed his power and we get to see him produce a magnetic field. I've been waiting for that for quite a while!
4. The unleashing of the energies - we all know that mutants have learned to fall back and close within themselves. They are used to hiding and not knowing their full powers just because they know that people would treat them differently and cast them away. I loved X-Men Apocalypse because it let's every mutant show off their true potential. They have all unleashed their energies, they let go of the fear and they can see what they truly are, in all their beauty. I particularly liked Magneto with the magnetic field and Jean Grey unleashing the Phoenix potential for a noble cause. 
5. The story behind how Professor X got bold - let's face it, they did not have to stick to Professor X being bold, considering the fact that this is an alternative universe, but I loved them for doing this nonetheless. The fight between him and The First Mutant (played by Oscar Isaacs, that you may know as Poe Dameron from the recent Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens) is very well done and you almost think that Charles could kick his arse singlehandedly... fail but great help from amazing Jean Grey!
6. The 4 riders of the Apocalypse - the interesting linkage with the Bible, and the first scene of the movie... it made me sorry we could not hear more about those 4 great mutant warriors that gave their life to save The First Mutant. I would especially liked to know more about the girl that died last... Also the new 4 riders that he selects are beautifully (yet shortly) portrayed. Of course you know them and you recognise them if you read the novels and saw previous movies but... I wanted more :)
7. Quicksilvers scenes steal the show! I am so glad that after the last X-Men they decided to add more and more of him. Obviously he is a magnet for the fans! He gets that from his father... Magneto ;) and the scenes in which he appears are just bloody beautiful and we'll done. I especially love the soundtrack during his scenes ;) they have that old vibe about it that makes you wanna dance along. The scene where he saves everyone from the house being teared down is just... so fun and nice to watch! And the cute bulldog eating the pizza is a bonus ;))) I also really enjoyed him trying to beat the cap out of The First Mutant but I knew where that would lead...
8. The magic onscreen (and offscreen) between Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy). They are just brilliant together, the chemistry is amazing just like it was in the "older" version between Ian McEllen and Patrick Stewart. When I look at them it's like seeing a younger version of them and that is what the team that cast them was striving for and that is exactly what they did right. They are the perfect fit and I do not think someone else could have played them better. Each time you have them together in a scene the whole room lights up with their high level of acting skill.
9. Freaking Sophie Turner playing Jean Grey is quite a revelation! I was not sure how she will be able to pull it and work on such a strong and beautiful character yet... I must admit it, she stole the scenes in which she was in. Officially I can say that Sophie Turner is no longer Sansa Stark for me... she was redeemed! Her talent exists and I wanna see more of her being awesome Jean Grey/Phoenix and saving the day. I must admit I was also impressed about the young Scott in the movie - very well portrayed and a spitting image of the old Scott, in a younger version. 
10. Seeing X-Men in the 80s - including the kick arse awesome soundtrack featuring Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics and a screening of the Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. To be mentioned is also Nightcrawlers Michael Jackson jacket from Thriller and Quicksilver playing PacMan. You let me know if you spotted anything else ;) but let me not forget mentioning that Nightcrawler is an awesome character, totally underused!

Of course it's not all rainbows and unicorns and butterflies... as I told you, I have mixed feelings about seeing old Wolverine as young Wolverine but I am not sure anyone else except Hugh Jackman could play that part... he truly is "Wolfie" - as Fassbender and McAvoy call him ;))) either way X-Men Apocalypse is a movie one should watch at the big screen/cinema and rewatch at home. There are a lot of Easter Eggs in it and of course after the credits roll there is the additional scene... so keep your eyes open and enjoy another Marvel ride! Next... mmm probably Doctor Strange :)

Yours sincerely, 
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves Marvel and comic books
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