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Saturday, 27 February 2016

Krakow - Roast & Toast

Dearest friends,

Today I will tell you about a newly opened place in Kraków,  dead center in Stare Miasto (Old Town) district. Close to the Teatr Bagatela station, a month or so back, "Roast & Toast" opened its doors. I passed it a couple of times before going in and having a look about the place and checking it's goods. One evening though,  I ventured in and scrutinised their menu. The place seems simple and it's concept quite straightforward: fast healthy snacks for hungry people passing by (be it locals or foreigners). I went for the "Klubowy" toast and some orange juice from Cappy. I must admit that the place looks lovely and well organized and clean, yet after the experience I had I am not sure I would like to go again and try something more... the lady who was serving was a total turn - off :/ 
Even on their Facebook page they have an advertisement that they are looking for waitresses and I really believe that having a good person who serves the client is the most important (after the kick arse food). The lady who served me was most definitely a beginner/newbie - maybe even her first day there?! I asked for the toast sandwich and for some orange juice (Cappy) and she got blocked... she could not tell me how much the juice was - bare in mind that I was actually making this conversation in Polish and that I am 99% sure that the questions I was asking were correctly formulated :/ She was not able to look at the computer and say how much the juice costs. I had a short look on the menu - which is very clean and well built, not to mention it is both in Polish and English (extra points for that!), and found the bottle of juice to cost 4 zloty. I informed the young lady and she was still not sure, and she called for the cook in the kitchen to show her how to get the correct price - which was the one I gave her ;) Then it came the time of doing the sandwich - now I am not sure if this was her first sandwich but at a certain point I was wondering if I should ask her to let me do it myself... Thank God I was not in a rush and there was no queue...Then came the toasting of the bread - what I can tell you was that the toasted bread was NOT toasted and it made me think I was NOT the worst cook in the world...
On the bright side, the place is very clean and looks nice; you even have places to sit down and eat the toasts there. The ingredients in my sandwich looked and tasted very fresh, but the lady who served was one of the worst ones I have seen :/ and not even an "I am sorry!"was heard from her... God! I forgot to mention when she wanted to cut the sandwich/toast in half and the knife would not cut and she butchered the whole thing... I would have made a better one at home! And I have 2 left hands when it comes to cooking!

The prices:
- you can see the full menu above. My toast was 8 zloty + orange juice 4 zloty = 12 zloty total
Apparently they have also salads and zapiekanka (traditional polish "pizza"on half of a bread). They also have shakes, icecream and homemade broth... but I am not sure I wanna try something else again... I am sorry "Roast & Toast" but you were a huge dissapointment!

Have you ever been to "Roast & Toast"? I wonder if you had a similar experience - I see that on Facebook they are quite popular: out of 11 reviews they have a score of 4.6 stars out of 5; yet no comments whatsoever... something is wrong there!

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that will always tell you the truth, even when it hurts!
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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

About Love And Romanian Dragobete

Dearest sugarplums,

I find it fascinating how the world loves to borrow traditions like Valentine's Day, when they even have their own similar ones - take for example the Dragobete celebration in Romania, that we will talk about today. I also find it a bit weird the trend nowdays to have a International Day of... something! This month we had the International Cat Day, in case you did not know - hope you pampered your kitten, else it will make your life hell... either way the kitten owns you ;) but with all this fuss about celebrating something only one day a year and making it a big hit, like Valentine's Day, we forget to be thankful for that specific thing throughout the whole year. And I think that is sad: celebrating love and you loved ones only at Valentine's Day and only for their bday is... just the regular thing! But why not show the person you love, that you love them everyday - I don't mean gifts and flowers (though that would be nice!) But even telling that person that you love him/her would be more than enough to brighten the day ;)
I think the people nowdays focus to much on their goals and their future and sometimes forget to look at the moment that they are in - the present. You need to be thankful each day for the family and friends around you - you never know for how long you will have them next to you: let's face it, we all age and die at different ages and different causes. I think it's better to enjoy the moments with the ones you love and tell them how much you love them, as often as you can - be it through a text message, email, call or face to face conversation. I believe you should never be scared to say you love someone or to say you are sorry. Now that I think about it, there is a quote I never could quite agree with: "Love means never to have to say you're sorry". I beg to differ! Being part of a natural, grownup relationship is admitting you also make mistakes and it means you also have to admit them to the ones you love and say you are sorry. Love means that the other person will always forgive you ;) and love means also you would not do anything to harm the other person in the relationship. 
Today (24th February), in Romania as well as in other countries where Romanian people are living, we celebrate the traditional Romanian Dragobete day. It is a day where we celebrate love and budding love relationships. But that's where the resemblance to Valentine's Day stops: Valentine's celebrates couples in love, Dragobete celebrates the posibility of finding the person you love - your perfect match. Valentine's is all about celebrating the couple, Dragobete is about finding your significant other ;) traditionally this day is also the day that "birds are bethroded" and Spring begins to prepare it's coming. 
"Dragobete traditional story goes that, clothed with holiday suits, young men and women meet in front of the church and go searching the woods and meadows for spring flowers. They sit around fire on the hills of the village and talk. At noon, the girls run to the village, each followed by one boy who had fallen for them. If the boy is fast and reaches the girl of his choice and if she likes him, she kisses him in front of everyone.  This tradition triggered the expression “Dragobete kisses the girls!” (Dragobetele saruta fetele). The kiss show the two lovers’ engagement, Dragobete being an opportunity to show the love in front of the community"
There is another custom I know since I was a wee lass... if there is still snow outside, the girls gather some and melt it and wash their hands and faces with it, as it is thought that this day the water is magical and they will live long and be beautiful. Also the girls who are not yet married or bethroded gather a specific plant (can't quite remember the name, but it has yellow flowers) and place it under the pillow. It is said that with its help you will dream of the one that it is meant for you ;) How about you? Have you ever tried any of these rituals? Or does your country have similar ones? I would love to hear from you - share your story and your traditional customs :) 

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves Love
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Sunday, 21 February 2016

Why I Love Public Transport In Krakow

Dear friends,

When you live in a big city and you need to travel from one remote place to the other, sometimes you need to have alternative and variate means of transport, according to each case. Let's say that you, like myself, have no driving licence and hence own no car: by default one of the fastest and most comfortable ways to reach any given place in town is already cut out. That leaves you at the mercy of public or private transport means inside the city - unless you cycle and are fit enough to move fast and withstand the weather changes... Big cities will always need good public transport means - be it metro, bus and/or tram - due to its extensive spread and high number of people living (not to mention visiting). Now I have been travelling quite a bit inside my country and both outside (over the ocean as well...) so to gather what good public transport really means. I have also checked out the way public transport has developed over the last 5 years in Poland, Krakow and I must admit it: "I Love Public Transport in Kraków!"
Now let me tell you why I love it:
  1. The extended network - everywhere you are, in Kraków and the surrounding areas, the buses will always reach you and be there for you. The MPK - Public Transport in Kraków - developed the split between Kraków and it's surrounding cities, satellite cities, as Area 1 and Area 2. Area 1 - Strefa 1 is specifically for Kraków & Area 2 - Strefa 2 is for the satellite cities/small towns like Wieliczka (where the salt mine is located), Zabierzow (where the Krakow Business Park is located) or Balice (John Paul the 2nd International Airport). Of course getting through Strefa 2 takes a lot of time and there are many bus stops along the way, but the fact that you have this posibility (for people who go to work daily) is great. 
  2. The "free time" that you can spend doing something else, meaningful, for you - let's face it, either way at a certain point in time you will be stuck in traffic or the road from A to B will take quite a long while. For example, from home to work it takes me about 30-40 minutes of tram+train ride. Now at the beginning I used to consider it as "wasted time" until I figured out... why not do something for myslef?! That's when I started writing my blog posts during my transit. Sometimes I write and sometimes I just take a book with me and read - the time will pass faster and you will be there in no time and with "homework" done ;) I have seen people learning a different language during that, or watching their favourite TV show - you can pick and choose the best for you.
  3. The low amount of stress - when you bike or you drive the car you need to be careful about the road, about other people, always have distributive attention; in public transport you just need to be in time for the bus/ tram and pick a seat and no stress related to driving will be on your shoulders. You are a passenger and you know that there is a certain amount of time to get from one place to another. No worries and no cares... you can just relax and enjoy the view. The only stress that I can think of is sitting new to (or remotely next to) someone who had a bit more vodka than they should ;) if you know what I mean!
  4. The timeliness - I just love that here in Poland: the timetables are always up to date, there are electric boards that tell you when the next bus is coming (in real time), you can check the timetables also online on the MPK site and there is thus marvelous site and application that I recommend you to install on your phone: Jakdojade. You just put in where you are and where you wish to go and it will show you all the public transport connections possible! Rarely have I seen a late bus or tram, and that usually happens around this time of the year - when there is heavy rain or snow. At all times I like to rely on MPK ;)
  5. The options (no matter the time of day) - no matter where you wish to go, you will always have a couple of options to choose from: be it bus or tram. The lovely part about Kraków is that it has several types of lines when it comes to buses: fast track lines (usually the 500 ones), regular lines and combined lines (for both Strefa 1+2 - eg. There is a bus that can take you from Galeria Krakowska to Wieliczka and you have to use a Strefa 1+2 ticket for it, if you go all the way). I also love that there is an extensive (and growing) network for late hours (after 10 pm). It's true, the buses and trams are not that frequent (every 5-10 min) but at least you know that once an hour you have something that will take you home, no matter where you are!
  6. The posibility of buying a ticket - the options available in Kraków are so diverse! I just love it! At first I was confused as back home we have 1 ticket for 1 trip, no matter how long it is or where it takes you... but here you have so many possibilities: you can buy a ticket according to the time you will spend in traffic, staring from 20 minutes. Of course you have discounts (half a price) for elder people and for students. There is also the option of having a monthly ticket: monthly ticket for all lines + train from Galeria Krakowska to Zabierzow costs 151 zloty, monthly ticket for all lines (bus and tram) costs around 90 zloty - for a full grown up, but if you are a student you get it half price ;) there are also daily, weekend and weekly tickets for the people who travel in Kraków. The tickets you can buy almost everywhere: newspaper shop, machines in the bus/tram stops or at the MPK stands. There are also machines inside all the buses/trams but you usually have to have change already for that. Some also have paypass system for cards ;)
  7. The eco-friendly side of it - let's face it: if people would use more bikes and public transport, the air would be much more clean and we would be more healthy. Less traffic jams, less noise pollution as well... if only! Kraków's public transport has developed a lot during the less 5 years I was here: there are more and more eco - friendly vehicles in the system and there is much more care about the products they use. Take for example the new Krakowiak tram - the longest tram in Europe - that carries twice as many passengers than the regular bus. The Krakowiak also has a system that allows people to recharge their phones (via USB) while in transit. I also heard that the newest versions will be prepared to self-recharge while standing on the bus stops and/or by using the solar power. How awesome is that?!
I dunno about you guys, buy I - for one, rather like public transport and I feel very comfortable in using it, here in Kraków. The buses/trams are frequent and due to the fact that I live in a nice location I can choose a seat all the time and just enjoy the view out the window or the book that I currently read. The only minus is when it rains and you need to wait for a bus switch... but hey! I can live with that! How about you? Are you a fan of public transport? Have you ever been to Kraków and tried it here? Tell me your story :) 

Yours sincerely,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves Kraków's public transport
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Thursday, 18 February 2016

Poland Loves Mountains - Polish Rope Railways

Dearest readers,

Have you ever been in the Polish mountains? If you never been, you must put it on your Bucket List, along with a trio to the Romanian mountains right after, so you can see the difference. Both mountains in both countries have its very own beauty - Romanian mountains are more raw and untouched by human hand, not a lot of people flock to track it. Poland mountains, on the other hand, are lower than the Romanian ones but also extremely popular. You will not find one quiet and deserted spot... everything is touristic attraction and especially during winter and  summer you cannot drop a needle - that's how crowded it gets! Especially in well known places like Zakopane - where you always have the sky jump contests. I have told you before how I love the way that Poland railway system developed and the changes I was able to see these past 5 years. Today I want to tell you about the options one has, when it comes to climbing the mountains not on your own but with a little bit of help from mechanics - today I will tell you about the site, that you will use and love, if ever in the Polish mountains ;) the site of the Polish Rope Railways
Polish Site for the Polish Rope Railways - the locations on the map
The Polish Rope Railways turns 80 years old this year, in 2016; and boasts of high quality systems to bring the people who wish to see the mountains to the very top, in no time, at a decent cost. At this time (of the article) their Web page - available in Polish, English and German - is proud to say that over 2 milion satisfied customers were entertained. 
The history of the company dates back to the date of  July 24, 1935 r. , When he was appointed the Company "Society for Construction and Operation of cableway Zakopane - Kasprowy Peak," which set itself the goal of building the gondola lift in Zakopane. The very construction was started August 1, 1935 r., And on top of it reunites for the first time on March 15, 1936. Which is considered the symbolic date of commencement of operations PKL. It was the first chair lift  in Tatra Mountains in Poland.
The lovely part is that the Polish Rope Railways has multiple locations you can visit:  seven centers in the Tatras and the Beskidy Mountains: Kasprowy Wierch, Gubałówka, Jaworzyna Krynicka mountain park, Mosorny Gron, Palenica and Mount Zar.
Each of the PKL centers stands out distinct character, interesting location and unique attractions in the country: 
  • Kasprowy  has Poland's only alpine skiing areas with natural snow, 
  • On  Gubałówka  tourists take the most modern in the country funicular with a glass roof, 
  • Major attractions  Jaworzyna Krynicka  are the most diverse ski areas, 
  • Resort  Mosorny Groniu  stands beautiful view of the Babia Gora, 
  • Atmosphere of Mount Zar  creates incredible vantage neighborhood Międzybrodzkie lake on one side and flight school over the heads of tourists and skiers, 
  • Szczawnicka Palenica  offers great views of the Pieniny and Tatra mountains in winter for skiers and summer tourists ending rafting, 
  • At  the Park Hill  you can go back in time when you ride the first train in Poland historic funicular, which takes its origin in the heart of the spa town of Krynica
The uniqueness of the PKL centers is also connected with the fact that it operates in the unique natural areas of Polish, often protected within National Parks. For this reason, the company's philosophy is to operate with full respect for the environment, management of natural resources in line with the principle of sustainable framework and supporting initiatives to protect nature. 
The company's mission is to provide comprehensive  services in the field of mountain tourism  through the continuous development and improvement of the quality of services for tourists and skiers.
Tips and tricks:
  1. The lovely part about the site, beside it's lovely and revealing photos, is the fact that you can buy tickets to these attractions online and avoid standing in queues once you are at the location. Trust me! There will ALWAYS be a queue so buying them online is wiser, unless you want the physical ticket as a memory for being there ;)
  2. If you love high ground, then for sure you will love the highest mountain to be reached with the Polish Rope Railways. The location is called Kasprowy Wierch and it is in Zakopane. The height is 1987 meters above the sea level and you get there by the large (multiple person) line cables ;) The price of the both way trip for a regular person is 63 zloty ( in 2015 - or 48 zloty to go up + 48 zloty to go down, so make sure you ALWAYS buy the both way ticket as it is cheaper and faster ;) ok?!)
  3. If you are afraid of highs and you still would live to enjoy the mountains in Poland, on a more quiet level than the one in Zakopane, I really recommend the Gora Zar (Mountain Zar) that is only 761 meters above the sea level. The view is amazing and you can see the lakes slithering between the mountains, when you reach the top. We were crazy and we went by foot last time we were there... but if I would do it again I would go up with the funicular ans down by foot, to enjoy the view. The price is way cheaper here as it is not that popular spot: 17 zloty regular ticket both ways or 12 zloty up + 12 zloty down ;) once you are up, make sure you get some sweet stuff from the local market and if it is summertime you might see people paragliding from the top ;) Enjoy!
Have you ever been with the Polish Rope Railways system? If ever in Zakopane ans you went by the funicular to the Gubałówka, then you have ;) tell me about your experience. How do you like the mountains and how do you enjoy the human contraptions that allow us to get on top of the mountain in now time and no sweat? I love them! I ain't a great mountain climber like my other half so for me... they are awesome!

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves mountains (both Romanian and Polish mountains have their own charm!)
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Monday, 15 February 2016

The Krakow Business Magazine Honour

Dearest hearts,

I know I have not mentioned much about where I work and what I do, as in my day-to-day job, but I did not think that would be a topic that would relate that much to the purpose of this blog. I try to make a difference and split work and home/fun related topics. Plus, I don't think you would be interested about life in a corporation or how a bank works... I am sure you have plenty of that in your life. Let's face it, nowdays everyone had at least one job in a corporation; and pretty much every corporation works more or less in the same way - same patterns. But I do wish to tell you about WHERE I work: I work in Zabierzow, at the outskirts of Kraków, at the Kraków Business Park. The Kraków Business Park - also known as KBP - is a mere 5-10 minute drive from the Balice Airport and 20-30 minutes by train from the Dworzec Glowny. The KBP is comprised of 5 blocks of building, 4 storey high, that host several corporations. Last year, the management of KBP launches their new "news" site and a brand new magazine "KBP Magazine" - which I found was a lovely idea to get in touch with the people working in KBP. Last fall, in the first edition of this magazine, the team hosted a contest for bloggers in Kraków, working in KBP - of course I just had to try out and see if I could make it :)
Read the full article inside the KBP Magazine Nb. 2
That is precisely how I got to be in the KBP Magazine Nb. 2, along with another fellow blogger - funny enough, we both work in the same corporation yet I never bumped into her, nor her blog. We both won the competition and our blogs were presented in the fresh edition that came out late December. It was a pleasure holding the paperback magazine in my hands and seeing my picture and my story related to the KBP readers. I love how the KBP Magazine was created, having in mind that the KBP offices hired many expats - the magazine is bilingual and all articles are translated from Polish to English. To tell you the truth, I have seen some corporate magazines all in Polish, disregarding the fact that Polish is one of the top 3 hardest languages in the world & the fact that inside corporations you have more and more expats working, that do not know even a line in Polish! I love how KBP Magazine thought about the audience and managed to do a great job ;) Way to go! That is also how I got to see the contest and that is why I have it a go! You can gain more by thinking about others than just about yourself ;) 
The KBP Magazine can be found under the Newsroom: KBP
I also love the KBP Magazine editor that was in touch with me when I found out that I was about to be featured. I love the fact that she did not actually want a typical interview, she wanted to present our blogs - through our eyes - by reading our articles and making herself a fair review as a first time reader. I really liked her approach as it sounded very fair to the audience. Typically, in interviews, we tend to overtone the answers and we are not 100% true to ourselves. I liked how she actually took the time into reading several articles and then presenting us through her eyes. I also loved the fact that before she published the article she showed us the text - I did not make any changes on mine but I liked the idea of being asked before my name would come out on print ;) it's a safe feeling and it was professional of the KBP Magazine to do so. Of course, appearing in the KBP Magazine was a prize in itself for me, so I was very pleasantly surprised and impressed when I was called in January to pick up my "physical" present. Now that was a treat! But I will tell you about it another day ;) now I leave you with KBP Magazine Nb. 2 to read what they wrote about The Twisted Red LadyBug ;) let me know what you think, once you are done. I would also love to hear if your ever been featured in a printed magazine. I was so proud! :)

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves To Write :)
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Friday, 12 February 2016

Do Polish People Celebrate Valentines Day?

Dearest hearts,

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, so I thought it would be interesting for you to know how this day is celebrated here - as an expat living in Poland, a traveller who wishes to visit Poland one day, or just a regular reader of The LadyBug who would like to know more about Poland. As you very well know by now, we - as people, as society - love to "borrow" things from one culture to another.  We do that until the thing that we have "borrowed" gets assimilated and becomes tradition. When you think about Valentine's Day, you mostly think about the USA and the postcards with hearts popping all over... you would not say this is a typical Polish tradition. I am coming from an ex-communist country - just like Poland was - and I know how ones the curtain fell we were dead set upon the task of assimilating as much as we could from America and it's way of life. The young ones welcomed Valentine's Day with arms wide open.
Of course we always had celebrations for Women's Day (on the 8th of March) and in Romania we actually have a traditional celebration for couples, called Dragobete (celebrated, if I remember right, on the 24th of February) but as far as I know and asked Polish people, they did not have a similar tradition. It was, of course, "borrowed". Now, in Poland, Valentine's Day is celebrated on the 14th of February and the day is named "Walentynki" (after the Saint that gave the celebration it's name). Opened on the 30th of September 2010, Kraków prides itself with a Lovers Bridge - Kladka Ojca Bernatka (Father Bernatka's Bridge). The bridge links the Kazimierz and the Podgorze district of Kraków and spans over the Vistula river, providing wonderful views. The bridge is all pedestrian (bikes are allowed) and the couples like to "show the world" their love by putting love locks on it and throwing the key in the river. Some locks are engraved with name and date, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Of course, another "borrowed" tradition ;) 
The Polish lads are one of the most gentleman like lads I have ever encountered, do it is to no surprise that this custom was "borrowed". I do believe though that they don't need a specific day for lovers; it is a custom to see men buying flowers and huge queues appearing around Women's Day. Giving your significant other flowers, almost on a daily basis, is quite frequent in Poland.  Polish lads don't need a day to buy flowers - they love their women and they make then happy everyday; they don't need a reason or a day to buy gifts, they just respect the lasses on their arm. I love the old - type chivalry :) Way to go Poland! Of course for Walentynki it is customary to buy for girls flowers, candies/chocolate, perfume and take them out for lunch/dinner. The ladies, of course, love to make gifts and usually the lads get gadgets/electronics and perfume. Those are the regular ;) but you can always go overboard if you have the time and money for it. How about you? Have you already bought your significant other the Valentine's Day present? Are you ready for this weekend? Any plans? Or are you already in Kraków and you have no clue where to take her out? ;) pop me a line and I can give you some ideas!

Yours truly, 
The Twisted Red LadyBug - have a wonderful Walentynki 
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Tuesday, 9 February 2016

I Love Trains In Poland

Dearest friends,

I live in Kraków for almost 5 years now and I must admit I can see huge changes in public transport, and especially in the railway system, since I first came here in 2011. I remember how I always wanted to go more often to Warsaw but that was always an issue as by bus the ride would take more than 5 hours - less than the train ride, back in 2011! Now (even in 2015!) I would rather take the train to Warsaw - the direct line from Krakow Glowny (Kraków Central Station) to Warsawa Centralna (smack downtown, next to the Palace of Culture and Science) takes you there in less than 2:30 minutes! Take another example, when I first came to Poland, the connection between the International Balice Airport and the city centre were quite... a pain! There was a shuttle bus taking you from the 2 terminals, to the train platform that was quite a bit further away. There you would wait for the train to Krakow Glowny - at least 15 min. The train ticket back then was over 20 zloty and the ride was about 30 min. Now, the terminal has a passage way leading to the tracks where trains come and the ride is 18 minutes for 8 zloty. Changes! I love when they look like that! Did I mention about the free WiFi or how brand new the trains are?! ;) now you know!
Photo from external soure - sorry, all the time it's too crowded to take a decent photo :(
The railway system in Kraków and the whole Malopolskie voivodship is under a huge revolution, and I quite enjoy having a look on how Poland moves forward, roughing standard like in Germany and even Austria. I think, if you came here before 2011 and you would come to the Kraków Glowny now, you would be surprised (pleasantly!) about the changes. The most important and obvious change you will see is the way the Main Train Station looks like. It has moved from its former old building - now used for fairs and expos - to the underground of Galeria Krakowska - making the life easier for thousands of railway users. It is one of the mot's modern transportation hubs in Poland! Also, the last years there has been a lot of modenization work on the Balice Station (airport) but also Kraków Lobzow. The business plan for the next year shows a growing concern into how they can make the user's life better, by brining them good connections for Wieliczka, Tarnow and for the thousand of people working in Tymbark and needing daily transport at all hours. I, for one, wish only one more thing - and that's related to the Kraków Glowny - Kraków Business Park track: more frequent trains :) Right now the station has 2 platforms, an underground walkway and 48 regional trains + 12 long distance per day. Sad part is that after 5 pm there is only one train per hour and if you don't have a car KBP is quite an issue to get out of...
Photo from external soure - sorry, all the time it's too crowded to take a decent photo :(
How about you? Do you love your train system back home or where you live now? Have you ever been in Poland - if you have, have you ever experienced the brand new fleet of trains that Poland bought? What was your customer experience? Would love to hear your stories - I shared mine ;)

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves Polish trains
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Saturday, 6 February 2016

How Many Donuts Did You Eat For Fat Thursday?

Dearest hearts,

How many donuts have you ate thus past Thursday? Be fair and give us the number and the details ;) if you are Polish, or an expat living in Poland, for sure you know all about Fat Thursday (in Polish language: Tlusty Czwartek). This celebration signifies the end of the Carnival period, it marks the last day when people can eat and drink and be merry, before the Easter Holy Lent starts. The period of fasting is already up on us now, so I hope you ate all the donuts you could get your hands on ;) In Poland, the traditional thing is to eat at least one donut (in Polish language: ponczek) for good luck. If you did not have any... well... that's too bad!
I was reading an article this week about it, and as everyday we learn something new... so did I learn that in the beginning,  medieval ages, the donuts were not actually sweet but rather salty... the sweet filling came later on, somewhere in the 19th century. Thank God! :) The typical Polish donut also does not resemble the ones made in USA - those are round, flat and with a whole in the middle. Polish ponzcki are oval, maybe round, not flat at all! and without any whole but with different filling - usually rose jam, "advocat" (type of alcohol - light), chocolate. They are also usually powered with sugar or glazed (sticky fingers...). By the way, did you know that the USA in 1926 opened up its first Doughnut Making Machine Feb. 6th, 1926: In Dubuque, Iowa the first doughnut-making machine was launched by a company called Trausch Bakery. See! You learn something new everyday! :) I ate 1,5 donuts as I was not that much into sweets... how about you? ;)

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug
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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Don't Be Afraid!

Dearest hearts,

A few days ago I felt the need to share with you the growing concern about Artificial Intelligence. Now the least thing I wish for you to do is worry and be afraid.  That was not my purpose.  The purpose was to get you thinking about the world we live in and how progress has changed us so much that we don't know where to stop. Now you may have several attitudes after reading that article: you might think that this is a whole lot of bollocking and that technology in our day to day life is necessary; you might think that having robots take over is a "cool thing"; you may get so scared that you might just wish to leave your home and live on a deserted island... there are so many "you may" versions ans none are very appealing to me... I must admit that sometimes, thinking about the world nowdays, with all the violence and the conflicts, gets me very much scared/frightened. Is this the kind of world you wish to live in? Is this the kind of world you would like your kids to know? I surely wish that everyone would have, at least, a lovely childhood... yet that is not available for everyone...
A few days ago, I was just absent mindedly checking up Facebook to see what my friends were up to, when I bumped into a picture that got me thinking... The pictures was saying that 365 times, in the Bible, the wording "Don't be afraid" appears. 365 times... one time for each day of the year! I love "coincidences" like this in the Bible. It's as if God would like us to know that being afraid, although it is a part of whom we are and although it's an inevitable thing that will happen to us, should not scare us and we should drop it as soon as we can. Being afraid is a human reaction, and even Jesus was afraid in the Gethsemane garden, yet God gave him strength. Just like he gives us strength on a daily basis, to get through the worst. Being afraid is something that will happen, but we must not let it become an integrating part of us. We must not stay afraid. I have seen people afraid... their constant focus was on the scareness in them, and they could not break free. It is as if they were bound by heavy chains... "Be not afraid" is the line we should keep with us, in our lives, in our hearts.  
What do you do in order not to be afraid? It's a hard exercise but I believe everyone has their own way of breaking free and finding a way out, or coping with the situation in hand. I remember being a wee lass, afraid of the Dark... my sister would be able to parade though the whole house with the lights off, yet I could not move a muscle. The way I coped with it, at the beginning, was lighting one by one all the lights in the house, in order to get to the bathroom... when I grew older I told myself there was nothing to fear, so going to the bathroom was a "run for your life" kind of "chase" to get to the loo... I have moments even nowdays when I don't feel comfortable in the dark, especially in new places... it's as if the corners would hide the creepiest monsters... of course I know they are not real. Tell that to my subconscious though :) how about you? How do you cope with fear?! Did you also have a childhood fear, that in time became easier to bare? 

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug
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