Wandering Through The Polish Countryside: Kozlow

On my first weekend in Poland during my recent trip, we went to places that are so dear to me, that have forever engraved special memories and feelings in me.

On our way from my grandma's place, we encountered tractors, cows and beautiful post-harvest fields. I was breath-taken. Poland at its best! Polish countryside as I remember it, as romantic and romanticized as you can imagine, a place of hard work, play, happy cows wandering the fields and happy farmers tending to their plots. The reality is never as bright, but for these few awesome moments, I had the most tender affinity for my country again.

Wondering through the Polish countryside series.... Part I: tractors finishing work in the emptying fields. It threatened to rain but in the end, all we got was a beautiful cloud spectacle! Happy clouds, happy fields and happy cows (or so it seems): wandering through the Polish countryside! Fields of gold!

In a little village of Kozlow in the southern Poland, where my mom grew up, and where I spent multiple Christmases, Easters, and summer and winter holidays, there is an orchard that belonged to my grandparents. I probably climbed every single tree in it when I was a kid. For a girl growing up in a decent-sized city it was a paradise. Raspberries, red and black currants, apples and cherries, plums and pears. I might have not been a fruit-centric child, but when it comes to apples especially, they will always have a special place in my diet, and for that I can credit these crazy childhood tree climbs for the best fruit.

Wandering through the Polish countryside series, Part II. One last raspberry of the season!! And one of the best, of course Picking apples! The fence that has seen better times.... Still there, like in the good old days.... Last one from my grandparents' turned my parents' orchard in the country.... It was a fruitful visit....

There is something so magical about the Polish cemeteries.... They always attracted me with some force that resulted in different creations of imagination. I remember when I was 11 or 12 and was walking through the old part of the cemetery with my parents (around 100 years old), and everything seemed to talk to me in a somewhat fairy-tale-ish way, though (if I were by myself, I would have probably run away!). So I wrote about it when I came back home, and it was one of my first pieces I remember writing for myself that wasn't a journal entry or a school assignment -- and I was so proud!

Polish cemeteries For a lot of people (especially elderly), cemeteries represent a place to visit, so they install benches, so they can sit for extended time, rest, say their prayers and spend time with their loved ones.... An old statue at the old cemetery.... Almost every cemetery has its own chapel. This one has super thick walks and is always cold inside.... The façade of the chapel. A simple building that had some color added in the last few years. It used to be a grey and morbid looking building when I was a child.... The view of the old part of the cemetery (the new one is across the street) with its old chapel, graves, flowers, candles.... All the tree were cut as they represented danger for the graves (falling branches used to damage them every year). Last one today from the Wandering through Poland series, Part III, cemeteries edition.... :-) The train tracks lie right along both cemeteries. I remember crossing them when I was little after we've arrived in Kozlow

Village churches. It is so common to see these buildings made with sweat and tears of the locals, financed from their modest savings donated to the church. So many times they are filled with gold and overdone décor. But these ones are different. Modest and realistic. Connected with the people they are serving. Isn't it what God intended and would have wanted?

Another edition of wandering through Poland: churches. Present in each and every little village (no matter how small they are, really), so you pass a lot of them while going through the country.... This one is from Kozlow, my mom's hometown. Some random church while driving in the countryside. It either never got finished, or somehow it was decided to keep the unfinished white brick look.... For some reason I always used to like it. Maybe because it looks so different? The sign you're in Poland: churches everywhere (that aren't only tourist destinations, actually, most aren't visited by tourists at all). I spotted probably a few more on our way.... They're part of the Polish landscape, history and politics

A drive between Kozlow and Wolbrom (where my grandma lives).

This happened on my first weekend in Poland during my last stay. Feels like some ancient time right now.... So distant and surreal.... Beautiful, nonetheless! Perhaps the essence of some sort of polishness.... Open fields, roadside crosses, forests and surprising beauty.... Being back in California still seems so surreal.... It seems like I went back in time, even though a whole month went by.... A month of family time, meetings with friends and admiring amazing autumnal Polish landscapes.... From my wandering through the Polish countryside last month.... A gem of a traditional old house, few decades old, lit by a beautiful autumnal light. Amazing it's still standing there in a pretty good state.... Wonder if the interior stood the test of time This is where the summer meets the fall, after the harvest and before the golden autumn, so beautiful and photogenic (i.e. more pictures to come; still going through my photographically productive stay in Poland) After that, there was no countryside anymore. There were mountains and forests, and cities, and maybe even some people  I hear after I'd left, the weather picked up and the Indian Summer continued with double force.... At least I got a taste of it!

At my grandma's....

This old barn has seen better days, but it's also been there for a couple of generations.... Still stands unchanged in my grandma's backyard, hiding old secrets and a vegetable garden behind it.... Something happily promising about even unevenly and imperfectly arranged stacks of wood.... Again, at my grandma's, latergram from Poland.... At my grandma's.

Photos taken with Google Nexus 4 and Canon T3i