Thursday, March 26, 2009

Poland - Ogrodzieniec

Here's another one of 6 cards that I received from Tomek :) And again, it shows a place that I've never been to (I think I'll have to show you some cards that I bought myself during my rare trips in Poland, not to seem a total ignorant when it comes to my own country).

By the way, I think it's an interesting topic. You see, Poland used to be a communist country before and it was quite difficult to go abroad, even to the other countries of communist block. Visiting West Europe was one of the biggest dreams of many people, but for some of them it never came true. I was born in 1991, so I don't remember those times and I'm glad about it. But even later, in my childhood, when Poland was already a democratic country, people didn't travel abroad often. I remember how happy my parents were, when they went on a trip to France, Switzerland and Spain in mid 90's. And I also remember how excited I was to cross the Polish-Czech border (which is about 100km away from my city) or to go to Germany for the first time in 2002. On the other hand, I used to travel within Poland more often and I always enjoyed visiting a new city, town or even a small village.

Now, travelling abroad is very easy and cheap. Thanks to the low-cost airlines, many people (and I don't mean only the rich part of society) can allow themselves to spend a weekend in London, Paris, Madrid... I'm not so much into flying (I'm afraid of it) and I don't feel any strong desire to visit all the famous cities, but I go to Ukraine each time I have such opportunity (For example, last year I went there for 6 times). Of course, that's a result of my own decision on how to spend my free time and it's mainly because I love Ukraine :)) But even when it comes to the school trips, students usually go abroad, because it's not so expensive anymore and also teachers think it's "more interesting" than travelling within Poland. Maybe they just want to see (and show to the students) the places that used to be out of their reach?

Of course, there's nothing wrong about going abroad and it's good we've been using the opportunities that European Union gives us. But, it's a bit strange feeling to realize that I know other countries better than my own, even though I've never lived abroad. It doesn't mean I'm going to do something about it... Still, I'm looking forward to having 6 days off for Easter and I'm not going to spend them in Poland... Just sharing my thoughts with you :) And I'd love to hear your opinion about it :)

I'm really sorry for this offtopic, I just felt I had to write it :) I'm coming back to the postcard from Ogrodzieniec :)

Ogrodzieniec is located in the Silesian Voivodeship (region) of Poland. It is noted for the extensive ruins of a medieval castle, damaged during the Swedish invasion of Poland in the years 1655–1660. That's what the English Wikipedia tells us. As I can read Polish, I can add some information ;) The first castle at that place was built in the 12th century and was destroyed during the Tatar invasion. A gothic castle was built there in 14th century and rebuilt in 16th century. As I've mentioned above, it was destroyed during the Polish-Swedish and wasn't rebuilt anymore. The last inhabitants left the Ogrodzieniec castle in 1810.


Ana said...

ooohh, i dont mind you go off-topic! I actually love it...first, coz i always want to read people's own opinions about things and how they perceive things about places, where they live or where theyve been to...its just a totally new dimension from what i can google and read on the net....and ok, it makes me feel less guilty for the fact i go off-topic more than that i stick to the topic...khm :)

I live in a country where travelling abroad is one of the greatest luxuries...coz of both financial and visa reasons.
Of course, there is the rich class who can go wherever they want to, whenever they want to...but the majority of people cant afford it..and not just that, but to get a visa can be a real torture sometimes. Some countries have really strict regimes, that even if you maybe can afford to go there, due to some bureacracy reasons, they wont approve you a visa. Its really frustrating, and thats one of the greatest reasons why i sometimes really dont want to live here...funny thing is, i feel as in an opposed situation to you :)
When i was little, back in the 80's, we could actually travel anywhere...and we could afford parents could go to Germany without a, if i want to get a visa for there, it would cost me an arm and a leg, not to mention travel costs and such...
So its like we've switched places :)

Оксана said...

I didn't know that Macedonian people need a visa to travel in Europe... But I know this problem very well, as I have friends in Ukraine and Russia... Before 2004 they could come to Poland without a visa, between 2004 and 2007 there already were visas, but it was very easy to get them, it was just because European Union required any visas.
Now it's much worse, because Poland is in the Schengen zone, so having a Polish visa you can also visit other Schengen countries. This makes the process of receiving a visa very complicated... You have to book a hotel or have an official invitation... But the inviting person should be your relative. If he/she isn't a member of your family, you have to explain, where and when exactly you met this person etc. Later the inviting person has to go to the regional administration and to the notary. And there's still no guarantee that they would accept this invitation.

That's one of the reasons, why I'm against the European Union. It's not integration, it's rather isolation. Of course, it's nice that there are no borders between the EU countries, but I wouldn't mind it if there were normal borders, if everyone could travel without a visa. For example, I can go to Ukraine for 90 days during 6 months without a visa. If I wanted to stay there for a longer time - then I would need one. I think that's reasonable, because I can go to Ukraine whenever I want... And if I'd like to spend more than half of time there, then it's normal that I have to ask for permission.
But, actually, here neraly nobody cares about it, because people usually care only about themselves :(