Anticipating Meg and Jo

Poland first came on my radar a few years ago, when the Crazy Polish Woman worked in my office, she told me how beautiful it is and the I’d love it. Then four or five years ago, I discovered both Jo and Meg. Meg blogged about her early visits to Warsaw, where her daughter and son-in-law lived with their tiny twins. Next, Jo posts about her visits to see her Polish family in Beltchatow and Krakow. One of my school friends, Jackie, went to Krakow in the depths of winter (crazy girl) for the Christmas market, absolutely loved it and has been back several times since. Never being one to laze on beaches for holidays, Poland went on my ‘one day’ list.
In spring 2016, Meg arrived in Europe for a year, I already had a holiday booked in September, and work pressures meant that taking leave was difficult, then I became ill and vague ideas of flying to Warsaw flew out the window. Maybe next time I thought.
This spring, I saw a whispered comment on one of your blogs, from Meg implying that she was making plans. Whispers because she was planning a surprise trip to see her family.
I started plotting. Checking annual leave charts, hotels, and flights, I knew it was possible to fly from Bristol with a budget airline, but to Modlin airport, some distance from the city. The times weren’t very good, I’m not keen on arriving in a new city late at night.
British Airways to the rescue, with a flight actually costing less, arriving at Chopin, where transfers are a doddle. Everything fell into place.
Getting information about the city was difficult, because there are no up to date guide books. I found an e book for my kindle, watched a few YouTube videos, tried to work out how many zlotys we would need, to eat, drink, move around the city and for any entry costs. We ended up taking around £175 worth each, and brought home nearly half that, it’s an inexpensive destination!
Three weeks before our departure, the excitement was mounting, and some funny business was going on with certain people’s blogs, more little whisperings. I had an idea what it was but didn’t dare to dream that I was right, especially when I drew blank with a direct question. Then I had an email saying, ‘Secret’s out’, from Jo, she’d been in league with Meg with a plan to rock up for lunch on the Sunday. I was beside myself, we all were.

Some of my friends think I’m mad choosing to fly across Europe to meet online friends. They don’t understand the richness of these friendships, but every one of the people I’ve met so far are warm, loving people, real friends.

Thanks to my traveling friend Lindy for this lovely photo of us, and for joining me on an adventure once again.

Now I’m leaving you with some photos, impressions of Warsaw.

I’m tentatively linking to Cathy, she has an on-going challenge about the anticipation and preparation for a particular destination. She’s in Niagara and Buffalo this week, but I’m particularly looking forward to her long distance walk, the Camino de Santiago, in a couple of months.

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A Gypsy and a Restless One

You know you have trouble on your hands if you have to pick your friends up from the police station in the rain don’t you? Have no fear, I ‘put leg in bed’ under her umbrella and marched her to the safety of a café. Dear Jo and I sat and talked, and laughed, and laughed and talked, until the sun came out and we hit the streets.

We got on well from the start, we have much in common and there wasn’t a moments reserve between us, just hugs, giggles and a desire to learn all about each other and the city we were in. Jo had come south to Birmingham the afternoon before and found her way around, I’d got up at 4.30 and the coach whisked me northwards, to the midway point.

Neither of us had spent any time in Birmingham before, and Jo wondered what she’d let herself in for, it seemed that lots of the city was being pulled down on the northern perimeter that was her approach, but here is our first glimpse of the shopping area near the Bullring.

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There are trams all around Birmingham and Jo loves them, I confessed to never having been on one, I’ll have to give it a go in Barcelona this year.
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I wonder if they’ll have any pink ones!

birm5On we wander, arm in arm like a couple of school girls, or do I mean old women? We both fell for this killer heel.

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And the matching bag.

birm6Our cameras were happy as we were enticed into elegant arcades.

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We oohed and ahhed at the reflective, wibbly wobbly walls, and the city is full of quirky miscellanea.

The sculptures around the centre are amazing, and of course Jo is as enthusiastic about them as I am.
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We ramble around, very excited and seeing amazing things everywhere we turned, Antony Gormley’s Iron Man was an unexpected treat.

birm11Just standing there minding his own business.

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Old and new architecture blends beautifully, and the building that looks like it’s been crocheted was a huge favourite for both of us.

Jo had booked us onto a guided walking tour in the early afternoon, it took us all around the canals, like here,

birm15and we had to squeeze our way past hundreds of graduating students, being photographed in their gowns, against the backdrop of this surprising city. Before that we had time to visit the countries biggest library, the crocheted building above.

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Here’s a sneaky peep at one of the libraries two roof gardens, and a certain lovely lady trying to decide if the broad beans were worth snitching!

I’ll be back as soon as I can with the next bit of my amazing day with Jo, meanwhile, it will probably leave you traumatised because there are photos . . . of me, arrrgh, as well as Jo’s view of the day, here.

Blogging friends

Well just look who I’ve found.

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I met the amazing Julia, from the 100 word challenge, @theheadsoffice and Julia’s Place and her husband Nick on Saturday. We had a great time, with cake and conversation of the very best kind!It really did seem like we’ve known each other for ever.

Are you a blogger? Have you ever met a reader in real life? Read about one of my blogging friends

Visit Julia here Blogging friends