December 12, 2012

Road Trip: Wroclaw

Under a two hour drive from our flat is Wroclaw and so far it is our favorite Polish city. I say so far because we still haven't been to Warsaw, Poznan or Gdansk which lies on the shoreline of the Baltic Sea.

Love Locks

December 4, 2012

Christmas Market - Wroclaw

My first Christmas Market and in one of my favorite Polish cities, it was a delightful weekend. Wroclaw is a beautiful city and a college town, so along with beautiful architecture of both a German and Austrian influence (I'll cover the city history in a future post) and grand churches; there is a youthful and diverse population. You can get by fairly easily speaking English.

Market Christmas Tree

November 22, 2012

My Polish Pumpkin Pie

Wanting to share a little of the American tradition with his co-workers, Troy asked if I could bake a pumpkin pie. I figured this favor would either be easy or not so easy based on what ingredients I could find. In the end, it ended up being somewhere in the middle and completely fun at any rate. With a couple off the cuff substitutions, a squash that I wasn't sure how closely related to pie pumpkin (or even pumpkin at all), and a consultation with my mom (the queen of pumpkin pie), we have Polish Pumpkin Pie.

November 14, 2012

Poland and Holiday Culture

I rather messed up the other week by not posting about All Saints Day on November 1st. In my defense, I did not know what to expect and we were out biking and somehow I did not have my camera along. Next year I will indeed cover it as the day was remarkable.

October 26, 2012

Food Nerd Friday: Apple Strudel

What makes a girl like me even more excited to visit a palace? Finding out that every hour on the hour, there is a Strudelshow.

Schloss Schonbrunn

October 24, 2012

Road Trip: Belgium

In Belgium, our main point of stay was just outside of Brussels. As we are familiar from a previous post, Intro to Brussels, we can assume that it was perhaps not my favorite piece of the planet.

Grand Place

October 22, 2012

Katowice by Bike

This city is a lady of many personalities. And until covering almost every corner by bike this weekend, there were personas we hadn't yet discovered in our almost two months here.

Valley of Three Ponds

October 18, 2012

Cows and Cobblestones

The more time that I spend here, the more that admire the city, the country and it's people. The graffiti art on the buildings is abstract and funky. I do not understand the images one bit. Yet, I find it fun to keep an eye out for the next greatest piece and even if they are fairly depressing in nature, they do give life to the concrete building slabs.

Cow Mural by Silesia City Center

October 12, 2012

Food Nerd Friday: Hot Dogs

My almost sincere apologies for two back-to-back food posts, but today is Food Nerd Friday... I do have other topics to cover including Bruges, Dresden and it's about time to take you into my new home town a little further as well. Those will be coming up and if today goes as planned, I may have Vienna to add to the Road Trip list as well. But today, making a hot dog tops the list.

October 10, 2012

Pizza Delivery

Far less frequent than McDonald's and KFC, to my knowledge there are two Pizza Huts in Katowice. And you should have seen the line to dine at the Pizza Hut in the mall on Saturday night. They are currently running a special for 9,90 zloty you can order your choice of a small pizza, Greek salad, spaghetti or ham pizza rolls and a soda or tea (for happy hour at 7:00 you can get a beer instead for the same price). The currency difference means that your dinner will cost you about $3.00.

   The Pizza Huts here however do not deliver. And sometimes after living abroad for a month, you just want someone to bring pizza to your door. On our walks around the city, I kept spying pizza delivery bikes and I thought they were so cute. I don't have a picture of one, but as soon as I grab one I will add it to this post... A common little red motor bike with a square rack welded on the back, big enough to hold a darn big pizza, we were just plain curious.

October 8, 2012


While touring Belgium, my fascination surprisingly did not fall so quickly with chocolate, it was Speculoos that caught my attention. Everywhere we turned, Speculoos was there; ice cream (fabulous), muffins at the bakeries, Belgian waffles, even the truffles at the chocolate shops. I then had to look for Speculoos spread which I had heard of and couldn't wait to find on our European adventure. I just didn't know it's home would be Belgium and that it would have been waiting for me right there at the corner market.

Speculoos Spread

October 2, 2012

Road Trip: Cologne

I went into Cologne with my eyes closed. I didn't know what to expect and for some reason had envisioned a little town that just happened to be on our route to Brussels (it happens to be the 4th largest city in Germany). I had discovered that there was a Schokoladenmuseum and there was no way I was missing that! Arriving into town on a Sunday and the museum being closed on Mondays, I was on a mission.

Imhoff Schokoladenmuseum

September 28, 2012

Food Nerd Friday: McDonald's

We made a promise to ourselves that we would avoid American food joints while on our stay abroad. When you can have the stuff any day, why partake when there's the opportunity to discover places you otherwise wouldn't be able to.

   When we hit the road to Belgium, a hungry kid decided that breakfast could not wait. With frequent McDonald's restaurants along the road, just this one time we said we would stop. And unexpectedly, the Polish restaurant is so different from the American version and both are so different from the German restaurants. It's kind of exciting to check them out.

Poland McDonald's

September 26, 2012

Road Trip: Berlin

A short 5 hour drive from our flat in Katowice is Berlin, the capitol of Germany. Once we hit the German border, the driving became fast and focused. Most of the highway is three lanes and it's a three lane system that actually works.

   The slow lane is composed of trucks and two horse trailers loaded with two horses being pulled by either a Subaru Legacy or a Mercedes wagon. Camp trailers are also common and are pulled by your typical car, heck we even saw a Smart car pulling a small trailer and there is a reason it was in the slow lane. The middle lane is for us commoners cruising in the 130 km/hour range and the fast lane is for the frequent Ferrari and Porsche whom made 130 seem like standing still.

   New York is known for being up all night. Berlin is known for being up later than New York. And when walking on the lonely morning sidewalks (of a city composed of 3.5 million people) you will have no doubt that it is true. A very trendy and electric city, I was amazed by how the new architecture melded so well with the old. The train stations are extravagant and the statues that populate the city seem to welcome the modern day.
Modern Berlin Architecture

September 19, 2012

Intro to Brussels

From the time that we had known we would be traveling to Brussels, I couldn't have been more excited. Beer and chocolate, life's almost perfect marriage, right? The drive here was so beautiful with many breath taking moments. The scenery matching that of the drive through LaCrosse Wisconsin as you cross the Mississippi River, one of my favorite pieces of nature's beauty. This city had nothing but potential.

September 10, 2012

Welcome to my Town

If Katowice had a long-lost cousin, it would be Butte Montana. Built on coal mining and steel, it's a working mans' city. The sky is bright blue today. Grey skies and a quick occasional sprinkle of rain seem to be the normal, however it never seems to slow anyone down and the sidewalks stay bustling. When the sun peaks out, you soak in the rays. Once it's gray again, the chill returns the need for a sweater.

Join me, on a walk around town. Located first from where we stepped off of the trolley from our flat is the Muzeum Slaskie (Silesian Museum - Silesia is the region in which Katowice is located). Founded in 1929, the Nazis took the museum's collections to a different city in 1940 and tore the building down. In 1984 the museum returned it's collections to the current location which was formerly a hotel.

Muzeum Slaskie

September 7, 2012

At Home in Poland

We have arrived and are settling in. It is amazing how at home we feel when we are a ways from home. Our journey here had an almost crazy start. First, checking into our flight, we were informed that our airline's staff was on strike and there were cancellations and delays (we faced neither, so all was well). Then while awaiting our taxi to take us to meet the bus to the airport, he never showed. But, quick on our feet with two very helpful friends, we caught the bus without the taxi's help.
  The very nice bus driver informed us that our flight was out of terminal 5. We dropped people off at terminal 1, 2, etc. and then a drive later, it was our turn to find our airline counter... We unloaded our 3 large suitcases, 2 carry-on suitcases, backpacks, car seat and our 2 year old. Paid for a cart and got it loaded up to haul our mountain of stuff. (Side Note: we have no stroller with us at this time.) We enter the airport to immediately discover that our gate is in Terminal 1.
   We load up on one elevator (with a sign that says no carts, but we have no choice). Find the second elevator.. Then arrive at the train to Terminal 1. With a sign and guards that say no carts! Our freshly financed and life important cart became worthless. Troy worked out a strategy and we were able to throw ourselves and our luggage onto the train. At this point we're hiking along with more than we can carry and a 2 year old who has joined in on the strike.
   With the help of some friendly people in line with us, they help entertain Lottie and she soaks it up. When we found our seats at the spa, I mean plane, it was life-altering. A place to sit with people waiting on you, a sleeping 2 year old and all luggage off of our hands, we finally were able to breathe. (And the airline (Lufthansa) gave Lottie a bag of gummy bears upon stepping onto the plane and a puzzle when she found her seat. Lottie was pretty sure she was royalty.)
   Our new landlords met us at our apartment, and expecting our exhaustion, they had made up the beds. Placed a basket on the table full of apples and chocolate. Stocked the fridge with milk, cheeses, ham, yogurt and water. Placed a fresh loaf of bread in the bread box. Set up a tea station on the counter. And installed a child gate on the stairway - having a 10 month old grandchild, they couldn't rest easy without us having the stairs blocked. They have been so nice and generous that our place feels like nothing but home.
   Of course, I have to share with you our first breakfast. Perhaps it was because we were exhausted and starving, but this sandwich was the best that I've ever had. I am not a fan of ham so very much, but let me tell you that this ham will change your life. And the cheese spread. The cheese spread. We've only tried the plain yet, the other flavors are bell pepper and ham.

At an outing yesterday to our local Tesco to pick up some items (I think of Tesco as a very large Pamida), a very kind lady was oogling at Lottie and was asking me a question, and I didn't know how to respond. Luckily she asked "Sprechen sie Deutsch?" and Troy was able to converse in German. She simply asked how old Lottie was. My lesson for today, if in Poland, say "Mówisz po angielsku?" to ask if a person speaks English (unless of course you would like to converse in German).

With that, do zobaczenia (see you later).

July 27, 2012

A Polish Home.

Just as all of the work that we've put into our house here in Wisconsin was getting to an exciting point of looking like it could be finished one day, we've decided to jump ship and move to Poland! Our dream-house-to-be will still be here, awaiting our return and for somewhere around 2 years we will live in an apartment in the city. Did I mention that along with that also means we will have no construction.. No leaves to rake.. No black walnuts to gather by the barrow full... Ohh the sorrow.

The leader of this expedition was able to do some homesteading for his family and it appears as though we have found a new abode.

Entry to the 70 stair climb. Did he really say 70? I'm afraid he did.

Kitchen - The two coffee pots were a big selling point..!



Master Bedroom

Poppin's Room

Balcony View

I've started a suitcase of what I intend to pack, please remind me at the last minute to grab my knives, I won't make it in the kitchen without them! Also, I've packed my favorite sweaters and a stack of my favorite books that I've anxiously been wanting to read for about the last 5 years. I'm hoping now is the time for that. Me, this balcony, a book and a cup of coffee... Is it possible to read when there's also a two year old living in the house?