Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bieszczady - Poland - AEGEE Inspiring SU 2008

After my adventures in the Black Mountains (Wales), I took a Ryanair plane from London Stansted airport to Rzeszów (south east Poland), which is a great gateway to the Bieszczady mountains. I was going to spend two weeks in that region of Poland taking part into an AEGEE (the European student organization) event: the so-called Summer Universities (SU). My SU had the special codename of Inspiring SU, which was related to the activities that we were going to do (hiking, yoga, meditation). This is a google earth file with the main places and mountains I visited in the Bieszczady region: Bieszczady google Earth.

I met Santa at the airport and took a bus with her to the center of Rzeszow. She was coming from Latvia (with a change in Warszawa) and had told me to wait for her. In Rzeszow we met Simon, from England, who had came in the same plane as me but didn't know who I was. Then, we took a coach to Sanok where we would meet Maria and Aniko and then changed to another one going to Wetlina, in the heart of the Bieszczady mountains.

In general, my first impression about that part of Poland was very good. People, cars, streets.. everything was as modern as in Spain. The only but were the coaches, sort of old, and that it was a bit hard to find people speaking English (however I think that's a good thing as it means that we went to a place where foreigners don't go so often).


At Wetlina I met the rest of participants and organizers and we had a very nice dinner of dumplings (Pierogi). Then we played some games to get to know each other and remember our names. We were going to sleep in two beautiful huts by a river during the next week and my roommate was going to be Simon :).


Summing up, I had an amazing week in Wetlina: hiking mountains like Polonina Wetlinska, Tarnica, Kremenaros... practicing meditation with Ewa, the Olimpics games (major Pain!) where we had to compete in teams and we painted our faces, the sex-change party, the karaoke night, the European night where I prepared a Spanish omelet (tortilla de patatas), delicious lunches and dinner (very good food in Poland!!), watching the stars at night (I saw some shooting stars!!), having a early bath in the river every morning (one day I saw a deer!), the trips with the funny bus driver who used to take us near the base of the mountain in an overcrowded bus, playing my harmonica in the top of the mountain, exchanging secret messages in the secret messages panel and especially spending the night talking to Maria, Magda and Simon in our "pyjamas" sessions.

From Wetlina we went to Kalnica another village in the Bieszczady area. Some of the participants (including me) decided to go there through the mountains. It was a really hard hiking day because we had to carry out all our luggage with us (thank god I had Lion chocolates to help me out! :D). When we arrived to Kalnica, I couldn't believe it, we were going to live for the next days in a beautiful Shelter in the middle of the forest!!


The days in Kalnica were also great. The environment and the company was just perfect :D. We had bonfires every night where we used to cook and eat sausages (yummy!!!) and sing lots of songs!! Especially good at singing were Thomas and Chris!. From there we made some excursions, for example to Cisna where I made a portrait of almost everybody in a very nice furnished bar.


The days after Kalnica were nice but not as especial as the ones in the Bieszczady mountains. We went to visit some "human" things like a touristic town called Solina, an open air museum in Sanok, the Lancut castle or the city of Rzeszow and we went to fly on a Glider as well (I didn't fly though). Finally, the last day was very emotive. We wrote down nice things for each other in a poster, said our goodbyes and so on.


The only problem with the Inspiring SU is that it is over and we will never be able to go back in time to live it again :D. This is the list of great people that had the luck to live this experience:

Chris, Aga, Yvonne, Eeva, Anna-Lena, Santa, Thomas, Simon, Daniel, Aniko, Jorge, Paola, Magda, Karol, Tomek, Ewa, Kasia and Maria.

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