The idea initially occurred to Greg and I, because of our semester ticket of free travel within the Berlin-Brandenburg area. Unfortunately, I actually found out that our ticket doesn't go quite as far as the border (oopsy), but as I was already on my way back by the time the ticket lady caught me out, I was let off with a warning. Either way our semester tickets do go pretty far, so I think I'll be using it for further exploring on my Wednesday afternoons.
Germany on the left, Poland on the right.
The two towns are just divided by a little bridge over a river, with no passport control (good old European open borders) and it takes no more than five minutes to amble across. The majority of my afternoon was comprised of wandering along the river bank on the Polish side, which was a lovely, peaceful change from the madness of the big cities that I have grown accustomed to. The town itself, Slubice (anyone able to tell me how you how that's pronounced??) is tiny, and mainly just made up of cheap tobacco shops, hairdressers and tasty food.
The strangest thing I found is that although these towns are sooooo close together, and it was clear that people cross from one to the other on a regular basis, hardly anyone on either side speaks the other's language. Maybe that's something totally normal for border towns, but I just always assumed that if you lived so close by, there would either be a stark sense of bilingual-ness or some weird mismatch of the two being spoken - you know, like Spanglish but in this sense... Deutski. I quite like that word.
So most of the time I was stumbling through awkward conversations in broken German (regardless of which side I was on to be honest, my German skills can hardly be blamed on the locals) in order to buy cigarettes for a friend and a yummmmmmy lunch of Polish goulash and potatoes.
I know goulash isn't really Polish, but I just couldn't resist.
Loving my alcohol-free Polish beer and rocking the forehead creases.
I think I'm getting old.
My trip was a short one, as I said literally just for lunch, because I had to get back to Berlin for a yoga class that I was yet to discover, would nearly kill me. My fitness/bendy levels just aren't what they used to be. However I did get to potter through Frankfurt Oder a little on my way back, which was typical small-towny with pretty churches and a square with a fountain. I quite liked the atmosphere there actually, though I think I'm just tending towards peace-and-quiet a lot more now after my year of madness.
I liked this weird fountain a lot.
That evening I also moved into MY NEW HOUSE (I'm very excited about this) which is an old hostel converted into a WG of 28 people. Yes, you read that correctly t w e n t y - e i g h t people. I thought that it would be like another adventure in itself. It really is a bit like living in a cross between student accommodation and a hostel; I'm in a four person dorm, there's shared showers, a huge kitchen and a cleaning rota. I haven't met many people yet because it's been a pretty hectic few days plus I'm going home this weekend (WOOOO) for my sister Siobhan's hen do :D So I'll start my mingling and stuff next week, when I can really sit down and get to know people.
Today I think I'm heading to the park for some beers and *fingers crossed * sunshine before catching my flight at 9.30 tonight. Now it's probably time I got out of bed and packed...