Trains, B&Bs and relatives

I took a train from Warsaw to Lublin yesterday. It took 4 hours and 40 minutes instead of 3 hours. They are still working on the tracks but also there was an accident. Rumor had it that there was a body on the track. I don’t know if that was true. They did come on board and give all of us a bottle of water. When I saw that I said to the other woman in my cabin, “Uh oh, it’s never a good sign when they start passing out supplies.” “At least it’s just water,” she said, “Not food.” She was a biologist from Kraków on her way to a 4 hour sea shanty concert in Polish in Lublin! And she was reading a text book about sailing.

I was the only one in my Kraków B&B the other night! Weird but kindof cool too.

I love the B&B I stay in in Warsaw. Each room is different, mostly named for Polish painters. I met a couple from Colombia at breakfast and we were having a nice conversation when the wife said the B&B reminded her of a ghetto (we were speaking Spanish). I said that for me a ghetto means a place that Jews were forced to live during WWII. She corrected herself, “I meant a kibbutz.” (Oh you know, one of those places Jews live in groups!).

I met my newly discovered relative Mietek the other day. (thanks to Anna at the Jewish Historical Institute for finding out about him). He lives in Katowice but came to Kraków to meet me. His mother was my grandmother’s first cousin. She, like my mother and my aunt and grandmother were saved by non-Jewish Poles. It’s so cool to discover these new relatives who are very warm and friendly. Both of Mietek’s parents were Jewish and he has always identified as Jewish. He said it has never been a problem everyone at work knows he is Jewish. But when I asked about Polish anti-Semitism both he and his wife said of course there is anti-Semitism in Poland. I look forward to meeting other members of the family.

 Parczew, where my grandfather’s brother and sister were born, from the train window.

Parczew, where my grandfather’s brother and sister were born, from the train window.

 Bathroom door (from the inside) in the B&B.

Bathroom door (from the inside) in the B&B.

 Bathroom at the B&B.

Bathroom at the B&B.

 Bathroom at the B&B.

Bathroom at the B&B.