Jo’s Monday walk : Meeting Meg

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If ever you need a sweet-natured soul to have a stroll with- or better still, a hug or five and a hoot of laughter- I have a peerless recommendation for you.  I’m a little hesitant in writing this post because I’m not sure that I can do the lady full justice.  If you saw Meg’s post, ul Piotrkowska with Jo, you’ll know that she has already done my job for me.  And that is very typical of Meg.  Swift to offer the hand of friendship, she turned my day in the city of Łódź into something quite extraordinary.

First, let me give you a little background.  The key to Meg’s being in Poland is her wnuki, her grandchildren.( pronounced f-nooki, it’s another of those tricky Polish words)  How many people do you know who would leave their beloved home (think ‘good for the soul’ quiet beaches, and Australian flora and fauna, all photographed by Meg in exquisite detail) to take up residence in Poland’s capital city, Warsaw, for a year?  To be near those children.  Speaking almost no Polish, and reduced, like myself, to a perplexed frown as conversations roll past her, Meg then agrees to meet with an English lady in an unknown city.  To make it easier for that lady, she books 3 nights in the city, alone, almost immediately after a family trip to the Polish lakes.

And now for my part.  I know all too well the frustrations of a lack of ability to communicate.  Occasionally I have thought that ‘signing’ would be a better method than trying to speak the Polish language.  I get by well on hugs and smiles within the family but that doesn’t go down so well with strangers.  Understandably the family are not keen to let this nodding, smiling person go wandering in a big city, where few of them are keen to venture themselves.  How can they know that it is in my nature to wander?  That I thrive on it.  I have even done a little research and know how to get to Łódź.   And beyond that, I will have Meg!

It is with reluctance but great patience that Andrzej accompanies me to the bus stop, and we wait and wait.  When I am almost convinced that it will not arrive, despite his phone call to the bus company and being told ‘Będzie’- ‘it will come’, a small white minibus hoves into view.  Can you imagine the bubble of excitement inside me as the lush green of Springtime Poland slides past my window?

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Enough!  The audience awaits.  I step off the bus almost into her arms and we make it to a corner cafe for much needed kawa (coffee, of course). And there I discover just how delightful a companion I am to have for my day of freedom.  The cafe is situated on a corner of Poland’s longest street, Ulica Piotrkowska.  With unfailing lack of sense of direction I point to the ‘top end’ of the street and suggest that we head that way.  Meg smiles, and points the other way.  Armed with a map from the TI and directions on how to find the bus stop from which I must later leave the city, cameras in hand and huge grins on our faces, we begin to walk.

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As Meg has pointed out in her beautiful post, the architecture in Łódź is ravishing.  There really is something for everyone, whether you favor shabby or chique.  My tendency is always to beauty and elegance, but I can sometimes be won over by the forlorn and unloved.  We are each other’s eyes, and at times it’s hard to concentrate, as smiles and snippets of conversation bob back and forth.  I have never taken photographs in tandem like this, and it is a remarkable experience.  Sometimes I pause to see what Meg has focused on, and later I realise that she was doing the same with me.  How very wonderful to find someone who understands the joy of just being there.

Part of the reassurance I tried to give my Polish family was that I would not be straying far from Ulica Piotrkowska, and there truly was little need to. Our first landmark is Plac Wolnosci, where I dance in delight at the passing trams.  Meg finds this funny.  There is every kind of transport along this street, but trams always bring a smile to my lips.

Looking up, past a rusty old gate, cavorting weasels (or maybe rats?) catch my eye, but I have my sights on Palac Poznanskiego, Museum of the History of Łódź.  Time is precious and the weather superb so, having found our target, we agree to bypass it in favour of a leafy green space.  Meg takes huge pleasure in the soft shadows and gently waving trees.  My best efforts for Jude are rather pathetic, and I start to giggle.

We are at the very top of Piotrkowska, and turn to head back.  On a corner of Plac Wolnosci, the church of Zesłania Ducha Świętego is bathed in bright sunlight.  The door is ajar, and we enter quietly.  There are only a couple of people knelt in silent worship and I manage a few shots, trying hard not to be intrusive.  ‘Are you any good at mosaics?’ asks Meg.  I shrug and try.

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Time to decide where to eat.  There are plenty of choices and we are agreed that an outdoor table will do nicely.  Ordering from the board outside our restaurant, I manage to confuse the waitress.  Or does she confuse me?  Soup, and then nalesniki  (pancakes) with spinach, appear in rapid succession.  I decide to ask again for some wine, and am greatly relieved when it arrives.

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Many confidences were exchanged before we continued along this engaging street.  Rubinstein with his piano vied for our attention with local born poet, Julian Tuwim.  Whimsy there was aplenty, and some quite enchanting sculptures of children.

Nifty little archways and passages lead off Piotrkowska, some of them quite irresistible.  Most lead to restaurants and quiet courtyards, but the art gallery and cafe Surindustrialle was one of our best finds.  Metal art from industrial waste.  Take a look at the website and you’ll see what I mean.

I have so many more photos that I could show you, but perhaps you are getting weary.  Meg showcases many of them brilliantly so, if you haven’t already paid a visit, I hope that you will do so.  One good thing about this walk- it’s almost impossible to get lost.  But reaching the end of Ulica Piotrkowska is another matter altogether.  I don’t know if we got even halfway along its 4.9km.

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All too soon it was time to look for the bus stop that would take me back to the family.  A landmark for Meg in finding her way around the city, the main tram station was chiefly a source of happiness for me.  I had glimpsed it, with curiosity, from my bus window on the way into Łódź.  Just look!

A block further south and our grand street was starting to look a little more humble. A colossal renovation project, it’s hard to know when it will be finished.  But our time together was almost at an end.  The bus stop was found too quickly and we looked for somewhere to conclude our meeting. Not a cafe in sight, we subsided onto the bench and continued to talk.  There was so much to ask… so much to say!  But 45 minutes later the bus revved its engine and I reluctantly got on board.  One last hug and a wave and Meg was gone.  I was both exhilarated and bereft!

I realise that this walk is of a far more personal nature than usual, but I wanted it to be a tribute to a very special lady.  I do hope you enjoyed your walk with ‘us’, and I very much hope that she and I will meet again someday.

Should you be tempted by what you’ve seen, you will find the Tourist Information website in Łódź a valuable source of information.

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Thank you for your patience everybody.  Often I visited your blogs whilst sitting on the sofa, as Dad and my cousins watched TV, but my Smartphone has its limits (or the truthful version- I do!)  ‘Normal service’ should be resumed now.  Welcome to my walks!  Join in if you like.  The details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo above.  Time for a cuppa, isn’t it?

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It always tickles me how many of our place names are the same- Monteith St. for example. Thanks, Anabel!

Toronto: an urban walk

There’s no getting away from it- Susan is a lady after my own heart :

Just for the shell of it

Classical Glass

Yvette always supplies interesting people to compliment her doors (and walks) :

Thursday Doors (walk-ing)

I’m inclined to forget that Becky has an English blog.  Come along with me and learn all about ‘navigations’ :

A lovely English stroll for a Monday

I have done this walk to the Algarve’s Fonte da Mesquita but, unlike Becky, I didn’t see the orchids.  Sad face! :

A happy case of ‘orchidelirium’ on our walk to the spring!

Sue has a warm heart and is a great espouser of good causes, but she likes a bit of fun too!

Where Do Beavers Live?

Nothing I like better than a watery walk!  Geoff chucks in a chateau or two and I’m happy :

Moi Aussi#walking#france

And some London buildings, including lovely St. Bride’s :

H is for Hawksmoor and his boss….

Drake takes us ‘home’ to beautiful Samsø in Denmark :

Here comes the sun

We’re biking again in California, but you can get off to check out the neighbourhood :

My weekly ramble- From my front door

A hint of mystery next and a great yarn, told in Tish’s best raconteur mode :

The Tale of a Hidden House that once hid a King 

And while we’re storytelling, I was delighted to have the ‘other’ Sue for company this week :

Of castles, a dancer, dragon’s teeth and tunnels…

Denzil has found us some green and pleasant land that isn’t England :

Walking in the Voerstreek

And Gilly, England at its finest :

Lanhydrock, a National Trust Stroll

That’s it for another week!  Many thanks to all of you for your support and for walking with me.  I hope that this week brings you much pleasure.

147 comments

  1. I’ve spent some time in Łódź and I do quite like the place, not as pretty as say Kraków or Poznań but there is something very honest and down to earth about Łódź. Thank you for the memories🙂

    1. I was astounded at the size of the place, Tony, but with just a few hours there was a limit to what I could see. Apparently there’s a light show there in October and I’m invited for next year. Too early to commit though. Many thanks for your visit. 🙂

  2. How amazing that you both met in Poland! I don’t know Meg but she sounds like such a lovely person…just like you Jo🙂 I loved her photos and yours too. What a wonderful day out for you both! xx

  3. You are so lucky to have another blogger to tour you around especially in a foreign destination. Not so sure if she’s lucky to have you.😀 I kid, I kid. I’m jealous of Meg to have met such a personality. A walk with a restless is something I’ve been dreaming of since I met someone named Jo.😀 A blog meet is always a memorable experience, really unforgettable.
    I see you two have the same image results. Love the graffiti the most. But overall, like I’ve said, when a city has so much to offer, I’m all for it.This looks like my kind of sightseeing city.

    1. It was an absolutely special day and thank you for your kind remarks, Rommel. When I suggested Lodz to Meg it was mostly on the basis of it being halfway between us, but it proved to be much more than that. 🙂 🙂 If I could just get to Japan, I’d love to let you be tour guide. 🙂

      1. Me as a tour guide!? Here!? My word, the only things I can point you to are trash cans, restrooms, and Japanese people. Ahihihi But my word, imagine all the trash talking we could do together!😀

  4. It is amazing and stunning you found all this variety, architecture and art in one street! I am glad you had such a nice time together and I enjoyed going on this walk with you two and meeting Meg! The personal touch, makes the reading even more engaging.🙂

    1. I’m so glad you’ve met Meg! She’s a lovely lady 🙂 And I was very impressed with what I saw of Lodz. Great that you can share it with us, Liesbet. 🙂

  5. The most amazing and stunning sculptures and the architecture! I would linger there forever Jo. You also took the most amazing shots darling! Looks like you and Meg had the time of your lives. Thanks for sharing sweetness.😀 ♥

    1. I could not have hoped for a better companion, Sonel. So wonderful to spend time with someone so understanding and appreciative of life.
      Sending hugs to you 🙂 🙂

  6. un post ricchissimo, cara, forse uno dei tuoi più belli! cultura, immagini, anima, tutti racchiusi in un magico caleidoscopio di colori dove mi sono perduta, sapevo che al tuo ritorno ci avresti fatto grandi sorprese!
    grazie mille Giovanna

    1. The city was so much more than I expected, Annalisa. Always in a big place there are contrasts with old and new but Poland sometimes produces something extraordinary. Thank you for your kind words. Wishing you a beautiful week 🙂 🙂 Hugs!

  7. What a beautiful post Jo – how lovely that you could meet up with Meg and explore together! Am so interested to learn more about Lodz – have heard of it especially with the unusual way the name is pronounced but don’t know much about it other than that. Am reading backwards with posts as I missed a lot when I was travelling too – now getting back into the swing of things! Welcome back from your Polish trip and look forward to reading more about it!🙂

    1. Hello sweetheart! 🙂 I thought about you, Rosemay, but wasn’t sure where you were on the itinerary or if you had a post up. I’ll be over soon to check. From what I saw it’s a fantastic city, though the family did their best to warn me off. They live in a little village so it’s a different world for them. If you can tackle Leeds, you can tackle anywhere, can’t you? 🙂 Hope everything went well for you.

      1. Thanks Jo yes we got back a couple of weeks ago – took me a week or so to get over jet lag and catch up with things so only got round to posting end of last week! Had a wonderful time and took an infinite number of photos!! I’m glad you got back safe and sound from your walk round Lodz – it’s always tricky when you have no idea of the language and I’m sure Polish must be incredibly hard to learn! I think Michael Portillo visited Lodz on one of his trips – have got the dvd so must watch it again! Better head off to bed as I am babysitting all day tomorrow! Hope you’re having a lovely week 😃

      2. Oh yes of course the bank holiday wash out Jo! think it’s the test match at Headingley too – my dad, brother and nephew are all going so that means it’s bound to rain!

  8. Loved this post, Jo! Lodz is really great – the architecture is beautiful, and you know how much I enjoy public art in all forms. I think this is another place to go on my future travel list. And thanks for introducing me to Meg’s blog as well – I’m now following her too! It sounds like you had a great trip to Poland. Best, Susan

    1. It’s really great to be able to showcase a little known place, Susan, and I was so impressed with Lodz. And how can anyone not like Meg? 🙂 🙂 Thanks for your company.

    1. The architecture was fabulous, and I knew about the sculptures but not how many or how brilliant they are. Really, a superb day for us both. Thanks for your company again 🙂

    1. Good lass! I’ll be over shortly. I treated myself to a little bit of a lie in this morning. Amazing how much difference a 1 hour time gap can make. Or maybe it was all the excitement! 🙂

  9. A fantastic walk Jo and all the more special because you and Meg shared it. Lodz is a very photogenic place and to have a double dip at it from both you and Meg is a pleasure. I was so pleased to see the photo of Meg in your post and you in Meg’s post, it makes blogging friends even more special when I can visualise them.

    1. I like having names and photos too, Pauline. There are some very special people out there that we share our world with. You are one of them, darlin’. Thanks for being a friend. 🙂 🙂

      1. I love how we bond with our cyber community. I would feel quite lonely without my computer to link into WP. You have such a lovely heart Jo it is my pleasure to be part of your community

      2. Me too, first thing I check when I get out of bed and last thing before I go back to bed and of course constant checks through the day as time permits…

    1. I was peering out of my bus window when I first glimpsed it, Corey, not being able to see enough to know what it was. When we got midway down the street and ‘found’ it I was pleased as could be. Thanks for your company, hon. Girls all ok? 🙂

  10. Stunning post, Jo!! How amazing that you and Meg could meet up and enjoy the sights together. I’m with Gilly about the tears of joy and the emotions. I’d really love to sit next to Rubinstein on that piano bench. I’ve long been an admirer of his music.🙂

  11. What a wonderful shared experience, Jo! It sounds you and Meg were simpatico! Two adventurers with laughter in their souls. Thanks for sharing. I love all your photos and that train station is fabulous.🙂

    1. Such a good-looking street, Cathy! The sculptures were fabulous, and you’re right. Meg was amazing company! 🙂 Did you have a good time with Sarah?

  12. It goes without saying that both your photos and Meg’s are brilliant, Lodz looks great but most of all I’m really touched by the wonderful day you had together. I almost feel like I was there, but if I had been there would have been happy tears along with the laughter, because I’m a bundle of emotions!

      1. Day of languor sounds good. I might go against the grain and have one of those. I’ve already had a mini lie in 🙂 🙂 Thanks again, Meg. I will reblog yours tomorrow, when most of my walks comments will be in. I don’t want to confuse people too much at this stage. With all the to-ing and fro-ing …. 🙂 🙂 I confuse myself sometimes. Have a happy day! The sun is sparkling like a jewel here. Off outdoors soon.

      2. More chill here till Friday. About to wash dishes and self, and then maybe shop. We seem to gallop through supplies. I’ve just solved the mystery of QRs. Enjoy your jewel of a day.

  13. what a lovely walk with the two of you! thank you! 🙂 Lodz has a lot to offer; what a charming city! 🙂 beautiful captures as always, Jo! 🙂

    1. There were lots of the bronze sculptures, Alison, and the children in particular are beautiful. 🙂 I really liked the place. Thanks for your company!

      1. Sadly not, though I’ve seen photos. My family are in Krakow and in a village called Zawady in Central Poland. It’s hard to see much beyond those places when I visit because it’s such a big family. 🙂

  14. Jo how wonderful that the two of you had the time together and such a fabulous walk. There is something so special about connecting with those we have been virtual friends with.
    Many thanks for including my walk in your post. I appreciate you letting me drop into your challenge.

    1. You’re more than welcome, Sue. 🙂 I was so happy that my suggestion of Lodz turned out to be a good one. I had a fair idea that I would like Meg but how could I know how lovely she is? Thanks for joining us 🙂

  15. What a great excursion, and to have Meg’s company and her take on it, makes it doubly wonderful. It looks very safe, at least on the main street. What was your family’s concern? Meg pointed out that a WW2 documentary will be filmed there soon; sounds very interesting.

    1. The film industry is big in Lodz, Ann, and they are making quite a success story of the city. The family in Zawady, where I was staying part of the time, have a very small town mentality. It’s a very beautiful countryside location, as I hope to show in later posts, but they seldom go beyond the nearest town, Belchatow. Even one of them who worked in England for a couple of years said to me ‘I wouldn’t go to Lodz, and I’m Polish’! He said that scams and car theft are rife. That’s ok because I don’t drive 🙂 🙂

      1. Just had a look at a map. The village does look somewhat isolated. Did Meg go to Lodz from the lakes then or did she go back to Warsaw first? I hadn’t realised just how big Poland is!

      2. It’s big! I’d love to sail up the Vistula all the way to Gdansk… but then, I would, wouldn’t I? 🙂 She went back to Warsaw first but it didn’t give her much turn around time.

  16. What a wonderfully warm and generous post my dear companion in Łódź and hugs. I’m usually a solitary walker and traveler, partly because I’m an irritant to non-photographers and you have highlighted the delights of being each other’s eyes: I felt absolutely no pressure to hurry or change my trajectory, except when tempted by a treat you noticed and I missed. I’m glad you caught the lamplighter – he was always surrounded by peripherals in my attempts – and I want to know what you did to eradicate people from the Rubenstein photo. (I keep good company don’t I?)

    I’m glad you posted the park and the church, and I knew you’d showcase the metal art from industrial waste, so I concentrated on the surrounding dilapidation! Your photos looking through arches are beauties, and I need to learn from your streetscapes, as well as your narrative skills, both in words and pictures. You flow beautifully: I tend to operate in boxes.

    I was eager to see your Łódź and not only was I not disappointed: I was very honoured by what you had to say. When do we two meet again?

    1. There you go again with your generosity! Thank you for omitting the metal art, church and park. 🙂 I’m hoping they’ll turn up somewhere along the line. I had way too many shots so I’m sitting on a few. Thank you also for the kind link, which I spotted in my Inbox, though I haven’t had time to go there yet. We were walking this morning (in company, with me straggling behind, ogling the wildflowers, after I’d finished waffling on to anyone who’d listen, about Poland 🙂 )
      The chap up the ladder’s got too much light in but I liked him. Some of my sculpted figures aren’t as good angles as you got. Jude has suggested I use one for Polianthus’ fountains challenge, but I think we’re in agreement when it comes to challenges. I’d rather go where my thoughts take me (with the exception of close friend’s challenges, of course 🙂 )
      And yes- that’s the question. What time of year are you considering an English visit? We’ll have to coordinate emails with certain other interested parties. Hugs, darlin’!

  17. I especially loved this walk perhaps because it is full of exploration of a fascinating place as well as the person of your new friend. Enjoyed the whimsy too and the kaleidoscope station
    Able to join you this week with my Costa Brava exploration

    1. It fully surpassed expectations, Laura, and not many places do that. Glad you enjoyed it and I’ll get over to yours as soon as I’ve finished my comments. Thanks! 🙂

  18. A delightful walk with the pair of you. Your attention to detail is supreme whether stumbling over stiles in the countryside or bashing the pavements of a city. Such a shame you couldn’t have stayed over for the night, I was imagining late night gossip over a bottle of wine🙂
    And as someone else said, it is lovely to see the same walk through two pairs of eyes, each bringing something different to the experience. The tram station is mesmerising as are the weasels cavorting on the wall (you had me there for a moment, I thought you were referring to real rats!).
    Welcome home Jo. Hope the sun is shining and thank you for supporting my man yesterday – yay!

    1. You’re an early bird today! 🙂 Talking of bashing, did I mention my black eye? After the dark of Jadzia’s garden and a BBQ I managed to walk into a porch lamp! And I’d hardly been drinking, before you start casting thingummies! 🙂 Sorry, I know I still owe you that ‘e’. We need to coordinate something with Meg/Gilly. Thank you muchly for your appreciations. 🙂
      Murray was awesome! Fully deserved 🙂

      1. I wake up early here (I don’t bother drawing the blinds), but don’t always switch the computer on until later. Had to return the camera today – just hope it can be fixed as it was driving me mad! Locking after every shot. I was very nervous posting it…

        And I would NEVER cast thingumibobbies at you. Obviously it would be difficult to avoid seeing a LAMP! (OK I guess it wasn’t switched on). It would be good to meet up, but would anyone get a word in edgewise/ways with us lot together? Rent a cottage in… ? Stick a pin in a map?

      2. I don’t draw the blinds either. My mistake is to switch the laptop on while the kettle boils. I hate to admit this but the lamp was full glare. I must have been bedazzled. 🙂 Got the prayer mat out for your camera.

  19. Fan-tas-tic! You really had a ball, you two!! Woodge looks like a great place, one day I shall have to go…. But I have Warsaw first… Any ways, it was great to see your post as well as Meg’s, together you have succeeded I showing two different sides of the same walk, brilliant. And I would have been entranced by that tram station 😀 Thanks for the virtual wander, Jo

    1. Both Meg and I commented that you would have been in heaven in the metal art alleyway. It was purest dilapidation. 🙂 I almost put a link in to yours but time seemed tight to get this out this morning. Glad you enjoyed it, Sue. Yes, another city for the list! I’m wanting to get up to Gdansk and the Baltic at some point (Viveka’s there again from 19th, the little gadabout 🙂 )but it has to be after Florence. Can you believe I’ve never been to Florence? It’s a crying shame. Plotting deviously!

      1. Oh, goodness, I have to see that metal art alleyway, Jo! I hope Warsaw can provide me with some dilapidation….
        Never been to Firenze! (Shrieks loudly)…. Mind, I went in the 1980s, not sure I would go again, I think you have to pre book or queue for the Uffizi, my friend and I just waltzed in back then…
        Enjoy the plotting 😀😀! Big hugs

  20. oh Jo this is wonderful, truly wonderful. One of your best and clearly you and Meg need to do lots more together. So glad you had such a wonderful day of freedom, and wow this city is fabulous. Can’t wait to see all your other photos, off to look at Meg’s now.

    1. I had some fantastic material to work with, Becky, and Meg too! What more can a person ask? I’m just glad to give Lodz a bit of good press. 🙂 Have a happy week, hon!

  21. Oh that’s such an adventure, Jo! I’ve popped by Meg’s blog because it really takes a lot of gut and heart to decide that she will head over to Poland for a year! I wandered into Russia without speaking a word, and slowly picked up the language. And then I left.
    Your photos are beautiful, as always. Thank you for taking us on the walk with you!

    1. Hello again! 🙂 Lovely to see you! I’ve been challenged to ‘keep up’ while away but I’ll pop by later. Glad you enjoyed this and I just knew you’d love Meg.

    1. I first saw that sculpture of Rubinstein several years ago in an article about Lodz, Viv, and it totally sold me on the city. 🙂 I was so glad to finally be able to get there, and in such wonderful company. I hope you’ve met Meg? I know you’ll like her. Thanks for your company again, hon. It’s a lovely Spring morning here and I’m off soon with our walking group. 🙂

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