The next day began with a nearby visit to the local nature preserve.
After that, the adults insisted I visit the city and spend time with their children, who were more or less my age.
Carolina, showed me around the city for a bit.
Next we met up with her brother and drank beer at Chesky film.
I stayed up all night with Peter talking about differences between Poland and the United States.
The next day was rather mellow and in the evening, Peter had the day off from school so we went out.
We first met up with a bunch of friends of school
My mom's friends picked us up in Szczecin and off to the country side we went. A small town called (Wengi) was our destination. This place was paradise. An eco-oriented family had built this place. A duplex was situated on a hectare of land. They smoked meats and grew veggies in a greenhouse and outside. They currently specialized in beekeeping and producing honey. I felt at home as soon as we arrived. We were greeted with amazing food. Someone brought strawberries they had picked straight from the field. Juicy, red, fragrant and deliscious. Conversations about gluten and herbal remedies ensued. I knew I was surrounded by like minded people. On their property, 12 years ago, they had built a sweat lodge. They said a guy from Canada had brought this tradition here and it had been blessed by shamans. Someone had even asked if this was the only sweat lodge in Poland. "While I can't speak to all of Poland, it's quite likely the only one in the area' replied our host. Today, June 21st is a special earthly holiday, while it has a special name that I can't remember it's equivalent to the first day of summer. Perfect for a sweat lodge. People gather at the home, and before we know it there's at least 15 of us ready to cleanse. The ritual begins with burning sage. Special stones were collected by our host and heated in the fire before being placed in the pit in the center of the sweat lodge. Then, water is poured over them to create steam. Everyone says their intentions. I've never done this before and it was quite the experience. I was one of the first few to exit, but easily stayed in for 45 mins. Afterwords, I sat by the fire in deep reflection as other's emerged from the sweat lodge. It was a very powerful experience for all to say the least. By this time it was 11pm and the sky had finally gotten dark. I enjoyed it even more when I went in a second time. I knew what to expect and was ready for it. We chanted OM; a magical vibration. After this, I took what was quite possibly the best shower ever. Upon cleansing and cleaning I was greeted with home made wine from backyard grapes and honey straight from the beehive. We ate and drank. Someone brought special "mountain man" tea in rum. A delicious drink. We all drank and ate. We sang songs as one played guitar. That's how Poles like to get down. Lots of good food, good drink, good company and fun. At 2 am I look at the clock. Our host says... let's hit the lake we can watch the sun rise! I respond with you've got to be kidding me! My only desire right now is to lay horizontal for the first time in the past 2 days. I've never slept better.
At the very least, it takes a full 24 hour day to get to where were going. Me and my mom's trek starts at Sacramento Airport. We are destined to fly to O'Hare. Our outbound flight was delayed. Never a good sign. We had only a 2 hour layover in one of the biggest airports. I've never been so eager to get off a plane as after our touch down in Chicago. We literally ran to our Lufthansa airline flight to see people already lining up to board. I remember clearly flying Lufthansa as a young child, sometimes even on my own. They would have all the unaccompanied kids sit together and give us toys and games to keep us occupied. I decided it would be best to be thoroughly tired before our journey so I could sleep. We landed in Muchich and next a small plane to Berlin. From Berlin-Tegal, we hopped on a small bus that drove 2 hours to Szczecin, a city 300,000 strong on the West side of Poland near the border with Germany. I successfully slept every step of the way, which made the entire ordeal pass by rather quickly, uneventfully. I became a pro at sleeping in a vertical position. My only complaint was the airplane food.