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confession #000038

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Monday, 22 April 2013

confession #000038

or, wadowice wedding weekend 

also known as 'the major diet fail weekend'.  but i had very good reasons to fall off the diet wagon.  as the sub-title of this post indicates, this weekend the mr. and i were invited to a wedding in wadowice, which is a couple of hours' train ride from krakow. 
wadowice train station
wadowice's claim to fame is the fact that pope john paul ii was born and bred in this quaint and quite town which nowadays celebrates his origins practically on every corner of every street.  if one is interested in the pope's life and background, the town makes for an enjoyable day's trip while visiting krakow.  trains seem to be rare from krakow to wadowice (we had to do some planning for this in fact) but there seem to be buses which run more frequently as well. 
the river close to our hotel
one of the quaint streets off the town centre
the town is located in between kalwaria zebrzydowska which hosts the famous lady of kalwaria shrine and wiȩcim, the town where the auschwitz-birkenau camps are found.  one could consider hopping from one town to the other while visiting krakow.  

wanting to make the most of this wedding weekend, and seeing another part of the małopolska (little poland) region, we set off somewhat early on saturday morning to be in wadowice in time for the wedding that same afternoon.  in typical maltese fashion, i loaded a 'packed snack' for the train-ride.  little did i realise that once the wedding party kicked off, we were in for a seven-course meal, including free-flowing wine and vodka (obviously), as well as a lot of dancing! i should have kept myself light! oh well ... 

if you've never been to a polish wedding, well, this is quite something.  once the bride and groom entered the reception hall, everyone burst into 'sto lat' which is a song sang on any occasion from weddings to birthdays, meaning '100 years' more of celebration.  well, since there were other maltese people invited, only the polish were singing while the maltese contingent was clapping along and mumbling something as they picked up the easiest words in the song, i.e. 'sto lat'. the guests then queued up to give the newly-weds their best wishes and gifts and then everyone made their way to the respective table.  
the wedding dinner menu ... a true feast!
in between courses, there was a lot of dancing.  and by a lot, i mean A LOT! it appears to be part of the tradition to get up and dance to digest the food (and vodka) and prepare your system to the next round of abundance.  i don't quite like communal dancing like 'congas' and 'trains' but i did shake my boot-ey once or twice during the night (probably once the vodka started truly kicking in ...) i loved the little differences in tradition between maltese and polish weddings:  at the start of the reception, after the 'sto lat' dies out and everyone swigs the first celebratory drink, the newly weds throw their glasses behind them - if the glasses break, it means all's fine and they'll have good luck.  at another point during the reception, the bride and groom gave presents to the parents.  little things that have such a profound meaning.  
dancing like there's no tomorrow
the bride and groom feeding wedding cake to each other
myself and natalia, the bride and my former polish language teacher
like most of the maltese contingent (who had to return to the rock the following day), we bowed out before the big festivities were over - at least two main courses were still left to be served! we are not used to such abundance! 

the next day, we decided to stroll around the town centre until it was time to head back to krakow.  in all fairness, we were not planning on going on a papal tour, and in fact did not, but savoured the tranquility of the town over some pierogi, kremówka papieska and a whole lot of sun (despite the rather nippy temperature - i certainly wasn't dressed enough for that!)
plac jana pawła ii ... john paul ii square
tiles showing all the places the pope visited ... including malta!
'i was there' kind of photo ...
the glorious kremówka papieska
heading back to krakow was for us as though we were heading back to malta from gozo.  the contrast in these two places which are so close in vicinity, yet so different in lifestyle is positively impressive.  i think i've found the place where you can really get 'away from it all' ... 
homeward bound...
the beauty of nature (through the train window ...)

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