Monday, March 16, 2009

Poland - Roadside Sightings

I saw many interesting things along the roads during my travels in Poland.

First up - tiny windows. I'm still puzzled by these windows in the gable ends of the houses. They appear to be located in areas under the eaves which typically would be closed off.

Are they for additional light? I don't know. I do know they are not for ventilation. Many of them looked like they were fixed panes of glass.

Tiny windows in the gable walls

Maybe it is just a regional thing in northeastern Poland since I only saw them around Augustow and Olecko. I haven't been able to find any information about it on the web. If you know more about these windows, please email me. You can find my email address on the right.

Another interesting thing I saw were the stork nests. These things are HUGE! Apparently this area of Poland is home to a large population of storks, but not in the winter.

They were typically perched on top of a power pole. Many poles had a wire basket frame in which the nest was built.

Vacant stork nests

Speaking of power poles, they are not your typical American power pole. Most were made from concrete rather than wood and several were in a tripod configuration.

Concrete utility poles

One thing I noticed right off the bat is the amount of what I assume to be mistletoe in the trees. It is especially noticeable this time of year since the trees are bare.

Everywhere you looked you could find a tree with this fungus growing in it. One of the boat yard owners offered to send some home with me since I was so intrigued by it. I politely declined.


Yet another frequent roadside sighting are the shrines. These shrines are to publicly thank a saint or God for a benefit or blessing received. They are often located at the edge of a village. According to Polish folklore, another popular location for a shrine is at a crossroads where many people pass by and because crossroads were believed to be the haunts for evil spirits, who may be held in check by the influence of a sacred figure.

Smaller newer shrines may also mark the spot of a fatal accident.

Regardless of the reason, they are plentiful throughout Poland.

Roadside Shrines

Yet another interesting sighting was on the road between Augustow and Olecko near the village of Wilkasy. In the middle of the dense forest just along the side of the road was another cemetery. It was very different than the one I posted about yesterday.

This particular cemetery has 43 German and 42 Russian soldiers buried in it according to the plaque by the gate. It dates from World War I.

Soldiers' Cemetery

And finally, on our last trip back from Olecko, I happened to be sitting in the front passenger's seat in the van. (Hey, we didn't have a Polish driver at the time and I felt safe!)

Looking down the road, I saw a very strange sight. Upon reaching it, yep, I was right. A car perched on the guardrail. Nobody was around, but it sure looked like it was quite the step from the driver's door to the ground. We thought the driver came around the corner from the opposite direction we were traveling and lost control on the icy road. He slid up onto the guard rail and destroyed the front axle of the car. I suspect the vehicle is totaled due to the amount of damage on the other side.


To be continued...

1 comment:

Small City Scenes said...

Hi Sally! I lost you but now I finally found your blog. Well you are in Poland--how neat. Very interesting post. Windows look like decoration. MB