Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chloe in Poland...Day 2 & 3.

President has much going on in the Northern part of Poland these days.  He needed to check on a new Chapel site and we have a mini transfer going on.  Since our daughter, Devin, and son-in-law, Scott, have seen Warsaw and southern Poland, we decided to head North with Chloe!
 We ended up in the beautiful city of Gdansk.  A family photo in front of one of MY favorite Polish landmarks, the Gdansk Crane...a 15th century restored shipping crane...the only one of its kind in the world.
 As we walked down Dluga Street, we stopped to rest in front of this great little shop....a candy making shop!  If you have served in Gdansk, you know this store.
 Entering the shop, we saw we were just in time to watch them make a delicious treat.  It looks as if someone has an idea.  Hummmmm.............

 This was fascinating to watch as the workers rolled and formed this hard tact candy... Can you tell what the center of the candy is going to be?  A strawberry!
Someone manages to make it around the other side of the counter and she is now helping to cut the candy in bite-size pieces.  (This is her own personal candy, of course.  The owner is careful to make sure that the candy is only made with clean hands!)
 Chloe, the owner and all the candy makers gather for one last picture.  She had a great time being a 'candy maker'! We had them make some special candy for our Poland Warsaw Mission Reunion.
It was time to make our way to Amber Alley....
a street known for its large number of great amber jewelry stores.  Chloe is looking to purchase a little something for herself....  President Kempa showed us this street months ago and also how to purchase Amber.                            
After some looking, she decides on a beautiful pair of amber earrings.  
The next morning, we were up early.  We had an exciting place to be...
 About 45 minutes away from Gdansk is a village named Szymbark.  It has some great things to of the MOST interesting was this 'upside-down' house.  (It was built in 2004 and was built as an artist statement about the Communist era.)

The Szymbark village is located in a heavily forested part of Poland....and the Douglas Spruce trees grow VERY tall.  This rectangular building houses the longest plank in the world  (according to the Guinness Book of World Records) 36 meters 83 centimeters AND the longest table (35 meters and it seats 230 people!)) made from tree's slab when cutting the plank. They named it the Nobel Peace Prize Table to commemorate when Lech Walesa was awarded this honor ....during a time when Communism was still holding strong in Europe.

But records are made to be broken....and this one was. Outside drying is NOW the longest plank in the world which was also found in the forest nearby.
 This northeastern region of Poland has many memorials to the Polish people who were deported and sent to Siberian labor being this old Russian train and 'cattle cars' that were used to transport hundreds of thousands of people who were repeatedly told that they were 'enemies to the people'.
Making our way back to Gdansk by way of a stop to the Baltic Sea...

 ...we found ourselves in Sopot on the Molo Pier. This cool wooden pier is Europe's longest wooden pier. You can see some of the great vacation resorts in the background.  We told our daughter that Sopot will remind you of San Diego.  Little did we know that the day we were there it would be 1 degree C.
 Even though it was chilly, there were plenty of beautiful swans that were taking a swim in the Baltic Sea.
 Gdansk was 'hopping' with missionaries.  President just transferred 3 Sisters (Bown, Masters, and Forsey) to that great city where there is lots of work going on.  Elders Finch and Myler are serving there as well.  Elder Basha was on an exchange with Elder Hayes. These two Elders had  helped the Sisters get moved up to Gdansk from Warsaw II and Lodz.  It was fun to meet up with this great group of Missionaries and spend some time with them!
 Chloe had a great time talking with the Sisters.  With the age limit for Sister Missionaries lowered, Chloe realized she only has 12 years to wait before she serves a mission.
The next morning we left Gdansk.  We had a 4 hour car ride ahead of us, but we were on our way to an area that Scott was excited to see!  Wolf's Lair! Hitler's main headquarters during WWII.
Hitler used to say that Wolf's Lair was one of the very few places in Europe where he felt safe. Between 1941 and 1944 he spent over 800 days here.  It's very remote and about 25 miles from the Russion border...Ironically, it was here that an assassination attempt came closest to succeeding. Above: in front of the Colonel Stauffenberg monument erected to honor the man who tried to carry out the deed.  (See the movie: Valkyrie for further details.)
 About 80 structures were built including 7 heavy bunkers (like the one above) for top leaders.
 As the Nazis were retreating, they tried to 'destroy' the site...which was no easy task since the walls of the bunkers were 8 meters (about 26 feet) thick.  This was Hitlers private bunker.  He was very superstitious, the Poles marked this structure #13.
 Chloe and our guide, Jadwiga.  To keep this hiding spot 'top secret', the Nazis camouflaged the roads with nets and plastic trees and leaves which they would change with the seasons.  Jadwiga and Chloe searched the grounds and were able to find a plastic leaf as a souvenir.  (FYI: We highly recommend this guide. She has been doing this for 25 years.)
We arrived in Warsaw late Saturday night...ready for a nice Sunday.
Sunday in the Warsaw II Branch.  Chloe fit in well with the Primary who happened to be practicing for their Primary Program that they will put on next week in Church. 
Stay tuned for Chloe's final day in Poland.  

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