Sojourn in Slovakia: Day 7: Part II. Poland and Pirohy!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I can sum up the highlights of this day in two words:  Poland and Pirohy!  I realize it may sound strange that my post is entitled “Sojourn in Slovakia,” but I’m talking about Poland.  I will explain.

We drove through the village and it was interesting to see the houses.  Osturňa is a monument reserve of folk architecture.  Unfortunately, there was no way of knowing which houses my ancestors lived in since I learned that the houses there had gone through a renumbering every 50 years.  This was quite different from my experience in Kucin, where I could actually step into the old family homestead and know that my grandfather had lived right on that spot.  Still, as we drove along I couldn’t help thinking of my grandfather and wondering how he managed to get from this place all the way to Duquesne, Pennsylvania!  (So thankful you did, Grandpap!).  In 1960, Osturňa had 1,335 citizens; in 2010 (according to a booklet from the Mayor’s office) that number was significantly lower at 344.

Osturňa house

Osturňa is also the longest municipality in Slovakia on the border with Poland.  We drove up a steep hill  (or was it a mountain?  I don’t know but it was a very narrow road).  I admit now, I was a bit nervous, but we were in a van,and Michal was a good driver.  After about 10 minutes, Thom told us we were in Poland!  We drove into the village of Lapsanka.  

Sign for Lapsanka, Poland

We stopped briefly to take a few photographs, but it started to rain.  The clouds blocked our view of the mountain range.  

Shrine in Lapsanka
View from Lapsanka

On the way back down, I spotted a very old man walking across the fields in the distance.  I wondered who he was, and where was he going? I bet he had some stories to tell!  I thought it was pretty cool to be able to cross into Poland even if it was just for 10 minutes!  I was happy when our van made it safely back down to Osturňa.  After stopping for awhile at Thom’s place (he is restoring his family’s home), we headed back to the Penzion.

Dinner that night was Pirohy!  Filled with potato and served with sour cream and bacon on top!  Wow!  I was in heaven.  

Fabulous pirohy!

Our hosts treated us so well.  After dinner I went to my room to pack since we were leaving the next day.  I could hear the rain on the windows and it was so much cooler there in the mountains, which made it comfortable to sleep!  While trying to drift off, I thought about what I had seen and learned over the past two days.  But I still had so many questions!

Photos by Lisa A. Alzo
Copyright, 2012, Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved