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w Lublinie, day 2

It’s hard to know where to start with Lublin.

Maybe this picture of people swarming the street “bazar”…

Aleje Tysiąclecia market, on a Wednesday morning.

Or this picture of Birds Gone Wild in the Saxon Gardens, swirling and diving and showing off for an indulgent woman with birdseed.

Or this wagon full of lumps of coal–yes, really, a wagon full of lumps of coal— that was outside my hostel as I walked to the bus stop, in the morning, on ul. Lubartowska.

There is nothing I can say about this image that speaks better for it than the image itself. WAGON. COAL. Witamy w Lublinie, folks.

Or all these images of my second day in Lublin, from the hostel breakfast to the morning bus-ride to Brama Krakowska to the Old Town, to the Saxon Gardens.
After this trip around town, I visited the campus of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie University, where I was on a mission to locate a) the library b) my friend A. My map led me to the wrong library–the public library–first, but I have images of both.

I did eventually connect with A., and we crashed an Erasmus student mixer for the free food. After leaving A. on her campus, I returned to the Warstaty Kultury for a play by a Czech theater company, also on the subject of climate change and its effects on the African continent.

The Czech play, like the German one, relied heavily on caricature. I was able to understand it half through the Polish supertitles, half through the spoken Czech (which sounds an awful lot like Polish) and half through the helpful whispered notes of my German friend sitting next to me.

I sat with actor friends in the lobby afterwards for some time, but was too wiped out to go out. I went back to the hostel.

The next morning, to leave Lublin, I had to get on one bus that said its destination was Majdanek (the Lublin-area concentration camp, very close to the town itself–and also just the name of part of the town) to transfer to another bus to go to my train station.

The bus was a reminder of a history I was trying to have my time in Lublin not be about, but some reminders of that history were, I think, inevitable. (There was also a moment in a Stare Miasto tourist shop where I went to buy a postcard and accidentally picked up one with images of barbed wire and human bones on it.)

The more time I spent in Lublin, the more I loved it, but the sadder I became about what had been lost. Singer’s Lublin was something I sensed around every corner in this place, but to sense something is not the same as having it be present.

At any rate, I was happy to get off that bus to Majdanek, and to board a train heading back to Warsaw, to my present life, to the present day, and to set history aside for the moment–and to crash in Praga for 24 hours, before the next train, to Lodz.

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