As planned, headed for Olsztyn for the weekend, to celebrate one of the most important moments in my friend and fellow SGH graduate, Ola’s life.
The road – I chose the most convenient way of getting there, i.e. went by my own car. No need to wait for any other means of transport, carry the luggage, rely on someone else, plus if you take a passenger (I did so), costs of fuel can be divided into two or more people. The obvious drawback is that you have to be careful with drinking, which I didn’t mind anyway, as my body’s tolerance for alcohol has disturbingly decreased recently. I eventually confined to six brims of vodka and had no hangover, nor other signs of post-alcohol fatigue, despite not sleeping a wink.
The distance between Warszawa and Olsztyn can be easily covered within three hours. Several people warned me of notoriety of that road (I hadn’t travelled it since 2002), but the drive went very smoothly. On Saturday on the way to Olsztyn we encountered a traffic jam in Łomianki, two downpours and snarled-up traffic between Nidzica and Olsztyn. While returning to Warsaw, the traffic was sparser than I’d expected. Maybe this road is infamous on account of reckless drivers making risky overtaking manoeuvres. I saw a few such incidents, but these were feats of much too hasty drivers. If you want to overtake safely, traffic conditions allow you to do so.
The section between Warszawa and Płońsk is either an expressway or a dual carriageway, the rest of the road is a single carriageway. Only the section between Olsztynek and Nidzica is being adjusted to the standards of an expressway. The new road was due to be opened in July, but the contractor negotiated postponing the deadline until late November. Pace of work is appallingly sluggish (even making allowances for the weekend) and sight of no workers and few machines hasn’t filled me with optimism.
The city. Olsztyn has almost 200,000 inhabitants and is probably still depopulating. It appears kind of small, cosy and picturesque, as it is located on a hilly land. Having the checked in to the hotel and spruced ourselves up, with some our of spare time to make use of, we set off to town to stroll around Olsztyn’s historical part. To the right – sitting in the café in the town square. Lots of tourists and locals roam around or sit outside restaurants and cafes. This is the only part of town that seems enlivened.
Strolling back towards the car park. Architecture reminds this used to be a German city. Streets are narrow and should be reserved for pedestrians and cyclists only. The invader on Warsaw plates surely couldn’t understand their vehicle was a blot on the landscape and had to park as near their destination as possible. To the left – an Open Finance (financial intermediary) branch. The only thing I was missing there was an Amber Gold branch. The company, currently in the state of self-declared liquidation would rent retail space in prime locations. Now the branches are closed an empty and people who entrusted their savings to the dodgy company should have no hopes to get their money back. As I later learnt, the only Amber Gold branch in Olsztyn was in a shopping mall some one mile away from the old town and in the vicinity of the church where Ola and Arek were getting married.
Saturday, half past seven in the evening and the city is empty and quiet. On Saturday evenings Warsaw also comes to a moderate standstill, but in Olsztyn you can hear your thoughts. The only people on the streets are drunkards hanging around, traffic is very sparse. On our way to the wedding reception we pass by a fine-looking town hall, so while waiting for the traffic light to turn green, I snap the historical building, lit by setting sun.
The venue – a nice hotel with two wedding halls on southern suburbs of Olsztyn, just next to the road out to Warsaw. For privacy reasons I’m not publishing any photos from the wedding. The choice of the place was surely excellent, the key advantage was the accommodation for guests on-site, meaning you could move from the dance floor to your room within a minute.
The event – memorable, stunning and well-organised. Not only in terms of pure logistics which was beyond reproach, the event owes its splendour to the newlyweds who carefully paid attention to all guests with topmost class. Manners matter and this time hosts met the highest standards. I’m approaching zeniths of the flattery, not only because I promised the bride not to say a bad word about the event, but just because I haven’t noticed any shortcomings, and if everyone around shared my view, I was lucky to attend a perfect wedding.
The bride and groom – looked genuinely happy. It may sound like a daydream, but I hope their marriage will be the bed of roses ever after.
For me the trip and the event were a great breakaway and rest after all the recent bitter-rather-than-sweet goings-on at work and not only. With batteries charged up I can (reluctantly) return to work tomorrow and tackle challenges with more energy.
PS. During the reception I caught the broom’s bow tie, so according to the Polish superstition, I’ll be the first bachelor to tie the knot. But it’s just the superstition…
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