Europe 2010: Pt IX

April 20, 2011 By: Jenna Category: Poland

First the ceremony, then the food, now it’s time for the biggest post of this Polish wedding series, the reception! I’ll do my best to explain what was happening, though the language barrier means I’ll be guessing at times. Feel free to correct me if you know better. :)

This is chlebem i sol?, or bread and salt. It’s presented to the bride and groom as they walk into the reception.

The bride and groom stood in the middle of the room while the guests sang to them. They drank out of the glasses they are holding here and then tossed them over their heads. Z supervised while K swept up the shards of glass.

My in-laws stepped forward and threw some coins at the new couple, and they handed me a few so I could do the same. The same thing happened at our wedding. :)

We all stood around while they bent down and picked up the coins.

Then it was time for dinner. The first course.

As you’ll see, TH spent most of the night with his cousin Kuba (I have no idea how to spell this nickname of his so that’s my best guess).

The bride had a few moments to relax while we ate.

And then the dancing and games began.

Hours and hours of dancing, most of it paired off and so fun.

That Husband and his cousin spent most of the time like this. Kuba has been to a lot of weddings and he’s a bit jaded about the whole thing.

Since they weren’t dancing I asked TH and Kuba to come outside and take pictures with me.

Kuba ended up being an excellent photographer. I didn’t have to provide much direction at all!

Sporting my new pretty heels.

My cute in-laws.

And TH’s aunt who has always been so sweet to us. We love her!

More dancing while TH looks on. He danced with me one time, and I got a little too excited and freaked him out with my jumping around and mad swirling/twirling.

The band was fantastic, by far the best I’ve ever heard at a wedding. They didn’t take very many breaks, but when they did they sand a song that went something like “Now we need to take a break and drink some vodka,” and then they went and drank some vodka.

All of the not-dancing I was doing with my husband was getting kind of boring, so I started playing around with the tilt-shift lens I rented for our trip.

They broke the dancing up with all sorts of games. I have videos of a few of them that I’ll put up. In case you need any ideas for your own wedding. :)

I’m not really a soda person, but I needed this Pepsi to stay awake through all the partying.

TH had a chance to catch up with a girl he used to torture in elementary school. Apparently he used to throw plums at her, but she was kind enough to forgive him.

I did do a little bit of dancing without my husband, once with the groom and once with the father-of-the-bride.

The cake and another dinner course were wheeled out in a very dramatic manner with ominous music and sparklers.

One of my favorites, brother and bride dancing together.

The bride dancing with her bridesmaids to her favorite song.

Toward the end of the night it was time for the garter and tie toss.

The girls in the room gathered around and made a circle around the bride. Then the groom wove around them trying to break through their circle until he was able to touch his bride’s arm. He removed her garter (with his teeth!), and then tossed it over his shoulder to his groomsmen. She repeated the process trying to break through a circle of boys and then removed his tie, which she tossed to her bridesmaids.

More food came out, more dancing happened, and That Husband and I were ready for bed. Somehow the bride, groom, and guests kept going in this manner for several more hours. Maybe it was the vodka?

There were a few more things that I only have video of, which I hope to get approved by the groom and uploaded soon. My pictures just don’t do this day justice. I am so grateful we were able to share this experience with That Husband’s family. I just wish he had more siblings so we could go back and do it all over again!

 

Europe 2010: Pt VIII

April 04, 2011 By: Jenna Category: Poland

This post contains pictures of nothing but food. It will bore some but foodies like me will love it!

One minor little detail that made a big difference for my dining experience was the sheepskin pads resting on the benches we sat at for dinner.

Around the room they had displays of food that sat out for the entire night, so guests could keep dancing all night long.

This guy kept watch over the dishes you see below.

I asked TH to help me identify everything. This is a plate of cheeses (which for some reason I never sampled, so unlike me!)

 

Some kind of herring dish. I couldn’t get any m ore than that out of TH because he wasn’t immediately familiar with it, but he said it looks delicious and he wants some right now.

To me this looks like pulled pork, but TH said it is probably a vegetable dish of some sort.

Vegetables and meat in meat gelatin.

 

Another type of gelatin dish with some sort of chunks floating in it.

I am a little ashamed to say that I didn’t try any of the dishes you saw above! I’m not very brave when it comes to food sometimes, and now I kind of regret it.

This isn’t for eating, it’s part of a Polish tradition which I’ll talk about in my next post. Isn’t it pretty?

What could all of these fruits be for?

The chocolate fountain!

I don’t know if you know this, but in America catering companies usually cut the chocolate with vegetables oils to keep it liquid. This fountain was obviously made with chocolate and heavy cream, and the difference was obvious. I went back for seconds and thirds and kept right on going from there!

Dessert trays that we grabbed and brought back to our tables after dinner was served. I liked the little cookies the best.

THE BEST CHICKEN SOUP IN THE ENTIRE WORLD!!!

Someday we will go back to this lodge just so we can have this soup. If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would probably be this.

The first course of dinner.

TH doesn’t remember broccoli until after Communisim fell. Isn’t that interesting? If it wasn’t common until the fall of Communism, that might explain why it would be such a great luxury at weddings.

These dishes kicked off the second course.

 

Boiled potatoes with dill.

Baked potatoes.

The first round of desserts was an ice cream sundae in a waffle cone for each person.

A little later in the night they brought out even more food, cuts of meat, vegetables, and other things.

And then they fed us again! They brought out a pig with fireworks coming out of it and served us this delectable ham. This ham was also probably the best I’ve ever had. I’m not sure what the white thing is, but the dish in the bottom left of the plate is sauerkraut.

We left at about midnight, right after the cake was served, but the part went until 2 am and it’s entirely possible that they brought out even more stuff after we were gone.

Definitely the best wedding food I’ve ever had!

Europe 2010: Pt VII

March 28, 2011 By: Jenna Category: Travel

The inside of the church where my SIL chose to be married was absolutely stunning. Beautiful artwork everywhere, lovely light. I consider the picture I started this post with to be one of my best, ever.

One interesting thing about this wedding (I’m not sure if it’s the case with all Catholic weddings, but I think so) was that the bride and groom sat up front with their Maid of Honor and Best Man,but all of the guests sat toward the back of the church.

Also in this picture on the top left side of the frame you can see a black screen where they displayed the words to the songs or other things that guests were meant to participate in. I’ve never seen anything like this at any of the stateside Catholic weddings I’ve attended. Is it done in the US?

Z and K stayed up front, sitting in or standing in front of those chairs, for the entire time. Those guests who were interested came forward to partake of communion at the appropriate time.

What I didn’t know, is that the “big moment” at this wedding was the exchange of rings. Though it’s certainly important in the US, I think most couples consider the first kiss as husband and wife to be the climax of the wedding ceremony. I was waiting for it… waiting for it… and it never came! They exchanged vows and rings and some more things were said in Polish and then all of the sudden they were walking out and everyone was headed outside to greet them!

We all stepped out into the bright sunlight to hug and congratulate the bride and groom. This is TH’s cousin Kuba.

While we waited to move to the reception hall I crept back inside to take a few more pictures of the beautiful interior of the church.

They were turning off the lights as I came in and I’m not sure which picture I like better! I love that the light in this one helps you focus on the chairs for the bride and groom.

Off to the reception! Believe it or not, the next post in this series is entirely made up of pictures of food. 25 pictures of different dishes!

Europe 2010: Pt VI

March 22, 2011 By: Jenna Category: Poland

Finally.

Finally!

We made it to the point in my recaps where I get to talk about my SIL’s wedding day. I’m going to call her Z, and her husband K. Z and K were married in a town about 2 hours from the house where TH grew up, and we left T1 behind with a sitter for the weekend.

The two of them got ready (together!) in a room at the lodge where their reception was held. Z had a handful of friend buzzing around her doing her hair and makeup, and then all of the sudden it was just the two of them getting dressed (and me taking pictures of course). I told them that in America this almost never happens, and that the bride turns getting ready and the revelation of her wedding day beauty into a very big moment, but Z just laughed and said that wasn’t the way they do things.

Disclaimer: Sometimes I think things get lost in translation when I ask questions so take all of my interpretations of Polish traditions with a grain of salt!

I’ve never seen these before! This would make it a whole lot easier for the grooms at my weddings who are always asking me to figure out how to fold and stuff their pocket squares.

Z had her dress, sash, and jacket custom made for a few hundred dollars. She went online and found a dress she loved and had the seamstress make it from scratch for her. A similar purchase in America would cost 5X that much at least!

Although I love the drama of the American style wedding day first look, it was really sweet watching them help each other get dressed.

After they finished dressing we had a few minutes before it was time to go, so I asked her to let me take some portraits out on the deck.

A few minutes before we left for the church, both sets of parents came in and gave blessings to the soon-to-be-married couple. I wish I knew what they were saying, but it was very sincere and beautiful. I wish I had done something like that with my parents on my wedding day.

Off we went to a picturesque little Catholic chapel for the wedding!

Europe 2010: Pt III

February 23, 2011 By: Jenna Category: Poland

The morning after the faux-engagement session with my SIL, That Husband and I got up early to spend some time in Krakow. We borrowed his mom’s car for the day, and driving into downtown Krakow was quite an adventure. They drive on the right side of the road, so things aren’t completely switched around, but I still had no idea what was happening most of the time as the signs are all in Polish (obviously) and people drive much more aggressively there.

While I waited for TH to finish getting ready that morning I spent some time in my in-law’s backyard playing with the tilt shift lens.

Ohhh, my favorite little garden gnome! I take a picture of him every time I visit :)

It was a beautiful day in Krakow and I would have liked to spend more time exploring the square, but I was with a man on a mission (a mission to buy Christmas presents in the marketplace). St. Mary’s Basilica is famous, playing a trumpet signal that breaks off in the middle at the top of every hour to commemorate the 13th century trumpeter who was shot in the throat while warning the city of an impending attack.

This is the market that I’ve visited three times now, and I love it so much that I’ll never get tired of it. It’s called Cloth Hall, and it’s a long corridor lined with booth after booth selling jewelry (most of it made with amber), wooden toys (we are going to give T1 two wooden toys from this market for his 1st birthday!), wooden figurines, chess sets, and a whole lot of random Christmas tchotchkes.

The santa we bought my mom for Christmas! As long as we visit Poland, I’ll be bringing home Christmas gifts from this market for my relatives. There are these really fantastic Jewish figurines that I want to start collecting.

That Husband looking sexy.

Most of the buildings in Poland are very flat and square (I don’t know anything about architecture, I would describe it as a very severe style) but the area around the town square is very different from what all of the buildings in the surrounding towns look like.

TH and I had a little bit of an argument, because I refused to eat at any of these (adorable looking) places since they have English on the menus, and that is a sure sign of a tourist trap. Scroll down a little bit and you’ll see the (gross) food we ended up eating instead. Should have gone with the charming place with the Italian vibe!

I’m pretty sure I went inside this church, The Dominican Church, the first time I visited Krakow. You can take a really awesome 360 degree virtual tour of the interior here!

I think this is another church. You could spend an entire day touring and taking pictures of all the churches in Krakow!

So I rejected earlier dining options, and TH got so hungry that he made me get something from this little fast-food stand right outside the square. It was awful. I was happy to be eating something vegetarian, but I should have asked for dressing on the side. Unfortunately we didn’t really know what we were ordering, since the man behind the counter didn’t really speak English or Polish very well. Lesson learned, feed husband when he is hungry!

TH took this picture. I’m so happy whenever he shows an interest in using my camera!

Our dinner was so blech, that we felt we deserved a little treat. So we ducked into a pastry shop and picked out something sweet. Polish desserts aren’t as sweet as American ones, so I have to get TH to help me pick one that he thinks I will like.

We made it home safely (and TH decided he doesn’t really like driving in Poland), and the next morning we got ready for the train that would take us to Vienna! It’s only my second time riding a train, and so I think it’s really fun (the first time was when my family went to London right after I graduated from high school and we left London to visit some friends in the north).

Before we left that morning I woke up to find TH eating solids! I hadn’t been doing so, but he really enjoyed them, and he was just a few weeks shy of 6 months so I was fine with it. (I mentioned it here.)

CUTE!

It makes me so happy to see how much my in-laws love their grandson. He is very lucky to have such fantastic grandparents!

We’re almost to Vienna! I’m excited to relive our trip as I share the pictures with you.

      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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