A lot of things have happened since the last time I wrote on my blog. While France was still focused on their presidential elections, the day I landed back in Wroclaw, was the day a convoy of French volunteers were looking for a place to spend the night on their way to Ukraine. It put me back immediately into the reality of what’s happening there and how Poland is the very first ally they have when it comes to finding refuge.
Returning to Poland
It was quite a challenge to find a flight back to Poland, it use to be an easily affordable trip between France and Poland, now the train is sometimes even more cheap. In the end I chose to go through Krakow and take a Flixbus back to Wroclaw. I flew with Transavia which I usually avoid at all cost, and I remembered why… Their planes are outdated, crews and pilot are fantastics which is the most important but the ground experience is way worse than even Ryanair… a SHAME. One thing to mention also is that the plane interior is very old, and nasty but it still is safe.
Hosting Ukrainians for the night
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine I had been following a few photographers from Kiev, one of them had recently moved to Lviv and was thinking to leave Ukraine and go to Berlin. I followed their trip on Instagram through the border of Ukraine and into Poland, I was in the bus to Wroclaw when I saw they were super tired and I naturally offered to host them for the night in Wroclaw on their way to Berlin. Me and my gf we were just very happy to offer help randomly to people we didn’t know, except through Instagram. I must admit that over the years I criticised this social network quite a lot but it its still a formidable way to discover new talents.
Anya and Alina were travelling the whole way from Lviv with their little Fiat 500, with their cat Richard. It took them 7 hours to cross the border to Poland and they were exhausted.
It was such an honour to offer them to rest for the night and even help them with little things such as buying food for the poor Richard. Anya is a young talented photographer, notably known for her pictures in the Kiev subway during the first few nights of the conflict, she decided to go to Paris for now, while Alina is a PR specialist looking for new opportunities in Berlin at the moment.
You can follow them on Instagram and support them on Patreon :
News from my friends in Shanghai lockdown
I was horrified to receive news from my friend Terry in Shanghai. China’s zero Covid policy made them lockdown the entire 25 millions citizens city. Terry was first quarantined at his home but was later unlucky to test positive. He was placed in one of those huge hangars among hundred other people, like an open- space with beds, a 30m ceiling and H24 bright lights.
At least he was fed there while other citizens in the city have a lot of problems to access food and even medics.
Every over day I see horrifying reports on how bad the authorities are handling the situation. The latest was them blocking streets witch ship containers and locking down entire building by installing cages around the doors. People with mental problems or just desperate throwing themselves out of the window.
The latest video was about an old man who was put in a body bag but woke up during transport to the morgue…
Easter in Poland, a very important event in a very catholic country
Easter in France is traditionally the moment of the year where you spend hundreds of euros on chocolates, on chocolate rabbits and other nice chocolates of all shapes and colours. You might also have a nice family lunch of the Sunday but that’s it.
Easter in Poland is not that much about chocolate but more about going to Church and with a very important Easter breakfast moment on the Sunday. Every family would have spent the last few days painting eggs, eggs that you would have to break against someone else egg in order to crack them open. We went all the way to Krakow to attend a family lunch on the Monday, of course there was soup which they love in Poland and smashed potatoes. It was very similar to France in the way that you eat way too much at that lunch.
A week later we were lucky to be invited to attend Orthodox Easter, with Ukrainian refugees in Wroclaw. We share a bunch of traditional cakes and sang songs from there. I made them my favorite chocolate cake, which disappear very fast so I guess I am getting pretty good at it.
Wroclaw has welcomed up to 80k people so far and Polish are doing all they can to integrate them and find them jobs. I am quite impressed by the level of education among Ukrainians, even on French radio, journalists were discussing the fact that they somehow managed to keep their universities open and that they are very good students. Decadent France is discovering that yes their neighbours are not the third world but are more educated than them, what a shock.
I was pleased to meet a few of them, they are all trying to blend in before coming back one day to Ukraine, looking for jobs, or for classes to attend, they all are taking Polish classes, I felt a bit ashamed that I did not take the time yet to learn Polish…
I was quite impressed that in Ukraine, all your important documents are digitalised in the cloud, what a great way to keep them available at all time.
Wroclaw, its streets and building, the beauty and the beast
This city is a urban jungle like not others, with abandoned buildings next to very modern ones, the perspective you have of one street can change depending on the angle you look at it. I have a pretty good example of this, I took a picture of the front and the read of a very nice vintage car I saw not far from where I live, see for yourself !
On this side, it looks like a totally destroyed street with random cars and bad looking buildings. On the other side, it’s … the perfect looking neighbourhood :