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Saturday, 31 March 2012

  In the evening i reached a town on a lake with a pleasant aspect called Pinczow, but tracking down a place to stay there was no picnic; faintly reminiscent, even, of Mary and Joseph’s harrowing, deeply distressing experience, when they could find no room at the inn in Bethlehem. Unlike them however, i was eventually taken in by an excellent, modern sort of non-commercial place for visiting teachers, and told that, since the only available room had used sheets (i had a sleeping bag anyway), i could stay for free.

   The Gospel reading at Sunday Mass in the nearby Church of St John, Apostle and Evangelist, was the Transfiguration, after which i covered the requisite distance in dry weather to a service of Benediction at a Church in Busko-Zdroj, with an especially beautiful painting of St Mary, the Mother of Jesus. After dark the road was lent an alluring lustre by a confident full moon, which incidentally is often associated with and symbolic of Our Lady; perfectly reflective, rather than the source, of divine light. Late-ish i arrived in Stopnica, and decided to check into an affordable motel rather than pit myself against the elements. On TV there happened to be a very ‘1980s’ Jackie Chan film, in which i made out the words ’capitalism’ and ‘communism’. On one level it was clearly western propaganda, and it seemed interesting to speculate whether such films might appear on Chinese TV nowadays – almost certainly not, i suppose.

   On the morning of the next day, Monday the 21st of March, i put off my rising from bed, which led to recriminations in the evening, because just past Polaniec i found i’d missed the last crossing of Poland’s iconic river Vistula (on a little car ferry attached to a cable) by 45 minutes. A sort of armoured ‘tank’ thing had been abandoned nearby, but you couldn’t get inside it, so i went back into town and checked into another motel. On the next morning, Tuesday 22nd of March, i felt like a bit of a wimp for having stayed in yet another comfy bed, and still peeved at having missed the crossing, but it was nice to attend Mass, and i consoled myself with these words, paraphrased from a little book called I Am With You, by Fr John Woolley, which bills itself as ‘Divine help for today’s needs’;  

“No combination of circumstances can defeat the purposes of the Architect of the Universe.”

The weather was dry again as i made my way through suburban scenery to a library in Mielec, where i spent some time on a computer replying to emails etc. Then regrettably on the way out of town yet another little collection of toys was cast from the proverbial pram, as i realised i’d gone a kilometre or two in the wrong direction, but i was glad to find my way along a ‘Benedictynska Ulitsa’ and clamber over a railway line to get back on track. After a long stretch of road through forest it was good to reach Przylek at about 11pm, where i spent a reasonable night in, of all places, a bus shelter.

   Next day i was given a lovely free coffee at a ‘mini-bar’ in Kosowa, then visited another library in Kolbuszowa where the internet meant i could write the next entry on the blog among other things. After stopping for a drink and mentioning my walk to the staff at a pizzeria in Dzikowiec, on the road afterwards an employee caught up with me in his car to give me a generous take-away portion of tasty dumplings and bottles of drink. At dusk i fancied i might have spotted a nightjar, but later checked its description on the internet and it wasn’t one. They’re a bit like bitterns – no real person has actually ever seen one in the wild. I spent the night in a half constructed building just off the road, discomfited only by a chill wind, and got away quite early, in case someone was going to come and continue work on it. At a petrol stationlater that morning i was given free hot drinks, delicious toasted sandwiches, little cartons of milk, and wasn’t allowed to pay for some crisps – before i’d even brought forth my Mary’s Meals brochure! After sunset, on the way between Sokolow Mlp. and Czarna i saw a star shoot with a fizz like a firework, and by this stage there were frogs and toads on the roads, not all dead.

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