MitOst training - from A to Z

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Day -1 (a week too early and a minute too late).

It was unfair. Completely unfair. The worst thing was that my careful plan to move from Krotoszyn to Ostrow Wielikopolski collapsed as the train left a minute before I rushed to the platform. It even showed me its white ass with a red stripe.
Hitch-hicking proved to be a waste of time. I tried various spots all over the road, changed the face expression and finger position - no result. So, the only way not to lose face was back to Krotoszyn, zobachyc the Centre and save this Sunday from complete failure.
The City museum met me with a lock on the gate. To make matters worse, messes in churches were mostly over: people finished praying God by the time I finished praying for any driver who could give me a lift. As a result my main achievement was marvelling at the Ratusz, the centre of city life, and exploring the local Cemetery, a picturesque kingdom of death.
Eventually I returned to Milicz exhausted and unsatisfied. By that time I had no idea that exactly a week later I will pass through the same route but this time much more successfully.

Day 0 (an island on Ostrow).

This time everything went smooth - one missed train taught me to be more punctual. Thus, precisely at 9.58 on 1st October I jumped into the wagon as soon as it approached Krotoszyn station. 45 minutes after conductor's whistle and exactly a week after my failed travel to Ostrow Wielikopolski I eventually conquered it by setting foot on the local railway platform.
Museum Miasta Ostrowa amazed me with:
1. a huge collection of tiny models of firefighting cars
2. exautic musical instruments + the audio recording of each one"s sound
3. a 1970's Polish kitchen with inevitable rusty irons and kettles. Old, lovely Soviet past...
The Forum Synagogue, gigantic and impressing from the outside, turned out to be completely empty inside - and my camera did not make a single click-click. On the contrary, three local kosciols seemed to be plain gothic brick structures but I couldn't help admiring their rich decor, frescoes and paintings.
To give my eyes some rest from the sight of gold and silver I idle on a bench by the lake shore and throw remains of bread to ducks and pigeons. An hour on a picturesque and peaceful island in the outskirts of Ostrow - what can be better for an exhausted traveller?

Day 1 (Kingdom of wine)

In the morning I found myself the lord of the hostel room, spacious enough to host a dozen travellers like me. Other beds were empty. It was completely silent but for a lonely bird singing outside.
The city was blooming. In all meanings of this verb. Zielona Gora (Grunberg) was living intensively, greedily, full of primitive yet sincere joy of existence. It was blessing each minute of the passing Indian summer as a hungry man is blessing every bite of fresh bread.
I had a feeling that it was the heart of jungle or rainforest, rather than a city with 140.000 inhabitants. Each wall is breathing with a net of wild winogrona, the wind is throwing guitar tunes in all directions, a vivid green graffity is smiling at me - just a moment and a prehistoric predator will step from the corner...
The sight of an excavator digging one of the streets makes me tremble. I almost anticipate that the torn wound in the asphalt will splash with a fountain of wine, dark red and thick like artery blood...
Indeed, the first day in this urban forest makes me excited and exhausted as only a very sacred or
a very pagan place can make. In the evening I drop in at the pierogi cafe and marvel at dim rainy streets, lightened by yellow eyes of street lamps.

Day 2 (Rosliny, zwierzeta i kosmos)

The village of Ochla was green, not emerald but dark, dirty green: sullen trees, roofs covered with moss, wet decaying grass. All kinds of crafts - a peasant's hut, blacksmith's hammer and anvil, an underground winery, a merchant's sklep. And ancient wooden figures of idols, real kings of this mysterious place, covered with dust of ages like rotten teeth.
Ogrod Botanichny seems inhabited only at first sight. A mini zoo is hidden in its depths. Here wildlife is young and lively, morons and deer roam in spacious cages and hrum-hrum with colourful leaves. After a minute of hesitation an old goat solemnly approaches me and takes a juicy branch from my hands.
From the very depths of Earth I rocket into the very middle of space. After an introduction to Iogann Kepler, a respectable host of the Planetarium since XVIII century we travel to the top of Maja Pyramids just to shake hands with their numerous gods: spirits of Ochla are babies and toddlers in comparison to them. And the way goes straight up, to the cold empty darkness of space and from this height one could probably notice a tiny spot in the shape of a grape on Earth... and recognize Zielena Gora in it.

Sharing the MitOst pie (4-8 October): the official slice

Once upon a time, in the days of my happy childhood in Petrozavodsk, a bunch of clever guys in far-away Berlin came up with the idea of the first MitOst Festival. And it was decided that on the chosen day of each year a selected circle of youth leaders would meet together to revive the tradition...
Long years passed. And there came the Day when I had the honour to be among 492 selected ones. To the West lay my road as this time the Festival was taking place on the very edge of Poland. As a circus gymnast was it balancing between Poland and Germany, knotting Frankfurt and Slubice together...
How could one imagine all the numerous workshops, discussions, round tables, exhibitions and trainings of the event? How could one split into a hundred pieces to be on time everywhere?
All kinds of arts, crafts and sciences mixed in one huge stream. Eco-activists, creators of graphic novels, actors and artists, leaders and followers, public speakers and attentive listeners - here they arrived, united for a few days. And throughout this time, flashing away like a minute, was I in the very depths of the Festival. And did I bring home a bag jam-packed with the materials and God damn my soul, if I have an idea how will I transport them to Russia after EVS...

Sharing the MitOst pie (4-8 October): the museum slice

I will say straight - in Slubice nic nie ma zobachyc. What a luck that crossing the bridge leads you straight to Germany with a big deal of sightseeing. This time I will focus on three museums which I visited w czwartek, w piatek i w sobote consequently.
Junge Kunst museum impressed my with a rich collection of expressionist chef d'ouevres. Otto Dix - the only familiar name - and his "grey pearls" of pencil-made litographs. Each painting is knife-sharp and daring, the artist never softens angles.
Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811), born in Frankfurt, has his own memory museum in a pink building. This dramatist with a gigantic full name (4 words? 5?) has a boring biography with an unexpected end. After writing a joyful letter to his friends he shot his girlfriend in the heart and then killed himself.
Viadrina museum was full of Prussian spirit. Here there ruled a king of Literature and a queen of Music. Thick hand-written volumes of medicine, law and phylosophy were facing the walls with unusual musical instruments. Melodies of Karl Emmanuel Bach and Johann Gottlieb Piefe glorify Germany of the XVIII-XIX centuries with old good-natured burgers and young desperate romantics. Yet the last room finishes the idyll with a sight of ruins and crowds of war refugees: Nazism and war replace the legendary German order with chaos and anarchy.

Sharing the MitOst pie (4-8 October): the disco-night life slice.

And there was a Festival morning - for warming up...
And there was a Festival day - for pulling together...
And there was a Festival night - for breaking down... Let's go)
Night # 1. The door in an extremely crowded room opens and in jump three guys in military uniform. The "Captain Crew" zespol occupy the scene and the leader greets us with a solemn speech. His companions seem to be sitting on hedgehogs: the key word MUSIC makes them jump and stand still. The audience roars with laughter, some girls are giggling hysterically...
Night # 2 - the darkest one during MitOst. A mini-tornado leaves Slubice without electricity and around 200 people gather in "Witkacy" pub for a bowl of vegetable soup and a plate of spaghetti. In the dim candle light a lonely voice sounds - a guy in a white gown is singing a touching melody while the storm is roaring outside.
Night # 3. We gather in Havana bar, a very atmospheric place with a portrait of E. Хемингуэй and all. The band from Kazakhstan is really hot but even they can't challenge night autumn breeze. We set a big fire in a metal barrel, make a circle and glare at the dance of flame.
Night # 4. It starts in a concert hall with a movie - a silent film "Luther" with live music on a gigantic organ. From this idyll I jump right into the middle of a farewell party in "The Frosche" club. Officially it lasts till midnight but we are breaking down all night long. In the smoky air I suddenly feel a strike - some drunken German swine throws a banana at me. I get ready to punch his face and kick his ass, yet, other participants quickly lead us apart. I am slightly disappointed: an old, nice fist fight - isn't it a perfect ending of a perfect party?

Day last one - epilogue.

It was a simple building, without any decor or ornaments; a big grey box in a picturesque park. I looked at it for a minute - as if it was the last bite of cake to swallow. To some extent it was true: I was returning home from the Festival and a visit to Museum Ziemi Lubuskiej was the last fragment of my MitOst trip.
I entered the first room - oil paintings, thick and rich in colour, were smiling from the walls, sun rays playing on canvas.
I entered the second room - knights on gobelens met me with sharp looks.
I entered the third room - it was full of miraculous paintings: at first I recognised chef d'heuvres of van Gouh, Gougin and Leonardo and only by coming closer recognised their faces skilfully hidden in the middle of each picture.
I entered the fourth room - it was a gloomy kingdom of shadows, with tormented black silhouettes of agonising people...
I entered the fifth room - and discovered a mechanical jungle. The genious of Marian Kruczak turned rusty irons, kettles and chains into pre-historic monsters and ancient gods of metal, a perfect unity of wilderness and progress.
I went downstairs - the heart of the Wine City beat here. Golden elves and nymphs with full mugs, waterfalls of wine and beer, huge barrels and tiny cups... The metal leaves on the gate seemed to be blooming... My blood started to burn as if I found myself right in the middle of a drunken orgy and it was only growing wilder...
And this madness reached its peak in the Torture Room - after sleepless nights at the Festival and a tiring trip my nerves were tense and extremely sensitive. Hideous shrieks, hysteric laughter, roaring and screeching, the sight of torture machines and suffering victims in the bloody darkness of the cellar mixed together and whipped me as a gigantic lash. I felt the agony of the martyr burned alive and the joy of the hangman putting him on fire. The brain suddenly exploded with numerous scenes of ultra-violence and the cheerful rage of crashing, breaking and destroying... It was the tear-your-guts feeling, the one that emperor Nero must have felt at the sight of thousands of Christians tortured to death in his gardens... The feeling was so intense that I almost smelt thick, disgusting aroma of human blood, ruthlessly spilled... At this moment, I rushed upstairs, like a shadow that escaped from the very depths of hell.
And as if to caress my excited imagination - the last room welcomed me with a soft light of enormous glass windows. All colours of a rainbow mixed in a harmonic gamma and just standing there and admiring them made one so peaceful, so kind, so happy...
30 minutes after the storm of controversial feelings was gone, I was standing in front of the Museum as I did 3 hours ago. After throwing the last glance at it I quickly turned round and set off for the railway station with one thought only: to go to bed as soon as I return to Milicz.

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