As you guys know or may have noticed, I’ve recently been very big on all sorts of journaling prompts. Particularly in my private journal but on here as well. You also know that I know about most of my journaling prompts’ sources thanks to Astrid of A Multitude of Musings. One such source that I haven’t used for a blog post yet is an app for iOS called Paperblanks that I’ve been using for a while now in my personal writings and really like. So I thought I’d do a post loosely based on one of the prompts from this app on here today. It asks about the first vacation that you remember taking.
I said it’s going to be loosely based because I’m not sure what was exactly the first vacation I remember taking in my life, but one of the earliest holiday related memories that comes to my mind is about a little seaside village called Smołdzino, that we used to visit very regularly, pretty much every summer. I don’t remember the first time we went there and discovered that place, I don’t even know how we discovered it because it wasn’t a popular holiday destination then, and it all blends together in my brain, but I thought it could be fun to write a bit more in general about my memories from there and give you a feel of that very lovely place.
Smołdzino lies by the sea in Słowiński National Park, and is part of a nature reserve. So you can imagine it’s a very clean, quiet and peaceful place. I live in the north, and we have many more beaches closer to where we live, but since we’d discovered Smołdzino, for a long time, whenever we would have some more time on our hands, even a few days, we’d go there. It’s about 90 km (over 50 miles) from us, so it was always a longer trip than what me and Olek were used to going to the seaside. For me, that was both good and bad. I always found longer travels exciting, and the longer the better, but at the same time my vestibular system had a different view on this so I was generally rather ambivalent about the whole thing. 😀 I always looked forward to summer mostly for that particular reason, because I hoped we’d go to Smołdzino, as I really liked it there. After over an hour in the car, since it was a nature reserve, you had to leave it about four kilometres from the beach and walk the rest of the way with all your belongings, of which we usually took a lot with us, on foot. It was typically mid July or so, and thus could be very hot (one year I remember it being about 35 degrees C or 95 F which is considered unusually hot here) so it could be rather exhausting, dire and boring, especially for us kids, but when we finally got there it also felt so extremely rewarding! And over the years as we did it every year or almost every year, sometimes more than once every year, we all got used to it and considered it part of the overall unique Smołdzino experience.
From our first few times being there I remember me and Olek making sand mountains and sliding down from them. There were always hardly any people, if any at all except us. No madly screaming, splashing kids peeing in the sea and their parents shouting at them to get out of the water for now and possibly their dogs running around, no people selling pop corn and yelling about it through the whole beach, no stray bottle caps or cigarette stubs or other surprises – an ideal place for hermits! 😀 – As a child, I loved collecting seashells and these in Smołdzino were always particularly good quality so I loved doing it there. I grew to love Smmołdzino so much that after some time going to any other beach was just so blah and boring, only Smołdzino had real value for me. The sea was always so clear there. We – but especially our parents – were always marvelling how come people not know about this place, and how great that naturally is for us. – We often bragged about this summer hideout we’ve found to others or recommended it to them but somehow no one shared the degree of our enthusiasm, perhaps because people didn’t think it would pay off for them to drive for an hour to get to the sea when the nearest beach is 15 km away. The village itself though, with its inhabitants, made an impression of a very poor, socioeconomically neglected and kind of grim place. When I realised that when I was a bit older, I found that a very jarring contrast with all the beautiful nature and the sea and the idyllic associations of Smołdzino that I had. The people there lived mostly from fishing and tourism but I wonder what sort of tourism if there were so few people on the beach, and aside from the sea and beautiful nature and views, there wasn’t much more in Smołdzino so it wasn’t like the tourists had many more alternatives as for where to go, unless they used Smołdzino as their base and from there drove to bigger towns where there are more touristy beaches and more things happening, but because these towns are also by the sea they have a lot of accomodations for tourists of their own and they are much better from what I’ve noticed.
That year when it was so extremely hot and Sofi was already part of our family and starting to speak her first words, my aunt and uncle expressed an interest in tagging along with us and Mum somehow got in touch with a woman who lived there and had one big room for rent, so we decided we’ll stay there for a few days rather than just go for a day trip. I thought it was a brilliant idea but I didn’t end up liking it quite as much as I did the day trips, perhaps because of the heat, which was particularly aggravating in our room, and that when we weren’t at the beach, I was deadly bored in there with not much to do. The woman at whose house we lived was extremely chatty and sociable and would make barbecues for us almost every day or want us to spend a lot of time with her family which was very nice and friendly but rather annoying and obtrusive long-term for all of us, and I just didn’t feel as comfortable there with my Dad’s family around as I did when there were just us. I remember one night particularly clearly. Usually when we were there, we the kids would be sent to beds much earlier than the adults, and my circadian rhythm was cooperating for a few first days. But one day, when we were already in beds, I couldn’t fall asleep and the adults decided to go to some local party that was taking place there and see what it’s like. I was still not asleep by the time they came back which was about 1 AM. They all went to sleep and fell asleep pretty quickly as it seemed, but not me. And then suddenly my uncle started snoring, and it was SO freakishly dramatically spectacular and loud! 😀 I was used to unbelievably loudly snoring people (not like used to in the sense that it just didn’t phase me, but more like I was very familiar with the phenomenon from an early age and accepting of that sometimes it just happens and you may end up having a rotten night as a result if you don’t fall asleep before the snorer does 😀 ) because my Dad is a super loud and passionate snorer and when me and Olek were younger we didn’t have our own rooms but rather one huge bedroom where our beds were in one corner and our parents’ bed in another. But I’d never heard before –
and haven’t afterwards either – someone snore THAT loud, like my uncle did, and I wondered how everyone else managed to sleep in such conditions. In the past, when Dad’s snoring would go crazy before I fell asleep, I would cover my head with a pillow or something, but it was way too hot for that then. I found the situation kind of hilarious at first but over time I grew more and more frustrated to the point where it became rather dangerous and I was starting to have some homicidal ideations. I think I finally did manage to fall asleep some time before everyone else woke up, but was the most frustrating night ever for me, hahahaha. I didn’t tell anyone about that, until years later, when it was a great source of amusement for everyone including the snorer and myself.
Also when Sofi was already with us, I spent a lot of time in my Brainworld which was my most powerful coping strategy with life which was yucky at the time. I always had a very rich brainlife but at that time my Brainworld became much larger and more developed. Among other stuff, I made up a sort of submarine or generally aquatic world with sea people ruling it. The king’s name was Akrofil back then (it wasn’t supposed to mean anything specific, it was just a name I made up and liked the sound of but I later changed it to Magnus when someone told me that Akrofil sounds like some kind of pervert and I looked it up and acrophilia apparently is a real thing, a paraphilia, that is 😀 ), and I don’t remember what was his wife’s original name, something sort of oriental, but currently her name is Nerissa, and they had two children and a lot of subjects and they all lived in a castle under the sea but they also felt at home in any other body of water and not necessarily deep down. You could call Magnus or anyone else of them up if you knew how and they would appear if they would consider it necessary, and they could help people with a lot of things. Naturally they always helped people who had something to do with the sea in the first place but they were also very eager to help people who were struggling with anything else a lot and just unhappy. You could talk to them and typically they would take you down to their castle and you could spend some time there in their happy world and just relax and have a lot of fun. They always had a lot of feasts and led a very sumptuous life. But you couldn’t stay there indefinitely so after some time Magnus would send you back on to the land, but he would give you some magical things that could help you cope with the situation that made you call them in the first place, for example such items would enable you to call upon them wherever you were so they would help you in a specific situation, or he would give you a drink that would make you feel better or a special vehicle that could transport you wherever you wanted etc. etc. etc. Sometimes though, when he decided he couldn’t help you practically, he’d just let you stay in there forever, and you could just become one of the sea people. They make up just one section of my Brainworld and aren’t as important a part of it as they were back then, but I still love hanging out with them. And back then when I did that a lot, it made me feel especially close to them and like they were real when I was by the sea. I wasn’t particularly eager then to share things like these with people, but funnily enough, for some reason I did share the whole Akrofil thing with my Dad, and although he’s generally not particularly imaginative and not very flexible-minded, he seemed to love the whole idea almost as much as I did. Perhaps because he loves the sea so it spoke to him somehow. So in Smołdzino I taught him how to call Akrofil/Magnus and we would play sea people together. 😀 Or I would do by myself. Either way was super fun and very nourishing for my escapist brain.
After some time, somehow we stopped going there. I guess life just went in a different direction and we always wanted but never really did. Until last year, when my parents decided to go there for a quick day trip, this time with another aunt and uncle from my Dad’s side of the family. I decided not to go for a mix of different reasons, and turned out that it was a good idea. They arrived there about noon and were hugely surprised to see a long line of cars, all waiting to be let in. And because there are limits on how many people can be at the beach because it’s a nature reserve, only some portion of them were allowed and my parents who were quite late to the party weren’t among them, so they came back. The guy who let people in told them that things have changed a bit over the last couple of years and more people come there regularly, and from what they’d seen the village seemed in a better state now and there were more people. It also had a more touristy feel apparently, with more shops and other such scattered around, which I found worrying when I heard about it, but it’s apparently not very bad and it’s not obnoxiously touristy,, it couldn’t be when it’s a nature reserve, so that’s a good thing, in the grand scheme of things, and for the village it’s good that it’s more prosperous, as it really made a rather sad impression on me all those years ago. Good for them that they are developing.
So there you have – my one of the first and the most favourite holiday destination. – What are your earliest holiday memories? 🙂