This is a local cake, or should I say local biscuits, that we only discovered on our third visit to the region. It consists of fried flat pieces of dough with some honey, poppyseed (the ants) and almonds. It's quite nice to have with your tea or coffee. The only problem is that it can be addictive once you try it and they sell it in large quantities, only a little smaller than real anthills. Our package was the smallest and cost 10 PLN in a local shop. The Polish word for this delicacy is 'mrowisko' (pronounced 'mroveesko').
In the area around Punsk, the capital of the Polish Lithuanians, you can come across many roadside shrines with carved wooden sculptures representing scenes from the Bible - in the picture the Last Supper -or figures of Christ, Our Lady or the saints. The metal cross at the top is characteristic of this region, comprising images of the sun and the moon, which are said to be the remains of pagan beliefs of Lithuanian ancestors.
Generally, the farms of Lithuanians living in Suwalszczyzna look very neat, with well-tended gardens and order everywhere, which cannot be said of many of the Polish farms in the area.
Some things are completely unexpected. That is how I felt about Poland and storks. I had no idea that the long legged birds (and obviously babies) came from Poland! On the drive to Suwalki I started to notice these tall tripod nest stands. Mainly they were free-standing but occasionally they were located on the peaks of barns. Turns out farmers believe that it is good luck to have a stork build a nest on their properties...so they provide a little help.
And now as they say, "...for the rest of the story".
Virtual Tourist is not only a great place to get your travel tips...it's also a great font of knowledge from informed people around the world. Case in point is this excerpt from an email from Kasia, VTer Toja, concerning my little stork story:
"Actually, that 'little help' is not provided by the farmers, but by the environmental organizations that take care of storks. Poland still has the best environment for those birds in Europe, anyway the population of the strokes is the greatest here. Due to the very stork-unfriendly melioration and other changes in the most of Western European countries storks can live only in some special enclosures, and the number of the birds is very small. Storks need swamps and wet meadows where they can find some food, and of course they need to build their nests high above the ground. So, why not to help them a little, putting those tripods in the most proper places? But, it is true that people have always believed that storks can bring luck, and babies :-)..."
Thank you Kasia