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August 29th, 2009 - a date which will live in infamy... or, well, at least will remain memorable to us. On this day, exactly a year and one day after we had first met, Karolina and I were married. The wedding took place at the Church of the Holy Trinity, in my wife's hometown of Ciechanowiec, eastern Poland.

I imagine that, for most people who visit my website, this isn't especially interesting - chances are, they came here for the gamedev-related stuff. In fact, for a long time I resisted creating this subpage. I simply don't believe the world is significantly improved by having access to the details of our personal life. Our personal life, for that matter, doesn't get much improved in the process either.

However, every once in a while, this website is visited by our family and friends; many of whom, by virtue of being scattered all over the world, did not have the opportunity to be with us on that day. And so, that's the purpose of this page - to share with them what happened on that cold, rainy, but otherwise amazing August day.

While we're at it, we'll also show off a few photos from our honeymoon. We spent two weeks at the "Zamkowa Góra" (Castle Mountain) lodge near Suwałki in northeastern Poland - if you're looking to spend a quiet vacation in Poland, give the place a try! Afterwards, we went for a couple of days to Vilnius, in Lithuania - another great place to visit. Oh, and as if to make up for the rain on our wedding day, most of our honeymoon was amazingly warm and sunny (...for September).

The images below are thumbnails (fairly big thumbnails, mind you) - click on an image to see the full-size version.

The Wedding Day


Before the wedding, the groom heads over to the bride's house. Here, the two of them are blessed by both pairs of parents. Then, the bride leaves her house "for the last time". That day, the weather was far from ideal. So, instead of walking together to the church, we ended up go by car. For some reason, my bride-to-be ended up sitting in the front.
We have arrived at the church. The ride would have taken less than a minute, but we tried to drive as slowly and as round-about as possible. Even so, we still arrived at least twenty minutes ahead of schedule, so the church was still pretty empty. The interior of the church in its full glory. The guests are still entering - many delayed leaving the hotel until the last minute, hoping the rain would stop (it didn't). I really like this interior. Some Baroque churches go overboard with colours, but this one keeps things nice and simple.
At last, the time has come, all the guests have arrived, the music starts playing, and we make our entrance. Two kids (my niece, Lidia, and Franek, my cousin's son) walk in front of us - Franek carries a pillow with the wedding rings.  The priest welcomes us. His face, his mannerisms, and his accent reminded me strongly of my former boss at City Interactive. Looking at the photo now, the resemblance is only slight - but it did feel slightly odd, at the time.  
The moment - I'm speaking my vows. Before this happens, the priest binds our hands together. Once I've spoken my bit, it is my bride's turn to say her own vows.
We are now husband and wife - almost. One ring, to rule them all...
...And the other ring. Now we're really married. A shot of the two of us, along with the groomsman and bridesmaid.
The ceremony is finished, and we walk out of the church together - for the first time as a married couple. The church, incidentally, is a very fine Baroque building dating back to 1739. Eastern Poland is filled with this kind of architecture, because it was during the 17th and 18th centuries that they transitioned from wooden churches to masonry. In western Poland, where most cities are older and wood was more scarce, Gothic architecture from the 14th-15th centuries tends to dominate. My wife gets carried away. In most countries, there's that custom of the husband carrying his wife over the doorstep when they enter their new home for the first time - in Poland, this custom is usually also extended to the husband carrying his wife over the doorstep (and in this case, up two flights of stairs) into wherever the wedding reception takes place. Sadly, it seems no one was successful in taking a clean shot of this moment - every photo I've seen so far has parts of us cut off.
The first dance. Ours was a waltz - the standard dance of beginner dancers worldwide. We made a mistake or two, but I'm told we didn't embarrass ourselves too much. ...And that's us cutting the wedding cake. As I recall, this was around midnight. The wedding, however, was far from over: the last guests retired around 04:30.
The Honeymoon
The road to the lodge (or rather, from the lodge, as we're looking in the other direction here). It took about 20-30 minutes to reach an actual asphalt road. The nearest store of any kind was an hour's walk away. The Castle Mountain lodge itself. The mountain (actually, a hill) is not visible here. The lodge is set up overlooking a lake. Great food, total peace and quiet... and a lot of mosquitoes. Oh, well, can't be ideal...
Paddling around the lake on a paddle boat - a little boat powered, like a bicycle, using foot pedals. My wife enjoying the sunshine on the lake. We'd go out onto the lake for a few hours at least every second day.
On a hike to the top of Castle Mountain. Looking out onto the lake. The lodge  is directly behind the trees on the right. Another day, another hike. When not using our feet to paddle, we used them... well, to walk. Amazing scenery.
...And these. Clearly, Peter Jackson didn't know what he was doing, filming The Lord of the Rings in New Zealand. The countryside was filled with these things - brick-and-stone cellars dug directly into the hillsides. Another hilltop - Cisowa Góra. Nearby, there is also Góra Cisowa. In Polish, it is permissible to place adjectives either before or after the noun. Consequently, these two different hills would both translate to "Yew Mountain".
We almost picked up a cat on one of our hikes. She was extremely friendly, literally climbing on top of us. Fortunately, it turned out she did in fact have an owner. The are was also filled with old apple trees. Even though it was September, they were still covered in fruit, most of them not quite ripe - things ripen late in this part of Poland.
Possibly my favourite photo from the entire trip. There was a lot of air traffic overhead, so you'd always have at least one or two trails - but having them line up with the road below, that was amazing. ...And a sudden change of location. After two weeks, we left Castle Mountain and took a train to Vilnius in Lithuania. This photo is very much representative of what you see in the old town in Vilnius - it's a wonderful place.
A fairly typical street in the old town. It's narrow and crooked - but it's actually relatively wide compared to some others... Another street, and a weird little statue. The real subject of this photo, though, is that creeping vine. I love those things. I'd let them cover the entire city if it were up to me.
Then, there's the building with the hook. Looks great - but what does it mean? We just don't know... when I was first in Vilnius in 2008, I even tried asking passers-by, but sadly didn't meet anyone who'd speak English or Polish. The Rossa Cemetery in Vilnius. This is one of the most important historic cemeteries for the Polish - Vilnius was once inhabited predominantly by the Polish, so a lot of our historic figures can be found at this cemetery.
St. Peter and St. Paul's Church. This is probably one of the most amazing Baroque churches in the city. The entire ceiling is covered with stucco sculptures. Apparently, it amazed even the atheist Soviets. The Soviet Union wanted to wipe out the Roman Catholic church in Lithuania, so they closed most churches. Some were devastated - this one was merely turned into a museum. ...Which is more than can be said for this one - the church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Soviets converted it into a warehouse, totally obliterating the interior. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the church was given back to the Franciscan Order, and is gradually being restored. Try imagining it during evening Mass, when the only light is the lamp behind the altar... 
The Cathedral. First built in 1386 in the Gothic style, converted to Baroque during a renovation in the 17th century, and then finally converted to the Neoclassical style late in the 18th century. I do not think there is a more beautiful Neoclassical church anywhere in the world. Looking up from below at Gediminas' Tower - the remains of a medieval castle. It's an incredibly steep hill, and I can imagine that capturing this castle would have been a formidable challenge. It's also the highest point of the city, and the view from above is great.
Looking down on Vilnius from Gediminas' Tower. The most amazing thing about this photo was that it was taken by an Australian... who used to work at the pub at Bond University, where I studied. It's amazing who you'll run into on the other end of the world. Finally, the very last photo we took in Vilnius. It's a photo of (mild) disappointment - looking over a part of the city that we simply didn't have time to visit. At the end of the day, though, we don't mind. Any excuse to come back to this beautiful city...


Copyright 2010 Jakub Majewski