There are a ton of things to worry about: grades, the future (shudder), economic instability, global warming, the inevitability of death...and now halfway through my second year in France, the ticking clock of my time in Europe (I've just looked up "sand timer thingy" to find that hourglass is the more precise word I am searching for. Memory loss hits you when you least expect it...). Next year, I might be back in the States for good, so whatever I need to see of Europe, I need to see it now. Stressful, am I right?
It seems like every day, the list of amazing must-see sights expands a bit more, whether it's some surrealist-designed garden in Italy or intriguing street art in Spain. Today, the EBL welcomes the village of Zalipie, located in Southeast Poland. Honestly, my first thought was, "It looks like Rapunzel got her hands on this place."
But the actual story is way more interesting than the plot of "Tangled" (though I am so so partial to tears of the king and queen awwwwklajfljasfaj). Zalipie women started painting their houses over a century ago, first covering up soot stains from their stoves with whitewash. When that didn't remove the spots completely, they would paint colorful flowers over them in preparation for religious festivals. These days, the paintings are no longer clever cleaning alternatives, but shows of creativity. Over the years, they've spread from the houses to bridges, chicken coops, and wells...practically anything with a blank surface.
This is even more amazing when you consider the fact that when this tradition started, the villagers didn't have access to professional paint or brushes. They likely made their brushes out of the tail hairs of their cows, and mixed up their own paint with dumpling fat.
Now every year, the village hosts a competition around the feast of Corpus Christi called Malowana Chata, introduced in 1948 as part of the recovery movement after the Second World War.
Photos via House of Painters in Zalipie