We stayed at a pleasant hotel in Suwałki , The Loft. We arrived just ahead of the rain last night. One of the major challenges of a trip like this is balancing the time the travel itself takes with the limited hours that each archive is open and the directors are available to assist us, and our own desires to track down not necessarily places we can identify as part of the research we are doing, but places that are older and that help us (and our clients) to visualize what the town looked like when the ancestors lived there. Some days are just not long enough.
In Suwałki we found it impossible to find a balance. The archives were a real treasure. The Director was on vacation and took the time to come in and spend with us. He showed us some recent (and exceptional) books about the area. We purchased one as a reference and know that there is one additional one we need to purchase.
Helpful staff members brought out book after book after book (well, you get the idea). Which we spent the day pouring over. On some incredible lists of the Jewish community, we identified the names of people we were researching and kept looking for even more.
Unfortunately the day was just not long enough. Although we had gotten to the archive at 8, by the time it closed, at 3, none of us had taken a break – of course we had neither food nor water with us, and we were exhausted. We hoped to be able to grab lunch (late though it was) before getting on the road to Białystok where we would stay for two nights. This will actually be the last time we stay for more than one night in a city until 24 Aug when we next stay in one place for two nights.
We chose a restaurant randomly (as seems to be the case for most of our meals) and waited about an hour for food to arrive. Finally, exhausted but slightly refreshed we got back on the road for a two hour drive. Arriving in Białystok was not as easy as we thought it would be. Poor google maps has a great deal of difficulty in pronouncing street and city names (usually rendering them less than intelligible), at least in the English version we used most of the time. Even the Polish version, competeing with speech for our attention could not guide us to the right alley way to find our hotel! We drove around and around in circles before we found the correct road.
What was the day lacking? We didn’t have time to really get around in Suwałki. SOme days are just not long enough.