it was my last full day in poland and i was on a (very very full) train from the hel peninsula bound for szczecin, near the german border. i chose to visit szczecin because i’d heard a lot of great things in the travel bloggy world about this gritty polish harbor city and i wanted to see it with my own eyes.
naively, when booking the trip i planned a handful of “one-nighters”, and this was one of them, my last hurrah in poland. but little did i know that one nighters aren’t such a great idea when you’re on a long backpacking trip. those days were such whirlwinds and admittedly, i didn’t really get to know szczecin as well as i would’ve liked, nor did i learn to pronounce it properly. even when i tried to buy the ticket in hel, the woman took mercy and offered, “stettin?” (the german version of the name). “genau, danke!” i really did try with polish, but dang, all those z’s.
there is a main reason though why i didn’t get to know the city in the precious time i was there: it was because i was hell-bent on dying my hair orange that evening.
so why orange? and why then? for awhile, i had been having recurring dreams where my hair was bright orange. i told alex about these dreams, and he seemed to take it that i subconsciously wanted to do it. now, i had never dyed my hair before. i felt that my blonde hair was seriously tied up with my identity. but the day before the polish odyssey began, i dyed it a temporary orange color that was supposed to last about three weeks. (it lasted a week) as the dye faded, i was a little sad as i liked having that brighter color. and i began to notice that polish drugstores offered a very bright l’oreal color called paprika power. as a taurus and therefore a methodical decision-maker, i spent weeks thinking about it before it all culminated and, with much urging from alex (who felt like he was supporting the realization of my dream) decided it was the thing to do.
i walked around szczecin for awhile. i ate loads of dumplings at a fantastic ukranian restaurant i will never forget that played cheesy 60’s ukranian comedies. i followed the red stripe of paint that goes to most of the tourist sights for awhile (do it, by the way- it’s one of the best things to do in the city!) i saw some extremely pretty buildings. but, i guess, life happened and i realized that one-nighters aren’t always the most practical. especially after almost three weeks of backpacking
over the next few weeks, the dye sadly faded quite quickly. by the two month mark, my hair was completely back to its blonde self (see below, hangin’in český krumlov) and i had no idea what i did wrong until i read up on hair-dying advice and realized “normal” hair-care just doesn’t work for dyed hair. THANK YOU, internet for learning me good.
when i redyed it, i tried doing things differently:
+ only wash hair with cool water (in the winter this can be tough/annoying, but it must be so)
+ wash your hair maximum two times per week, less if possible
+ avoid shampoos that contain sulfate (which is most shampoo) unless you really need to de-greasify. it turns out that my hair is just fine with going over a week without a shampoo.
doing just these three things has helped immensely with preserving the color! it’s the honest truth.
i had put off this orange hair dream so long because i was so worried about the whole blonde-all-my-life identity thing. would i still feel like myself? turns out, YES. you are still yourself even with a different hair color. it’s not like i went darker or anything, but happily, everything still feels the same in cynthia-land.
bottom line: nah, i don’t regret spending my last evening in szczecin dying my hair. sometimes, you just need a time out. the timing could have been a little better, but i know it won’t be the last i see of szczcein, being only two hours away from berlin. and so i said do widzenia to my polish odyssey and crossed the german border.
happy travel tuesday! every week, the co-hosts and i choose to spotlight an outstanding contribution to the link-up, and last week i was loving camille’s christmas in big sur post (above). i knew i wanted to do a california coast road trip someday, but dang it if i haven’t also been completely inspired to camp on the beach too. her holiday looks like a dream, proving you don’t have to go all the way to snowy austria for a dreamy christmas!