September: pleasant Poland (Krakow & Gdansk) and more ...

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Europe » Poland
October 22nd 2006
Published: October 22nd 2006
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It was about time to talk about September, right?

Sorry guys but in September I got a neck/back minuscule injury and therefore was restraining myself from typing … ok it is not the whole true, but I can give you the number of a great physiotherapist, if you need one*!

In September I took a week of domestic holidays and was a bit here and there: went to the Japanese Summer at Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, S.M.A.K. in Ghent where I got in touch with Rene’ Heyvaert and I agree with their folder’s description that his

work cannot easily be classified ...

(forks transformed in rakes, fished boots with bamboo sticks, and so on…), threw a ‘caipirinha’ party, had brunch with a special group at friends in Loos fantasizing to visit Beijing during the New Chinese Year, and that kind of stuff.

I also went to Poland and got completed addicted to beetroot soup: with dumplings, with crème la fraiche, without it, (whatever): yummie, yummie, yummie!

Krakow is a great city: the Wawel castle with fantastic stories of dragons, with Italian-designed foldable stairs from the 16th century, amazing tapestries such as

The Death of the Roman Consul,

which looks like the perfect source of inspiration for Guernica. The tapestry is a ‘replica’ of Ruben’s panel, which belongs to the private collection of the Prince of Liechtenstein’s, which can be seen in Vienna.
If you cant wait till that trip, check

The Death of Decius Mus in Battle

Liechtenstein Museum ; Do you see the resemblance with Picasso’s masterpiece? Hey, there is also a horse!

If you choose Krakow over Vienna, don’t forget to try all the bars, and restaurants at the Kazimierz (old Jewish quarter): they are all special! You find also there some Jewish cemeteries and all kind of Jewish-paths to track. It’s amazing how huge the demand for Jewish-related sightseeing is! The ‘Schindler’s factory is just in the South part of the city, and not so far away you have Auschwitz, one of the most popular 'attractions' in Poland. If you need to be cheered up afterwards, take a tour with Cool Tour Company and you will get more than just the standard trivia together with some anecdotes like the guy that saved the city by killing the chief of the enemy with a bottom

From Krakow, I went to Gdansk with budget DirecFly : this amazing Port city has witnessed many important events in the history of Poland and of the World: had one of the most advanced cranes to handle ship cargo (the restaured structure is still there to admire), it was part of the territory of the free City of Danzig during Napoleonic Wars, territory that also witnessed one of the first dramatic battles of the invasion of Poland at the beginning second World War (Westerplatte) and was marched over by the Red Army in the end of the War. It becomes Sovietised, and is also the cradle of protests against the regime decades later, by the shipyard workers embedded in the trade union Solidarity. The protests are led by the electrician Lech Wałćsa, later on awarded with the Nobel Peace Price, and some years after that, the first democratically-elected, post-communist President of Poland.

In spite of this heavy history, Gdansk is a city that welcomes you to enjoy! Besides wondering around, you could eat eel while reading Gunter Grass 😊! If you are in the mood to party (wild), then head to the beach resort of Sopot (the Brighton of Poland), with the longest peer of Europe (unfortunately they charge you for having the experience of walking there! I hope the same does not apply to city’s inhabitants because would be a shame that they cant enjoy what’s their own).

I also took the ferry (Polferries) to Stockholm, and was on the Nobel’s Prize Banquet room (not during the Nobel’s Prize banquet itself), but have to say that the Blue Hall has a special atmosphere anyway. I think it comes from the marble stairs (The Grand Staircase), which reminded me of all the brilliant stars who have walked on it.

Almost all the rest of the city hall’s decoration has something of absurd, to be honest. A very democratic decoration, believe me! In one of the rooms, there are two ridiculous drawings, completely out of place, which constitute a satyr to the drunken interior designer. Funny really that the workers did that, but why allow the joke to stay there? After all is the city hall not a comedian theater (am I missing sense of humor!?). Must have something to do with Swedish and drinks …there is a hall with busts of respected citizens, which had somehow contributed to the well being of the city, and that included the guy that delivered the beer to the city hall! This is nothing if you think of the Golden Room, with almost 20 million mosaic pieces of glass and gold, dominated by a strange figure of fish eyes and snaky-hair, who is supposed to be the Queen. Furthermore, the artist miscalculated the height of the wall and the result is that one of the top figures has no head (didn’t fit anymore!). But let me tell you what did fit in: a scene with the artist going to court and taking all the responsibility (he anticipated that no one would like the decoration and documented it in the decoration as well!). What can I say: a very democratic decoration…

And, in this democratic tone, I leave you … till next time!

* I am much better: typing again at my usually slow speed 😊


23rd October 2006

Glad you are better, sorry to know you hurt yourself
Your journals are truly a map of your cultural growth! And intellectual as well!! Thank you for charing it with me. Many kisses, Joana

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