Tour de Pologne 2017 starts tomorrow!

I highly recommend to watch this interesting video, unfortunately the speaker has been speaking only in Polish, but I think sometimes words are not very important. It’s very easy to watch it without understanding, because the sights and emotions have been strong enough… I really love sport and in particular I’m dead keen on cycling, as I have mentioned several times before.

The video is a short history of the Tour the Pologne, truly in a nutshell, you might see many unique, old tv recordings. This year it starts for the 74 time, so look how old it is! And Tour de Pologne is a member of UCI World Tour, in other words – Tour de Pologne is a part of 14 most prestigious tours in cycling.

Tommorow we will watch the first stage, in Cracow, and this time in general they will ride across Southern Poland, first Kraków, then Silesia, and finally in Polish Tatra Mountains. The tour lasts one week, although this year seems to be really difficult,  not to mention how beautiful parts of Poland we will see. Rafał Majka, Polish famous cyclist, who is the bronze medalist from Rio de Janeiro has taken the participation, so he is  already all right after that dreadful fall during Tour de France this season. Also Nibali, Peter Sagan and many others stars! So, while you have the possibility in your country to watch Tour de Pologne in tv or via YT, don’t miss it. I think it is truly wortwhile.

And I’ve seen the boar once again. It has happened a few days ago, so remains quite fresh story. As many of you might know, I am meeting a wild boar or a small herd, from time to time, here in Warsaw. Usually they are strolling in my neighbourhood in the nighttime. This time the same, it was after midnight. I noticed my dog is observing someting into the darkness very carefully, and I was following her look. The boar was quite close to us! Although we were not alone, a few young men had been spending their time on the bench, drinking beer ( I guess it was more than one beer) and eating potato snacks… Certainly they also noticed the boar, because they shouted ” Dzik! Dzik!” ( dzik is wild boar in Polish). Then they got the idiotic idea of running in the boar’s direction, with their cell phones and tablets ready to snap a photo. Fortunately, they made him run … He disappeared somewhere into the oak’s grove.

Kraków in Fałat’s art

Thus, another week has gone! So maybe is closer to spring…  Julian Fałat is one of my favourite Polish painters, despite of the fact he had been painting also huntings, indeed cruel situations ( I believe he did it for money), but the rest is superb and brilliant. So we are in the XIX century right now. And in Cracow, looks like winter…

When I was a child I was spending a part of my vacations in Cracow every summer, because my auntie Jasia had been lived there, in very old, mysterious house ( with awesome wooden balcony, very long, and while you reached the end of the balcony, there was something called “spiżarnia” or “gross kamera” – the amazing pantry with huge amount of big jars with cucambers in brine or confitures). Auntie Jasia ( Jane) was a very classy lady and she was an actress in her younger years. Then she married my uncle Walter who was in a half Austrian and his mother lived in Vienna. He was the only one from my family who had been arrested during II  world war, he spent all the time in “oflag” ( German nazi camp for officers). He was an officer of Polish army. Then he had a cafe on Floriańska street, along with my granddad, until comunists nationalized it – not  long time, only a several years.

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Then, while I became a teen I was travelling to Kraków as often as I could. I remember bad times in Kraków and good times there, in this unique place on Earth. I know a part of my soul is always close to Kraków for some reasons. When I was a student I was spending there almost every weekend. And if it comes to talk about J. Fałat paintings I want to make more posts on him. He had been living and painting in many places, not only in Kraków. ( The last painting I have from Pinterest, and it is from some deleted blog, so I skip the caption)

Here is getting warmer right now. Melting snow is rather ugly, but I feel spring in air, maybe too early!

In Kraków people are a little bit thrifty, and very proud that they are from Kraków. They usually don’t like us, people from Warsaw, and they consider themselves as better, because Kraków is older Polish capital and gla, gla… One time I asked one old man in Kraków, how to go somewhere, I don’t remember… He told me what I needed but was worrying and added : ” But that is very far! You have to wait for the tram!  ” and I said: ” Why?” – ” Because it takes 15 minutes by foot!!!” – he was really scared. LOL! 15 min by foot that is next to nothing! I am from Warsaw – here half an hour by foot is very close.

Breaking news about Leonardo Da Vinci painting

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Wikipaintings.org

Poland has bought that  world famous masterpiece of art lately, in the last days of the past year. Obviously, the painting ” Lady with an Ermine” had been in Cracow also before, but the owner was Prince Adam Czartoryski and The Czartoryski’s Foundation, not the Polish state. They sold us also all their brilliant collection of art – the painting by Da Vinci is the highlight – along with the buildings, where the exhibition is located.

The main change is that since now this priceless heritage ( it was  assured on 300 mln euro during the trip through Europe in 2011 ) had become a  property of the state and is not allowed to travel anymore. Thus, you will come here, to Kraków! You will not regret. ” Dama con l’ermellino” ( the Italian name) is actually displayed at Wawel Royal Castle.

” Dama z gronostajem” ( the Polish name) is a portrait of Cecilia Gallerani, who was the mistress of Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, and she was only sixteen while the portrait was painted. And also  she was pregnant with the Duke, what is hidden –  probably she is holding the ermine ( a symbol of the Duke) just to hide her pregnancy.She bore him a son and he  married another woman, because Gallerani was not a noble. Such a love story! The painting is very beautiful and is the one of only four portraits of women, painted by Leonardo. The painting was done around 1489- 1490, and this is an oil painting on walnut wood panel.

Sitting in the kitchen: December part 2

Hi, there! Welcome in 2017! But remember, we are still in December for a while.  Currently you have one leg in December, and the second here in 2017 – until you will finish read this post. White winter right now. Air from the North Pole is here. This time for sure! The weather is not very freezy to be frank, is about minus ten at a day and in a nightime is something like minus eightteen. Snow is beautiful and fresh, my dog is very keen on running and playing outside. She is a big fan of freeze, and the dog I had before also was. While sun is shining snow glitters in the sun rays. I adore the sound of crispy snow, especially I love to walk and hear it in a nighttime. The sound is like no other! ( Not to mention, that more snow and better visibility in the darkness, that means it isn’t a problem to notice a boar). The pond here is actually iced over, many people were skating there today – my dog was in the rapture of it. She found the weather rapturous at all! ( And I have been snapping photos). A glorious brain- wave! I had. Although I’m not absolutely sure… Do I really want my tv set ??? Imagine a homely, simply life without it! Or only you own it for watching old, carefully selected by yourself, DVD movies? Maybe I will do that… By now for example, whenever I have turned on this device, I must look at terrible and overwhelming ” Warning!”, ” Please remain at home!” and ” The Weather Alarm!” – all with printed characters and bold type, in every Polish channel, I think… You know, the freeze is a normal thing during winter season and that is not the reason to start the panic. I want to live my life. I mean to say I want to live my life with no bold type. ( Not literally, of course ). I need to be close to nature and I do know by myself how to live when the weather has gotten freezy.  This is going too far! I really should hide the tv set somewhere in the house. My wintry hat!

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For that matter, this is the warmest and most comfy hat I ever had! I purchased this funny hat in a supermarket  four years ago and I still wear and love it. It looks like an acrylic yarn, although the lining is very warm. Along with good shoes and long puffer coat it’s enough for a stroll in  these creepy cold nights. Let’s talk Christmasy food at last!

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Maybe I should rather post on something Maudy Thursday ( Donut’ s Day) and Mardi Gras, because it is been a while since Christmas, but I want to finish my story. So, we eat a carp, I have mentioned in my previous post. Then, the soup is a must, I mean to say, two soups. In Poland some of us are in the habit of eating ” barszcz” ( bortsch) – a beetroot soup with small dumplings inside. In other families they eat a mushrooms soup, but I’m not big on it. We are having barszcz with uszka for Christmas Eve . ( ” Uszka” – small ears, although that is not my sense of humour, I must say, that these dumplings filled with mushrooms are delicious) . Then, also awesome, “pierogi z kapustą i z grzybami” ( pierogies/dumplings stuffed with sauerkraut and dried mushrooms). And I have to mention, that these mushrooms must be mostly dried boletuses. Oh no, I forgot, before “pierogi” we  already ate a carp – that is correct! Go on! Right now, giving a presents!!! Then, sweets, cakes, coffee etc. At least in my household. But you can meet a Pole who will tell you another story, about compeletely other dishes and habits. Here is also popular ” ryba w galarecie”  what means a fish in a jelly, but this is not my favourite dish. Or ” śledż pod pierzyną” , very popular here in  the Masovia region ( a herring under a feather bed). This is a herring’s salad with creamy sauce – quite yummy, but my mother does not like it. I think very Polish tradition is to live in a multi-cultural society. I’m always very surprised, while I meet the opinion, that Polish culture is homogeneous. ( Popular belief in the U.S.) Absolutely not a truth! Oh, noI I forgot to tell you about speaking animals… This is lovely tradition from Polish rural areas, that in the Christmas Eve at midnight, pets and animals in the household are speaking with a human voice! Cows, dogs, hens, cats, donkey… This is also the custom of sharing wishes with them. See you soon and in another era, again!And wait for my photos, because these are taken with my vintage analogue camera.

Medieval Cracow # 1

Hi, everyone! We are already transported to another era, and right now we are standing at Rynek Główny in  medieval Kraków. The video here above is from XXI century, I brought it to you, because I found the video absolutely worthseeing. Don’t worry, that is in Polish only! I will tell you the same things in this post and in my next posts about medieval Cracow. I highly recommend to watch it, because of the sights of the interior of St. Mary’s Basilica ( The Mariacki Church).

Time, we are actually living in, is XIV century, and Mariacki Church is a new temple, built on the foundations of a former temple. It was a Romanesque church, destroyed during one of the Tartar’s invasions. Mariacki Church is in late Gothic style, and is most known from the Altar by Wit Stwosz ( Veit Stoss) – the Altar is very famous as a masterpiece of European Gothic art. ( I will post my next story on it). In the video you may also see a man, who is playing beautiful  bugle- call in one of the Basilica’s towers. This is Hejnał, as far as I’m concerned Hejnał is something like the national anthem, but is much older. Every day at midday you can hear it, if you are at Rynek ( Main Marketplace), and also by Polish Radio. I remember as a kid I was a massive lover of Hejnał from radio… Hejnał is ending too fast and randomly. This is the neverending tribute for a man, who died while  he was playing, asassinated from Tartar’s arrow. It is ending in the moment he died so long time ago, but we still remember. ( Another muslim attack in Europe).

Thus, I leave you with it, because I want you to watch the video, so I should not write too much. The next post will Christmasy, and then we will back in XIV century for more.

This is a drawing of Cracow from famous old book by Hartman Schedl ” Nuremberg Chronicle”, 1493.

 

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Wikimedia Foundation