Hello world!

photo by John Sharp

I am
I collect
I track
I love

Those four words characterize my professional life. They also characterize me personally…

I am… a licensed tour guide and tour leader.
And as such I have a wide range of qualifications and quite a collection of licenses.

Among them are the ones to guide in and around Gdansk, as well as Torun.

I am also licensed to guide and lead tours in and around the two northern provinces of Poland – the Pomeranian and Warmia-Mazury.

I also have licenses to guide in and around the Castle Museum in Malbork and Nicolaus Copernicus Museum in Frombork etc… I am also a licensed tour leader, and have powers to teach new guides.

I collect… bricks.
Gothic bricks, as I specialize in the times of Prussia Teutonic and Ducal as well as Royal. I collect bricks, because they can tell a story and can make the walls reveal their secrets.

I track… Tutivillus, which is not the easiest task, but is a guarantee of an adventure.  As for Tutivillus – I wrote about him  elsewhere in this blog….

I love… what I am doing.
Quitting office work some years ago, and devoting my life to guiding, I gained a privilege of setting off to work with pleasure.  Besides I train new guides, I teach how to read walls, paintings, symbols. I make the places I guide around – special. I investigate family genealogies, I write a little, I paint, and most of all – I take a lot of pictures.

And privately?

Privately I am a happy person, as I am doing what I love

🙂

p.s. and very recently – on the 5th October (2013) I got a Merit Badge in Tourism – (granted by  the Ministry of Sports and Tourism)

(The new (?) law imposes the obligation that all websites display the info about cookies… I don’t know how to do it mechanically, so HERE is a link to wordpress.com site information)
Published in: on 19/09/2010 at 15:59  Comments Off on Hello world!  

My YouTube channel

Here is the shortcut to my YouTube channel.

Enjoy 🙂

 

Published in: on 24/11/2019 at 20:34  Leave a Comment  

Elbląg – Elbing…

Elbląg has always been present in my family history. At least since the 17th century.

Now it is present in my life even more. I do not live there but I visit the place very often,  with my groups, or just for pleasure, myself.

Unfortunately the tour operators still do not understand that it is a good place to start any tour around in the former East Prussia region, and they still do not see anything interesting here.

Fortunately I myself organize trips and tailor the tours to the needs of my clients. 🙂

Medieval Elbląg was the most important place in the Teutonic State. It also was among the richest towns of the region at that time. Therefore also had a very high intellectual potential.  This is still visible in the remaining (by miracle saved) pieces of art.

I wrote “by miracle saved”, because the time border for Elbląg as well as for towns in today’s north east Poland – was January 1945 (the Red Army attack on the German positions, the so called East Prussian Offensive). And therefore the town structure was nearly completely destroyed. Germans destroyed the water gates and dikes to stop the Soviets approach. This did not help. The Soviets preceded in their deadly march, destroying everything on their way. 

So, this is the fate: somebody starts the war, the other one marches to victory leaving ruins behind… The victims are always the civilians, architecture and art. 😦

After the war destruction and silly communist decisiveness, Elbląg stayed empty for until some 20 years ago. That was the moment, when some wise decisions were made: we shall rebuild Elbląg in its historical shape, within the historical range of the Old Town. But before this could start, the city turned into a huge archaeological site, biggest in Europe.

The city, I called it ? Well, I remember cows grazing around St. Nicholas church (today a cathedral), and the high grass made it impossible to imagine that once here was a proud and rich Hanseatic city. Most of the brick from this ruined once mighty trade center – went to rebuild other towns, among the others – Gdańsk, and Warsaw to rebuild Warsaw, (4000 historical sites lost their brick, only to rebuild Warsaw!).

After the archaeological research the decision was made to rebuild the old town area in a new way. Save the shape of the buildings, but make them in a new way. And this new way was called Retro-Version.

It took a long time, but today Elbląg’s Old (New) Town looks good. It still needs investing, and all the quarters are built-up yet, but now at least the place starts to have an “old” shape.

One thing which should be changed is the mentality of the locals. They still do not feel “local”. They are the children or the grand children of the post-war settlers. Not all had the opportunity to grow roots here. A high unemployment rate does not help the locals to identify with a place that is slowly becoming the “bedroom” of the Tri-City. Because most of the residents go to work there. The liquidation of local workplaces after political changes has badly influenced identification with the place associated with the so-called Poland B.

Fortunately, a few years ago something “twitched” in Elbląg. The local Historical and Archaeological Museum began to popularize the history of these areas in an interesting way, very different from other traditional museum centers. Elbląg museum exhibitions have been arranged in a memorable manner. And the “Memories” project of the former residents of the city is very touching and allows the present residents to understand the feelings for the place of childhood. Also great is the initiative of local guides, organizing free historical walks around the city.

So, when planning a stay in Gdańsk, which is now only about an hour’s drive away, do consider visiting Elbląg too. Besides, from there it is much easier, and nearer to visit FromborkElbląg Canal, Olsztyn, and of course – Malbork.

And HERE are some pictures of Elbląg. Past and present. Enjoy 🙂

Wisdom has built her house

Well, what better could we await of THIS Castle.

This particular Polish Museum is unique. It is unique both in quality, and spirit. It is unique in history and people. Therefore, no wonder that again we can participate in something very special, namely – in an excellent exhibition.

In this Castle everything is seen, and felt in a different dimension, even the stumble on the pavement of the courtyard is different than on the ordinary, some kind of urban one. So on the 14th of September (it is a special day for the Teutonic Knights, because it is the Day of the Exaltation of the Cross), I had the great honor and incredible pleasure of participating in this other dimension, in something special. It was the vernissage of the newest exhibition “Wisdom has built her house…” The State of Teutonic Order in Prussia.

For quite a while, in the past years, nothing was happening here. The last big exhibitions were held in 2007 (Imagines Potestatis), 2009 (About Johann Carl Schultz) and 2010 (Artistic Foundations in the Teutonic state in Prussia).

So nothing for a long time … Until today.

The vernissage was honored by the Grand Master himself. A little reminder: on August 22, 2018, Frank Bayard, the former General Steward of the Order, was elected the Grand Master.

Over 700 objects and artifacts were brought to the exhibition, including the candle holder of Queen Sofia (this artifact had already visited our castle, during the Amber Contexts exhibition in 2011). But there is also a completely unique “guest” – “A story about the beginnings of the Teutonic Order”, borrowed from the Vatican Library. And another  splendid piece of art – unique, because it is the only such – the epitaph of Bartholomeus Boreschow. The “Cabinet” Madonna from the Pelplin collection came too.

The exhibition presents numerous documents. Among them there is a document about the release of the office by the Grand Master Paul von Russdorf, or the document of April 1525, in which Albrecht the Margrave of Brandenburg, Prince in Prussia, in the presence of Commissioner Jerzy Bażyński assures that the Prussian States have accepted the terms of the peace he has made with the Polish king Zygmunt (The Old).

We will also find a huge collection of liturgical books, such as a beautiful missal from the mid Fifteenth century, or the Life of St. Dorothy from Mątowy Wielkie (Groß Montau).

There are sculptures, like my beloved Saint Elizabeth of Thuringia, or Madonna from Mątowy Wielkie (Groß Montau), or the famous Pietà from Nowe Miasto Lubawskie (Neumark in Westpreußen), or Madonna as Sedes Sapientiae from the Gdańsk National Museum (which unfortunately does not deserve this name), there is also the famous Christ in Ogrójec (Gethsemane).

There are militaria that I haven’t even had the opportunity to see. So I can’t even write anything about the grand master’s armor. It is the one about which rumors circulate that it could be a witness to the Krakow homage from 1525.

There are also wax tablets, and many, many other artifacts from archeological research.

However, I have two comments. Only two. What for the Chief Critic of All Projects is simply nothing.

One note applies to lighting creators: there is now some irrational fashion for spot lighting. Dear “lighting technicians”, visitors are supposed to SEE, NOTICE the exhibitions. So the artifacts are supposed to be “obvious to the eye”. The objects on exhibitions are to be legible. Details are to be visible for contemplation. Unfortunately, instead, they are literally killed and flattened by light at all exhibitions (also here), and therefore their significance has often been offset by light points. And by “blinding” some of the objects (as it does not apply to all exhibits here), at the same time – you darkened the descriptions. Not all visitors recognize the object, so it is worth allowing read the description. This applies to all (unfortunately) exhibitions in Poland.

And the second remark concerns the arrangement of the exhibition itself: the platform in the second dormitory. Invisible, dark, very low. But high enough that a person with sight problems would stumble over.

Below are some pictures of nasty quality, because cell photos … But next time they will be camera!

Neverending fascination. Świdnica.

So, I’ve been there again.

And again I took some pictures. Everytime I visit the Świdnica Church of Peace, I find something interesting to photograph. Details which I have not noticed earlier…

Salt shakers…

For years now I have been visiting the Saltworks Castle in Wieliczka. And to be honest, it is one of my favorite museums in Poland.

Also today I went there, just as soon as my group entered the Salt Mine. I was anxious to see their rearranged exhibition of the salt shakers. And, it really is a charming one.

Here are some photos. (unfortunately I did not have my camera with me).

Enjoy 😊

Święta Lipka – Holy Linden

A charming view…

From among the trees – there emerges a church in a valley, amidst the joyful twittering of birds and the buzzing of bees in the linden trees.  The surrounding gardens bloom hollyhock, everywhere there is a raised atmosphere, at the sight of an impressive building, and above all at the sight of the brilliant gate carved in iron by Schwartz, the blacksmith from Reszel.

The history of the place can be found in the eternal Wiki, an about the history of splendid paintings in the church – I wrote HERE.

That however is not all. Święta Lipka also offers splendid music. Every day there is a short recital, presenting the sound of the splendid instrument. And every summer the Święta Lipka Organ Music Festival takes place. Listeners from far away come to applaud performers, among whom there are many organ celebrities.

As for the instrument – it is one of very few, that survived the Second World War, and the post war robberies, and banditry and vandalism. Below I am attaching my translation of the entry from the Hertitage (Dziedzictwo) website (unfortunately they did not care for making the English version of the website).

The organ was built in 1719-1721 by Johann Josua Mosengel, organ master from Koenigsberg. The instrument had 40 voices with a baroque sound. The beautiful, richly decorated organ prospectus is one of the most magnificent Baroque prospectuses in Europe. The casing is decorated with a golden ornament of acanthus leaves. The statues of angels playing musical instruments are placed on the finials of the towers. On the two highest towers are the Mother of God and the Archangel Gabriel; these two figures together with the dove – symbol of the Holy Spirit, constitute a group of the Annunciation. These sculptures together with the stars and bells on the towers are set in motion during the concert. The interior of the organs was thoroughly rebuilt in 1905, when the place of the majority of Baroque voices took on new, romantic sounds (35 voices in total). In 1944, the instrument was destroyed. After the war, the missing pipes were repaired and the figures destroyed for many years were repaired and put back into motion.

After the sightseeing and listening to the recital, it calls for a meal… Luckily, in In Święta Lipka there is an inn… A little local restaurant, in an old historical building, so typical for this region. The owners and the staff love people, food, and life. And they serve a delicious variety of the traditional food. So after visiting the church, walk some 5 minutes, to finally sit down in a cosy room, and enjoy a great lunch.

And below – enjoy few photos I took during my last visit. And YES!! I promise to have my camera the next time, for better quality photos…

Out of Gdynia… but still within

I have never been to the Babie Doły beach… Hard to believe? In my case it is. But until now, there really was no reason for me to go so far into “nowhere”… I have visited the navy aviation base there, and that was enough. Or so I thought…

Finally, I had to visit… As I plotted against myself 😉

From time to time, a wonderful group of retired people come from Greater Poland to visit Gdynia. I have shown them everything worth seeing here, so now, came the time for the further vicinities.

And so I decided to show them Babie Doły torpedo station.

It was built by the Germans during the war. Here was a good location as in Germany all the military facilities were at risk of allied bombing. So here, in Gdynia, just outside the town, the Nazis decided to build two torpedo stations. Just off the shore.

Caissons were sunk about 300 meters from the beach, and a special pier was built to transport the torpedoes.  The construction was to serve as a huge assembly hall. At the same it was to be a warehouse. Also a tower was constructed so as to enable the observation of the torpedo testing in the Gulf of Gdańsk. Magnetic and accoustic torpedoes tested there counted as the Nazi wonder weapon. There were two such sites on the Gulf of Gdańsk.

As we know,  Hitler did not manage to change the fate of war. And Gdynia returned to Poland. Some of the military objects were incorporated into the rebuilt navy, others, unused, fell into disrepair, or were blown up.

According to the informator from the very interesting TriCyty Biking site, during WW2, the torpedo base was part of the Luftwaffe training ground. As such it demanded the construction of a large military airport with all needed infrastructure, so that also the heavy aircfraft could land there.

This was developed into the biggest in this part of Europe torpedo training center. And everyday about 200 torpedoes were launched here. Including the

“combat version of the German F5b aerial torpedo, which was then used in many activities of the German naval aviation”.

And then came May 1945, which brought the end to the German Nazi dream about the rule over the world. Most of the German troops from Oksywie and Babie Doły evacuated themselves to the Hel peninsula. Leaving the station Begin. The Soviet troops looted the area, leaving destruction everywhere behind. However, for some time, the Babie Doły station served the Polish Navy, then was simply abandoned. It is quite ruined now, but definitely appears to be an attraction for explorers.

 

Published in: on 11/10/2018 at 16:49  Leave a Comment  

Snapshots from travel

I was asked sometime ago, why don’t I travel anywhere further than Prague or the Netherlands. My answer is simple: I’ve seen a lot. I’ve been to places… But I still don’t know my beautiful country well.

Here are some snapshots from Poland.

 

Published in: on 20/09/2018 at 18:15  Leave a Comment  

Baroque…

I never liked baroque. Neither in art nor in architecture. And suddenly some 16 years ago I had to change my mind. A guide has no right to express own opinion, said my teacher at the guides’ training. A guide is to objectively present objects.

Ok….

But how on earth could I be objective if I truly disliked baroque.

Soon the remedy came. I passed state exams for guiding in Poland’s Warmia-Mazury Region (former East Prussia). Besides splendid medieval castles and exceptional medieval churches, there also is a lot of… baroque there. So whether I liked it or not, I had to became at least neutral in my perception of this style.

Only after I started to study this over the top ornamented style, I found how many beautiful (!) variations of it we have in Poland.

Below are a few photos of the Częstochowa church (famous for being the Black Madonna Shrine).

Next photos are soon to come 😊

Published in: on 29/05/2018 at 17:45  Comments (2)  

Another year around the corner…

Dear All,

I have been silent for quite a while… It all is due to the fact, that life is rushing so much, that I scarcely have time for anything. But I promise – as the season has come to the end, I am going to post some new posts here…

Until I do so, please allow me to wish you all a very good New Year of 2017.

May it be a year of good life, happiness, and prosperity. I wish you all – little happinesses, and great joys, time to cherish memories, good time with Friends and Relatives, and most of all – I wish everyone and each of you – good health 🙂

Published in: on 31/12/2016 at 20:47  Leave a Comment