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!  

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  

And so, I went to Prague…

So, I visited Prague. Again.

This should not surprise anyone, as Prague is a MUST.

Why???

Just because. 😀

This time – my Prague was without haste. And finally with a good guide; a girl in love with her City, and capable of talking about it with passion.

When we bade farewell, I had enought free time, so – just like a doggie released from the leash – I set off to explore the city. I immersed myself in the colorful and multilingual crowd, remembering however, to tightly hold my bag, as such crowded places are the paradise for thiefs and pickpockets…. I had my city map so deep in my bag that to get to the map, I would have to finish a crash course in archeology… So I set off, entrusting my intuition.  Of course the main goal was the Hradčany Castle.

But before I got there from the other end of town, I “hooked” on almost all the churches. Most of them are furnished in barogue alatrs, and confessionals. I still do not like baroque, as I once wrote somewhere in this blog. But sometimes even I have to like it, even for a moment. Prague’s barogue is light, non-aggressive and tactful. I can already hear the voices of experts, outrageous on this description. But whatever … 😉

My favorite Prague church is the Church of Our Lady before Týn. The north portal of this exceptional edifice was supposedly built by Peter Parler, and it is the main reason why I like this church so much… I could photograph it continuously. And of course – I finally had time to almost “sniff and touch” all the walls of the church thoroughly, and guess what! I found fire pits. Fortunately, in Prague almost everyone is smiling, so my smile of joy surprised nobody.

After more than a hundred years or so, I finally reached Prague Castle. Knowing I did not have to hurry anywhere, (that in the worst case I might die along the way from hunger 😉 ) I stopped from time to time for a photo, and even sat on the curb to stare at people. This made me feel quite like on vacation.

My head was ringing Smetana, with his Vltava … The sun was shining, the multilingual crowd around fell into the same childish delight in front of the Golden Gate and the famous “Parler’s rib”. I felt wonderfully.

In addition, while looking into available alleys of the castle hill I found a trace of Ząbkowice (Silesia) – in the form of a small, inconspicuous monument to Master Benedict Rejt near the Powder Tower …

And finally I went inside the castle. The main reason of entering the building was to see the famous room, where the “Second Defenestration of Prague” took place in 1618. A room … Nothing special, but just to think to what symbol it soon grew, makes one look around the room differently.

Therefore it is worth combining the exploration of Prague with a tour of Wroclaw (the second after Prague, favorite city of the Luxembourg dynasty, and besides a beloved city of Emperor Charles of Luxembourg). And it is not at all due to the interest in windows, ie. Defenestration of Wroclaw (in 1418), which is connected with the outbreak of the Hussite wars. The visit to Wrocław – should be treated in conjunction with the Thirty Years War, which was a (much simplifiyng the story) somehow the consequence of “collective falling out of the window” at Prague Castle …

And if Wrocław will be on the route, it is necessary to visit Swidnica with its outstanding and impressive Church of Peace, which became one of the symbols of the Peace of Westphalia.

And so, after nearly 8 hours of sightseeing Prague, when I finally sat down with a mug of beer in my hands – my thoughts involuntarily returned “home”

🙂

Published in: on 08/10/2015 at 22:53  Leave a Comment  

My YouTube Channel

Often I am asked to give links to my video presentations I make from photos I have taken here and there.

I have a lot of them – so HERE is a link to my channel.

I hope all my Visitors will enjoy the pictures as much as I do enjoy them 🙂

 

Published in: on 05/01/2015 at 01:45  Leave a Comment  

St. Dominic’s cellars in Gdansk – critically

And so it happened: after a long delay, the Romanesque Cellars of the St. Dominic’s monastery in Gdansk, were finally opened…

Yesterday, i.e.  last day of 2014, was announced in mass media, as a day of free admission. In reality it occurred to have been a day closed for public 😦

It was only for the employees of the Archaeological Museum or so… Both of us – Ewa and I, considering the fact of being guides, were admitted. Besides, there were no crowds at all, in fact there were only four of us waiting to enter. My problem was, that thinking there would be a great mob of visitors, I did not bring my big camera. Therefore I took photos with my cellphone. It means – the quality is bad, really bad.

And such are my impressions after visiting the place. Bad…

The idea of restoring and finally opening for public – Gdansk’s oldest interior was GREAT. The whole undertaking, the remaking of partially destroyed vaulted ceilings, the whole restoration and research – was a Titanic yet precise piece of work. And the ones who did it – deserve the highest respect.

But…. There always is a BUT in nearly every story 😦

Someone lacked brains and good taste in designing the lighting fitting. There is a saying that a bad frame can spoil a painting. A badly designed light can ruin the whole exhibition. And here we have such case.

HOW on earth could aggressive colors in such a small interior be accepted? Where was the taste both of the designers and of the principal, that they all accepted such shoddy shades of red, pink and blue?

Next – who on earth allowed the little M&M’s like bulbs in the junction of the walls with the floor? Maybe the designer had no idea, that such lights are perfect at the disco, but NOT within the old walls.

There is male voice telling the history and leading through the place. Although very sexy – the voice was only in Polish. I love my mother language, and I seem to know it pretty well 😉 but even I had some problems with following the pace of the story.

Why didn’t anybody think of audio-guides? Nobody noticed that there are also foreigners visiting Gdansk? Noone in the museum probably ever thought that not only Gdansk experts, like us, will be visiting the place, but also people who have NO IDEA where they are. For them the pace of narrative is too chaotic.

The point-lights, showing what is being explained are too short (not to mention agressive colors), and give no possibility to take a thorough look or photo.

Besides, the known educational principle is FROM GENERAL – TO SPECIFIC (DETAIL). The designer probably never attended lessons well… There is NO general; there are only irrelevant details, brought out by lights of dubious quality.

Such small interiors demand ONLY neutral light, no colors neither shades.

Well, it was to be so wonderful, yet appeared to have been done carelessly 😦 as usually.

Shame on the investor who employed such a badly qualified light designer! More – pity a great amount of money was wasted. Such an arrangement is a very expensive one. Yet has to be done by an experts.  Pity such was not the case here.

However with some improvements, the exhibition can become a pride of Gdansk, and its restorers.

Recommendation for modifications:

* get rid of the trashy lights,

* introduce neutral light instead

* arrange informational small charts in various languages;

* the short informational film should also be translated.

* introduce audio-guides in various languages

Most of all – the Archaeological Museum of Gdansk should go to Krakow, to the Rynek Underground Exhibition to learn how to make and prepare exhibitions! It is worth learning from the best 😉

Published in: on 01/01/2015 at 16:26  Leave a Comment  

A misty morning – in a hurry to Malbork castle

It just appeared to me, that for a long time now I have not posted a single word here. Well, the touring season has not come to the end yet, so I scarcely have time to write. But I take pictures… Few of them are HERE, just as a reminder how beautiful are the LowLands, and how magic they can be – especially in a morning mist 🙂

The quality of the photos is bad, but I took them from the train to Malbork Castle, through a dirty train window, and with a mobile phone 😉 I was on my way to meet another wonderful group ready to follow me through the wonderful Biggest Pile of Bricks in the World…