Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Poznan - a taste of a local delicacy!

Well, the storm bellowed and roared angrily around us for quite a few hours last night. Not only was it loud and with a rather impressive lightening show, it blew hard and rained steadily. Thank goodness for double glazing - it was amazing how much of the noise it kept out! And by double glazing I actually mean double sets of doors and windows - not like the double sheets we have back in Australia.

This morning has dawned clear and significantly cooler - something that I for one am thankful for. The hot, humid weather has never done it for me! You know, the more I look around us at the moment, the more I am really impressed with Gosha's ability to put things together well. She has created a little piece of Paris here in the centre of Poznan. The rooms are elegant, comfortable and quirky that speaks of a confidence in herself. The little touches are thoughtful and pleasing from bottles of water and fresh glasses in the table in the room, to the small fresh blossoms in the bathroom. Ah yes, you have certainly got it Gosha! And there is an open friendliness that makes you comfortable straight away. What a combination.

I have forgotten to tell you about the welcome drink she had for us (me) when we arrived. She shared a glass of home-made Wiśniówka with me. Now, most Polish households boast its own "best" cherry liquor, and this one made by Chris's mother has to be up there with the top of them. It had such a wonderfully rich cherry flavour, but was not overly heavy or sweet, but rather 'light'. Man, I could live on the stuff!

Back home, James has arrived in Darwin to stay with Antony and Amanda for a while. It was nice to talk with them all on Skype this morning and to see that his hair and his eyebrow are re-growing! Don't ask - legacies from his mates before he left the Long Island Resort (and I strongly suspect very encouraged by him!) And we even managed to chat with Gen, we haven't spoken for nearly a week! We are really proud of her - she is just about finished her hairdressing traineeship and now that she knows that she enjoys the job, is on the hunt for an apprenticeship.

And from the newsletter from my Rotary Club back home in Maryborough, I thought that this was worth sharing - Ability is what you’re capable of doing……. Motivation determines what you do…… Attitude determines how well you do it….. I like to think that at the moment we are exercising all three!

Gosha and Paula come around to do the cleaning - gosh, we are happy with what we have, but what a bonus. We are able to share some pics of Marborough and the family with them. And how is this for friendly - Gosha brings me a gift! A bottle of Źubrówka Bison Grass Vodka and a carton of apple juice so that I can make the drink I had last night at the restaurant! How nice is that!! Maybe I can share it with her before we leave (hic).

Ooh - that Wiśniówka packs a punch! I have opened the bottle that I bought for the crazy price of 21.85 PLN (less than €6) yesterday. I don't trust myself to drink the one that Chris's grandmother has made (might just finish it!) Ah yes, nice. Very very nice! I am still searching for accommodation in Berlin while Michael has taken a walk. After his late night last night, it was too late to go exploring once he had surfaced this afternoon!

(Michael) It wasn't the Third Man I was looking for - we had lost his trail in Vienna! The afternoon possessed a faint crispness with the sun winking from behind the coasting clouds. I thought of heading towards the Old Town but decided to explore in a different direction - Ulica Głogowska. There as nothing particular or outstanding in taking this route, other than pure curiosity. Leaving the apartment I walked down our street, Ulica Śniadeckich then turned right onto Ulica Głogowska.

This road represents a major distributor within Poznań city limits, and by its appearance - no redeeming features. However, it is a bustle of pedestrians who play a deadly game of 'cat 'n mouse' with the vehicular traffic which is accompanied by a constant flow of trams. Overhead, the skyline is criss-crossed by the 'noughts and crosses' grid of power lines for the streetcars, which appears to be a signature for most Eastern European countries. This isn't a criticism; tramways are an excellent and economical form of conveyance, with the whining and 'ying-yonging' sound projected from the motor compartments and the clatter as the carriages pass over the points.

Although, it is a Wednesday I am amazed at the number of shops which have closed for the day, ie. 4pm. Several of the street cafes and bars are preparing for their evening trade, and I don't doubt there will be plenty of this. In the distance an unusual steeple is making a gradual appearance as I walk further along the street. Eventually, the steeple reveals itslef entirely including the
building it is attached to. Yes, you've guessed correctly it's a church (SFX: a mixed sound of applause and moans), but of an unusual construction as it is built entirely of red brick! The steeple's cap is made of steel lace, and topped by a gold sphere and laced cross. (No, the ground didn't open up and swallow me...) Regrettably, I couldn't enter the church grounds for closer look as the gates shut and bolted. However, the structure posed an an interesting piece of architecture.

Moving on from the god box, I happen to come across another building with two forms of 'graffiti'? At ground level the building bears the unimaginative signatures of modern graffiti artists, whereas the building's facade boasts an amazing amalgam of high relief frescoes and moldings. Built in 1904, and not an old building by European standards, however the imagery is quite ornate with the head of the gorgon Medusa above the building's portal.

Consulting my map, I continue onward then turn right into Ulica Hetmańska which develops into a heavily residential area - not a great deal is going on here. Forward then another right turn into Ulica Władysława Reymonta which takes me past the Hala Poznań Arena. A rather interesting piece of architecture; somewhat reminiscent of a prop from a Ray Harryhausen movie!

Moving along I reach Ulica Grunaldska, resulting in another right turn, and I continued towards Ulica Śniadeckich. However, there is a park across the road displaying a monument to some cove by the name of: Tadeuskowi Kościuszki. Whatever reason this chap was famous for, it appears that the name 'Kościuszki' ('Kosciusko' to Aussies) was attributed to many heroic feats in Poland, just as flowing beards were all the go in Ironbark! He appears to have been quite a frightening fellow?

Anyhow, turning into our 'Ulica' I come across another church dedicated to 'Michael the Archangel', built of rendered brick with an imposing circular bell tower and classical portico. There's no activity, the doors are locked and alas no opportunity for a peek. So, I'm homeward bound - well, almost as I near my final destination I notice above the tree-line what appears to be the top of an arboretum.

Following the path which leads me into a large park situated not far from our digs. To my left is indeed an Arboretum, and quite an impressive edifice at that! The sign displays the opening hours, 10:00-18:00, but alas today appears that all doors are bolted against me. There are security guards at the doors barring entry by the public, so obviously something is amiss?

urning my attention to the gardens which are an ablaze of colour, I take a promenade to admire the garden beds of marigolds, chrysanthemums and roses. At the centre of the main garden is a statue of Perseus holding aloft the severed head of Medusa, turning the unfortunate Titans into stone! Ah, the Heroic Age.....

I eventually arrive at the 'Fancy House' and delve into the small sklep spożywczy (grocery store) next door to buy ingredients for dinner: Perch fillets, mixed vegetables and pasta noodles - th..th..that's all folks!

I'm back and have had a frustrating afternoon trying (unsuccessfully) to find accommodation in Berlin. Hmm. Decision time will have to be tomorrow - pay a higher price, or stay outside of Berlin and transport it in??? We really want to have a look and it is around the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall - so that in itself beckons.

Sooo funny watching CSI Miami dubbed into Polish - except that they have not completely turned the English sound in the background off - and all the voices are done by one person, a male! Female parts as well. Was really funny (or maybe it was that cherry 'cordial' - I drank the whole bottle!)

1 comment:

Radosław said...

I expected you to know something about Kościuszko - the highest mountain in Australia has his name given to it by the Polish explorer Strzelecki in 19th century. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Kosciuszko)
And there is his monument in West Point Military Academy in the US, where cadets keep guard. (Just look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosciuszko%27s_Monument_%28West_Point%29)
His live was quite a blog. Have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosciuszko

I really enjoyed your blog. I read all the entries about Poland. I'm happy to see you having such a good time here.