Saturday, 21 October 2017

Konstancin-Jeziorna

Konstancin-Jeziorna is a small town just a few kilometers from Warsaw. You might be surprised that it is a renown health spa. We will start our visit in the health spa park. Two small rivers run through it so there is a need for many small bridges. The bigger river is called Jeziorka.


And the smaller one is called Mała so literally "the small one".


In the park you can find many smaller and bigger statues. This one is called Five Dreams and refers to the human beliefs around wolves being wild and free.


And those ones seem to be made of straw. Maybe these are the houses of the piglets who were trying to hide from the Big Bad Wolf?


The health spa parks are usually the center of the cultural life of the town. So you will not be surprised to find here a concert hall, just like in Busko-Zdrój.


You will find here also the Cultural Center of Konstancin (not a very impressive building to be honest).


Finally, we reach the biggest attraction of the town - the graduation tower


As you see, this is not really a tower. It is a construction made of brushwood.


 Why would people build something like that? Well, let's go inside.


The phenomenon of a graduation tower is the air. It is saturated with salty water by means of a special pumping device in the middle of the structure.


The droplets of salty water are falling on the brushwood which is acting as a giant inhalator, curing diseases of respiratory system.


This is why many people come to Konstancin-Jeziorna and sit on those nice benches and just breathe deeply. I warmly encourage you to do the same.



Saturday, 14 October 2017

Celebrating science

Today we will take a break from discovering new cities or countries and we will focus on discovering science and nature. No better place for that than the Warsaw University of Technology and its Festival of Science.

The main building of the Warsaw University of Technology has been built in the classical style, with a glass rooftop.


It is guarded by famous scientists who should be the role models for all the students. Like Madame Marie Skłodowska-Curie, double winner of the Nobel prize (I truly hope you all knew she was Polish because Polish people are very sensitive when it come to that).


But the Festival of Science is not in the main building but in the yard next to the House by the Old Chimney.


It is called House by the Old Chimney because it stands next to an Old Chimney. Elementary my dear Watson.


On the other side of the yard stands now a large white tent. Inside, adults and children together can discover the real magic.


You say that science is not magic? But how come that they are able to print real things out of a simple plastic fiber. And in 3D!


Or how can they make things explode by using baking soda?


Not mentioning the piano that make the flames obey it and dance as it plays.


Of course, of course, physics are the new magic. But so can be mechanics that allow to bring something surprisingly close to a robotic horse. Or maybe more a dog?


Those of you who do not feel too comfortable in a laboratory (remember Terminator!) can follow me outside and discover the wonders created by nature itself. Like the bee hives.


I am sure that you all knew that bees can live in small artificial houses built by men but did you know that they can also live in trees? (Those of you who were with me in Białowieża surely know!). They build there amazing labyrinths entirely made out of wax.


Thanks God, real bees are not as big as this one!


Because otherwise, how could we steal them all this honey!


Speaking of trees. You all know that different trees have different leaves and shapes. But did you realise that they also look different inside? Here you can take a look at balls made of different types of wood.


Obviously, to make such balls one needs to cut many trees.


And even though humans need wood for various purposes, by cutting trees they deprive many species of their home. This applies not only to mammals, like foxes ...


...  or badgers.


But also to snakes, ants and other smaller animals who normally hide in the forests.


Hopefully, scientists will find ways to enable a sustainable growth for both humans, animals and the entire ecosystems. When I look at these students of the Warsaw School of Technology, I am positive they will make it. Unless they will blow off their faculty first.


Saturday, 7 October 2017

Żelazowa Wola

We will visit today the birthplace of one of the most famous Polish composers. Or maybe one of most famous Polish people at all. Welcome to Żelazowa Wola, the house of Fryderyk Chopin.


The house itself is rather modest. In fact, Chopin's father was working as the teacher of the children of its owners and his family was living here with him.


Today, the house has been turned into a museum. Let's walk inside.


 You can find there artefacts from Chopin's life. Like his diary.


Or his desk.


And of course, his piano.


But I must admit, that I was nonetheless a bit disappointed with it - some of the rooms are quite empty.


If you fancy museums and you want to discover more about Chopin, his life and his music, you can go to this modern building behind the roses.



But I would rather suggest that we move to the nice park that surrounds Chopin's house. You can see here small rivers, with lovely little bridges ...


... ponds ...


 ... and enchanted pavilions.


 The music is omnipresent. It can even come as a surprise on the wall!


Obviously yet another monument of Chopin does not come as surprise at all. 


Look, there is a secret door over there. 


Where are all these people going? Let's follow the to find out.


It seems that we are back to Chopin's house, or more precisely the backyard. All those people are waiting for a concert! On Sundays renown pianists are allowed to play on Chopin's piano (the one we have just seen!) in his house.


And through the open window, the music enchants the place. 

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Durmitor National Park

We have spent the last few weeks on the Montenegrin Riviera. But today we will say goodbye to sandy beaches and emerald sea.


We will be heading to one of the National Parks of Montenegro. To reach it, we need to pass through mountains. Since Monte-Negro means literally "Black Mountain", I would expect them to be black. But to my surprise, they were green.


Then we need to drive on the shore of Lake Skadar. They say that if you are lucky, you can meet there pelicans.


The Skadar Lake is alimented by river Morača. The river is narrow and shallow.


But what makes it interesting is that it runs in a canyon, which means that it is surrounded on both sides by high hills. And when I say high, I mean it.


In fact, the road is winding together with the river, glued to the steep slope. You will not be surprised to hear that it is considered to be a very dangerous road.


Finally, we reach our destination. The Durmitor National Park.


Its biggest attraction is the canyon of river Tara, the deepest in Europe and second deepest in the world. Just imagine, that this small, shy river has shaped such big mountains.


As we stop to take a break, we can show our admiration to the best alpinist of the region, Dušan Bulatović Džambas.


Time to move again, the biggest attraction is still ahead of us.



I am sure that you are curious to know what this biggest attraction is. Well, it is a bridge.



Does not sound impressive? And if I say this used to be the tallest bridge in Europe? Đurđevića Tara Bridge links to sides of the canyon of the Tara river and is for sure an amazing piece of civil engineering.


No matter if you look on the left ...


... or on the right, it is almost hard to notice the river itself. I even start to wonder if it was really needed to build an entire bridge over it.


It is by looking down from the bridge that one realises that it is maybe not that small. And that building a lower bridge was not real an option. At least until humans invent lorries that can go up the hill. Horizontally.


Obviously, humans have invented a smarter way to move over Tara river. They call it a zip line. No one will ever convince me that human beings are fully sane. No horse would ever try to ride on a thin line over a canyon.


I hope that now you understand why Durmitor National Park has joined the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is indeed one of a kind.