Saturday, 28 January 2012

Moving nativity scene

After I came back from Częstochowa, I decided to profit from the Christmas time and visit the moving nativity scene (or crèche) in the Capuchin Church of Transfiguration in the Old Town of Warsaw.  The church was founded in 17th century by the Polish king Jan III Sobieski as a thanksgiving for his military victories. It is the same king who founded Wilanów.

The church was designed by Tylman von Gameren, Izydor Affaita and Augustyn Locci. It was destroyed during World War II and then rebuilt in the 1950s. Nowadays it looks like this.

The nativity scene is located in the basement of the church.

It includes a mixture of themes typical for Christmas, like the crib itself …

… or the three biblical Magi (called „kings” in Poland) …

You may however see there also some elements typical for Poland like the Old Town (remember the Royal Castle?) …

… the king Sobieski …

… and his troops of Polish Hussars.

If you look for some more recent history, you can spot the Polish militants defending Warsaw during World War II.

The Pope John Paul II is also present.

The most amazing thing about this particular nativity scene is the fact that all the figures are moving. There are even living fish!

Pictures cannot really show you this so I encourage you to visit the crèche by yourself. Or at least to watch this video.

Saturday, 21 January 2012


During my stay with Magda I found out that my postcrossing friends are organising a meet-up in Częstochowa. When Martina called me to join, I run at full speed. Martina is another top Polish postcrosser. To see some of her postcards you can have a look at her blog.

When I arrived to Częstochowa, I started with a visit to the Tourist Information. They gave me a nice map of the city.

I quickly found out there that the most important tourist attraction in town is the Pauline monastery of Jasna Góra, which is the home of the Black Madonna painting. Every year, millions of pilgrims from all over the world come to Częstochowa to see the painting. The monastery is located on a hill and you can reach it by a nice lane.

The monastery of Jasna Gora played an important role in the Polish defense during the Swedish invasion of mid-17th century called the Deluge. The Sweds did not manage to conquer the monastery which was considered by many Poles as a divine sign that they are able to fight the invaders back.

When you approach the hill, you can see a cannon commemorating these days.

By the way, have I mentioned that we had lots of snow that day?

Finally, my postcrossing friends arrived. It was great to meet them again.

As it was freezing cold, we looked for a nice place to do the most important thing – write postcards!

You can find many nice postcards in Częstochowa – most of them related to Jasna Gora and the pilgrims (these two say “Greetings from the Pilgrimage”).

Being a real gentleman, I helped of course two nice ladies with their postcards.

All this writing made me a bit tired so I took a closer look at what was standing on the tables...

... the ladies allowed me to get a try.

It was good. I think. Hard to say with the headache I have now. Luckily Martina was nice to carry me back home. She even found me a nice furry pillow. And it makes nice sounds too. Mrrrr…

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Back to school

Winter has come to Poland, dark and gloomy. As a result, it gets more and more difficult to convince my human family to go on a trip. Luckily, I have many friends among the postcrossers so I asked for help. The first to answer was Magdalena. She is one of the most active Polish postcrossers (17th on most postcards sent from Poland!) - if you want to have a closer look at her impressive collection you can follow her blog.

When I arrived at Magda's place she smiled at me and asked if she can take me with her to work. I agreed of course. And then it turned out that it means that:

When I arrived at the classroom I first checked if my name was on the list in the class journal and what was the topic of today's lesson.

Then I got a sudden interest in the white powder just below the blackboard.

One thing that I can tell you for sure is that chalk tastes horrible, do not try it for yourself. To change a bit the taste I asked Magda to take me to the canteen. There I saw some amazing machines. Like this huge dishwasher ...

 ... a mincing machine ...

 ... or a machine used to crumble food.

All this walking made me thirsty. Luckily, I found some excellent compote!

Time to go home. Thanks a lot Magda! It was very nice meeting you in person :).

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity

Today's post comes a bit out of the regular record of my journeys. We have today a very special day - the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity is giving its concert. The Orchestra is a foundation that collects funds to protect the health and save children's lives by providing medical equipment to public hospitals throughout Poland. Today we celebrate the 20th Grand Finale that is devoted to newborns and pregnant women with diabetes.

If you happen to be in Poland today you are sure to meet some young people with special boxes.

If you give them a penny you will get a red hearth. You can wear it as a medal or a decoration on your jacket - you will have reasons to be proud. Just like me and my human family.


P.S. If you are not in Poland today, you can always contribute - just have a look at this website.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Illumination of the Royal Route in Warsaw (2012)

Today, I will show you a part of the Royal Route in Warsaw. The Royal Route is a common name for streets that led from The Royal Castle in Warsaw to the Wilanów Palace. Nowadays, the Royal Route is beautifully illuminated to celebrate the Christmas time. I then decided to have a look. I turned out to be true, though it is not easy to take a good overall picture.

When you come closer you can see it better.

As I was already there, I went to see some of the governmental buildings located there, in particular the Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland. I followed the sign:

The building of the Chancellery is neoclassical and was built in 1900. It used to be a siege of Cadet Corps. I must admit that I like the style of military buildings a lot.

Then, I followed the way to the Belweder, where the President of the Republic of Poland, resides.

First, I saw the monument of Józef Pilsudski a great marshal and the father of the independence of Poland. He is known for loving Chestnut the horse that served with him in the army. My father always told me that she was some great-great aunt of mine.

The Belweder building is not very big but I think it looks really nice, no surprise the president wanted to make it his official residence. 

Unfortunately, because of this, you can only see it through the fence.