Saturday, 26 July 2014

Święta Lipka

Święta Lipka (called Heiligelinde in German) is a village in the North of Poland. It is famous for the sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary. According to the old tales, in the fourteenth century a prisoner has scuplted Mary with the Child and has placed it on a linden tree. Many pilgrims were visiting the sculpture who was said to bring miracles to those who believed. Unfortunately during the unrest following the Reformation the tree was cut down and the sculpture destroyed. A new chapel was founded 1619 and entrusted to the Jesuite order.


Nowadays, the sanctuary is far bigger than the small chapel it used to be in the past.

It is also one of the sites of the Polish Route of Santiago de Compostela (so-called Camino Polaco). I will not be able to visit all of them this year but I hope to see at least one or two more.

So let's enter through the monumental gate.

The complex of Święta Lipka (the church, the convent and the surroundings) are considered as one of the most magnificent examples of Baroque architecture in Poland.

Next to the top you can see a reminder of the old tree and the miraculous sculpture.

The church is embraced by a gallery.

The ceiling of the gallery is decorated with frescos with biblical scenes.

The paintings are also on the domes.

On the walls there are Stations of the Cross.

Inside, the church is decorated with numerous ornaments. You can see in a second that it has been built in the baroque style.

Again, the ceiling is painted with biblical scenes.

But the biggest jewel of the church is the organ. During concerts held there the sculptures of Mary and the angels move along with the music.

On the left side of the main nave you see again Our Lady on the linden tree.

The concert will begin in two minutes so let's sit and listen. Then we will move back on the Santiago route. Watch out for the Santiago shell.

Saturday, 19 July 2014


Bytów is a town in the North of Poland. Its history dates back to twelfth century. In the fourteenth century, Teutonic Knights have built there a castle.

You will not be surprised to hear that it  is located on a hill.

The castle was obviously reconstructed a number of times and today it is still very impressive.

The inner courtyard is painted white ...

... but the towers are still exhibiting the bricks.

Nowadays, the castle houses a regional museum. You can see there artefacts related to different crafts. Starting with weaving of twigs and fiber ...

... then carpentry, cooperage, joinery ...

... followed by the workshop of a blacksmith.

It is possible to see also a traditional rural kitchen.

I draw your attention to the table - the table cloth is decorated with traditional handcraft of the region, very popular on table cloths, bedclothes but also china porcelain.

The blue flowers were present also on the traditional cloths.

In the upper storey of the castle there is an exhibition about the military history of the place. You can admire there this knight. The armour does not look very comfortable though it is surely safe.

Through this window you can spot again the inner courtyard.

Let's have a bit of fresh air - luckily it is possible to have a walk on the castle walls.

The castle is not the only historical monument in town. We cannot miss the tower of St. Catherine, the only remaining of an old church.

Inside there is an exhibition dedicated to watchmaking.

It is also possible to see Bytów in its historical shape.

Or take a look through the window to see the castle again.

Do you wonder how comes that the tower of a church is turned into a museum? Well obviously St. Catherine has a new church, located on the market square.

Next to it there is a nice fountain.

The residential buildings are renovated and they are really a pleasure to look at. I appreciate in particular the care for the little details, like this nice lady on the door of a pharmacy.

But it is not the end of unique monuments in Bytów. I still need to take you to the Bridge. When I first walked on it I was truely disappointed - after all it is just a bridge, and a narrow one. It used to carry trains via the Boruja river but now it is only used by pedestrians.

Then I moved down. Not that easy with all the weeds growing everywhere. Beware of the nettle!

Finally, I saw the bridge in its full beauty and I understood all the fuzz about it.

I must admit however that there is a huge contrast between the heights of the bridge and the width of the river.

The round-shaped emblems represent coats of arms of the railway and different geographic locations. This one relates to the Pomerania region where Bytów is located.

I hope that you have enjoyed this trip. Now I invite you to have a little bath in Boruja. Too cold? Well, you are probably right. So let's just watch it flow and admire the time passing.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Summer camp with the scouts

I have heard from some of you that my blog is becoming somehow too exclusive and that sleeping in fancy hotels is not for real travellers. So I decided to show you that travelling is possible in many ways. Let me then take you to a scout camp! We will visit one that is only one hour drive from Warsaw.

Scouts typically have their camps in forests.

For those of you who are not acquainted with the idea of scouting, I need to explain that scouts are a movement designed to support young people in their physical, mental and spiritual development. They are split into age groups and typically boys and girls have separate activities. The youngest ones (aged 6-10 in Poland) are called Cub Scouts. You can recognise them by blue neckerchiefs.

In the back you can see the tents in which live the Cubs.

They are pretty big since the young children sleep on folded beds, not on the ground.

I was not sure if these tents are solid enough so I checked them both on the top ...

... and then the pegs. They seemed to be well planted in the ground, good job!

Teenager scouts wear green uniforms and bi-color neckerchiefs. The ones we were visiting had them blue and yellow.

They live in smaller tents.

And yes, those ones sleep on the ground. Real survival training.

You probably wonder what they have in these huge backpacks. Well, more or less everything. They even bring their own cuttlery.

What about girls you ask? There are girls here as well. At the beggining scouts were for boys only but obviously we live in the XXI century now. The girls wear grey uniforms. These may come with short trousers or with a skirt.

They told me the girls live over there. So survival applies to the ladies as well.

If somebody would ask me before I came here what I would consider as a typical part of a scouts' camp, I would say - singing around bonfire. I always had in mind the image of a scout with a guitar. But honestly, I never thought about this kind of guitars.

 Even less did I think of drums. On the other hand - why not?

So let's the concert begin. Time to party in the forest, the scouts' way.