Monday, May 15, 2006

Rydzyna to Toruń via Poznań

Waking up in a castle is a lot like waking up anywhere else. Maybe it's just because the ghosts didn't bother me... either way, I got a slow start around 7:00 and headed downstairs for breakfast with grandpa. The light coming through the windows was overwhelming — it was pouring through the curtains onto all this antique furniture and place settings, I didn't know what to do. So I just sat down and grabbed some food. A little salmon, some tea and eggs, a short walk outside to survey the lake, and I was restored from my recent royal rest. We went for a short tour before leaving the castle. We started in the games room — there were a few too many baby deer skulls on the wall for me, and in due time we moved on... Most of the rooms had some small architectural element that was preserved and built around, like a pearl, with the exception of the ballroom. The ballroom was gorgeous all around — frescoes on the ceiling, sculptures on the wall, 1.5 ton bronze and crystal chandelier from a church...

Leaving Rydzynia, we passed the small marketplace and it's "Cultural Center", a miniscule building that reminded me of Los Alamos-style Mexican architecture — something about the frills on the top of the facade.

Arriving in Poznań, we passed a few of the universities — primarily focused on economics, and one music hall. There was also a monument built for the various rebellions by Polish workers against the communist government, and a statue of the much loved Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz. Then we headed over to check out the Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul, burial place of various Polish rulers (including Mieszko I, who shows up on the 10 złoty note). It was interesting to go below ground and see where they'd dug up the rulers, but there were also some really beautiful chapels inside the cathedral. One that seemed to attract a lot of attention was circular, covered in paintings and gold leaf, but I was really interested in the ornate lettering on some of the plaques. I love seeing the Polish and Latin scripts spread around liberally.

From there we headed over to the market square to see the infamous goats. Yes, from the Town hall, every day at noon, emerge two robotic goats. They butt heads a few times (in remembrance of an old story about the opening of the marketplace) before returning inside. It's great to hear the school children nearby counting off each butt in Polish.

We had some free time, so I wandered around a bit. I found a nice little księgarnia with a dictionary of Polish etymology. I've been looking for one, but, as is to be expected, it's completely in Polish. So I'm going to have to learn a bit more before I can understand the origins of those simple, beautiful words that stick in my head... "deszcz", "księżyc" and the others that keep coming.

Grandpa and I met up with Ania and Wojtek, relatives of grandpa's highschool friends. Ania's studying architecture nearby — we talked about art, architecture, language, culture, history, our mutual disdain of politics... although she probably found out more about me than I of her — a rarity.

Back on the bus, in a few hours we arrived in Toruń — hometown of Copernicus. Finally, after a few days we have an internet connection, so I'll be working backwards and forwards from today (the midpoint of the trip), and by the end this little blog should form a semicoherent whole.

Highlights: The morning light at Rydzyna, conversation over lunch, żubrówka over dinner.

1 comment:

Puma said...

hi kyle its montana im sssssoooooooo jelly wright me back :b :c :x :s