Friday, July 29, 2011

Six Senses Friday: Krakow IV

This past Wednesday I spent an hour or so at an open air market, Stary Kleparz, in Krakow where there is an abundance of fresh produce, cheese, sausages, meat, bread and baked goods, clothing and household items. When I'm in places like this I can't help but get out my camera and take photos of the cornucopia of abundance, beautiful color combinations and textures mingling in piles on tables and being presented in windows. I thought I'd share photos from the market with you as I post my weekly "Six Senses" update.
- I had the wonderful opportunity to meet more of my relatives in Korczyna last Sunday.
- a small bouquet of flowers adding color to my dorm room, picked from my relatives gardens...three zinnias and a rose
- ancient symbols and motifs found on very old architectural and archeological items ... and the thread of these symbols in Polish peasant art
- I walked around the Jan Matejko Fine Arts Academy on a quiet morning among the sculptures and sculptural casts and sensed the energy of artists who studied and created in that building.
- Polish being spoken all around me at the table in my cousin's home while Lukasz tries to keep up with the translating.
- an evening of live music played by  Kwartet Jorgi (a polish band with roots elements) a bag pipe like instrument, wooden flutes played along side a tenor sax, acoustic guitar and hand percussion... hearing dissonant harmonies and a lot of improvisational elements
- my 8 year old cousin, Marta, quietly humming Leonard Cohen's song, "Hallelujah" as we took in the view from atop Mt. Tarnica
- strong wind blowing, humming and resonating against and through a metal cross on the top of Mt. Tarnica
- fresh mountain air
- wildflowers in blossom as honey bees busy themselves with their work
- a warm kitchen filled with scents of delicious, cooking food
- the fruity and sweet bouquet of my cousin Roman's homemade wine
- a cigarette being smoked inside a cafe at night
- Cousin Roman's delicious homemade wine
- Cousin Paulina's fresh, delicious homemade doughnuts
- Warm beer with ginger and clove on a cool rainy night in Cafe Camelot
- Cousin Kinga's homemade kremówka papieska a cream cake/pastry which was apparently Pope John Paul the II's favorite Polish pastry
- strawberries on white rice with fresh sweet cream poured on top
- kissing cheeks and exchanging warm hugs with my growing family
- running my hand over tall grasses with full seed heads as I hike up Tarnica
- pen to paper as I begin to sketch designs found on Pisanka eggs at the Ethnographic Museum
- the petals of a freshly cut rose
- sadness at the sense of closing as my program at Jagiellonian University winds up... classes are ending and new friends and acquaintances are leaving
- very interested in the language of symbols
- tired of the cool, gray, rainy days
- tipsy after an evening of visiting and talking over lots beer and pizza at Cousin Paulina's and Lukasz's flat
- pleasantly overwhelmed by the generosity and warmth of my family here in Poland and also by my family and friends at home who have been so supportive and enthusiastic about me coming here to Poland this summer
- like I am learning so much about Poland, the culture, the country, society...  Poland is such a complex, beautiful and complicated place with such a rich and at times very painful history. I hope to do some more writing here on my blog to share with you my deeper sense of this place.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hiking Tarnica

I arise today
through the strength of heaven, light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightening,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.
-Celtic Prayer

I spent this past weekend in the good company of my cousin and his family in Korczyna. On Saturday he took me, his wife and his daughter to one of his favorite places, a mountain hike in the Bieszczady Mountains up a peak called Tarnicia which is located at the most southeastern point of Poland, bordered by the Ukraine and Slovakia. 

The place, the wind, the flowers, the rocks, the trees, the sky, the clouds, the grass, the wild... and my body moving amongst these elements, as we hiked up and down the mountain, created within me such a positive feeling. My heart kept a strong rhythm in pace with my footsteps: a drum within me, musically passing the moments of this dance of the outer and inner.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Six Senses Friday: Krakow III

* The images I am posting this week are reflective of a more contemporary Krakow. City streets, apartment buildings with balconies full of geraniums, surrounded by green walkways and parks, Communist era architecture, views of the river... Like I've been saying Krakow has many historic, beautiful and nostalgic sites while the contemporary world exist right along side.*

- a crane or stork landing in a field surrounded by warm, end of the day light
- a man on his tractor, mowing hay with a little boy on his lap, on a green, hilly field
- Stanislaw Wispianski's art work in the museum dedicated to resonates with me.
- lightening flashing through a steel gray sky
- a young couple on a bus ride, falling in love
- Polish film, "Man of Marble" (1977), by Andrzej Wajda, dealing with the complexity of Communist era Poland. "The director communicates two opposing truth's: First, that Stallinism was a disaster and second, that the people who believed in it- and whom it consequently crushed- were driven by an honest spirit of idealism."

- Alexander's album "Alexander" has become my musical soundtrack (obsession) this month. I listen to it almost every day. Thank you, Beth Marie and Digger!
- young adults in my dorm partying at the outdoor bar not far from my room's window
- a cheering crowd at a nearby stadium
- gentle, rhythmic rain falling 

- freshly cut lavender
- dark bitter, sweet chocolate
- the scent of perfume on people as I ride the trams
- smoked sheep and cows milk cheese I bought and ate from Zakopane, made in a beautiful, decorative mold 

- the best, thick hot chocolate I've ever had with fresh whipped cream.
- the cafeteria food is no longer interesting me
- Apple cake and tea at an authentic and original Art Nouveau cafe, Michlik's Pastry Shop, "Zielony Balonik"...(The Green Balloon)
- herbed vodka while sitting at a rooftop table along the Vistula River, watching the sun go down

- an ornamentaly carved wooden fence post outside a Zakopane building
- prickly grass against my bare legs as I sit in the sun, reading along the river
- picking up a handful of lavender after it was trimmed at a city park and rubbing it between my fingers to release it's sent
- velvety orange-blushed apricot skin before I eat the fruit

- inspired by the decorative wood work in Zakopane
- very supported by my family, professors, and the people I've met at the Ethnographic Museum. Everyone has been so gracious and helpful. I hope to give back to them and to others the way they have given to me...
- very curious
- thoughtful and reflective
- the stirring and push of change as my time in Poland saturates me with new experiences, information, artistic, cultural and social perspectives.

Monday, July 18, 2011


This past Saturday I took a bus out of Krakow to the Tatra Mountains. They are the highest mountains in Central Europe. I went to a town called Zakopane which is a tourist haven especially for skiers in the winter months. There is a rich collection of museums and houses that show off the Zakopane Style of wood cutting/carving and architectural design and decoration with wood. This decorative style, the motifs represented in the museums and throughout the town, had me captivated. The beautiful hand carved decorative touches add an extra level of personality and warmth to already beautiful buildings. I was struck by the use of positive and negative space in the designs and how the light played in and around the designs within the buildings. I went in for a lot of close up photos but I also couldn't help but take exterior photos so that you can get a sense of what the overall buildings looks like. There are garden photos too so that you can see how the flowers and plants outside some of the homes look while mingling with the lines and dimensions found in the fine wood designs. I went to the Villa Koliba Museum, which was a highlight for me. It was created in the Zakopane Style by artist, Stanislawa Witkiewicza.  I also went to a renovated traditional Tatra highlander house which houses the collection of Marii i Bronislawa Dembowskich. Their collection was the source of inspiration for Witkiewicza from which the idea of pure Polish style in architecture called Zakopane Style was born. Please enjoy...

All the above photographs were taken in this house, Stanislawa Witkiewicza, Zakopane Style Museum, The Villa Koliba Museum.

 Above are a collection of shots I took while walking around the town looking at the interesting sights.

The last three photographs were taken at the traditional Tatra Highlander House which houses the collection of Marii i Bronislawa Dembowskich.