Monday, 2 July 2012

The Last Day - a trip to Crakow

We've had a fantastic few days - a real indulgence for book-aholics and lovers of Mansfield and Woolf.  But now it's time to leave and our final day is a trip to Crakow.   We left Slovakia by coach - a little like a school outing!

This beautiful Polish city was the birthplace of Katherine Mansfield's lover Floryan Sobieniowski and there's always been a lot of argument about whether she visited it or not while she was staying in Germany.  As Katherine destroyed all her letters and notebooks from this period, it's impossible to be certain.  But she was a big fan of one of Poland's most famous writers and artists - Stanislaw Wyspianski  - and there may be clues to be found in some of the things she wrote about him.

This is the church, painted and decorated by Wyspianski - St Francis in the centre of Crakow.  It has wonderful stained glass windows designed by Wyspianski.


One of them is called 'To God the Father' which just happens to be the title of a poem written by Katherine Mansfield.  If you read it in front of the window, it seems to be a description of the image - so, could she have seen it before she wrote the poem?  It's tempting to think so.

Cracow was full of folk dance troupes from all over eastern europe and beyond - Latvia, Russia, Turkey, Macedonia - we lost count.   Even though it was over 35 degrees in the central square everyone was dancing and we hugged the shade of an archway to watch.







There was no time to visit the Schindler museum or the old Jewish ghetto made famous by the book and the film.  We'll have to reserve that for another visit.  Just time to have a meal in one of the many restaurants before heading for the airport and a flight to Milan.   We drove home through the early hours, arriving about 4.30am.   Now good for nothing at all except sleep.   Sadly Italy lost out to Spain in the European cup - football in Italy seems as much of a shambles at the moment as it does in England.  But they move so beautifully - it really is the beautiful game in Italy.

3 comments:

  1. Let us agree in imagination that Mansfield was there.. I like that story.:)

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  2. what a fantastic place.

    I have to say soccer is on my long , long list of sport events I am not interested in.
    Bah Humbug! I say

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  3. Thanks Helen - yes, the romantic part of me wants to believe!

    I'm with you on most sports Al, but I do like a bit of snooker. Football you can keep, but somehow in Italy you have to join in and be part of it - it's tribal here!

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