Europe Cup Nostalgia

Even though the europe cup is over, I would like to tell you, how I experienced this time in Warsaw. Against all prejudices, I think Poland did a very good job and was well prepared, so that we all could have a great EM-Party. Riots were rare and in my opinion the coverage in foreign media about the match between Russia and Poland was exaggerated, since everything was peaceful in the whole fanzone, only some detached fans were looking for anger in the city centre.

My personal highlight was for sure the match between Russia and Greece, that I watched in the national stadion. Since I was betting for Greece, while I was surrounded by only russian fans, I really enjoyed the match and the win of the greek team. Despite this, I not only watched most of the matches in the huge fanzone in Warsaw, which was around the Palac of Culture, but also celebrated the first win of the german team in the fanzone in Wrocław. And now I just would like to share some pictures with you…

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Holocaust Class

Many of us were fortunate enough to take the “Holocaust and Genocide” class. Not only did we get to listen to interesting lectures, we also go to take a few field trips. A few weekends ago we went to Krakow to see Auschwitz and Schindler’s Factory. Both were interesting and moving experiences.

The next week we got to listen to the difficult but very interesting story of the Auschwitz survivor, Roman Frister. He had obviously told his story many times, but we were glad he made it to our class to tell it once more. It is such a rare occurrence that survivors are still alive and well enough to speak in front of group. It was really a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The last “field trip” we took with the class was a tour through the former Warsaw Ghetto. Of course, it was a large ghetto so we did not walk through the whole area, but we hit the main points. Our lovely professor was our tour guide and showed us streets in the ghetto, the monuments that were built in memory, and even the mounds were former bunkers and buildings once were.

Overall (and I think my classmates would agree), this class has been absolutely excellent. We have experienced so many things first-hand that most people only get to read about.

 

Our professor giving us a tour.

 

Impressions of Gdańsk

When you’re in poland, you must definitely go to Gdańsk, as well, especially in summer. I did this last weekend with a friend of mine and we stayed in a very nice and also cheap apartement, called “Amberstudio”, that is close to the sea too. But by tram, it takes you about 20 minutes to go to the city centre and unfortunately the last trams are leaving before midnight. Therefore you should decide, if you want to stay close to the sea or prefere staying in the centrum. But since the weather was nice, we made the right decision and not only enjoyed the sea, but also visited the long market square (one of the oldest of whole Europe) with all those pretty houses, whose architecture is influenced by the renaissance and the famous neptun fountain in the middle of the square. We also climbed up all the 400 steps of the the St. Maria church to have a wonderful view over the whole city and listened to lots of excellent and young street musicians (they must have been students!) as well. On saturday, there was also the museum night (like in every other european city, i guess), so we went to the national museum, which offers lots of painings from polish, dutch and flamish painters of the middle age until the new age. The most famous painting is “The judge” from Hans Memling.  On the other day, we went to the “Oliva” dome, which is surrounded by a very nice park, as well, which i can also highly recommend.

And now, i just want to share some nice pictures with you…

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Warszawa jest zielony

Although it might seem, that Warsaw isn’t that much green, you just need to go to the right places! For that reason, i want to show you, how green Warsaw can be, if you go, as one example, to  Łazienki Park, the biggest park of Warsaw…

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Invisible exhibition

 

One of the strangest museums, or galleries or exhibitions , as you want to call it , it’s for sure the one I went to visit at the beginning of this week. It’s particular because you will enter in a different world , I mean: you ‘ ll get in touch with a world you don’t usually notice.

The world of blind people. Have you wondered how it would be living as a blind person? Which are his/her problems?

For one hour or more – it depends on how long your ‘tour’ will take – you will feel different. You’ll feel to have your sight back. I can’t tell you what you’ll meet inside, but definitely you have to go! By the way, you need to book in advance and are accepted only groups up to 8 people. Ask also for an English guide if you are not Polish.

You’ll see the world with a different eye.

Last question: how do blind people fall in love?

Here some good information !

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Spring in Warsaw

The time is passing by and Warsaw is becoming one of the best and ‘greenest’ cities in Europe. You can smell the flowers, the air is filled to the brim of amazing scents.

And , of course, we are waiting for the European Cup!

I want to share with you this amazing song. Poland can inspire!

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Vienna – museum action Part 2

Another very interesting exhibition, i visited in Vienna, was called “Head2Head. Politic and the Public Image”.

Since self-representation in the media is one of the most important topics, when it comes to media culture in our days, this exhibition was about, how politicians use different kinds of image-building strategies to represent themselves during the election period. Their pictorial formulas shall increase not only their electors, but save their political power too. From the “guy next door”, who doesn’t want to be seen as a sort of elite person  to the “visionary” with higher goals. The exhibition shows a collection of political posters from the past 100 years – democrates and dictators are presented (some austrian politicans, Obama and Kennedy, Angela Merkel, Yuli Tymoshenko, Lenin etc.) and even some political satire. For me, the most interesting work, was the foto project from Herlinde Koelbl, who took pictures from Angela Merkel since 1992 until 2008, so that you can recognize, how her self-representation has changed over the last years.

The exhibition was placed in the Hundertwasser museum, which i really liked, because in my opinion his architecture is so friendly and brings you into a very good mood. After the exhibition, we were having a tea in this nice cafe…

I also enjoyed the uneven floor in this museum or even more the explanation from the architect:

He sais, that the even floor is not meant to be for human beings, but for machines. The people are forced to work on concreted, apshalted straight areas, like in all those designer offices, alienated from their natural relation to the earth. But for that reason, something very important of being a human is dying by this, since the people unlearn to experience and get mentally sick. An uneven, lively floor means a re-winning of the human dignity, that is stolen by the leveling town construction. The uneven walk kicks the people, since architecture should rise the humans being instead of abasing them.

Here’s a picture of the german translation from Hundertwasser’s explanation about the uneven floor…

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Vienna – museum action

Last weekend, i went to Vienna and since the weather was bad almost everyday, i had enough time to visit some interesting exhibitions, i’d like to tell you about. The first one was in the jewish museum and was called “Bigger than life. 100 years Hollywood. A jewish experience”.

As you can already conclude from the title, it was about how jewish people were involved in the whole Hollywood factory. For example, did you know, that everything started with a small group of middle- and eastern european Jews, who escaped to New York at the end of the 19th century? 20 years later names like Adolph Zukor (Paramount), William Fox (Hungary), the Warner Brothers (Poland), Louis B. Mayer (Belarus) and Carl Leammle (Universal) from the south of germany invented Hollywood. Also the founder of the famous cosmetic company called Max Factor was polish, born in Łódź in 1873. This company invented the platin-blondes hair from Marylin Monroe, as well – by the way :)

The exhibition starts with the early Hollywood movies and goes until today and shows, how jewish idenity was firstly hidden until the “coming out” from e.g. Woody Allen or Barbara Streisand. For example, as the film “Cleopatra” (1917) was published, Hollywood falsed the whole vita of the main actress, Theda Bara, to hide, that she was jewish.

Movies, that work on the Holocaust before 1945, were mostly filmed in the Hollywood studios, e.g. “The diary of Anne Frank” from George Stevens (1959). But after that period, the directors started to focus more on “authencity”, e.g. the tv series “War and Remembrance” (1988) was also filmed in Auschwitz. And finally, Eli Roth, the “bear jew” from Quentin Tarantions “Inglorious Basterds” proves, that jewish identity in Hollywood is still changing.

The exhibition also shows lots of objects from Los Angeles, New York and Europe, e.g. old film posters, which i really like…

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Wrocław

Since my sister was coming to visit me for eastern, we headed to Wrocław together, because our grandparents were born there. The intercity from Warszawa took almost 6 hours to get there, but it was definitely worth it and i’m really wondering, why nobody was suggesting me to visit Wrocław, since in my opinion it seems quite as pretty as Kraków. Luckily, the weather also got better on monday, so that we could enjoy another nice polish city, as you can see on the following pictures :-)

We were walking through the promenade…

…went to the market square…

…were listening to some musicians…

…joined a marriage…

…visited the home street of our grandparents…

…were heading to the university…

…and enjoyed a great view over the city…

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Warsaw’s drums

As you could have already read in the last entry, warsaw has lots of interesting street performers to offer, especially when it comes to sound art. This guy, that you can see on the picture, is another example and sometimes both of these sound artists are challeging one another at the main square of metro centrum. But most of the time, you can find him close to the H&M, where he plays almost everyday, it doesn’t matter, if it rains or even snows. Comparing with the other one, he likes to use lots of oil cans or thermos flasks.

A video or audio file is coming soon!

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