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Sunday, 30 November 2014

Book VS. Movie: Mockingjay Part 1

Dear friends,

** Pay attention, this post is very long, has a lot of pictures and SPOILERS! but I have poured my heart and soul into it so I hope you guys will read it and tell me what you think! :) **
 
I had the great pleasure of watching the other night the first part of Mockingjay - the movie based on Suzanne Collins worldwide book phenomenom. I previously shared my thoughts with you in regards to the differences between the book and the movie in The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. Today I shall tell you my thoughts and feelings in regards to how Mockingjay touched me yesterday. I will tell you the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly side, but beware as there are multiple SPOILERS! so walk carefully. 
The movie, as usual and as expected, is not 100% by the book but I have to admit that the director tried to make it as close to the book as possible. Now if you watched the previous 2 parts - The Hunger Games and Catching Fire - you may have noticed that some elements were completely left out of the story (including some really good characters that would have made the story more round), like Katniss losing her hearing or Peeta losing his leg... I am happy though that they split the Mockingjay in 2 parts as the book was heavy emotional. It will seem like forever to wait another year to see the last part, but hey! thank God I have the book and I already know how it will end :) 
My Very Own Movie Ticket & Mockingjay Book :)
But let us get back to business and I shall tell you, point by point, what I missed and what I liked:
  1. Cue to District 13 as soon as the movie starts - the book starts with Katniss visiting District 12, seeing the horrors that President Snow inflicted on her people. In the movie, Katniss takes her time in District 13 and we do not see 12 for quite a long while. Somehow I feel the movie Katniss is more weak and frail than the book version.
  2. Effie Trinket is in District 13 - as opposed to the book where she is in the Capitol and Katniss "prep team" (Venia, Flavius and Octavius) are forced away from the Capitol at the same time with The Hunger Games being hijacked by awesome Plutarch. Now that is one of the biggest deviations of the movie, but somehow it feels comforting and reassuring to have Effie there. In the movie she is quite a huge character and you grow to love her with each movie. And who could wear grey colors like her, making them look fashionable?! :) Plus she has a lot of humour in Mockingjay and ocasionally flirts with Haymitch - makes me believe that maybe in part 2 they will end up together?! :) Not that I would not agree...
  3. Katniss demands from District 13 and President Alma Coin - they seem to go from big to small in the movie as opposed from small to big in the books. In the movie she first demands the victors (Peeta included) and Annie (Finnick's love) to be rescued and pardoned and then demands on her sister right to keep the cat. In the book she first starts small... with the kitten request... and then grows into asking for Peeta and the killing of President Snow by her own hands (and by the way, this demand does NOT get into the movie lines... I wonder why!). At first, in the book, she focuses so much on her anger that she forgets about Finnick & Annie, but comes back eventually and demands freedom for her as well.
  4. Katniss does not request for President Snow to be killed, in the movie. In the book she wants him dead so somehow, again, I feel that the movie tries to make Katniss weak. I makes me think/feel that she is still afraid of the President hurting her and the ones she loves.
  5. Finnick gets less action on the big screen than in the book - and I think I get that, as in the book he is a huge character, well developed and very well connected with the story. When he dies in the storming of the Capitol I could not stop myself from crying. For me Finnick was on the same step as Katniss and Peeta and to tell you the truth I always placed Gale lower. Finnick is a strong character, he was made wise by playing inside the Capitol and having access to their secrets and lies. There are two options here: either the director wants us not to get attached to him and suffer when he dies, or they will not follow the course and he will not die... I wonder how they will play this!
  6. The Tech-Bow all the book readers were waiting for is not featured in the film! :O Katniss receives as prop, in District 13, a bow created by Beetee. True, we see that in  the movie that he gives Katnip the bow with 3 different sets of arrows and it looks pretty and shiny but hey! where is the feature of the bow that we were all waiting for? The bow is supposed to open up only to her very own voice! Where did that go?
  7. Katniss soldier training is non-existent in the movie - yet another point in making Katniss Everdeen look weak and frail and senseless on the big screen. Somehow I felt the movie was focusing too much on Gale and Katniss than the relationship in the book between Katniss and Peeta/Finnick/her adorable little duckling-turning-into-a-swan sister. In the end, in Mockingjay the book, we can see Katniss severing all relationship with Gale; so where did that kiss came from? The need for some romantic action must-have in nowadays movies?! Cah! :/
Either way I am glad I saw the movie and it was a night well spent, but hey! I am critical when it comes to the books I love, and The Hunger Games series is one of them. It could have been better done but as it is I must admit that for me it was the movie I have waited for more than a year! and either way I would put it in the top 3 best movies of the year. And last but not least, long live Donald Sutherland as President Snow :) Now that is one character you love to hate! I recommend you go see it for yourself, especially if you already read the books ;) 

Yours truly, 
A Hunger Games LadyBug Fan :)
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Saturday, 29 November 2014

Macabre Krakow - Vampires, Serial Killers and Ghosts

My dearest friends,

As I was telling you a few days back, this beginning of November I had the pleasure fo hosting a dear friend for a week. It is true that during the week, after work, you can barely drag me out of the house to do anything but in the weekend I can be hyper as a cricket! So Saturday she went with my guidance to the first #FreeWalkingTourKrakow - the foods of Krakow. Now I will not speak about that tour heere, as I never did it myself, but all my Romanian friends who tried it loved it ;) So I told her to go ahead :) The tour takes around 2 hours and a half and brings you to multiple places in the old town and the jewish district, where you try traditional & local products ;) after that I took her to a few places myself and in the evening we agreed that both of us should go to the #MacabreKrakow tour that starts each Monday/Thursday/Saturday at 6 pm :) Of course one needs to check their site and/or their Facebook page to see if any changes are made in the schedule - in the summertime they have different hours ;)
Our tour started at 6 PM when darkness was already upon us, but hey! that is one of the points of the tour... getting you into the dark and twisted mood, and they do succeed on that! The regular meeting point for almost all of #FreeWalkingTourKrakow is at the Saint Mary's church, in the Main Market Square. Usually there are no big groups (bigger than 20 people) with these tours, except the #oldtown where usually there are 2 guides and they split the group in 2 parts, but hey! we had fun with this one... we started around 28 people and along the way the group more than doubled its size! The tour guide, named Jacek or Jack - for the native English speakers, was brilliant and dark mooded and it suited well to the whole athmosphere. He looked genuinely happy to do his job, loved when people asked questions and always had an answer ready on his sleeve. To tell you the truth, it was drizzling that night and I did not take the camera out to take a lot of pictures but I truly enjoyed all the dark tales about Krakow's own vampires and serial killers.
You may have not know this but even Krakow had its dark stories. Take for example Karol Kot (18 December 1946 – 16 May 1968). He was a serial killer. Kot terrorized Kraków, the city he was born and raised in, with monstrous crimes for two years before he was finally captured on July 12, 1966. Due to the seemingly random choices of victims, which included children and elderly people, Kot was remembered as the Kraków's vampire and a monster. Kot had passed the school-leaving examinations in high school and planned to become a student at an Officer Candidate School. After the trial, in which he pleaded guilty of the crimes he was charged with, the killer was sentenced to death, which was announced on 14 July 1967. The death penalty was carried out on 16 May 1968 and Kot was executed at the age of 21. Just small FYI: kot = cat, in Polish language :) 
***
Władysław Mazurkiewicz (January 31, 1911 - January 31, 1957) was also a serial killer who lived in the city of Kraków, Poland and also had property in Warsaw. His economic standing and polite manners earned him the nickname "The Gentleman Killer". Mazurkiewicz was initially indicted with the murders of 30 people. He confessed to everything, saying "Yes, that's true", but was charged with only six: four men and two women. He was convicted for the six murders in August 30, 1956 and executed by hanging six months later.
***
Of course we also heard stories about ghost and real vampires... methods of torture, bodies under the Main Market Square with their hands and legs tied, stories of impailing living people... dark and twisted and perfect for a rainy Saturday evening :)  At the end we also were presented with the 3 types of hanging and a demonstration of beheading ;)  Also, if you wish, at the end you can take a picture with the executioner himself/herself... you cannot tell... he/she wears a mask ;) 
***
The company is a free organization that does not ask for a fee from you upon participating in the tour, but at the end it is nice to give money out for them to be able to pay the brochures/leaflets/maps/main location-office where they run their job. I always do and I am proud to say that #FreeWalkingTourKrakow never let me down. They have brilliant stories, told with passion by all-knowing guides, and they are always great fun no matter the weather. They will always be there to welcome you with open arms :) 

** This post was made out of love for Walking Tours. I was not repayed in any way and all the opinions are my very own, straight from the heart! **

Yours truly,
A LadyBug In Love With The Tours Offered By #FreeWalkingTourKrakow
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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Coffee Eleven 2 Go, Please!

My dearest friends,

Everyone praises coffee and everyone had some, at least to try it out. Louisa May Alcott, in my beloved book Little Women, even said “I'd rather take coffee than compliments just now.” Now I would contradict that and replace coffee with good hot choco. I know coffee might be good for you from time to time, but I know so many people who abuse of it... Some people love coffee and treat it like their best friend, like their way to pull through the day. I admit it, this lovely drink smells delightful but I don't like drinking it. Smelling the beans, on the other hand, is always tempting :) 
Did you know that #coffeebeans are used also in perfume shops? They come in handy as after 2-3 perfumes you cannot distinguish between one scent and the other. That is why the stores that sell perfumes should always have small boxes with coffee beans, for the customers. Once you sniff it once, your nasal will clear up and you will be able to test some more ;) Trust me, it is tested and everyone who loves perfumes knows this ;)
Coffee is also a way to de-stress yourself. Researchers at the Seoul National University examined the brains of rats who were stressed with sleep deprivation and discovered that those who were exposed to coffee aromas experienced changes in brain proteins tied to that stress. And tell you the truth, as I said, I would rather smell a good coffee than drink it :) but there are people who enjoy both sides ;)
Now in the first week of November I had a dear friend visiting us for a week. We had long walks, I showed her around town, I introduced her to a couple of tours from #FreeWalkingTourKrakow - you may have heard me mentioning them before, when I was telling you about the StreetArt tour - and also we have been out is some traditional places. We also discovered together a #newplace in town: Coffee Eleven, on the lovely Grodzka 11 street.
Now you will not find them on the internet yet, except on their Facebook page which was opened on the 25th October - at the same time with the grand opening, here in Krakow. At this moment the FB fan page is not yet developed but I believe this place has a lot of potential! It is regulary open between 7 am and 7 pm, Monday to Sunday. You can have the drink there or you can take away. You can also pay in cash or you can pay with card - Visa / American Express / Mastercard are all accepted ;)
The prices are good and the location is central, right next to the Main Market Square, on Grodzka 11. It is on the main road to the Wawel Castle and all people going there pass by it. You may miss it though, as the entrance is small, so pay good attention ;)  It is a lovely place with 15th century cellar where you can sit and chillax while having a great hot choco and a mouth-watering muffin. 
***
We choose to take the coffee + biscuit (for my friend) & hot choco + blueberry muffin to go as we had to catch a #FreeWalkingTour Krakow of #KrakowMacabre - we made it and the hot choco warmed my bones excellently during the walk, as there was fog and small rain. I recommend it with all my heart and I plan to take my awesome other half there, so he could test it as well :)

* Americano Coffee - 7 zloty
* Cappuccino - 8 zloty
* Hot choco (creamy and dense, just as I like it!) - 8 zloty
* Sandwiches - 7 zloty
* Cookies small/big - 3/4 zloty

** This post was made out of love for hot choco and muffins. I was not repayed in any way and all the opinions are my very own, straight from the heart! **

Yours truly,
A LadyBug Who Loves To Discover New Places
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Sunday, 23 November 2014

Another Penguin Bites The Dust

Dearest friends,

It is time for our dearly beloved Benedict Cumberbatch to get settled down and have his very own mini-Benedicts that would bless this earth with their beauty, radiance, brainy moment and indicent moments to have top class good looks. That's right, as all you hungry-for-knowledge fans already know, THE Sherlock Holmes of the century got engaged to Sophie Hunter and announced it very old-fashioned via a small ad in the London Times :) There was no need of shouting it via Internet - either way at the beginning of this month all Hell broke loose when it went viral! - and I loved how he tries to keep things private, no matter how much he loves his fans.
Benedict came to Krakow this year, during the Off Plus Camera Event :)
Odd enough, I was not the one who found out first. I remember it even now, we were in an Wednesday afternoon and my adorable husband came to me with the news. I just came from work and was browsing through my emails and Facebook when he came into the room, all a smile: "Guess what?!" - well I did not see that news coming. Especially from him :) But hey, miracles happen! And we both loved him in Sherlock Holmes so much that Mr. Cumberbatch just stuck like glue to us :) Hence I thought I may dedicate a short post on why we love him so much:
  1. He believes in long-lasting relationships and true love. His very first relationship was 12 years long, so I surely hope his engagement with Sophie turns out to be the big step into the relationship of his life. I love seeing couples that are in the music/film industry and yet they feel very much human and maintain normal and growing relationships :) They split in 2011 :(
  2. Benedict loved playing Sherlock - come on, tell me a person who didn't think he was brilliant in that character?! ‘It’s a rare challenge, both for the audience and an actor, to take part in something with this level of intelligence and wit,’ he says. ‘You have to really enjoy it. It’s a form of mental and physical gymnastics.’ Even Steven Spielberg calls him ‘the best Sherlock on screen’ and Harrison Ford is his fan :)
  3. Cumberbatch is in a very-far-weird-way connected to The Royal Family :) Benedict Cumberbatch's great-grandfather was Queen Victoria’s consul general.
  4. He loves family and believes in the idea of having children. He says: ‘I’ve realised the reality of children is you have to be in the right place with the right person.' ‘I would love to have children. Everyone wants to know when I'm going to settle down and who is going to be Mrs Cumberbatch. I can't wait to do an interview like this and just talk about my child.'
  5. Benedict believes in the idea of education - I’m all about giving youth an education, a voice and a chance to not take the wrong road,’ he says.
  6. He loves his friends and family. He hired Una Stubbs to play Sherlock's landlady because she's his mum's best friend in real life. Both his mum and his dad, Timothy Carlton, play Sherlock's parents in Sherlock. Should I also mention he called his dad right on the red carpet? :)
  7. Benedict is a true patriot and loves his roots - 'I love London. Culturally it's where my heart and soul are, as well as my roots.'
  8. Four films he starred in were nominated at the Oscars 2014. #talent #benedictrules
  9. He cannot - for the love of God! - pronounce the word "penguin" :) and it still sounds adorable no matter how long he tries and tries to get it right. He has his faults and he is human, as all of us. I can bet though that he can say #supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
  10. He met Professor Stephen Hawking twice before filming Hawking (2004) to prepare for the role. He then subsequently provided the voice of the physicist in "Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking" in 2010 and "Stephen Hawking's Grand Design" in 2012 which both aired in Discovery Channel.
Now you may not know this, but Benedict was in Krakow this year at the Off Plus Camera festival. Unfortunately I could not go, as it was in the middle of the working week and I was swamped with work. I regret it and I am sad I could not go. I love though that each year the people who organize the event think of the ones who cannot make it so they take the hand-prints of the guests. Along the Vistula river, near the Wawel Castle, you can find the mould and take your very own picture ;) Have you seen Benedict this year? Don't you think that Sherlock's character fits him like a glove?! :) 

Yours truly,
A LadyBug Who Loves To Watch Sherlock ;) 
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Saturday, 22 November 2014

Guess Who's On Instagram Now?

My dear sweet hearts,

This is just a short update, a short shout out to you lovely people, to let you know that if you wish to join me on Instagram you can do so HERE! I know it took me some time to let you know, but it is up and running now for almost 2 weeks. I opened it up once I received an awesome present from my husband: Samsung Galaxy S4 - just FYI it has now a nickname, so I can tell its "family" already ;)
I thought this would be a step forward as one of my plans this winter season, until Christmas will dawn upon us, is to track all the changes in Krakow - be it window displays, garlands outside malls, scattered angels in the Main Square, places you could have mulled wine and God knows what :) It is easier to snap a shot on the go and upload it fast than take the camera with me, come home, download the picture and then post it. I know that I will not be able to put everything on the blog so I recommend you to check what I will find in 2 places:
Hope you will join me in this journey and I would love to know if you find anything interesting and Christmassy in town that I will not post :)
***
But why Instagram?
Well every blogger on the go has one and as I am so attached to photography and I always want to share with people what new things I found - be it news, places, people, architecture, events in Krakow or the places I am going to. I think this was the best option. I will not blog post all the info/pictures, but I will write news about that from time to time. If you wish to learn more of Krakow and the LadyBug I recommend you to Follow Me :) I think that Instagram is an awesome environment/platform. Did you know that 70% of the Instagram users check their feed at least once a day, 35 % several times a day? And that the number of likes per day is 1.2 billion; that’s 8500 likes per second :) I think this is a good step ;) See you there!

P.S. Did I mention that in less than 2 weeks I have 49 followers? :)

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug
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Thursday, 20 November 2014

My life story is the story of everyone I've ever met...

My dearest friends,

Today I shall be telling you about the second novel of Jonathan Safran Foer - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. You may have not read his books but for sure you have watched or even heard of the adaptations of his novels. A week of two ago I was telling you about the movie Everything is Illuminated - adaptation after his first novel, a story about a collector of stories/memories who wishes to learn more about his grandfathers past.
As in Everything is Illuminated, the 2nd novel also tells a story about the adventure into the unknown: the hero of the book, a 9 year old boy named Oskar Schell, goes in search of the owner of an old key he found in his Dad's wardrobe. I believe that he hopes, inside his heart, that in this way he would have peace with the notion that his father died in the September 11th tragedy in New York. You can feel his grief and sorrow through every page of the book, but also his optimism and his resolve to face the unknown and face his fears. 
The book shows how much our lifes are intertwined with eachother, even though we do not know this. The secondary plan of the book relates the relationship between Oskar's Grandmother and Grandpa and their series of letters between eachother and also the letters of Oskar's Grandpa to Oskar's father - letters that he always meant to send but never did so. The novel is also about secrets - the fact that Oskar kept a secret that he heard the phone messages from his father, the day the plane crashed; the fact that Oskar's Grandma keeps his Grandpa a secret from everyone, saying he is just a renter... Everyone in the book seems to hold a secret of his/her own.
***
Did you know that there are aproximately 43 ‘Incrediblys’ and 63 ‘Extremelys’ within this book? Jonathan Safran Foer has a way of writing about sad and serious things and also at the same time knows how to pick you up from there and put a smile on your face. You know that Oskar is down in "heavy boots" but then he starts saying something like being in a good mood -‘that was One Hundred Dollars’ mood - and everything becomes smooth again :)

The novel also brings into our attention that there are events in the world that scar us and leave a stamp upon our lifes. This happens every generation! In Everything is Illuminated you read about the Second World War and how it changed lifes of many and still continues to leave a track on further generations. In Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close you read about the attack from September 11th. If you will ask people what they were doing at that time they will surely be able to tell you, with details. When the first plane crashed into WTC I was home, in Romania - Iasi. My Mum and my Sister were in the living room and they were watching the latest news. They could not believe their eyes and thought it was a shot from an action movie. I came from the room next door, and that is when the 2nd plane hit... over thousand of people saw the 2nd hit live, on their very own living rooms... it is horrible when you come and think of what media can do.
“Finally, I found the pictures of the falling body. Was it Dad? Maybe. Whoever it was, it was somebody. I ripped the pages out of the book. I reversed the order, so that the last one was first, and the first was last. When I flipped through them, it looked like the man was floating up through the sky.” (325)
Oskar's relationship with his father is a strong and loving one. He is the one who helps Oskar develop into the growing man. They shared the intelligence and his father always challenged him with games. I love how Oskar says he never watched TV - as a side-note, our kids will also not be allowed to TV and PC until they reach a more mature age! - there are so many things nowadays that media shows and harms children! Oskar would go to sleep each night with the voice of his father reading him the New York Times and circling the errors they found in red ink. 
***
I really love Oskar's character and I believe he may have a touch of Autism or Asperger's Syndrome in him. He is bright and inventive but he does have an issue with bonding to people - he is very akward when it comes to human relations. He tracks his daily life and the events that come in touch with him rigurously in his very own journal. He lives his life through other people's stories and when he finds the key he immediately believes that the answer to his pain would be following its trail, even if that would mean years of wondering through New York and finsing the right Mr./Mrs. Black. And - SPOILER ALERT! - he eventually does find the owner of the key ;)
From DeviantArt
And now I shall leave you with a few of my favourite quotes from this heart-breaking book I have learned to love:
*“Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I'm not living.”
*“Humans are the only animal that blushes, laughs, has religion, wages war, and kisses with lips. So in a way, the more you kiss with lips, the more human you are. And the more you wage war.”
*“What about little microphones? What if everyone swallowed them, and they played the sounds of our hearts through little speakers, which could be in the pouches of our overalls? When you skateboarded down the street at night you could hear everyone's heartbeat, and they could hear yours, sort of like sonar. One weird thing is, I wonder if everyone's hearts would start to beat at the same time, like how women who live together have their menstrual periods at the same time, which I know about, but don't really want to know about. That would be so weird, except that the place in the hospital where babies are born would sound like a crystal chandelier in a houseboat, because the babies wouldn't have had time to match up their heartbeats yet. And at the finish line at the end of the New York City Marathon it would sound like war.”
* “In bed that night I invented a special drain that would be underneath every pillow in New York, and would connect to the reservoir. Whenever people cried themselves to sleep, the tears would all go to the same place, and in the morning the weatherman could report if the water level of the Reservoir of Tears had gone up or down, and you could know if New York is in heavy boots.”
*“Fo Black lives on Canal Street, which used to be a real canal. He didn't speak very good English, because he hadn't left Chinatown since he came from Taiwan, because there was no reason for him to. The whole time I talked to him I imagined water on the other side of the window, like we were in an aquarium. He offered me a cup of tea, but I didn't feel like it, but I drank it anyway, to be polite. I asked him did he really love New York or was he just wearing the shirt. He smiles, like he was nervous. I could tell he didn't understand, which made me feel guilty for speaking English, for some reason. I pointed at his shirt. "Do? You? Really? Love? New? York?" He said, "New York?" I said, "Your. Shirt." He looked at his shirt. I pointed at the N and said "New," and the Y and said "York." He looked confused, or embarrassed, or surprised, or maybe even made. I couldn't tell what he was feeling, because I couldn't speak the language of his feelings. "I not know was New York. In Chinese, ny mean 'you.' Thought was 'I love you.'" It was then that I noticed the "I♥NY" poster on the wall, and the "I♥NY" flag over the door, and the "I♥NY" dishtowels, and the "I♥NY" lunchbox on the kitchen table. I asked him, "Well, then why do you love everybody so much?”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close  

Yours truly,
A LadyBug very much in love with Jonathan Safran Foer's stories
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Monday, 17 November 2014

So you *do* love me, little thing!

Dear sweet hearts,

** This is a review of the movie made after the lovely book written by E. M. Forster. Pay attention to spoilers, as I shall be telling you about A Room With A View - a delightful 1985 movie directed by James Ivory **

This movie was in fact the first cinema film of Helena Bonham Carter and it is one of the first movies I did see, as a wee lass, with her. Here is a short review from IMDB that I quite enjoyed: 
Lucy Honeychurch, a young Englishwoman, makes her first visit to Florence, Italy in the early 1900's. There, she meets a quiet yet eccentric young man named George Emerson. Upon her return to England, Lucy must decide whether to follow through with her marriage to her stoic fiance, Cecil, or follow her heart and her growing attraction to George. - Written by Liza Esser <essereli@student.msu.edu>
I regret that I did not get to watch this movie on the big screen - considering the fact that I was not even born at that time, that would have proved to be quite difficult... - but I am happy I managed to watched it still, when I grew up. It is one one of the period movies that stucks to your heart, especially if you are a young lass growing up and expecting true love to pop from just around the corner. It is a period drama movie, with costumes well done. The settings are lovely and all looks spit-spot perfect. Like someone was watching every scene with a magnifying glass...
 ***
It is a pleasure seeing Maggie Smith as Aunt Charlotte - a role totally different than how we see her in day-to-day life. She has no control over Lucy and in many times Lucy shuts her up in a way that makes me come up with retorts that only Dame M. Smith would do... nonetheless in this movie she is no Professor McGonagall or even Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham... she feels to me like dust in the wind. Which is brilliant! as it shows one more time what an amazing actress she is! :)  
I love the chemistry between the 2 main characters of the movie: Lucy (played by HBC) and George (played by Julian Sands). Daniel Day-Lewis's Cecil Vyse is brilliantly played/colored and it really makes you hate him so much that you just wish Lucy would fling to George the very instant! The cast is all British and very well selected.
***
The soundtrack is heart-melting with pieces of Puccini arias and Beethoven piano sonatas that know exactly when to start and when to end :) The settings are amazing and the movie is just made to be seen on the big screen and not on a laptop... it kinda diminishes the warmth... The movie always made me think of Italy and how I would love just to spent a whole summer there, basking in the light and feeling nature up close.
A Room With A View - the movie - is funny, romantic and style oriented. Tell you the truth, I would love to have Lucy's wardrobe even for a week. Those outfits are just perfect. No wonder gentleman treated ladies differently in those days :) That does not mean that Lucy's impromptu kiss with George in the fields was nevertheless shocking and outrageous - for those times ;) And just for the record, the movie took 3 Oscars home and one was for Best Costume Design ;)
***
I always loved this movie also for the idea that it brings to the audience: one must have the courage to face his/her own feelings! George always speaks up his mind and acts according to his heart. I alays thought that refreshing! On the other hand Cecil is the gentleman who will never show his feelings, never talk about love, always do the right/correct thing according to society. Now Lucy needs to choose between marrying someone for the pure pleasure of making her family/the society happy VS. making herself happy and allowing her the chance of being truly loved and loving someone in return. Now please don't go around throwing stones at me! I am not saying that Cecil does not care for Lucy. Maybe even he cares deeply, but he is just not knowledgeable enough to show it! Cecil wants Lucy as an expo - to look at her and see her in her beauty. George wants Lucy "to have ideas and thoughts and feelings, even when I hold you in my arms." 
Now while you ponder if you should/should not rent this lovely movie, I will share with you a few quotes:
*Mr. Emerson: I don't care what I see outside. My vision is within! Here is where the birds sing! Here is where the sky is blue!
*Charlotte Bartlett: I shall never forgive myself.
Lucy Honeychurch: You always say that, Charlotte, but you always do forgive yourself. 
*George Emerson: He's the sort who can't know anyone intimately, least of all a woman. He doesn't know what a woman is. He wants you for a possession, something to look at, like a painting or an ivory box. Something to own and to display. He doesn't want you to be real, and to think and to live. He doesn't love you. But I love you. I want you to have your own thoughts and ideas and feelings, even when I hold you in my arms. 
*Cecil Vyse: You must forgive me if I say stupid things. My brain has gone to pieces. 
 *Cecil Vyse: So you *do* love me, little thing!
*Freddy Honeychurch: Come and have a bathe.
George Emerson: I'd like that.
Reverend Beebe: [laughs] That's the best conversation opening I've ever heard. "How do you do. Come and have a bathe."
*Cecil Vyse: You don't love me, evidently. I dare say you're right not to, but... it would help a little, hurt a little less, if I knew why.
Lucy Honeychurch: Because you're the sort who can't know anyone intimately, least of all a woman.
[Cecil looks taken aback and hurt]
Lucy Honeychurch: Well, I don't mean exactly that, but you will go on asking questions! 

P.S. I really, truly, with-all-my-heart, think you should all see this lovely movie :) If ever you were in love with Italy, if ever you liked period movies/books, if ever you enjoyed seeing Helena on the big screen, you need to get yourself a copy of A Room With A View :)

Yours truly,
A LadyBug In Love With Good Period Movies :)
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Friday, 14 November 2014

When I was your age, television was called books...

Dearest friends,

Today I will share with you some thoughts upon a book I borrowed from a dear sweet friend - thank you Siepka for it, one more time :* I love books, my adorable Polish husband even makes fun of me and tells me that I do not read them, I rather eat/devour them. I sometimes think he might have a point there, considering the amount of books I read each year and how many books I still buy. Recently I have been refraining myself as there is not much more place I could store them - hence borrowing books from friends, when they recommend me some :)  
 ***
Even my Goodreads account shows me I went way overboard! Last year/beginning of this year, I setup a Reading challenge: 12 books in 12 months. Well guess what? Here is my status of the day: We love an overachiever! You have read 20 of 12 books - 10 books ahead of schedule - 167% of what I promised :) And that is just because I put a break and I am reading only on my train to/from work + the bus... 
The book of the day is The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern and abridged by Goldman :) What's it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex. In short, it's about everything :) 
 ***
The Princess Bride starts with Goldman telling us that this is the book of his childhood, the booked that saved him from death (from pneumonia) twice in his life. He also shares with us that the book by Morgenstern has both good parts and boring parts - we are instructed that for our very own benefit, the boring parts are cut out, but tell you the truth it makes me wonder how the book would be with the boring parts as well... it makes me feel that I would have rather skipped it than someone cutting it out for me. If you feel that you might know the title from somewhere you are not mistaken ;) the book was adapted into a movie with the dashing Cary Elwes (whom you might know from Robin Hood - Men in Tights) and Robin Wright (Forrest Gump, House of Cards).
The story starts with Buttercup - not yet a princess - and takes us from her being the 20th most beautiful woman in the world to the first place. She falls in love with the farm boy but figures it out only too late. Westley - whom, to his defence, always loved Buttercup - hears her confess her love and makes up his mind to run to America and make a fortune and come back to win her hand. Later on we find that the ship he boarded was taken in by The Dreaded Pirate Roberts and that he leaves no survivors => Westley is dead => Buttercup is heartbroken and vows never to love again.
***
The Princess Bride is engaging and easy to read - though it has almost 400 pages it took me less than a week to finish it off and that is good timing, considering I read daily around 40 minutes (total time on the train to/from work). Everyone will have a favourite in the book: be it Buttercup, the lovely suave princess in need of saving; be it The Man In Black/The Dreaded Pirate Roberts/Westley who is just gorgeous and dashing and knows how to escape with his wits & strenght combined; be it the lovely and heart-warming giant Fezzik who is so strong that he can pull up a cliff 3 people at the same time; be it - my very own favourite - the Spaniard Inigo Montoya who does not have hands but rather the sword would be the more logical termination of its limbs for him :)
If you are lucky, you will read the book before seeing the movie; but if you already watched the movie, the book cannot do you harm. It will only make the story richer and more full, and next time you will watch the movie you will see the characters in a different light. I leave you to think of buying/renting/downloading the book, while you enjoy with me a few quotes I love:
  • “When I was your age, television was called books.” 
  • “Life isn't fair, it's just fairer than death, that's all.”  
  • “My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!” - my personal fav <3
  • "I love you,' Buttercup said. 'I know this must come as something of a surprise to you, since all I've ever done is scorn you and degrade you and taunt you, but I have loved you for several hours now, and every second, more. I thought an hour ago that I loved you more than any woman has ever loved a man, but a half hour after that I knew that what I felt before was nothing compared to what I felt then. But ten minutes after that, I understood that my previous love was a puddle compared to the high seas before a storm. Your eyes are like that, did you know? Well they are. How many minutes ago was I? Twenty? Had I brought my feelings up to then? It doesn't matter.' Buttercup still could not look at him. The sun was rising behind her now; she could feel the heat on her back, and it gave her courage. 'I love you so much more now than twenty minutes ago that there cannot be comparison. I love you so much more now then when you opened your hovel door, there cannot be comparison. There is no room in my body for anything but you. My arms love you, my ears adore you, my knees shake with blind affection. My mind begs you to ask it something so it can obey. Do you want me to follow you for the rest of your days? I will do that. Do you want me to crawl? I will crawl. I will be quiet for you or sing for you, or if you are hungry, let me bring you food, or if you have thirst and nothing will quench it but Arabian wine, I will go to Araby, even though it is across the world, and bring a bottle back for your lunch. Anything there is that I can do for you, I will do for you; anything there is that I cannot do, I will learn to do. I know I cannot compete with the Countess in skills or wisdom or appeal, and I saw the way she looked at you. And I saw the way you looked at her. But remember, please, that she is old and has other interests, while I am seventeen and for me there is only you. Dearest Westley--I've never called you that before, have I?--Westley, Westley, Westley, Westley, Westley,--darling Westley, adored Westley, sweet perfect Westley, whisper that I have a chance to win your love.' And with that, she dared the bravest thing she'd ever done; she looked right into his eyes.” 
  • “Inconceivable!"
    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”  
  • “Do I love you? My God, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches.” 
  • “I am your Prince and you will marry me," Humperdinck said.
    Buttercup whispered, "I am your servant and I refuse."
    "I am you Prince and you cannot refuse."
    "I am your loyal servant and I just did."
    "Refusal means death."
    "Kill me then.”  
  • "I've been saying it so long to you, you just wouldn't listen. Every time you said 'Farm Boy do this' you thought I was answering 'As you wish' but that's only because you were hearing wrong. 'I love you' was what it was, but you never heard.” 
  • “You seem a decent fellow," Inigo said. "I hate to kill you."
    You seem a decent fellow," answered the man in black. "I hate to die.”  
P.S. Did you know that you can actually visit Florin (Florin derives from the city of Florence - or Firenze - in Italy ) & Guilder and that this is a real story? :) There is even a museum where you can see live the six-fingered-sword of the lovely Inigo!

Yours truly,
A LadyBug Fan of Inigo Montoya - Prepare to die!
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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Narodowe Święto Niepodległości

Dearest friends,

Narodowe Święto Niepodległości or The National Independence Day of Poland is celebrated in this very same day. Hence, this a day off from work and I have the pleasure of walking arm-in-arm with my adorable Polish husband, to the Main Market Square, where we will be watching the celebrations for the day. On November 11th the proud Polish people commemorate the anniversary of having Poland again on the map of Europe; Poland being again a state. This happened in 1918 after 123 years of split. 
The split was done by 3 great powers at that time: the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia and the Habsburg Empire. The 3 nations just figured out they needed to have a tea and there was no cake so Poland was chosen to be the sweet and each of the nations took a piece, that stayed with them over 100 years. This is the saddest moment that the Polish people have been through, yet they maintained their faith that one day their homeland will be reunited and Poland will be strong once more.
 ***
I have to hand it to them for being so optimistic, considering that Russia and Prussia were not at all friendly - the schools and insitutes banned Polish language and there was even death penalty for using it. Only the Habsburg Empire was friendly and thankfully enough Krakow maintained its position as the beating heart of the nation. Krakow was always the conscience, the Jiminy Cricket if you will, of the nation. It was always the coeur of Poland. 
On the 11th November 1918, Piłsudski was appointed Commander in Chief by the Regency Council and was entrusted with creating a national government for the restored Polish State. 16 November – Józef Piłsudski signed a telegram notifying the creation of an independent Polish State. The telegram was sent by radio to the leaders of the superpowers and to all of the warring or neutral governments three days later with the use of equipment from the Warsaw Citadel, just after exiting the German troops.
 ***
Krakow, we could say, was always a step ahead when it comes to changes. Although The National Independence Day is celebrated today, Krakow had its celebration much earlier. On the 31st of October 1918 it was the first occupied city in Poland that regained its independence from 3 the super-powers.What can I say? I love Krakow and I respect its ways :) As an expat I can say with all my heart that from all the countries I have visited, from all the people I have met and know personally, no other nation seems to me as strong and nationalistic and very proud of being so! than the Polish people. No other nation will tell you about their history, art and culture with so much passion! I still think that in their veins flows history and passion for their country. I believe that the Polish people have red & white blood flowing in their veins. I believe that they are strong as they love their country! I am proud to be an expat living in Poland, being married to a Polish lad :) Now I am off to the celebrations, and I recommend you to do the same ;)

Yours truly, 
The LadyBug In Love With Patriotic Poland
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Saturday, 8 November 2014

Trail of the Eagles' Nests - Bobolice

My dear friends,

This is the 3rd post I will make about the lovely trip I had with my husband, to The Trail of the Eagles' Nest - courtesy of Discover Cracow :) The 3 castles visited (on foot) by us were: Ojców National Park & Castle Ruins + Ogrodzieniec + (last but not least) Bobolice Castle. The trip lasted for 8 hours - including the drive there and back + the one hour break in the afternoon, for lunch. The driver/tourist guide was adorable, the day started with dense fog (the kinda you cut with a knife...) but bloomed up into a lovely sunny afternoon :)
Along the way we also caught a glimpse of other castles - like Pieskowa Skała (on the way from Ojców - hopefully it will open up to visitors back in 2016) or Mirow (right next to Bobolice). The tour was amazing and I loved every minute of it! It really felt like a mini-vacation and a late present for my bday - thank you again Discover Cracow for the lovely gift :) I recommend this tour with all my heart and it is even better if you will manage to do this with your significant other :)  you will be able to consider it as a date ;) 
Be careful of The Lady In White...
The Royal Castle in Bobolice was built during the reign of Kazimierz III the Great, in the second half of the 14th century, most probably around 1350-1352. It was part of the defensive system of royal fortresses which protected the western border of the state on the Silesian side, and was known as the Eagles' Nests.
The castle rose from a steep and rocky hill, its round tower soaring above it. This superb observation point allowed the knights of Bobolice to communicate with their twin stronghold, Mirów Castle. In 1370, on the occasion of his coronation, King Ludwig of Hungary handed Bobolice Castle over to his nephew, Władysław Opolczyk. In 1379, he, in turn, handed it on to his courtier, the Hungarian, Andrzej Schoeny of Barlabas. He used it to garrison a crew which attacked and robbed the merchants and local inhabitants whose way took them close to the castle. In 1391, King Władysław Jagiełło took it back by force of arms and it became a royal possession once more.
The ownership of the castle changed hands time and time again. During the late 14th, and the 15th centuries, it belonged to the Szafraniec, Trestka and Kreza families, while later times saw it in the hands of the Chodakowski, Męciński and Myszkowski families. It was during the invasion of Poland by Archduke Maximilian III of Habsburg, in 1587, that the castle was first conquered, suffering heavy damage in the process. However, it was swiftly retaken by the Polish army, commanded by Jan Zamoyski, and was restored by its owners.
The castle's years of splendour were to last until 1657, when it was almost totally destroyed by the Swedes. In the 17th and 18th centuries, following the wars with Sweden, the castle fell into an ever greater state of disrepair. In 1683, when King Jan III Sobieski broke his journey at Bobolice Castle as he was making his way to Krakow, the location of the military build-up prior to the relief of Vienna, he was forced to spend the night in a tent. He was probably accompanied at the time by Hrehory Lasecki. A constitution (as the laws enacted in the Sejm at that time were known) of 1677 makes mention of the fact that he was imprisoned by Moscow for his loyalty to the Republic, and king Jan III Sobieski intervened on his behalf.
During the 17th century, the castle was no more than partially inhabited. An inventory from 1700 shows it to have been in a fairly dire state of repair. Despite attempts to rectify matters, it slowly but surely collapsed into ruins.
In the 19th century, an immense treasure was discovered beneath the castle. The treasure seekers put the final touches to the devastation. There are those who believe to this day that not all the treasure was found and that the main part of it still lies in the tunnels connecting Bobolice Castle and Mirów Castle.
Following the Second World War, the castle walls were partly demolished and put to use in building the road linking Bobolice and Mirów.
At the end of the last century, the castle's current owners, the Lasecki family, undertook the challenge of saving this beautiful historical building from complete annihilation. Archaeological work, commissioned by the family's representatives, Senator Jarosław W. Lasecki, and his brother, Dariusz Lasecki, is being carried out with the assistance of Poland's leading scholars, as is work on securing and reconstructing the castle, with the aim of saving this, an historical building of national significance.
Once upon a time and countless years ago, the twin castles of Mirów and Bobolice belonged to two brothers, Mir and Bobol, from whom the strongholds took their names. Under the brothers' rule, the castles grew in power and strength and the local people prospered and thrived. The brothers went to war together, returning with wagons overflowing with wondrous spoils, which they then divided fairly between them.
Wishing to keep their many treasures safe and sound, the brothers hewed an underground tunnel out of the rock, and thus their two strongholds were linked. They set a terrible witch on guard. With her red eyes, she smote all who dared aspire to venture after the brothers' treasure, petrifying them with her glance. She was aided in this by her companion, a fearful black dog. Thus protected, the tunnel was soon brimming with tremendous riches.
One year, on the King's orders, Bobol set out to war with Russia. Many months went by without his return and with neither sight nor sound of him. This good lord was missed not only by his brother, but also by his servants and the local people. Then, one day, a retinue led by the Lord of Bobolice arrived at the castle.
The wagonloads of treasure seemed to stretch further than the eye could see. Yet there was no treasure to compare with the grace and beauty of the captive woman Bobol had brought back with him. In honour of his brother's return, Mir held a wonderful feast in his castle, inviting all his liege subjects. There was dancing and revelry without end.
The following day, as was their wont, the brothers set about dividing the spoils between them. As ever, they were in perfect accord, until it came to the moment when they must share out the beautiful woman. They had both fallen in love with her at first sight. Unable to find a solution, they decided to draw lots for her. Fortune favoured Bobol, and in the twinkling of an eye, the princess had become his wife.
But sadly, she had fallen in love with the second of the two brothers. To avoid even so much as the merest whisper of suspicion, the princess and Mir met in the tunnel beneath the rocks whenever the witch flew off to attend a Sabbath. During one such rapturous night, the lovers awoke the sleeping hell-hound. His infernal barking roused Bobol from his sleep.
Seeing that his wife was gone, he began to seek her. Led to the tunnel by echoes, he spied Mir there, Mir and his own wife. Consumed with rage, he drew his sword, smiting his brother's breast, then ordered that the captive woman be walled up in the tunnel guarded by the witch.
And to this very day, on the night of the Witches' Sabbath, when the witch departs from the tunnel, the figure of the woman can be seen, casting sorrow-filled glances toward Mirów from the tower of Bobolice Castle.
Another legend of Bobolice Castle has it that a White Lady appears on a stone balcony. The White Lady is connected with the niece of a representative of the Kreza family who, according to 15th century legends, abducted a woman and held her captive in Bobolice Castle.
In the 19th century, an immense treasure was discovered beneath the castle. It is highly likely that this was a part of the treasure which, as countless legends would have it, lies largely in the tunnel running between Boblice and Mir.
Before starting reconstruction work on Bobolice Castle, archaeological and architectural research was conducted, over a period of several years, by the distinguished experts, Waldermar Niewalda, Ph.D., Sławomir Dryja, Ph.D. and Stanisław Karczmarczyk, Ph.D., Eng.
The results of their expert appraisement were presented to the Historical Sites Preservation service, in reports on the 1st and 2nd phases in 2001 and 2002 respectively. The research demonstrated that malformation of the rock floor threatened the outer and inner walls of the castle with collapse.
Attention was also drawn to the enormous difficulty of securing the remaining walls, which are around 10m high, by the means favoured by the Historical Sites Preservation service, namely external cantilevers, as well as to the dangers this would pose to visitors.
Giving due consideration to these, and to many other factors, it was therefore decided that the only effective way of saving the remaining historical substance would be the reconstruction of Bobolice Castle.
Once the restoration of the walls and gatehouses was complete, work began on the reconstruction of the upper castle. The necessity of accepting every detail put forward by the Department for the Preservation of Historical Sites, as well as the plethora of administrative procedures connected with this, caused the restoration process to be significantly protracted.
The owners' tenacity and determination meant that, despite enormous difficulties, it proved possible to plough through these obstacles in order for Bobolice Castle, so many years on, to finally regain its former glory.
It is thanks to the investment of commitment and effort that Bobolice Castle will shortly be in a condition which will enable tourists to discover for themselves its interior spaces and the defensive role it filled. A tourist service point is being set up at the castle, and the reconstructed interiors will house historical apartments and a museum.
DISCLAIMER: All information taken about the history of the castle, the misteries and legends, the reconstruction work on Bobolice was taken from the bilingual site maintained - you can also check more information out here and also have a virtual walk inside ;)

If you wish to read more of the delightful posts I have done in collaboration with Discover Cracow, I recommend with all my heart all the below listed:
** Sponsored post but written from the heart, without any external influences**

Yours truly,
The LadyBug very much in love with the Eagles's Nest Trail :)
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