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Friday, 27 February 2015

From cinder to Cinderella

Dearest friends,

You know how fond I am of fairies and fairytales, so today I will tell you my feelings regarding the new Cinderella movie that just released in Germany, on the 13 February 2015 at the Berlin International Film Festival. Unlike what others may say, that was a lucky Friday 13th ;) Unfortunately it will be released in Poland a month later - on the 13th of March - so we still need to hold our horses. 
I shall go quickly through the final trailer released - you can watch it on Youtube but also on the IMDB site for the movie. I did this before on the adorable Maleficent, so you can figure out I am very much attracted to stories for children :) I guess that is how one stays young? Anyway, Maleficent was an extremely pleasant surprise for me - the story was told from a different angle and though it came to me as a shock to see fairies with wings the size/shape of a giant bird, it still made me feel all warm and fuzzy and believe that even darkness can be turned into light. 
The above picture of Lily James as Cinderella reminded me of this photo takes by Annie Leibovitz
But let's get to the topic of the day: Cinderella, directed by one of my youth crushes - Kenneth Branagh. He was born in lovely Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, and stole my heart in 1993 as Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing (if the name sounds familiar, I must tell you that is one of Shakespeare's plays) & Frankenstein (Mary Shelley). Some may think his director skills are not that bright but if you loved Thor, guess what? He was the director there as well ;) 
In fact, Cinderella marks the reunion of director Kenneth Branagh with Stellan Skarsgård (Thor (2011)) Helena Bonham Carter ( Frankenstein (1994)), and Derek Jacobi (Henry V (1989), Dead Again (1991) ) and Hamlet (1996)).Also, this film marks Kenneth Branagh's first collaboration with Walt Disney Pictures. Branagh also directed Thor (2011), which was distributed by Paramount Pictures, but subsequently re-branded as a Disney film. 
While approaching the project with a deep understanding of the fairy tale's history, Kenneth Branagh said: "It is impossible to think of Cinderella without thinking of Disney, and the timeless images we've all grown up watching. And those classic moments are irresistible to a filmmaker.
I think that Cinderella 2015 is one of the most anticipated movies of the year. With a brilliantly picked British cast - starting with Lily James as Cinderella (whom all Downton Abbey lovers know), Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother (and that was an unexpected surprise, seing her turn rotten!), Helena Bonham Carter as the fairy godmother (again in an unexpected, reverse role, like Cate), Richard Madden as the prince (the unrecognizable Rob Stark from Game of Thrones!), Sophie McShera as Drizella (one of Cinderella's sisters - Lily and Sophie also played together in Downton Abbey, but there the roles were reversed) and many many more :) 
Via Tumblr
Of course that during the trailer you see a lot of similarities to the old Disney story: Cinderella's dress is still blue, the Princes costume at the ball is still white, Cinderella still loses her glass slipper, she still has a horrid stepmother and 2 stepsisters, she still has a carriage with horses that transform back when the clock turns midnight on her... but the whole trailer has a more adult/grown-up look about it. It is as if it was created especially for grown-ups to remind them of their childhood years and get them coming to the cinema to relive their youth. I am unsure if I would take my younger self to see it - I will have to wait for the movie to give you my honest opinion... 
As usual, it is hard to squeeze as much as you can of the story under 2 minutes, for a trailer. Also, its hard to try to reinvent a story that has been told so many times in so many different ways - from the Disney version to the Ever After: A Cinderella Story, with Drew Barrymore (which, I really enjoyed!). 
  1. The trailer starts with Cinderella riding her horse in the forest, bumping into a enormous stag (I would say that stag was too huge even for fairytales!) - 0:11. 
  2. Cut to 0:20 when Cinderella is not frightened by the stag and warns him of the chase (the Prince and his team are actually chasing the stag) - "Run! Quickly or they'll catch you". Queue to stag running away - a) either he actually understood the lady; b) she just thinks she's mad and he runs away frightened... 
  3. Jumping to 0:27 - Good Lord! Rob Stark without a beard! I say, this world is coming to an end! he has such a pre-puberty look about him...  maybe the God Of Light raised him from the dead only if he promised never to wear a beard... who knows?!
  4. Around 0:30 the conversation between Cinderella and the Prince starts - no hello and their first conversation at their very first meeting sounds to me very much as a reproach, not something that would make one fall in love with another... 
  5. 0:40 brings Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother, and that is one of the first beautiful and unexpected surprises of the movie! as we always get to see Cate in these positive, fairy-like, godess parts that make her so unreal and untouchable... For me, she will always be Galadriel from LOTR! 
  6. Aproximately 1 minute into the trailer we get the 2nd pleasant surprise: Helena Bonham Carter as the fairy godmother! and if you watched her life on the big screen, she takes the oddest and most quirckies roles possible. Most of the time negative ones, with a bit of twist - as noone can be 100% evil, right?! Well I never thought I would see her as the fairy godmother. I would have actually thought she would switch places with Cate's role... but there ya go! :) That's HBC friends, never ceases to amaze us!
  7. Final line of the trailer underlines Disney's quest in the last few years - with the characters like Mulan, Merida and Rapunzel - that Princesses are no longer meant to be saved, they can save the world themselves! - "I will protect the prince, no matter what is to become of me!", said Cinder(ella).
Well I can tell you I can hardly wait to see the movie, as it promises to show a bit more than the Disney classics - including how she came from cinder to Cinderella :) So, make sure you put this down for the list of movies to see this year - for sure I did!
Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Fairytales!
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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Carrots and Peas - The Perfect Double-Cream-Soup

Dearest hearts,

Did you knew that people first grew carrots as medicine, not food, for a variety of ailments? Carrots can be traced back about 5,000 years through historical documents and paintings. No one knows exactly when the first carrots appeared, because many people mistook them for parsnips, a close relative of the carrot. A week or two ago - mind me not, time flies by so fast, I cannot keep track! - I went with my lovely Romanian friends to another Restaurant. You may remember me telling you the story about MAMALYGA - NOT A Romanian Restaurant.
This time we went to the Old Jewish District, in Kazimierz, to a typical Polish Restaurant. Marchewka z Groszkiem is one of the first Restaurants in the area. Before the movie Schindlers List became popular, Kazimerz was quite a ruin and not a very safe place to live, but the popularity of the movie and the increasing number of visitors coming from inside the country and outside, made the city change. Marchewka z Groszkiem is very popular now in the city and you can see the place filled with locals, feeling very much at home - which is a very good thing, as usually where locals eat then there is where you should go as they would not accept less than the original recipe!
The Restaurant scored on Tripadvisor #265 out of 913 Restaurants in Krakow. It is open Sunday to Saturday from 9 am to 10 pm and can be found in the Kazimerz district, on ulica Mostowa 2. On its Facebook page it scored by 2/20/2015 a number of 1700 people who like the page and 4.3 out of 5 starts on the review. You can check their menu online, both on their Facebook page and on their regular Internet page and make up your mind in advance :) Pretty much the whole menu is traditional Polish dishes, homemade taste ;) You can also make reservations but you need to be there in time - or have a maximum 15 min delay - or else the reservation will be taken by someone else, and trust me there are people who stay in line to get here!
Queue to our story, on a lovely Sunday afternoon - around 3 pm - lunch time. Of course, we did not have any reservation - a party of 3 ladies should never be an issue! so we ended up staying in line - like several other Polish people - waiting for a table to clear up inside. Fortunately someone who made the reservation for a round table for 4 did not make it in the 15 minutes... Happy us! :)
It is a medium size cafe/restaurant with 4 small room interconnected in the shape of a turned L. As you enter you have one room after another, or you can take the left and have another 2. Marchewka z Groszkiem is not self service, so you need to wait for the waitress to come take your order - PLUS: they have menu in English language; MINUS: the waitresses are not overjoyed/extremely friendly. But the food does make up for it :) As the restaurant is named Marchewka z Groszkiem I believe that calls for a translation - the name means Carrots and Peas, so I wanted to taste something specific of the house.
I settled down on testing the specialty of the house: cream soup with carrots and peas (320 gr for only 5.5 zloty), which was a wonderful surprise for me - especially as I quite dislike carrots, unless they are baby carrots :) It was just the right consistency, creamy and tasy, and it came in a bowl split it two - as you can see in the pictures above. The combination of the 2 colors and their consistency was just perfect. They did not blend into eachother and they stayed in place. I believe it was the perfect double-cream-soup I ever tasted!
The restaurant is very children friendly and I saw a lot of families with small kids while we were there - they even have a corner with books and toys for all ages! We kinda figured out at that point that even the food is baby-friendly as it was so smooth and tasty that even a baby could have gulped that down and be happy. 
As a second course I had the weirdest thing I could find on the menu! I had Ukrainian styled pancakes with potatoes, meat and sour cream on top (11.50 zloty for the 2 pancakes). I never tasted anything like it and it took me a while to figure out if I like it or not. For sure I would have put less potatoes in, but hey! I ain't a big fan of potatoes either! so don't listen to me... I would for sure try pancakes again there, but with a different filling. One of my friends had the one with spinach and it looked delicious - the pancakes even had slightly different, dark red, color due to the paprika :) We exited the Restaurant quite full and positively impressed over the place - good food, good prices but they really need to work out a bit on the whole attitude of the waitresses. We recommend it and would like to try it again when a bit of sun comes :) maybe on the terrace!

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

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loved The Carrots & Peas Cream Soup
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Saturday, 21 February 2015

The Czartoryski Museum - A Piece Of Polish Soul

Dearest friends,

You may not know much about Polish history but you may know the name of Leonardo da Vinci - the famous artist and inventor. Well, you may or may not also know that the delicate painting of "The Lady with an Ermine" is part of the Polish patrimonium. In 1798, Princess Izabela Czartoryska 's son - Prince Adam Jerzy,  travelled to Italy and bought the famous painting by Leonardo and Raphael's "Portraits of a Young Man".
The Princess met in Paris, in 1772, with Benjamin Franklin, J.J. Rousseau and Voltaire,  who at that time they were bringing new ideas into the old order. The idea of  museum of polish art came in the time where Poland no longer existed on the map, but the Princess wanted to still preserve the Polish nationalistic spirit, with the hope that Poland would one day come again as one on the map of the world.
The Czartoryski Museum was founded in 1796 by Princess Izabela Czartoryska to preserve the Polish heritage in keeping with the Princess' motto: "The Past to the Future". In 1843 her son bought The Hotel Lambert which became the Living Museum of Poland.  Prince Wladyslaw Czartoryski - the son of Adam Jerzy - decided in 1870 to move over the collections to Krakow, where they arrived in 1876. He was a born collector, extended the family collection and took over the museum. Along with his sister they helped include to the list: the Polonaise carpet, Etruscan and Greek vases, Roman and Egyptian antiquities and different types of arms and armours.
In Kraków they were given a small palace close to the main market square, just at the entrance of Florianska street, next to the defence walls. Today the museum is administered by the Princes Czartoryski Foundation setup by Prince Adam Karol in 1991. With around 12,000 visitors a year it is one of the most visited museums in Kraków. It is ranked by TripAdvisor as #90 out of 127 Attractions in Krakow (as per year 2014) with a total of 75% positive feedback comments. It is also featured on the "3 days in Krakow" guide.
Part of the museum is still under renovation, ever since I came to Poland almost 4 years ago. They have moved "The Lady with an Ermine" to the Wawel Castle where the exodus of tourists is ever flowing. The only open section of the museum right now is the Gallery of Ancient Art - located on the Defence Wall at the beginning of the Florianska street.
The Grand Room of the Gallery of Ancient Art
The gallery is quite small - consisting of a very large room, as you can see in the pictures - but it is fully packed with a lot of artefacts. For me it is priceless and reaches my childhood years when I was fascinated by the Greeks and by Ancient Egypt. It is enough to say - for the fans like myself - that there are 3 human mummies + 1 cat mummy + 1 bird mummy + portions of The Book of the Dead (with translations both in Polish and English)!!! I have been there 4 times until now and I would do it again any day!
The Mummy Of A Cat - The African Fallow Cat
A bit more informations about the Czartoryski collection:
  • Closed for remodeling till  2015, part of the museum's collections being moved to the Niepolomice castle for an exhibition there open from April 2010.
  • Gallery of Antique Art in the Arsenal at 8 Pijarska street is open every day except Mondays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
  • Da Vinci's Lady with an Ermine is to be temporarily displayed in Krakow's Wawel Royal Castle probably till the reopening of the Czartoryski Museum.
When it comes to the price of the tickets, I can tell you that whole Sunday it is for free :)  but any other day the regular ticket is 9 zloty and the one with discount - for elder or students - is  only 5 zloty (less than a beer!). Children under 7 years go for free, but I would not bring my kids there unless they would be history buffs or very much into ancient times... like I was :) Of course you can but the tickets only but the site is in Polish - they are constructing the English version as we speak. The eco-ticket bought is valid for 6 months since its purchase! You can buy it here. I recommend it for the Ancient History fans :) but also for people religious interested/oriented. The extracts from The Book of the Dead are very good and if you know your Bible, you can see similarities in the text. Enjoy it! as I always enjoy it immensly!

Yours truly,
A LadyBug That Enjoys Mummies ;)))
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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Cyberteka Krakow - Time And Space

Dear friends,

As we are on a row now with Museums Of Krakow and art, I will tell you a bit more about another Museum part of the National Treasury of Krakow - Cyberteka. Krakow - Time and Space, located in the Old City Center, Main Square, inside the Palac Krzysztofory. The exhibition is quite new and it presents the urban development of the city between 1909 and 1915, when the project of Great Kraków was executed.
One of my personal fav pieces from the Exhibition :)
It focuses on the reconstruction of Krakow by digitalising the museum collections. It is both an introduction to the future permanent exhibition in the Krzysztofory Palace, entitled Kraków from the beginning without an end, and an autonomous repository of knowledge about Krakow. The exhibition spaces, spread over an area of 185 square metres, are localised on the second floor of the western wing of the Krzysztofory Palac.
Here is a short presentation from their site in English: "In the first room, Cracovia Origo, the oldest history of Kraków is presented.
Space Two, Oppidum, is a story about the development of Kraków settlement (the Wawel town, Okół borough, other settlement centres) with the selected buildings of Romanesque architecture from the pre-incorporation times.
The next part of the exhibition, Civitas, tells us about the crucial event in the history of the town, i.e. granting town rights to Kraków by Duke Bolesław the Chaste on 5th June 1257 and the development of the town up to the end of the 15th century.
In the fourth space, Forum, urban development of Kraków from the 16th through the 18th centuries is presented, mostly on the basis of the Kraków Market Square.
The next, fifth space, Aglomeracja, is a story about the phenomenon of Kraków − Kazimierz − Kleparz tricity in modern times. An important element of its arrangement is a centrally located prop in the form of a balloon, making a reference to the development of enlightenment thought and science.
The last, sixth room exhibits the spatial and urban development project, entitled the Great Kraków and implemented between 1909 and 1915 under supervision of Juliusz Leo, president of Kraków. The model of the plane Albatros D.III (Oef), suspended under the ceiling, is a dominant element in the room. The plane is an Austro-Hungarian fighter from the period of World War I, making a reference to the development of technology and industry in the beginning of the 20th century.
The exhibition also presents unique artefacts from the collection of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków, including the insignia of local authorities, i.e. a small sceptre and ring of the mayors of Kraków of the 16th century, as well as a silver crucifix used for swearing in town councillors from the 2nd half of the 17th century. What we can also see in this room is the oldest view of Kraków from the north, developed in the studio of Michał Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleyenwurff and included in Hartmann Schedl's Chronicle from 1493, the 1600 view of Kraków from the south, as seen from Krakus Mound: the copperplate and etching were engraved by Jacob Hoefnagel according to the sketch of Egidio van der Rye, as well as the monumental Map of Kraków by Hugo Kołłątaj, made by Maciej Dębski and Kazimierz Szarkiewicz upon Kołłątaj's order between 1783 and 1785.
The above are complemented by four 3D films: Cracovia Origo, The Wawel Castle 1,000 years ago, Cracovia Nostra Cracoviensis A.D.1650 and Cracovia A.D. 1650."
For me, this museum is very futuristic and it entices the people who pass its threshold to touch and read and learn more. It's children friendly and adults/grown-ups and teenagers alike can have fun. There is a lot of information condensed in these 6 rooms and if you wish to skip some info you would still end up being there for an hour or two... The museum is on the 2nd floor of the Palace, right in the Main Square, on the corner leading to Plac Szczepanski so it's hard to miss ;)  and you have 2 options - either take the stairs or go by the elevator. The rooms are displayed counter-clock-wise so when you enter make sure you take the right not the left door ;) The displays are user-friendly and work well + the language display is both in English and Polish. 
Here are some details when you can visit and on the prices:
Ticket prices:
  • Normal ticket: PLN 12.00
  • Discounted ticket: PLN 8.00
  • Family ticket: PLN 24.00
  • Group ticket for schools: PLN 6.00
  • Tuesday is the free admittance day
Opening hour:
  • Tuesday - Sunday 10.00 a.m. - 5.30 p.m.
Entrance to the exhibition:
  • Organised groups up to 25 people: every 30 minutes
  • Individual tourists: every 30 minutes, up to 15 people per hour
  • Last entrance: groups: 60 minutes before exhibition closing; individual tourists: 45 minutes before exhibition closing
Of course you can also book the tickets online and then just pick them up at the counter ;) It ain't the most amazing museum in Krakow but for the history buffs it might be worth your while. It's easy and quick to do and if you are stranded due to the rain/heavy snow and you just wanna stay inside and you already visited the wonderful Rynek Underground, then I suggest you take a few steps to the Cyberteka Krakow and then award yourself with a yummy creme brulee at Charlotte ;)

Yours truly truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Museums <3
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Sunday, 15 February 2015

Rynek Underground = Following The Traces of European Identity of Krakow

Dearest friends,

Do you know which museum was picked as "Travellers Choice 2014 Winner" and is listed on 4th place (out of 10) of Best Museums in Poland? The top 3 were:
2. Warsaw Uprising Museum (which my awesome husband and I visted the first time I was in Warsaw)
3. Polish Aviation Museum (where each year there is an Air Festival - Malopolski Piknik Lotniczy Air Festival)
and the lovely museum that I will tell you about today, and the glorious winner of the 4th place, is the Rynek Underground Museum :) Part of the National Museum of Krakow it is ranked #15 of 131 attractions in Krakow (as per Tripadvisor). Its address is simple: Rynek Glowny 1, Krakow 31-042, Poland (Stare Miasto). It is located in the old city center, right below Sukienicce ;)
View from inside the museum, looking up at the St. Mary
No matter the time or day or season, it is a pleasure to visit it. If you are wishing though for a short museum visit, than this is not the museum for you! Each time I get there I end up staying at least 3 hours... There are so many objects displayed and so many places you can interact, that you should just take your time and see them one by one - your may come out overwhelmed and with a slight headache but you will love this place nonetheless :)
The exhibition is both informative and interactive so children can have fun as well. Actually each time I was there, there were a lot of children visiting and touching the selected exponates that you can have a go at. Also there is a special kids corner that looked very much fun to be in, but I was unfortunately too old to be allowed :(
There are a lot of reconstructions that show the vistors how life was in the medieval time in Krakow and its surroundings. There is a lot of information stored on the monitors/displays but unfortunately there is only one monitor per exhibit so you might have to wait your turn...
A part of the expo may be not so suited for the children, but very attractive to Romanian tourists and Supernatural fans: the room with the vampires :) When they started the excavations under the Sukienicce they found a cemetery as well. Inside the small cemetery they also found a couple of interesting bodies burried in a different way than the others - burried with their hands and feet tied and in a fetal position (not the stand up straight, normal type of burial position). That type of position was specific for that age for the people who were believed to be vampires. There is a special area with plexiglass where you actually walk over their graves...
One of the main rooms of the Museum reminded me very much of the Louvre
A lot of people from around the world give praise to the technology incorporated in this museum. Take for example Lizzy from Connecticut: "First off, we are medieval history buffs so take that into consideration when you read this review. I give this musem a "5" rating due to its great incorporation of technology. We went on a Thursday night, my husband just arrived from the US and without sleep, and spend three solid hours there without him falling over! The technology is super - I wish other great museums in the world woutd take heed and learn to incorporate technology this way. We rented the headsets for a dollar or two, and they are a bit wonky - seem to go on and off when they want. I would say skip them since they basically read some, but not all, of the posted material. We stayed a long time because we used the interactive screens at many stops. Available in many languages (choose menu in the top left first), then you can read about the display or the actual finds. Also VERY well done are the simulated street scenes with people walking around (on film, but through mist like you are seeing through time), and the noises of street life. It reminds me a bit of Jorvik Viking centre and Pompeii, although that technology is much older. There is a 180 degree theater which is silent but with very cool images from about 1000 through Pope John Paul II, Just watching the images overlapping is hypnotic.

The second half of the museum has several films - they last quite a while but have seating which is welcome by that point. We watched the medieval (complete with gruesome torture chamber scenes, not too bad but yucky enough with chopped of toes and body parts to enchant young boys!), and renaissance films. The films do a good job of explaining history of all Krakow. We really felt like we had a great overview of Krakow before we saw any other sights, so I would strongly recommend it as a first stop!The museum goes on a long way. At the end is a small exhibit on 2 screens which show how they put the museum together with actors, green screen, exhibits, etc. It makes me wish I had been around to participate."
This particular piece inside the museum (pictured above) made me shiver... It depicts an anthropoligical surprise for the team excavating - a skeleton (to be more precise, the head!) of a man who lived around 40 years of age and got a trepanation performed in the 11th century! If you don't know what is a trepanation... well... there ya go - Wikipedia help - Trepanning, also known as trepanation, trephination, trephining or making a burr hole (the verb trepan derives via Old French and therefrom via Medieval Latin from the Greek noun of relevant meaning trypanon, literally "(a) borer, (an) auger") is a surgical intervention in which a hole is drilled or scraped into the human skull, exposing the dura mater to treat health problems related to intracranial diseases. It may also refer to any "burr" hole created through other body surfaces, including nail beds. It is often used to relieve pressure beneath a surface. A trephine is an instrument used for cutting out a round piece of skull bone.
Gallery with the photos from excavating under Sukienicce
In ancient times, holes were drilled into a person who was behaving in what was considered an abnormal way to let out what they believed were evil spirits. Evidence of trepanation has been found in prehistoric human remains from Neolithic times onward. Cave paintings indicate that people believed the practice would cure epileptic seizures, migraines, and mental disorders.The bone that was trepanned was kept by the prehistoric people and may have been worn as a charm to keep evil spirits away. Evidence also suggests that trepanation was primitive emergency surgery after head wounds to remove shattered bits of bone from a fractured skull and clean out the blood that often pools under the skull after a blow to the head. Such injuries were typical for primitive weaponry such as slings and war clubs.
But enough of that, or I will spoil all the fun of YOU discovering this wonderful museum. It is the kind of museum you fall in love with and when you go out you feel like your brain cells are more happy, and even the dents in our brain are much deep ;))) So I recommend it with all my heart - especially if you are in Krakow and you catch a rainy day in which all you wanna do is be inside. Plus at the end of the expo they have a really nice and cozy cafe place ;) 
Here are some details about the price and opening hours:
  • regular 19 PLN
  • concessionary 16 PLN
  • group 15 PLN
  • schools 10 PLN
  • family 38 PLN (2 adults and 2 children up to 16, or 1 adult and 3 children up to 16)
  • VIP ticket 40 PLN
  • guide for groups 120 PLN
  • guide for schools 90 PLN
Opening hours:
*Winter season (November – March)
  • Monday, Wednesday - Sunday 10.00-20.00
  • Tuesday 10.00-16.00 (no charge)
*Summer season (April – October)
  • Monday, Wednesday - Sunday 10.00-22.00
  • Tuesday 10.00-16.00 (no charge)
Exhibition is closed on every first Tuesday of the month. 
You can also make the reservations online and just come and pick the tickets :) Enjoy!

Yours truly,
A LadyBug That Loves Interactive Museums!
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Thursday, 12 February 2015

A Dream Within A Dream: Zdzisław Beksiński

Dearest hearts,

If you read my post about the Zdzisław Beksiński Exhibition I went last year, you probably remember me being very enthusiastic :) Well guess what? Now I am jumping for joy as the NCK (Cracow’s Nowa Huta Cultural Centre) will open a permanent gallery! Let me tell you more directly from their Facebook page:

"They didn’t want him in Warsaw, although Kraków (Cracow) embraced him. A new gallery of Zdzisław Beksiński will be created in NCK (Cracow’s Nowa Huta Cultural Centre), with many paintings, photographs, and a hundred drawings. When in October 2014 NCK opened an exhibition of his paintings from Sanok’s Museum collection, Nowa Huta was flooded with crowds of people. 20,000 people visited the exhibition which lasted only 2 weeks because of the painting hire period limit. After the success we had no doubt that Beksiński in Nowa Huta is a hit. Hence the idea to create an art gallery for the artist. The official opening will take place in January 2016 - says Zbigniew Grzyb, director of the NCK.

From Częstochowa to Kraków.

Beksiński’s art collection, which for ten years was shown in Częstochowa Art Exhibitions Office (BWA) will now go to Krakow. The collection is owned by Piotr Dmochowski, merchant and a lawyer. Since 1983 he created a collection of works by the artist. He lives in Paris and from there - as he says - "promotes the work of the artist." Why Krakow? Dmochowski claims that there were several reasons for that. Beksiński studied at Cracow University of Technology, the last exhibition of his work was hugely popular and NCK offered the best conditions to present the collection. “We battled for three and a half years to create a gallery in Warsaw. I made two exhibitions there before. The last one in 2011 enjoyed a huge popularity. Just in one month it was visited by 25,000 viewers. However it turned out tho that they don’t want Beksiński there. The Mayor of Warsaw Mrs. Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz refused to help” - says the collector.

Proposals to create Beksiński’s gallery were submitted also by Łódź and Toruń. Kraków has won the tender offering about 200 square meters space for permanent exhibition. There are already funds to renovate the premises. For now it's only half a million PLN from the municipal budget, which should be enough for the renovation and adaptation. An intent letter to create the gallery has been signed earlier this week. It is indeed an excellent news for Kraków. Beksiński will be a great magnet for Nowa Huta - says vice governor Magdalena Sroka.

The works from fantastic period

In Nowa Huta’s gallery we will see 50 images of so-called fantastic period, 90 photographs and a hundred drawings in different formats. It is just a part of Piotr Dmochowski’s collection. The collector does not exclude that if the cooperation with the NCK goes well, other Beksiński’s works will be shown in Kraków as well. He has has hundreds of them in his collection, from mid-50’ies photography, metal abstract sculptures, wire and plaster works, drawings and images from each stage of Beksiński’s art.

The audience loves Beksiński, although critics don’t. They do not understand his work, despising him for lack of artistic education. Meanwhile, he was an artist in every way. He drew since he was a child, which his overbearing father used to forbid. Only after his father’s death, Beksiński devoted himself entirely to his art - says Joanna Gościej-Lewińska, curator of Beksiński’s exhibition, which took place in the NCK in October 2014.

Tadeusz Nyczek, literary critic and admirer of Beksiński’s art - is very satisfied with Krakow’s admission .
The audience never let Beksiński down. Last October’s exhibition proved that people still want to watch it. I'm glad that Kraków was able to take over the collection, which so far was shown in Czestochowa.

Beksinski’s family

Zdzisław Beksiński came from Sanok. He graduated from architecture at the Cracow University of Technology. For several years lived in Krakow. In 1955 he returned to his hometown. Quit his job and devoted to art. In the late 70’s, he moved to Warsaw - Służewiec where he lived until 2005 when he was murdered. The investigation showed robbery as the motive for the crime. Lovers of Beksiński’s works have set up many websites and fan pages. One of them has more than 300 thousands "likes". In 2014, Krakow’s Publishing House “Znak” has published a book "Beksińskis. A Double Portrait" by Magdalena Grzebałkowska. It is a story about the artist and his son Tomasz (who committed suicide in 1999.). The book became a bestseller."

Of course you can always check the newly created Web Page - which is live now in 4 languages: Polish, German, English and French. You can explore the Virtual Gallery and see his beautiful dreams into paintings and sketches. Explore! Explore and fall in love with Beksiński's dreams :) 

Yours truly,
The LadyBug = Fan of Beksiński :)
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Monday, 9 February 2015

MAMALYGA - NOT A Romanian Restaurant

Dear friends,

Everyone from back home, from Romania, who read the title of the article will look funny at me... When we say mamaliga, that means in Romanian language, we think of a typical Romanian dish. It is a porridge made out of yellow maize flour, traditional in Romania, Moldova, and Western Ukraine. We consume it as much as much and as often as Polish people eat potatoes. Historically it was a peasant food. It was often used as a substitute for bread or even as a staple food in the poor rural areas. However, in the last decades it has emerged as an upscale dish available in the finest restaurants.
Traditionally, mămăliga is cooked by boiling water, salt and cornmeal in a special-shaped cast iron pot called ceaun or tuci. When cooked peasant-style and used as a bread substitute, mămăliga is supposed to be much thicker than the regular Italian polenta to the point that it can be cut in slices, like bread. When cooked for other purposes, mămăligă can be much softer, sometimes almost to the consistency of porridge. Because mămăligă sticks to metal surfaces, a piece of sewing thread can be used to cut it into slices instead of a knife; it can then be eaten by holding it with the hand, just like bread. (via Wikipedia)
I very much like to cook it at home with livers and onion ;) and I really think you should try my recipe as my husband is a big fan. It is easy to do but if the flour you use is not good it might not end up well. I always use flour from home - my parents and friends always bring me some when they visit! Also, my little secret on mamaliga is the fact that I boil the flour in milk not water ;)
But let me come back to the subject of the day: Restauracja Mamalyga is NOT a Romanian Restaurant. It is a restaurant in Krakow, typical Polish, with homemade food at low prices. Located on ul. Podwale 2, very close to the University and Main Square - Old Town, it is perfect for the new students of the city. They have regular menus and also the "Dish of the day". They accept card and cash. There are also loyalty cards for the students that provide 10% discount on all dishes on the menu. They also have a few interesting functionalities (listed also on their Web Page):

  • for children
  • for people with disabilities
  • delivery for the orders of more than 20 dishes
  • free wi-fi
  • organization of special events
The inside view :)
The bathroom entrance
The entrance room
The secondary room - much more cozy!
I very much like the fact that their Web Page is both in Polish and English :) They update the page almost weekly and their opening hours are everyday from 9 am to 8 pm, except Friday to Sunday when they stay open until the last client. Their rooms can seat up to 60 people. The entrance room + the secondary room (that we chose and it was very cozy!) + the hallway + the serving area = 60 seats.
It was our first time there - me and my dear Romanian friends - so we went with the easy option for lunch: Meal Of The Day = Soup + Main Course + Compot = 11 zloty. The soup we could choose but as we are huge fan of Zurek (traditional Polish soup with sausage, potatoes and eggs; quite creamy consistency) we all 4 went with the same option ;))) The Main Course that day was risotto. The Zurek was not quite what I expected and was not creamy enough but had a nice taste. The risotto has a very nice cream mushroom sauce - but too few to my taste. The chicken breast with the risotto was well done but I found yet another minus on the rice, which - again to my taste - was a bit undercooked. 
Overall it was a decent experience. The place is very cozy and well centered for the fresh students and I know it can get crowded during university season! I would not place it on my top 3 homemade food places but it's worth a shot. I think of coming back and trying something else... just to give it another go! And that just because of the compot + the risotto sauce which was great! Anyway, you can also check their Facebook page and see what else is new there ;) They don't have pictures with food there, so I consider that a great minus! It would be just a few snaps away and maybe attract more people? Food for thought ;) 

P.S. If I would rate this Restauracja out of 5 point I would give it a 2 for location, nice ambient, smiling people who take your order, how quick the food is prepared + the risotto sauce and compot :) But I am being just nice...

P.S.S. In the secondary room there is a warm cozy fireplace and also a really cute wardrobe, quite old, in which you can find the silver for your breakfast/lunch/dinner :) 

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

Yours truly, 
A LadyBug Who Likes To Pick On Small Details
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Friday, 6 February 2015

Mr. Tic And Other Love Stories

Dearest sweethearts,

Do you remember a while back - last year in June - when I was telling you about the book release of Mister Tic and other loves from Musatini (Musatini = a name of a street in Iasi, Romania)? Or do you remember when I was telling you about that pretty lass writing a book about her crazy and high spirited little curly dog? Well guess what? She is doing it again! :) 
And I am so very happy and proud of her! Her first book was all about Tic, finding him and his small funny stories - how he got lost, how he was found and the joy he brings into her and Andrei's life. It was done in Romanian language so unfortunately I could not share the joy with my international friends :( I was sad, as it was a very vivid book, a book that makes you smile and cry and laugh out loud like you did when you were a small child. Laura has this writing style that makes you feel her heart pouring on paper... when you open the book you can hear her heartbeat and you can hear her smile... Even if you have never met her, you will instantly fall in love with her! (not to mention Andrei & Mr.Tic)
Laura finished her second book called "Mr. Tic And Other Love Stories" just a few days ago and now she is in the process of raising money to print the book. This time - to my great joy! - the book will be bilingual - both in Romanian and in English - so I see it as a perfect gift for the international couples. A gift both her/him could enjoy. This time Laura focuses more on their adventures in different countries and the loves they encounter, so it is a much more mature book - not as child-friendly as the previous one. I have had the pleasure of receiving it before published, but that will not stop me from buying it! Laura, get ready another autograph! :) I believe in Laura and I hope you will read the below extract from the second book. I will keep you updated once it is live, ready to be bought ;)
"And we've moved again. In our fall-spring home. It's somewhere at the edge of the city, almost next of kin with the forest. A tall house made of red girders. The architect, and the owner, has truly built it after his own Swiss heart. And it's quiet, and the sun slips slowly along the windows surrounding the attic. Tic jumps from one window sill to the other and it feels just like having four cats. I love houses with lots of windows. Many big windows. I've always relished the light and this is the brightest house the three of us have lived in. The warmest. The newest. I'm almost afraid to open the drawers. I take easy steps, without dragging my feet. I'm carressing the glass wall between the kitchen and the bathroom. The apartment was cheaper because it's not ready yet. But for us it's more than we need. Still, you can see from the kitchen what the other is doing in the shower. „Well, that won't be a problem for you”, Mr. Kettler told us in his battered English. Andrei starts laughing. „I'll pull up a chair and watch you shower, just like watching the TV”, he tells me with a sweet, unnoticeable poke, so that I won't blush. I haven't told him yet, but I'll take pictures!

Of course, it was up to us and our two bicicles to carry all of our small fortune. That, and some other stuff we've got (some saucers, a clothes dryer, some knives, cups and tea boxes). We could hardly drag ourselves. That's the way we do it”, Andrei shouts from up front as his bike dangles dangerously to the right. From the back he looks like a small bus. I'm strolling with my brakes on. Thank God we're going downhill so our bones are, at least for the moment, spared. The cups and a couple of jars are jingling in the basket of my bike. People out for a stroll, with petite purses or small backpacks are all eyeing us in awe. Other girls carry flowers in the baskets of their bikes. I'm carrying pots and pans and forks. Jingle-jingle! Not even Tic's cinnamon eyes can save me. That's the way we do it... But we have our own little corner of Germany. And a green church tower with a simple, almost wrist-watch clock. And the brass bell on top of it carresses my soul as it bing-bangs, just like a hernshaw tapping its leg.

It's been another hour. Another 60 minutes in Konstanz, a city I can split, like I do an orange. Another hour we've been happy. And lucky. And together. The rain washes our street. Tic sits at his window. And we cuddle in each other's arms, each of us with his own lamp. We've never had our own lamps before. Bing-bang, ting-tong, the tower reminds us gently that another hour has passed. Bing-bang, our home feels so good...
The sketches of the book will be done by
Curtis Wiklund

P.S. We had nothing, you know. Just the clothes in our suitcase and a bag of puppy food for Tic. We wandered the streets like crazy during the first days to find a place to live in. Because the city is overcrowded, you have to apply to an apartment just like you do for a job! And we had a puppy, we weren't planning to live there for years, we were a couple, and, to make matters worse, we were from Romania. We could nearly see ourselves sleeping under a bridge. And still we found it. A little place just for the three of us. The apartment was empty and we could hardly afford the rent. We had nothing, but it's been almost twoo weeks and the people helped us with a washing machine, and a clothes dryer, and a water boiler, and a vacuum cleaner, and colourful paintings, carpets, chairs, hangers, everything. Just because we needed them. All, free. Just like a mother and a father would give you when you're leaving their home for the first time. Just that Mother and Father are too far away to give them to us. Today we have internet, with a router we just got. It was the one thing we needed and it happened. We couldn't have afforded it otherwise. We couldn't afford anything we have. Without all these things we could have still managed. Just us and our little bundle of almost nothing. If the three of us are together and healthy, we could as well live in a cardboard box under the nicest bridge in Konstanz. But here we are. Together, and healthy, and with everything we need. I'm looking at the tower by our window. Bing-bang, it goes swiftly. It's just half past twelve. Bing-bang goes my heart, with soft feelings of gratitude. We're happy here. We're safe. "
P.S. I dare you to find a sweeter lass and lad and a finer curly little dog! They make your heart melt and in an instant they are your best friends and you feel like you've know them since forever. I say stay put and I will let you know once the book is out ;) but if you wish to help Laura/Andrei/mr.Tic to get the book out quicker, contact them on Facebook ;) They are open for suggestions :) Also here you can find their official Mr. Tic page, so go befriend them! What are you waiting for?!

Yours truly,
A LadyBug very much in love with Laura, Andrei and Mr. Tic's stories :) (They are addictive!)
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