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Friday, 30 November 2018

100 Years of Romania

Dear hearts,

Being an expat means that one should acknowledge and join the new culture of the country he has been adopted to, but also not forget his own cultural heritage. That is why I admire immensely the President of the Polish-Romanian Community in Krakow. He's been living in this fine city for several years and has a Polish wife and a kind hearted Polish boy. I absolutely love their family! He studied at the Jagiellonian University of Economics in Krakow and since his Uni years, he saw there was a need for a "Romanian corner" - he was missing the books and the culture from home. (#DidYouKnow that Romania actually shared border with Poland?)... that's how he started, in the Public Library on Rajska 1, the "Romanian corner", that now holds over 600 books written in Romanian language - poetry, novels and children books as well! As per latest count, there are over 300 Romanian people living in Krakow and the Jagiellonian University has a section of Polish-Romanian studies. They have created the best Polish-Romanian dictionary in the world! And a lot of students from Romania come here to study Polish language and culture (and the other way around - Iasi has a centre for Polish studies). 
The church of Saint Joseph, Rynek Podgorze - Krakow - 27.11.2018
Ignat likes to surprise the community with regular events and for the 1st of December there are plenty of wonderful things planned. It all started with the symphonic concert of the new Transylvanian Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Philharmonic from Oradea, Romania, that took place on the 27th of November 2018 - 100th anniversary of Romania from The Great Unification (read the story below, from another external source). On the 1st of December, tomorrow, at 12 o'clock (middle of the day), please feel free invited to the St. Mary's Basilica in Krakow (Kosciol Mariacki) to attend the mess in the honour of the 100 years anniversary of Romania (The Great Unification). After that, at the Centrum Kultury Podgorza, on ulica Sokolska 13, you can join in the celebrations. There will be a photo exhibition, Romanian music, traditional Romanian food (cooked by the expats here in Krakow) and lots of surprises ;) so don't miss out on all the fun that was prepared!
1918. It is the year with the most anniversaries of events from Romania’s multi-millennia history. The Great Unification in 1918 resulted in all the historical provinces inhabited by Romanians to get together, within one single country, Romania.
The end of World War I, the fall of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires, as well as the determination of the Romanian nation to live in one country, have triggered a series of historical events.
On March 27, 1918, an official declaration gets public, stating that “Basarabia, within its boundaries which are the rivers Prut and Nistru, the Black Sea and the old borders […], by the historical law and the rights of the nation […], UNITES WITH ITS MOTHER, ROMANIA”. This was the beginning of forming Greater Romania.
Later, on November 15/28, 1918, the General Congress of Bucovina voted the unification of Bucovina and Romania. This was the second important moment on the way to the Great Unification.
The eyes of all the Romanians were then turned toward Alba Iulia, and, on November 18 / December 1, 1918, in the Great National Assembly the “Resolution” was read, officially proclaiming the union of the rest of the Romanian provinces: Transylvania, Banat, Crișana and Maramureș with the Kingdom of Romania. This was the peak moment of the historical process that had led to forming Greater Romania.
Selecting the city of Alba Iulia for the event was also a homage to Michael the Brave who was the first to unite the Romanian provinces together, for a brief period of time, in 1600.
The Great Unification was also possible due to the first unification of the two main provinces Moldova and Țara Românească in 1859 and the independence acquired by the Romanian Principalities after the war in 1877-1878.
100 years have passed and we are all celebrating that moment now. Romania looks ahead but does not forget its past. “A people that does not know their history is like a child not knowing their parents.” The Romanian historian Nicolae Iorga said.
December 1st is the National Day of Romania.

Without any further ado, here are a few other photos from the concert on the 27th of November:
 
P.S. in case you have any questions about the 1st of December celebrations, or about the Romanian Community in Krakow,  feel free to reach out to me on my Facebook page

Yours sincerely,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Krakow But Doesn't Forget Her Roots :)
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Monday, 19 November 2018

New Changes Coming for Public Transport in Krakow

Dearest sweethearts,

#DidYouKnow that encouraged by the high number of people that requested Karta Krakowska, the officials suggested increasing the fee for a single-way ticket (bilet jednoprzejazdowy) from 3.8 to 4 zloty? They also tick about cancelling the 20 minute ticket for 2.8 zloty & the monthly tickets for one and two lines. This way they think they will encourage people to buy the monthly, all lines ticket - that currently costs 72 zloty (for the Karta Krakowska owners) but they wish to drop it to 65 zloty. This sounds fair for the Karta Krakowska owners, as they chose to pay taxes in the capital of Malopolska so they earned this compensation. But what about the regular citizen or the tourists? 
Photo taken at the Muzeum of Engineering, Krakow,  Poland
Many residents, however, emphasize that buying tickets now - monthly - for one or two lines - for the Karta Krakowska that would be 37 or 52 zloty - would force them, after the change, to pay more than before - potentially 65 zloty. The liquidation of tickets for one and two lines would be felt even more by people who commute by bus outside or Krakow, as part of the agglomeration ticket that holds Strefa I  and Strefa II. They would have a network ticket for 123 zloty with the Karta Krakowska and 140 zloty without it. In such a situation many residents stated that it is better to use a car... Yet the president, officials and councillors are repeating that they want to limit the number of cars in Krakow. 
Photo taken at the Muzeum of Engineering - Krakow, Poland
"The question is, how many of these people, due to the increase, will resign from using MPK and change into their own car" says Lukasz Gibala. In the face of two huge problems faced by the residents of Krakow - for example: smog and traffic jams - we should do everything to get as many people possible from cars to MPK. In the last campaign of Mr. Lukasz Gibala he was saying that there should be a full exemption from paying MPK tickets for people paying taxes in Krakow - a model of the capital of Estonia. 

Yours sincerely,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Krakow
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Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Comparing Romania to Poland

Dear friends,

So sorry for the silence lately... I'm growing older (just turned 18 (with 14 years of experience) the other day) and more and more I want to spend time with the ones I love. You can always find me on my Facebook page, where I post daily pictures and articles from other blogs about Poland. If you haven't heard/read this about me before, I am not Polish myself. I was born and raised on the land of vampires, the land of Vlad the Impailer, the land of Nadia Comaneci and Gica Hagi, the land of Ceausescu: a (former?) beautiful country named Romania. I came to Poland,  mostly on a whim and the fact that Krakow felt very much like home, in 2011 and I stayed... You never know what Life throws at you. As Forrest Gump put it "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get". I wanted to stay for 6 month and now I am 7 years+, I have a Polish husband and a 2 years old lovely LadyBug Baby Girl (born in Poland, a true Krakowian now).
I've been thinking, very often in my first years in Krakow, about the differences between Poland and Romania. It's hard not to compare, considering the fact that we come from such a similar background, we are Balkans and we have been under the boot of the Russians, suffered under the communist party rule. Romania is a lot behind Poland in terms of infrastructure. Poland has accessed amazingly well the European Funds and had better rulers than the Romanian people. There was a real (visible, palpable) oligarch class. All leaders (democratic) that came after Ceausescu just wanted to rob more and more and take wealth for themselves. They never cared about the people. They would buy people's votes with some kilos of flour or oil and then steal them away. The rate of corruption is very high and the difference between the lower class and the high street people is huge! There is barely a middle class visible - a thin, almost non existent line, disappearing more and more, year by year. Not to mention that most of the land has "misteriously" disappeared into "unknown" hands after the fell of communism.
Historical photo: Polish-Romanian border
The language was the first and probably the only big shock. Polish language is a Slavic language and does not resemble at all with the Latin languages - like Romanian. From Wikipedia: the lexical similarity of Romanian with Italian has been estimated at 77%, followed by French at 75%, Sardinian at 74%, Catalan 73%, Portuguese 72%, Spanish 71%. In modern times Romanian vocabulary has been strongly influenced by French, Italian and other languages. This is why, for Romanian people,  knowing several languages is not a biggie ;) we all understand Italian, Spanish and French just by speaking our own language. It wasn't for nothing that in its glory times Bucharest (The capital of Romania) was also known as The Little Paris. 
Florianska street, Krakow - a view of the Mariacki Kosciol (St. Mary's Basilica in Krakow)
When it comes to Faith, the religion - the faith in God also binds us, makes us similar. Both Poland and Romania have deep roots in faith - be it Catholic church for Poland or Christian Orthodox for Romania. We have many churches both in the big cities but also in the countryside. People go regularly on Sunday at church - maybe more here in Poland. The main difference is that in Romania the churches tend to be small, cozy and dwarfed by the bigger buildings that surround them. We are, of course, not including here the new Cathedral that is (still) under construction in Bucharest - that is one of a kind and an abomination, if you ask me! The churches in Poland, even in the smaller cities, are a sight to behold! Towers reaching towards the sky, big bells to bring everyone to church, so you could hear them from miles away. The churches are almost always filled to the brim - especially during the main celebrations, like 1st of November (All Saints Day) or during important historical moments. People in Romania, in the years after communist times, also migrated from the Orthodox church to protestant churches. I don't see that as a bad move, considering the fact that most of the priests in the Orthodox church nowdays have a "Give me the money!" sort of sermon and care less about actually saving people and doing good.
Source
There are many topics to touch, but for today I will dare touch one more: healthcare. Ufff! As a mother but also a citizen of Romania, let me just say this: healthcare in Romania is horrible and sometimes even dangerous. Most people that afford it go to Hungary for private care. If one is young and healthy all is well and you don't mind waiting in queues for a regular check up, but once you are pregnant and want a good care for you and your little one developing... that's gonna be a lot of time and money (and nerves) that you will spend. I chose to give birth in Poland and for me Romania was not an option - after all the horror stories I had heard. For a taste, here is me ranting about having natural birth vs. c-section. Guess what? Having a natural birth in Romania is almost impossible. Why bother be next to a person for 24 hours of labour? Better cut them all - how hard can that be? When I was looking to find a good hospital to give birth we went to prospect - none of the hospitals I have seen were in such an aweful stage as the hospitals from my city of birth. My friend had a girl a month or two before me, so we always compared the service. My birth was done in a hospital run by the country. I gave birth in a room for myself with a couple of nurses and the doctor checking in from time to time. After that I was brought in a 2 person room and stayed there 3 days. It did not cost me a thing and I did not "give" anything to the doctor or the nurses. The sum my friend payed was of several thousands and the treatment was NOT exemplary! 

Now please, understand, I am not stating that Romania is a horrible country, nor that it is unbearable to live in and I would definitely not recommend it. No! Romania is rich in its history and culture and it's people are warm and kind and more friendly than the Polish people (truth be told). But I feel safer in Poland and life is easier and more stable here. I don't fear for my family and I don't fear what tomorrow brings. Don't we all want that? Stability and peace.

Yours extremely sincerely,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Lived in Poland since the Summer of 2011
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Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Krakow Airport Breaking Records

Dearest sweethearts,

#DidYouKnow that in September 2018, 614 567 passengers benefited by the services of Krakow Airport (Balice / John Paul the 2nd)? That's 13% more than last year, same month. Over a period of 9 years, more than 5 million passengers were accepted on Balice. On the 24th of September, a record has been marked: 23 931 people! The previous record was from August 2016 (The year of the World Youth Day in Krakow), with 22 552 travellers. 4 days later, on the 28th of September,  a Lufthansa flight from Munich to Krakow landed at the airport with the 5 million passenger. 
The September record served during the day shows that more and more people are shortening the travel time, including business trips, by choosing the plane rides instead of train/bus/car - also stated the Chairman of the Board of the Krakow Airport, Radoslaw Wloszek. New carriers and routes have been announced in September. The airline BlueAir announced the merger to Turin, the capital of Piedmont, that will be inaugurated on the 16th of December. Turin is the 9th new feature in the winter grid of Krakow Airport connections. The previously announced new routes are: Tel Aviv (LOT), Eindhoven (Transavia), Vienna (Laudamotion), Leeds Bradford (Jet2.com), Kiev, Lviv, Amman (Ryanair), London Luton (EasyJet). 

How about you? Have you ever been on the Krakow Airport? How was your experience? 

Yours sincerely, 
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Krakow 
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Monday, 24 September 2018

10 Things You Should Know Before Coming To Poland - Part 3

Dearest pumpkins,

Yes, Autumn is here and this past week the temperature dropped visibly from 23 degrees Celsius to about 13... rain and wind is on the order of the day, but we do get occasional sun bursts, that make one leave the house and explore more ;) so don't get frightened and get out and explore the city! A weekend trip to Poland, during the golden Autumn, is a must! In my humble opinion,  Autumn (late September, early October) is the best time to visit Poland. The leaves are changing, there is the smell of apples and grapes and pumpkin in the air... and it's less crowded than during summer or winter. Anyway, without further ado, I wanted to share with you today the part 3 of the series "10 Things You Should Know Before Coming To Poland" - for your reference, here is part 1 and part 2
1. Is Poland safe? I keep hearing this question and it baffles me that people nowdays, in this century, still believe the stupid things that people say on the social media, without researching further or analysing and filtering things themselves. I've been living in Poland for over 7 years now and never have I felt not safe. Poland is highly ranked on the list of the safest countries. People that visit have never faced any serious threats during their stay - nothing life threatening. There are, of course - as in other countries, cases of pickpocketing or petty thefts, overcharge or even ATM scams, but tell me one country where that doesn't happen! 
2. Tipping in Poland - should one tip or should not? This is the question ;) well... Tipping in Poland, in restaurants, especially in tourist areas or cities like Krakow, Warsaw, Wroclaw or the Tri-City area (Gdansk, Gdynia, Sopot) is the norm. Usually we tip around 10% or the bill value - 15% if you are REALLY HAPPY of the service. Usually the tip is not included in the bill, but make sure and check, so you don't double tip. Some restaurants in Krakow,  in the crowded touristy areas, already ads that to their bill (10%). For example, the very nice Israeli restaurant called AWIW, in Kazimierz, adds it to the check. 
Kosciol Mariacki (St. Mary's Basilica in Krakow)
3. Is Poland in Schengen? Do I need a Visa to get there? Well... currently the Schengen area consist of 26 European countries (of which 22 are EU states). Poland is one of them, so no need for a Visa if you are also part of the Schengen area ;) that means that you can travel border free and you are not required to show a passport or national ID card. It's recommended though to have it with you, so you can prove your age and identity. 
4. Try to learn a fee words - it's hard, I know, but it will make your life easier and it will provide you a better quality of life! Polish people love it when you try and speak polish. They know how hard it is and they appreciate it. Don't get discouraged. Everyone had a tough time learning it. Try at the beginning: Dziekuje = Thank you; Rachunek = the bill; Przepraszam = Sorry/Excuse me. 
The pedestrian crossing between Kazimierz and Podgorze, Krakow, Poland
5. (Free) Walking Tours - now I don't get to say it often, but the best way to visit Poland (It's cities) is by walking. No need to rent a car - you can walk and maybe use public transport if the distance is too big. The Free Walking Tours of Krakow are the best I've seen and there is a organisation that spreads into Warsaw and Wroclaw as well, providing tours in Polish, English, Spanish, Italian and German (for Wroclaw). These tours usually last about 1 hour and 30 minutes but it get get up to 2 hours or more, according to the topic. At the end of the tour you can decide how much you wish to pay. Remember, theguided used their time to teach you new things! Be generous! 
6. Public toilets - there are plenty and either they are for free or there is a small tax to be payed (usually 1 or 2 zloty, so make sure you have some change with you, as you can't pay by card). They are always split between male and female and they are quite clean. The Galerias (the malls) have them on each floor and they have options as well for people with disabilities. 
Prism view of the Main Podgorze Church, Krakow
7. Kissing 3 times - when you meet someone you will kiss 3 times during the official cases, like meeting family for Christmas or when you meet your Polish friends. BUT! If it's the first time you meet some, that may be a bit too much, so truth stick to a simple handshake ;) leave the kisses for later! In Romania we miss twice, one on each cheek, and it was confusing for me at the beginning :) 
8. Polish Faith - majority of the Poles are Christians and 86.7% belong to the Roman Catholic church. If you know a bit if polish language you can tune in and listen to the Catholic TV channel or the radio station - Radio Maria. Also, if you enjoy large monuments and you always walked to go to Rio and see the great statue of Christ... well... you can go to western Poland, to Swiebodzin, and see the statue of Jesus Christ (Pomnik Chrystusa Krola). Finished in November 2010, it has 33 meters and it is the tallest statue of Jesus in the world. That's right! Taller than the one in Rio de Janeiro! 
A building from 1873, still standing, in the Podgorze area in Krakow, Poland 
9. Will there be any internet connection? Neah... we live in trees and we eat bananas and we are a third world country that has no clue what internet is! Of course Poland has internet! Of course not as awesome as the one we have in Romania, but still... free internet is also available in the big cities and inside most shopping malls and cafe's like Starbucks. At the public wifi's you need to accept the Terms and conditions and maybe give an email address and/or a phone number. If you need some help, and the instructions are in Polish, feel free to go to the Info Office inside the malls. They will surely help you out ;)
10. Traditional Polish last names change depending on the sex - names that end with -ski/-ska or -cka/-cki work like adjectives and they need to match the gender of the one who takes them, in Polish. So, if your father is called Kowalski and you are a girl, you will be named Kowalska. Keep that in mind, when adressing someone ;) 

How do you feel about today's list of 10 Things You Should Know Before Coming To Poland? Have you checked out part 1 and part 2 yet? What else would you like to know about Poland before visiting this fine country? Shout out! :)

Yours sincerely, 
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Poland
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Thursday, 13 September 2018

Climate Treaty Forces Poland to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Dearest sweethearts,

Autumn is here and Winter is coming soon... that means that fog and smog is coming soon our way. As "Reuters" agency also points it out, the Polish institutions are not moving fast enough against the smog. They are not improving the quality of the air fast enough as the country's Supreme Audit Office (NIK) would like. Cities in the South of Poland especially, have denser smog than New Delhi or Beijing (where you can buy cans of fresh air!). Main issues come from Polish citizen burning low quality coal or rubbish to heat their homes, combined with the density of new buildings that do not leave the air to circulate properly. 
Don't know whom is the artist. If you do, let me know so I can put in the credits. The image is brilliant IMHO
"Poland still has one of the worst air qualities in the European Union", NIK said. The European Environment Agency says pollution leads to more than 44000 premature deaths in Poland a year! Poland, that generates most of its electricity through coal burning, hosts the United Nations climate talks in December. Around 200 government environment ministers will meet and discuss the details from the 2015 Paris climate accord. 
Early morning, November 2015, Krakow, Poland 
#DidYouKnow that Poland is the only member state of the EU that is yet to formally adopt the Doha Amendments? Under its terms, by 2020, Poland must reduce the amount of carbon dioxide it produces by 20% from the 1990 level of production. Poland's pollution level is a constant frown on its inhabitants. During Autumns and Winters you can see people on the street walking with smog masks on, and even production of such smaller masks (for babies) started being a trend.
Krakow (Wawel Castle in the middle of the photo) under smog - photo taken from local news site
Take for example beautiful, majestic Krakow; with its amazing castle and it's unique Old Town... many of the buildings still have the furnaces that date back decades. Krakow government has outlawed the use of the cheapest, most polluting coal, and by 2019 it aims to ban all coal and wood burning. If Krakow succeeds, than it could serve as a role model to the other cities in Poland. But it's a hard thing to change, as it also involved changing the mindset of people! Still... Krakow managed to cut the number of outdated furnaces to about 10000 (from double that number several years ago).
A minus is the national government of the Law and Justice party (PIS), that always champions and raises glory to how powerful the coal industry is. In December 2017, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced his plans to build 2 new coal mines in the Silesian region (already heavily polluted as it is...). On another hand, the government announced that it will spend 8.8 billion dollars by 2028 to combat smog. Oh... we take with one hand and we give with another... don't we?! Anyway, if you are living in Poland (or if you ever lived here before), I would love to hear what you think of this situation.

Yours sincerely, 
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Krakow  
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Monday, 3 September 2018

Krakow Hidden Gems: Manufaktura Porcelany - Pottery Workshop

Dearest sweethearts,

We've all been potters at a certain moment in time. Tell me, when you were small, did you not play with clay? Or went to the seaside and put together sand and seashells and water to construct tall structures? Have you not played with playdoh and tried to build certain forms and structures? I know I would play with it hours on row, creating characters and worlds of their own, next to the window, watching the rain create patterns on leafs. 
Doing manual things is good for your body and brain alike. It allows you to rest, relax from the mundane and focus on creating an one-of-a-kind piece of art. I think pottery is the most basic and down to earth form of art, dating from the 9000 or even 10000 before Christ. Clay bricks were found dating about the same time. 
#DidYouKnow that the potters wheel was invented in Mesopotamia somewhere between 6000 and 4000 BC. It revolutionised pottery production! Moulds were used to a limited extent as early as the 5th and 6th century BC by the Etruscans and more extensively by the Romans. 
Clay is quite cheap and easy to find, so you are more than welcome to buy some and play around at home. The harder part is the post production - the burning (sometimes multiple times) in the kiln, the glazing and creating the intricate details that are worth every penny/groszy. But it's great fun if you love playing around with dough, like I do :) 
The Slow Wheel - Around 3000 BC, at the beginning of the Bronze Age, people in West Asia had begun to use the slow potter’s wheel. This is a little platform made of wood that you build the pot on. You can turn the platform around so that instead of having to walk around your pot you can sit still and turn the pot around. In the hands of someone who is good at using it, the slow wheel makes potting a lot faster.
If you will choose to join the Manufaktura Porcelany workshops (and you most definitely should!), you will get the chance to try out the slow wheel yourself and see how the clay will begin to yeald (very slowly) to your hands. Be prepared though, it's quite tough at the beginning and it takes a lot of work. But it's great fun to both do this and watch this ;) 
But let me tell you a bit more about Manufaktura Porcelany,  before I get on ahead and spoil every detail about the pottery workshops. Manufaktura Porcelany is an open studio, recently opened (in the autumn of 2015), where the traditional materials meet the new designs and dreams of the wonderfully funny and talented owner Liliana (Lila). She is the Creative Director behind the Manufaktura Porcelany and the soul of the company. 
Liliana is the one that does the workshop and she is a pleasure to be around. She is fun (and funny) and always has a smile in her face. I loved it when someone walked in while we were doing the workshop, and asked what we are creating. She simply said "we do not know yet" - and it is true, creativity flows and drips from her every pore, and at the end you will love what you have done, even if you have no idea at the beginning. 
If you contact Manufaktura Porcelany through their Facebook Page, you might have the honour to speak to Michal as well. He is the "Guest of everything" - selling, marketing, painting, packing, anything you might have questions about he will be the one to bug about. Manufaktura Porcelany doesn't only do ceramics workshops but it also sells one of a kind, unique products - from tea cups to mugs to jewellery (earrings and rings). 
Manufaktura Porcelany loves playing with ceramics and loves brining clay to life, in special pieces you will not find anywhere else on Earth. Liliana offers 3 types of workshops:
1) Wheel pottery workshops - the creation of a pottery piece on the slow wheel. You can create a piece and receive it as a summary of the workshop. The minimum duration is 2 hours. If you never seen this done before imagine the Demi Moore and Patrick Swayza scene from "Ghost" ;) For couples there is a special offer ;)
2) Creating porcelain - porcelain creation from already chosen ceramic form / mould. The participants can find out more on how the porcelain gets created, how it forms, then choose the mould and create the porcelain product - 2 pieces. Minimum 2 hours. 
3) Making porcelain jewellery - continuation of the #2 workshop. They participants will learn how to decorate the porcelain and they will also be able to create porcelain jewellery. Minimum 2 hours. 
The price of the Manufaktura Porcelany workshops depend on the number of hours and the number of people whom will attend it. The cost per one hour (60 min) with one student is 60 zloty. By the way, of you want to make this workshops as a gift to someone, you can! And this year they are having many promotions. Until the end of the year, each person that takes 3 hours of training will receive another hour for free!
Liliana is such a lovely person to have a workshop with! She is able to bond with you freely and teach you as much as you would wish to know of pottery and/or ceramics. Liliana, the heart and soul of Manufaktura Porcelany, finished the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw, Poland. The Academy is composed of 3 departments and educates students in designing ceramics and glass, and in the creation of art within these 2 media. It takes 5 years to get to do the diploma and the requirements include the presentation of functional and artistic works made of ceramic or glass, a written paper and an annex. All students do the first year together and then they specialise. Liliana chose ceramics, or rather the ceramics choose her :) Her project for the diploma are the forefront of Manufaktura Porcelany: the cups and mugs and pots with aviary attachments (a hens leg). 
When I first came to Manufaktura Porcelany I did not know for sure what to expect. The shop/workshop location is in the district of Podgorze, very close to the pedestrian bridge that connects this district to Kazimierz. The street is ul. Wegierska 7/2. You can get there by car or by public transport (up to Plac Bohaterow Ghetta, by tram, and then taking a brisk 5-7 minute walk). There is no big sign, but it's had to miss the unique window display. The Manufaktura Porcelany consists of a rectangular (long) shaped room, with a bathroom at the back and a small storage space. There are numerous shelves with items made of clay or ceramic in diverse stages of production. Don't touch! Better ask what you are allowed to touch, as some of them are getting dried and wait for the burning process - at that stage they can easily break just by slightly touching them! 
I was not sure on what I would be creating, but I was very sure I wanted to work with clay and I had mind mind setup on trying the wheel. Liliana informed me of the various types if workshops and what we could do and we setup on the clay. I got a fine apron (I got special treatment as that was Liliana's) with pink roses and blue sashes and we got up to doing "the dirty work" :) please note down you should not come all dressed up in your finest clothes as clay tends to splash sometimes. The first step will be moulding and "playing" roughly with the clay, so as to take all the air out and also break the tougher pieces from the inside of the clay. All must be of the same "playdoh" consistency. The "playing" looks very much like doing the dough for the bread - rolling and flattening. Once done, slice it to check for air bubbles, and if all is fine, round it up and smash it gently on the dead centre of the wheel. Then the tough part begins... 2 main things you MUST remember: keep your hands still & keep them sticked to your legs (use all your strength to keep still!). Also, always remember to water the clay, or it will garden! 
Liliana, from Manufaktura Porcelany, helped me create a cup - took us almost 2 hours but it was the greatest fun I had in ages!!! I highly recommend this workshop also for kids (I would say ages 7 and above, as they need to understand and listen and have a bit of strength). Once the wheel stops and you have the finished material, Liliana will dry it a bit with something that looks like a hairdryer, but way more powerful! You will cut your masterpiece from the wheel and take it for decoration. You will need to sign your name on the bottom & then you can draw on it - as you can see I drew a LadyBug :) and... Then you will (unfortunately) have to wait up to 2 weeks. That is not the finished product. It must go at least 2 times in the kiln,  to be burned, and then glazed.  This way it will be more resistant and you will even be able to use it in the microwave! So, unfortunately if you don't live in Krakow, you will have to setup with Liliana or Michal a postage option. That's also why writing your name on the bottom of your masterpiece is also a must, so don't forget it! 


**The opinions in this post are my own 100%. Nobody told me what I should or should not write. I have always written from my heart! Manufaktura Porcelany invited me on this workshop free of charge. In exchange, as a lovely lass, I am offering them my feedback as a happy customer. I must admit this is a new experience for me but I loved it and I would do it again anytime!**

Yours sincerely,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Manufaktura Porcelany Workshops
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