Thursday, August 31, 2017

Wilanów Palace

During my stay in Warsaw, I visited the beautiful Wilanów Palace and gardens, located in the Wilanów District of the City of Warsaw. It was built in the 1600's as a royal residence for Polish King John III Sobieski and later enlarged by other owners. The palace is another one of Poland's official national Historic Monuments as it survived both world wars and now serves as a reminder of the culture of the Polish state before its misfortunes.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Modern Warsaw

If you have looked at my last two posts showing photos of Warsaw's Old Town, you will see quite a contrast between those photos and the ones here. Before World War II, Warsaw was believed to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The war left over 85% of the city in ruins. After the war was over, the conquering Soviets set up a communist regime and began rebuilding the city with large housing projects and other typical buildings of an Eastern Bloc city. One of the most prominent buildings built during this era was a gift from the Soviet Union called the Palace of Culture and Science, which is the large older building with the clock tower seen in my first photo. It is the tallest building in Poland and the eighth tallest building in the European Union. It was originally known as the Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science until his name was eventually removed. Notice the modern downtown buildings next to it. These buildings were built after 1989 and the fall of communism. In the second to the last photo, you can see the National Stadium. It has a retractable roof and is home to Poland's national football team. The last photo shows St. Alexander's Church located on Three Crosses Square, which was a few blocks from our hotel. This church was originally built in 1825, but was also destroyed during the war and rebuilt afterwards.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

More Old Town Warsaw

Continuing from yesterday's post, here are few more photos I took this summer in Warsaw's Old Town. The Old Town was placed on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites as "an outstanding example of a near total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th through the 20th century". In 1994, the site was also designated one of Poland's official National Historic Monuments, a list maintained by the National Heritage Board of Poland.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Old Town Warsaw

The Royal Castle with Zygmunt's Column in the foreground.

My trip this summer began in Poland, which is a country I have always wanted to visit because my great-great-grandparents immigrated to the United States from there in the mid-1800's. Warsaw's Old Town was originally established in the 13th century and grew up around the Royal Castle, which you can see in the second photo. During the invasion of Poland in 1939, much of the district was badly damaged by the German Luftwaffe, which targeted the city's residential areas and historic landmarks in a campaign of terror bombing. Then immediately after the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, what was left standing in the Old Town was blown up by the German Army. After World War II, the Old Town was meticulously rebuilt using old paintings and pre-World War II architecture students' drawings. As many of the original bricks and decorative elements that could be salvaged from the rubble were used during the rebuilding process. The reconstruction was not completely accurate to pre-war Warsaw, but I think they did a beautiful job.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Hungarian bird thief

My daughter and I had lunch at a nice little sidewalk cafe while we were staying in Budapest and there was a sign on our table that said please don't feed the birds. This little sparrow apparently doesn't pay attention to signs and decided to just help himself to some of the bread on my plate. I couldn't very well say no!

Linking to Saturday's Critters, Camera Critters, and The Bird D'Pot.

Friday, August 25, 2017

UFO bridge

Here are two more photos I took in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. Crossing over the Danube River, The Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising is commonly referred to as either the Most SNP or the UFO bridge and was built in the late 1960's and early 1970's at the height of Communist excess. It was meant to honor the 1944 resistance movement against Nazi forces. The structure resembling a UFO at the top is a restaurant. This is the longest cable-stayed bridge to have one pylon and one cable-stayed plane in the world.

Linking to SkyWatch Friday.

Thursday, August 24, 2017


I took this photo while my daughter and I were shopping in Bratislava, Slovakia. The bronze sculpture is called Čumil which translates into "the watcher". Located at the junction of Laurinská and Panská Streets in the old town district, it is one of the most photographed statues in the city. It was installed in 1997 as part of an effort to spice up the look and feel of the area which was traditionally marked with drab Communist-era architecture and decoration. It is apparently up to the viewer to decide whether this guy is simply resting, heading down to clean the sewer, or just looking up women's skirts.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Sidewalk art

Another photo from my vacation this summer. I spotted this interesting little piece of artwork along a sidewalk while on a walking tour near Oskar Schindler's enamel factory in Kraków, Poland.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


My daughter and I spent the first few days of our vacation in Warsaw, Poland which is where I took these photos showing a statue of the famous Polish composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin who was born in Warsaw. It is located in Royal Łazienki Park and shows a seated Chopin with a stylized willow over his head which was meant to echo a pianist's hand and fingers. The statue was designed in 1907 by Wacław Szymanowski and was supposed to have been erected in 1910 on the 100th anniversary of Chopin's birth. Controversy over the design and then World War I delayed it until 1926. Like much of the city of Warsaw, the statue was blown up by occupying Germans during World War II. Fortunately the original mould for the statue survived the war and a duplicate was able to be recast and placed at the original site in 1958.

Linking to Our World Tuesday.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Playful sculpture

I took quite a few pictures over the summer, just not in Tallahassee (unless you count all the ones I took of my grandkids). I took this one while on vacation with my daughter in June. The bronze sculpture depicts a girl playing with her dog by artist Raffey Dávid and is located near Vigadó Square on the Danube River Promenade near our hotel in Budapest, Hungary. I'll probably being showing more photos from my travels in the coming weeks.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

New member of the family

Another reason I was so busy this summer is because I have a new family member in my house. My grandson and I brought this beautiful little calico kitten home from the animal shelter a couple of weeks ago and her name is Cecelia. This picture was taken at the shelter when we were getting to know her before we brought her home. She bonded immediately with my grandson. Aren't they adorable together?

Linking to Saturday's Critters and Camera Critters.

Friday, August 18, 2017

SkyWatch Friday and I'm back!

Finally back to blogging after a busy summer traveling and spending time with my grandkids! I hope everyone has enjoyed their summer (or winter for my friends down under).

Linking to SkyWatch Friday.