Category Archives: Poland
Poland related travel and places
As a guest pdf-cast, I am making the topic of today’s post here on Huliganov TV the Prof. Moses Schorr Foundation, a unique non-profit organization in Poland, which runs an educational centre for secular and religious Jewish studies and the country’s largest Hebrew language school.
Using a wide range of professional tools, as well as social media, they educate both Jews and Poles about the enormous presence of Jews in the Polish society before the Holocaust, their contribution to culture, political thought and community life, all in a contemporary context, but respectful of tradition. What makes them distinctive is their flexible programming, which allows them to participate in the public debate in Poland, while remaining inclusive for students of all backgrounds and viewpoints.
Their overarching objective is to support the development of an open society in Poland and help counter the rise of xenophobia and isolationism in Europe by using documentary material and scholarly work to re-create the past and bring back to life links between communities that were brutally destroyed by the Holocaust.
Here is the annual report of the Foundation. Hopefully it will spark the interest of some of my readers.
- Jill Shaw Ruddock: To Snip or Not to Snip Is Not the Question (huffingtonpost.co.uk)
- Polish officials call on Obama to apologize for ‘death camp’ remark (jta.org)
- Museum of Polish Jews Wins Major New Donations (abcnews.go.com)
- David Herman interviews Jan Gross, chronicler of Polish atrocities (thejc.com)
- The answer is Zionism – Ynetnews (ynetnews.com)
- Aided by Ultra-Orthodox, City’s Jewish Population Is Growing Again (nytimes.com)
So now finally, the inevitable has happened. The long-awaited competition jointly hosted by Poland and the Ukraine has come to an end, the teams and fans and the organisers have all gone home, that is those who weren’t home in the first place.
What conclusions can we draw from this competition? For each of us no doubt the conclusions will be unique and personal, but some of the ones I have reached are as follows:
1. England has in fact got a very good football team, however we do need for them to learn a few games other than football, especially the one involving the goalkeeper simply trying to save a ball which somebody’s kicking into the net from point blank range. It would appear impossible to win a football tournament without knowing the other game also. It seems tantamount to having a chess competition in which one grandmaster, unable to do more than stalemate the other grandmaster, suggests a game of draughts in order to decide the competition.
2. The organisations which are responsible for arranging these competitions have turned into huge molochs whose every whim must be obeyed even by the state servants who are paid out of everybody’s taxes, and also by elected politicians. People seem so desperate for their cities to be hosts to these huge competition is that normal democratic considerations – as in does anybody actually want this – are swept aside, and the people of the place put to amazing inconvenience in order to be able to host these events. Nobody seems to be in a position to present a business plan that shows whether a place is likely to be better or worse off for hosting an event. Also UEFA were able to stop people filming in public places as well as block routes to and from work for people.
3. The conception of Poland in the Western part of the EU wasn’t necessarily helped by being twinned-up with a CIS nation in order to run the show. The Ukraine got to host 17 of the 33 matches, a slight majority, as they had the final in Kiev, or Kyiv as they insisted on spelling it on the boardings around the pitch, like we didn’t already have a perfectly serviceable word for the place in English. There was no difference in quality of broadcasting and filming at all in the various game locations, and the camera work and cutting were of the highest quality I’ve ever seen. However, Poland played host to thirteen of the sixteen teams. One of the three teams in the Ukraine was of course the Ukraine itself as indeed one of the teams to choose Poland was Poland itself, so effectively Poland quartered 12/14 of the visiting teams and 5/7 of the visiting teams whose matches were played in the first part all in the Ukraine. This included England of course, who were based in Nowa Huta, an unlikely destination as that place has Stalin nostalgist tours running to it out of Krakow to show what communism used to look like. The destinations chosen by visting teams really seem to have done their utmost to welcome them and whole towns in Poland have been decked out in colours of such countries as Greece, Portugal or Italy. The hotels where the teams stayed have been inundated with post-tournament accommodation requests, with holidaymakers willing to pay top zloty to be in the room where their favorite football star stayed for the tournament.
4. Mr Platini who is the UEFA top brass had a lot of praise for Poland and said that this tournament had set the standard that everyone from now on would have to measure up to. He had great praise for the hospitality in Poland. He called the Ukrainian hoteliers “crooks and robbers” for upping their prices during the tournament, which seems to be a fine case of double standards seeing how official merchandise from his own UEFA is much more expensive than unbranded merchandise of the same quality. Ecuadorian Radio Sports Commentator Alan Heath went on record saying how he was glad to see that a man like Platini, making several millions of EURO, could still find the time to criticize ordinary men and women who were trying hard to scrape together an existence.
5. Platini has also caused controversy since the tournament by suggesting that instead of countries winning and then appointing cities, individual cities, 12 or 13 of them from around Europe, will each bid to host some matches. The potential for bribery and corruption given that way of doing this will escalate tremendously, and so my congratulations go to Mr Platini’s personal advisers for dreaming up that one for their client. That’s real thinking outside the box.
6. It seems that if you want a road built in Poland, you need to wait for twenty years waiting for it and driving on overcrowded back roads with your life in your hands, and then when a football tournament comes along suddenly it will all magically be finished on schedule.
7. Polish people really care about whether they look good in the eyes of people from other countries. The Ukrainians were much less worried about that and just expected people to take them as they found them.
8. The police in this country are quite clever and capable of handling a situation with balance and without undue provocation, while putting the right amount of resource on the street.
9. International media are only interested in stories about yobbery and violence among fans, and immediately put out with relish the few such scenes that occured in Poland. They had very little to say about the 99.9% of the interactions of strangers on the streets in Warsaw, which were friendly and cordial, and frequently ended in sexual intercourse, if what I noticed is anything to go by. I don’t see the international news networks reporting on that. Likewise there were all these reports about likely racial abuse from Polish fans, whereas in fact there were no such incidents. Will the networks now kindly offer Poland an apology?
10. I still don’t understand the offside rule, and often get the impression that people make up the rules of football as they go along. Some goals that were disallowed, some things that were fouls and didn’t look like it or which were not fouls when they did – all of this adds to the impenetrable mystique of this game.
If you’d like to see my full coverage on film of the impact of EURO 2012 on Warsaw, please look up the EUROWARS series on http://www.youtube.com/usenetposts. In due course they’ll also be up on here as their own category.
- Platini hails Euro 2012 (iol.co.za)
- Platini suggests Euro 2020 may be held across Europe (panarmenian.net)
- Shake-up planned for Euro 2020 (3news.co.nz)
- Euro 2012: Michel Platini will sour a winning formula with ill-conceived Euro 2020 plans (telegraph.co.uk)
- FA tell Platini of fears over racist violence at finals (thisislondon.co.uk)
- Uefa president Michel Platini warns ‘Mr Balotelli’ about leaving pitch over racism during Euro 2012 (independent.co.uk)
- Euro 2012: Michel Platini warns of bookings for racism protest players (guardian.co.uk)
- Platini floats idea of multi-country Euro 2020 (thehimalayantimes.com)
- Platini hails Euro 2012 a success (todayonline.com)
The lake you see in this photo is not far from the last photo. Here it is possible to see the black stork, a much rarer sight than the usual white stork, but I didn’t manage to photograph it. This lake is man-made and each spring it is commercially stocked with carp for the table and for sport fishing. Each winter it is drained, and lies empty and, in theory, dry over winter, which greatly reduces the ability of pests and the parasites of fish to overwinter and wreak havoc with next year’s lot.
Lake near Golebiowki, Siedlce region
There are not many natural lakes within striking distance of Warsaw, even Zalew Zegrzynski, the large Y-shaped reservoir north of Warsaw at the confluence of the Bug and the Narew has been flooded artifically, but the North of poland has many more natural lakes from Mazury through to Pomerania, and some, such as Lake Sniardwy (Poland’s largest lake probably a few hundred times larger than the one above) are among the largest in Europe. The Polish Sniardwy compares to Lake Windermere in England or the Hungarian lake Balaton. Contact me for recommendations if you are planning a holiday in Poland.
Lake near Golebiowki, Siedlce region
More scenes from the other parts of Poland and coming up, as well as many other themes, but they will be reposted later on. I’ve done these seven for now, and I will move on to something else to avoid a monotony – especially of things you don’t usually see on this blog – and come back to the remainder of restoring this part of my old Usenetposts.com website some other time.
- Confused.com Guide to Driving in Poland (confused.com)
- Train crash kills at least 16 in Szczekociny, Poland – Telegraph.co.uk (telegraph.co.uk)
- Poland Train Crash Leaves 14 Dead and Several Injured (ibtimes.com)
Gallery Page 6 – Birch forest in East Poland
The birch forest you see here is typical of East Poland. When I first came to this country 19% of the country was forest, including the largest original forest in Europe, the Bialowieski Park, home to the European bison. Now, because of tax breaks for reafforestation, the figure quoted is around 22%, making Poland one of the most forested countries in Europe. This is part of another piece of ancient woodland, not so large as Bialowieski, but not far off it. It contains a huge selection of wild forest fruits, and we always go here to collect cowberries, bilberries, cranberries, and a variety of edible wild mushrooms (not something to be done by the uninitiated, by the way, as you can end up with the ultimate gourmet event!). I cannot give the exact location, as in Poland it is tradition to keep one’s forest finds secret.
Polish birch forest in the summer – Photo taken at near Topory, Siedlce region June 2004
The typical fauna of the forest in this place are deer and boars, and storks and cranes are plentiful. Last time we came here we saw three cranes walking nearby, a very rare sight on the forest floor, as they are very cautious of humans.
More scenes from the same part of East Poland and coming up, as well as many other themes …
DJJ 13th February 2005
- Train crash kills at least 16 in Szczekociny, Poland – Telegraph.co.uk (telegraph.co.uk)
- Wild and woolly, the bison thriving in the New Forest after being re-introduced to Britain (dailymail.co.uk)
- Poland train crash: 16 killed after trains collide (telegraph.co.uk)
- Poland train crash: 15 killed after trains collide (telegraph.co.uk)
Gallery Page 5 – Coots in cahoots
The birds you see here are the common coot, Fulica atra, which is similar to the American coot Fulica americana, only with a ‘balder’ appearance, as the white headshield is higher in the Eurasian version, leading to the expression ‘as bald as a coot’. The term ‘coot’ in itself is in all likelihood onomatopoeic in English, as one common noise the bird makes, among a large playlist of other calls and alarms made by the splashing of its specialised lobed feet, is like the syllable ‘coot’. The only language that shares with Engolish the name ‘coot’ is Dutch, which calls the bird ‘Meerkoet’. The German term is ‘Blaesshuhn’, the Scandywegian languages are ‘blishoene’ and ‘sothoene’, but don’t ask me which is which, the Russian is Lysukha’ and the Polish is ‘Lyska’, and the Romance languages show mainly variants on the latin ‘Fulica’ (Fr. ‘Foulque’, Sp. ‘Focha’ , It. ‘Folaga’)
Coots wintering on the Vistula near Plock – Photo taken at Nowy Duninow, December 2004
These coots are resting together on the retention reservoir which has been made in the Vistula River between Plock and Wloclawek in a ribbon several birds deep and several kilometres long, strongly calling to mind the appearance of the band of rooks in migratory flight over Warsaw each spring and Autumn, only resting on water rather than flying through the air. These birds will migrate in the spring into East Poland, Belarus and Russia for the summer breeding period – this is the most westerly point on mainland Europe that they are found all year. They live for about 18 years, are omnivorous, and considered as a type of rail: family Rallidae, order Gruiformes.
More beautiful landscape scenes from Poland and elsewhere coming up…
DJJ 13th February 2005
- A Coot, A Wigeon, and a Heron (bobzeller.wordpress.com)
- Great Egret grazing with Coots (bobzeller.wordpress.com)
It is a Chrysler Grand Voyager diesel registered in 2005 but only used from 2006. Always garaged and well-maintained. Has been very reliable and a pleasure to drive. But now I try to walk to work as much as I can and prefer to avoid driving. I have been so successful at that that I don’t use it enough now to justify the running costs and so we decided we can do without a car altogether. It has under 107,000 km on the clock and I am asking 33,000 PLN which is a quarter of the new price for a car that still has half its life to go.
|Playout date:||6 October 2006|
|Post Production:||Windows Movie Maker – slight use|
|Location:||Home – 12th floor of building|
|Other people featured:||None|
|Music used:||Andrey Vinogradov – Kak na Moriul|
|Languages used:||Bialorusian, English|
It was a pretty active storm, with plenty of lightning. This year we’ve had several like this, but this was 2006, and back then it was more of a rarity. The hurdy gurdy music by Andrey Vinogradov also attracted a lot of comment over on YT.
- Hurdy Gurdy Metal (patrickriggs.net)
- Hurdy Gurdy Tip # 438: String Hooks (rodneyanonymous.com)
- Japan storm leaves deaths in its wake – Aljazeera.net (news.google.com)
- Tropical Storm Talas leaves 29 dead, 56 missing in Japan (cnn.com)