23rd-27th April 2012
‘The Magic Frames’
Sunday 21st April 2012
Arrival in Katowice:
After a delay and a short flight we arrived at the Qubus Hotel, situated in the central of Katowice. The children were amazed by the number of floors the hotel had and the view it had over the city. After much excitement we all fell asleep and recovered from the journey.
Sunday, we were met by a buffet breakfast of many different cereals, bread, chicken, potatoes and sausages. After a hearty breakfast we were met by the Polish teachers, who were to act as our guides for the day. The first insight into city was a sprawling city of former communist housing blocks, new buildings and older buildings, (a city under construction). The children enjoyed their first journey on a tram to the city park.
Polish families were enjoying a Sunday in the park, walking, talking and eating in the local cafes situated in the park. What our children noticed, was the number of families enjoying the open space and roller skating through the park. The park seemed a great place for meeting people of all generations.
After a day of getting to know Katowice, we all returned to the hotel for our evening meal and to enjoy the skyline of Katowice through our hotel room window. The lights that shone in the dark from the tall surrounding buildings gave the city an almost fairy tale atmosphere.
Monday 22nd April 2012
At school: (Official welcome and student’s performance-tour around the school grounds, costumes)
After breakfast we made our way to the school using public transport, which we were becoming quite expert at. The school is situated in a former mining area. The school was built in 1910 by a German architect and was the former headquarters for the Silesian uprising against the Germans. Therefore, the school has a tremendous amount of history and if the walls could talk, I am sure they could tell us a few things.
The school has over 700 pupils ranging from the ages of 7 upwards. The outside of the school was appealing and inviting, children playing chess, football using the playground equipment. The school had a good feeling about it and the children looked happy and content in their surroundings.
Opening Ceremony was held with much pomp and fanfare and all the nations of the project were made most welcome by the host country. The Polish children then performed a traditional story both in Polish and English.
After the opening ceremony we were shown around the school, visiting a number of classes and areas in the school. What struck me more than anything was the creativity within the school, through art, drama and music?
After lunch in the canteen, we were taken to the hall to enjoy a Silesian Festival. Teachers and children dressed in brightly coloured costumes, encouraging us to take part in traditional dances, songs and games (fun was had by all).
Tuesday 23rd April 2012
(Krakow and Salt Mine, Main square, Virgin Mary’s Basilica, The Cloth Hall)
After an early morning call and breakfast in a bag, we set off by coach for the sightseeing of the wider area. The journey took approximately one hour and forty minutes, covering a huge amount of typical Polish countryside.
We arrived at the mines, the mines being one of oldest salt mines in Europe. Legend has it that these mines were founded by a Hungarian Princess, who brought salt from Hungary. The salt mine therefore brought wealth and happiness to this area. (Salt was an expensive commodity in the past).
The mines are deep and at the first level you are met by winding corridors inlayed with salt. The salt mine has a number of chapels where services are still held. The mines show you the history of the mine through the ages. The guide who led this visit was very informative and it proved to be a very successful visit.
After a short coach ride from the salt mines we then arrived at Krakow the former seat of Polish kings and the former capital city of Poland. The city is dominated by a castle which stems from medieval times. The children by this time were weary and the rain had set in, but they enjoyed the visit tothe church and after lunch found renewed strength to carry on the sightseeing, all is in the rain. Visiting the Cloth hall now, a market which the children shopped until they dropped and then we listened to the trumpeter of Krakow. That was other fun packed tiring day!
Wednesday 24th April 2012
Visiting Nikiszowiec and Giszowiec:
(Nikiszowiec-mangle gallery & St. Ann’s church, Giszowiec-miners old houses, water tower and E.Gawilk’s gallery, Silesian cuisine-food tasting in ‘Linden Residence’ restaurant and afternoon bonfire/barbeque at the parent’s house)
Nikiszowiec a mining village built by two German architects at the turn of the 20th century. The philosophy behind this village is that it was built so it could serve all the needs of the workers. The town included theatres, restaurants, ice rink, medical centre and rows of uniformed flats connected by corridors. Everything about the design to me was idealistic, and probably based on communist ideals of that time. The town consisted of a beautiful church St Anna which had just celebrated 100 years and still used for daily worship today. The museum housed artefacts of a household nature and works of art, depicting the life in the town.
The next town Giszowiec was in direct contrast to the previous, based on the design of English architects it had the appearance of almost an English village surrounding a village green (the park). The museum was housed in a former farm and contained many interesting artefacts and works of art by a former miner who painted pictures showing the hard and sometimes dismal life of miners and their families.
The final part of the day was taken up trying traditional hot and cold dishes of the area. A big favourite with the children and Mrs Collins was the cheesecake.
After an enormous lunch we were taken back for a barbeque in the home of a parent who showed us true Polish hospitality! The children and teachers alike really enjoyed the games, stilts and in particular the relaxed and informal atmosphere. What a day!
Thursday 26th April 2012
(Pszcyna-Castle Museum 19th to 20th century, Bison Centre, Restaurant ‘Old Bakery’, Farm village-old farm houses)
This day we started bright and early, the sun was shining down us we travelled by coach. Once we arrived in the front of the castle it reminded me of my visits to chateaus in France, similar architecture. The children loved the fact that you wore slippers over your shoes to keep the floors in order. The visit was interesting and informative historical account the people and lives of the people who had lived there.
Bison Centre proved popular because of the peacocks displaying their beautiful feathers and the sight of a Golden Pheasant. The children from were now one talking and playing together as if they had known each other all their life. This is what this project is about.
After lunch and trying more cheesecake and chicken we journey on to the historical village.
Friday 27th April 2012
(Picture frame making in school and presentation in the local community hall)
What a week, we had learnt so much and been treated with such kindness and hospitality. The countries were working as one group it seemed a shame to end it all but the time had come. The exhibition was held in a hall and with the pomp and ceremony of opening ceremony it was a well-organized and relaxed affair. It brought together all the aims of the project and highlighted the friendships that had been built over the week.
Many Thanks to everyone and a huge ‘Well done’ to Poland!
By Anna Kappes & Christine Collings