IVY'S HOLIDAY TO POLAND
At the invitation of Mel, one of Ivy's friends and colleagues, Ivy spent Easter week in Poland, celebrating Polish Christmas at the same time as Easter. It was an interesting experience, seeing a quite different culture, one where the aftermath of Communist rule is plain to see. Many of the towns and cities seem bleak by Western European (or Philippine!) standards, with plain concrete tower-blocks being the norm. The upside of this is that less land has been appropriated for housing, so (away from the areas of industrial pollution) there is more unspoilt countryside, to the benefit of the wildlife and environment. The Polish people have developed a stoical resistance to adversity over many centuries, and this has enabled them to emerge confidently from the strait-jacket of Communism to engage constructively in the recently-enlarged European Union. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming. All in all, a fascinating trip.
Somewhere in Dortmund Germany - beside the motorway!
KSIAZ FURSTENSTEIN CASTLE
Legend dates the foundation of the castle to a grant by the Emperor Henry I (The Fowler) in 933. Like many similar structures it has undergone many changes over the centuries, with probably the most impressive being the marvellously intricate and ornate baroque and rococo decoration in many of the rooms. Originally deep in forest, it is now surrounded by attractive parkland.
This Church is very unusual in being built entirely of wood, on a stone foundation to prevent the base beams from rotting in the ground. This is a Norwegian style known as a Stave Church, and involves the use of grooved beams and tongue-and-groove vertical staves to ensure the structure binds together and does not warp or have gaps open, whatever the weather.
KARNOKOSKI PARK NARODOWY....1407 METRES ABOVE SEA LEVEL
Part of the Carpathian mountains, which stretch along the border between Poland and what was Bohemia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia). Lovely scenery, interesting wildlife and SNOW still lying at Easter!
TROPICAL BOTANICAL GARDEN
A massive change from the snow in the Carpathians was this lovely botanical garden, with a specially Asian feel. I wonder if the plants (and the terrapin!) felt as much at home with my visit as I did visiting?
MEL'S (Ivy's colleague and close friend) FAMILY