We have been away exactly a month now and we have enjoyed every moment and experience! We have seen some mind-blowing, spectacular and confronting things. And we have learnt soooo much more about European history from the countries that we have visited.
Here is our first month in a quick review:
Our first stop was Russia where we visited Moscow and St Petersburg. There we saw some amazingly opulent palaces and got a sneak peak into the lives of the past royals. Our standout moment from here would be setting eyes on St Basil’s in Red Square for the first time.
The Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were next on the agenda. We learnt about the Singing Revolution which we had no idea about and also learnt about the Baltic Way – 2 million people holding hands across the 3 countries to make a 600 km human chain to stand up for their independence. A few of our favourites in this area would be visiting the Hill of Crosses and experiencing the old towns of each capital city
Poland was definitely a little surprise package for us. We enjoyed what the country had to offer; its history, food, people and culture. Here we experienced awe as well as sadness. There were moments of joy and wonderment as we visited the Wieliczka Salt Mines, walked around the Old Town of Krakow and be impressed at the restoration efforts of Warsaw. Then there were moments of heart-break where we shed tears for those who lost their lives during World War II especially when we visited the concentrations camps.
We had a small taste of Czech Republic back in 2006 when we visited Prague for a few days. This time, we had an opportunity to visit Cesky Krumlov as well. One of our highlights in Cesky Krumlov was definitely getting a tour of the Zámecké Divadlo (Castle Theatre). One of the last few remaining wooden theatres still with costumes, props and stage sets. Prague was nothing like we remembered, probably because we came this time with “older” eyes and a different mindset to travel. A highlight would have to be seeing the Astronomical Clock again and really appreciating it for what it was this time.
Now we are in Bordeaux, France and we are loving France all over again. Despite common belief, the French people are very friendly and always willing to help. Two memorable experiences amongst the many so far (as we still have all up another 10 days or so) was watching Moulin Rouge and seeing Mont St Michel. Next stop Carcassonne 🙂
Have a great week ahead, folks!
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Frederic Chopin was a Polish composer and pianist. In Lazienki Park, Warsaw, there is a statue dedicated to him.
During World War II, it was the first monument that the Germans bombed in Warsaw. Fortunately, the original mould was still available. And the replica statue, what we see today, replaced the original one in 1958.
But, it’s no ordinary statue. Depending on which angle it is admired, it is possible to see different things.
So looking at it slightly from the right side, it is Chopin sitting underneath a weeping willow tree.
Walk behind the statue and around to the other side, the weeping willow branch, now looks like a hand, with fingers curled over… curled over a piano possibly??
And then stand square in front of the statue, and the weeping willow looks like the head of an eagle from its neck, which is the national symbol of Poland. Can you see its eye?
By the statue, during summer, every Sunday there is a free Chopin recital. We would’ve liked to have done this but unfortunately we missed it this time.
Wise Monkeys Piece of Trivia: Chopin’s music was banned in Poland by the Nazis during World War II as it was believed he represented “everything Polish”. His music united the Polish people.
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