Katowice
Katowice

Day 21 – Evening one (Monday):

The main point of that day was meeting Antek – Rafal’s five-years-old son, playing lego (I haven’t done it for years!!) and home-made board game, which I happened to win (yay!), so I could have a WISH (yay!). And my wish was: pancakes with plum jam for breakfast! (yay yay yay!)

Day 22 – Day two (Tuesday):

The day started with plum jam pancakes (Rafal hoped I’m going to forget it, but no way!). And it turned out that is has been the best plum jam in the world, cooked by Rafal’s mum! With the huge plum pieces inside. Soooo yuuummmyyyy!

The main point of the day, however, was a bike photo session with Peggy, done by Ania. Photo sessions are always stressfull for me. Always. Although I know that I’ll be happy afterwards (becasue of the spectacular effects when having the pictures of you taken by a professional). Ania was amazing. She made me feel ver yvery comfortable, so it was very easy for me to smile and laugh. Actually after a few hours I had pain in my jaw becasue of laughing so much. Thank you, Ania!!

After we came back, we’ve spent the whole afternoon with Rafal, talking about his company Plan Planeta, which I simply admire not only for the loveliest socks in the world Rafal has in his offer, but especially for his idea to support the projects in developing countries by sharing the incomes he gets. So remember: with every single thing you buy from him, you help a person in the world. Currently: a woman in the Ukraine.

Day 23 – Day three (Wednesday):

It was a day that brought the clarification of my weekend plans (forest again!) and some confirmations of the plans for next days: I already knew where I was going to stay in Gorzyce (my last stop in Poland – with Dominik and his family) + in Olomouc (Jiri) and Brno (Ladislav & Jana) in the Czech Republic. Having known that I kept sending CS requests to Ostrava and Breclav hoping for some positive answers. And on Wednesday they came: Vitek answered that he and his cat Monty will be happy to host me in Ostrava. Which means only Breclav left for now!

The rest of the day we’ve spent with Rafal continuing our discussions about Plan Planeta and then eventually late in the afternoon we went for a bike ride to Silesian Park (Park Slaski) – one of the biggest city parks in Europe (as Rafal says), which connects three cities: Katowice, Chorzow and Siemianowice Slaskie and is of some 520 ha (or 620 ha) big. It’s called the Green Lungs of Silesian agglomeration and is also the cultural center of it. It’s been founded in the 50s, mainly on the postindustrial territories. Some of the main attractions of the park are (besides – of course – it’s size that allowes for great bike rides!): Elka – the cable railway above the park that allowes to watch the park from the sky view; Planetarium – the biggest and the oldest one in Poland; Rosarium – the biggest rosa garden in Poland; the Giraffe SculptureZoological Garden (I’ve seen flamingos!) – but the zoos always make me feel quite sad, so I would skip this one in the future; Silesian Stadium (huge, I have to admit) and the “Drone” piece of art, which is a huge sculpture in the form of a mosquito that consists of two parts: live view and the live view online. So we watched ourselves live and live at the same time!

I don’t have too many pictures becasue Rafal was riding TOO fast, so it was difficult to catch him! But I caught at least this one from Planetarium. And we have two live view photos from the “Drone”:

Day 24 – Day four (Thursday):

Another day of so many good news! Martina had answered from Breclav (yay!), I created a list of ideas for Plan Planeta which Rafal liked (yay!), he agreed to take me to Nikiszowiec (yay yay yay!). And Nikiszowiec is a place I’ve been to many years ago (also with Rafal), but I remembered that I really really liked it and I really really really wanted to go back there.

Nikiszowiec is a housing estate of some 200 000 square meters and 1000 flats. But not only – besides the flats, this huge complex contains the park, the adminitration buildng, craftbuilding, baths, church, tavern, shops and a school. A typical building (called “familok”) consists of 165 flats – each of them of 2 rooms and the kitchen and ca. 63 square meters big. What makes the whole complex so unique and special, besides its architecture itself, is the fact that all the buildings have been built of the bricks. Like this:

Here comes the short story of Nikiszowiec:

It is currently a regular district in Katowice (since 1960), but it’s been originally built as a housing estate for mine workers at the territory of Gieschewald (Giszowiec) in 1908-1918. The architects – authors of the concept were Emil & Georg Zillmannow from Charlottensburg (in Berlin). The name Nikiszowiec comes from the nearby mine shaft “Nikischschacht” and is a Polish language version of it. The first houses (called “familok” in Silesian language) were finished in 1911. The construction of the district’s central building – St Ann’s Church started in 1914 but was stopped becasue of the beginning of the 1st World War, similarly to the whole estate’s construction, so the last building was finished only in 1919. After the war, when Poland re-appeared on the map and the borders were not strictly re-shifted yet, the Silesian region was also discussed about beloging. It was decided in the plebiscite in 1921 that it’s going to be attached to Poland, what happened eventually in 1924. Second World War brought similar turbulences, but after the war was finished, Silesia – and Nikiszowiec accordingly – stayed within the Polish borders. The estate didn’t have the best reputation until recently, mainly becasue of quite high level of crimes and unemployment. That has changed and Nikiszowiec has been turned into one of the Katowice’s tourist attractions. It’s also part of the Silesian Technology Monuments Route, since its creation in 2006.

On the way to Nikiszowiec we stopped in the Gallery Szyb Wilson, where we have seen this piece of art and Rafal commented that this is how I’m going to look like, when I will eventually reach Istanbul on my bicycle..

Rafal says this is how I'm going to look like when I will eventually reach Istanbul
Rafal says this is how I’m going to look like when I will eventually reach Istanbul

And on the way back we stopped at the biggest mural in Katowice.. Think!

Think. Yes! With Antek & Ania
Think. Yes! With Antek and Ania

..and at The Honey Festival!

Honey Festival
The Honey Festival

Day 25: Day five (Friday):

In the morning Rafal left to Warsaw and I stayed in Katowice on my own. I decided to visit the Silesian Museum, which has not happened – but I went for a bike ride around the city. The sun was beautifully shining and I just didn’t want to spend the day inside the buildings. I decided that there always has to be something to go back to!

My stuff is already packed and I’m ready to go to the forest for the weekend!

Katowice, 9 October 2015

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