By Arachne


I walked another route through layers of history in what was the ghetto. Shiny financial high-rise buildings, low-rise 1950s blocks of flats, the synagogue at Twarda Street (on the right of this picture) that somehow survived... As I got further north, I really enjoyed picking my way through large housing estates to avoid the roads. Hala Mirowska - a large food market, both covered and outside - was a real find. I never knew it was possible to buy eggs according to the breed of the hen that laid them (extra). Is there anyone out there whose taste buds can tell the difference between egg varieties the way I can with apples and some people can with rice?

Then the Polin museum of Jewish history. Unlike any museum I’ve been in, it tells you where you are in the sequence of eight ‘rooms’, and signposts break points for toilets, coffee and food. Excellent planning and I felt well in control of my time in the rooms taking me through spaces designed in the style of the period from the middle ages onwards – I had a clear sense of moving gradually through changes in the way people lived as the basis for really good and varied displays on Jewish beliefs, settlements, migrations and livelihoods. Then in the late 18th century things fell apart (for me) as the display assumed the visitor knew about the various partitions and annexations of Poland. I dredged around in the murk of A-level history and didn’t find enough to give me the context I needed. I guess every Polish visitor knows their national history inside out but I didn’t.

It got harder. I was pacing myself, knowing what time I needed to leave to have a look at the outside of the building and get to the station for my train but the huge space for the 20th century was suddenly divided into a bewildering warren of small, low-ceilinged corridors with staircases to mezzanines and masses and masses of material to take in. I was overwhelmed with stuff and too anxious about time to take very much of it in. 

I wish I’d had a full day rather than my 3 hours.

Now, after a meet-up at the station with Son, we are in Krakow. 

Do have a look at the public sculpture in extras. I'm not sure what it's supposed to be saying to the office workers behind the windows.

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