Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Leaving Sicily and into Poland - Chopin Museum

I was sad to leave the Sicilian warmth and blue skies. It was another beautiful morning and because of our late night, we were all tired. I had planned to get up early and go out and explore Taormina as I hadn't even taken a photo of the area. But instead we just packed up, got our things and headed to the airport. Our flight was at 10.50am and because of a misunderstanding on my part we didn't check in until 10.11. However they still accepted our luggage, and it turned out our flight had been delayed for several hours.

We arrived in Warsaw Poland at about 4pm. Grey skies, freezing cold (8C) and rain on and off. I can't complain though as this is my 37th day of travelling and my first cold rainy day.

Holly was there to meet us, and we taxi'd to her hotel (the Inter-Continental). We chatted a bit, then Anne and I went to the Chopin Musuem as that was free and open until 8pm.

I've always loved chopins music, but I haven't played much of it as it's extremely difficult. Although there was one piece I played at highschool but lost the music to. In the museum shop, I think I found it. In any case, the music book wasn't expensive so I bought it. Now to get it home and find if it's the piece I knew!

The museum was well thought out with lots of information about Chopins life, his music, his friends and 'lovers', his travels and concerts. Letters, books, music scores. There were listening posts where you could play his pieces as well and the books in front told you about the pieces and how they were composed. I could have spent a lot more than two hours there.

Here's an image of what his Etudes were about. No wonder I have trouble with them, as I'm no means an expert at the piano!

"The history of the Chopin collections is a complex and turbulent one, with many mementos having been lost beyond recall. Starting with the deliberate destruction perpetrated by women who were emotionally involved with Chopin, and moving on via the unprecedented sale, under the auctioneer's hammer, of the personal possessions left in the composer's final home, the act 
of irretrievable loss is rounded off by the ravages and plundering of war.

The best part of the Chopin heritage, preserved despite history's unpropitious conditions, is held in Polish collections, the most extensive and diverse being that of the Fryderyk Chopin Museum in Warsaw"

The actual building of the museum was beautiful as well.

I was interested in this part of the exhibition - a collection of piano's that were used by Chopin. This one was his final one - the Pleyer. It was bought by Jane Stirling, and then recovered by her after his death and given to his family.

His death mask. He died at 39 - quite young, and many people believed he had died of TB. However history now thinks he may have had mild cystic fibrosis.

After the museum we headed back to the hotel and Holly Anne and I went out for dinner at traditional Polish restaurant and filled up on an array dumplings and potato pancake with beef stew and smoked cheese. I can see by the end of my Polish stay, I will look like a dumpling!

We drank the following - and no it's not Vodka - it was natural mineral water!

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