Warsaw, Day 4 – Royal Palace and Old Town

The day started out once more at the Polytechnika:
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From which a bus took us over to the Royal Palace in Old Town.
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Here is the inner courtyard of the palace, which you can’t see from the outside.
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Here is the original palace in 1939:
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On September 17, 1939, the clock tower was bombed:
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The clock was after that frozen at 11:15. And today, the reconstructed palace chimes at 11:15.

As I already mentioned, the palace mostly survived the war. Til Hitler punished Warsaw for their uprising by dynamiting what was left of the city. Here’s what the palace looked like after he was done with it. *Hitler!*
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The people of Warsaw actually smuggled what they could out of the Palace to hide it from the Nazis.

Many of the paintings were cut out of their frames and folded or rolled up and spirited away. See the giant crease down the middle of this one?
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There are also various tiny pieces of woodwork that are original. They took any small piece they could in hopes it would help later on. We’ll see more of that later.

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They did a beautiful job reproducing the patterned wooden floors:
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The paintings in this room show some of the kings of Poland, I think.
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This is a working 18th century clock. The Roman numerals are the hours and underneath are the minutes. The scythe tells the time. Above the clock is a portrait of Copernicus.
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This set of doors is apparently original and were saved at great risk. I think some Poles hid them under rocks and such from the Nazis.
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This room had portraits of all the various rulers of Poland. Blurry, but this is the last king from the late 18th century:
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The guide we had this day was really good and really funny. She told us some story of one of the kings, who died without an heir. So they invited someone to come over from France to rule. On the condition that he marry the king’s sister who was in her 50s and well, ugly. The guide said she was smart, but a “very strong woman” if you know what I mean. We saw a portrait of her at Wilanow Palace and wow, yeah. Anyway, legend has it, a prince came over from France took one look at her, and hopped back on his horse and rode back to France. Though in actuality, his brother was king of France and had just died. I guess the next guy they invited didn’t have a problem with her and married her and became king. But I think he was also away a lot.

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Hedwig or Jadwiga – she has an interesting history. She was actually crowned King of Poland when she was only a child. She married Jagiello when she was 12, at which point he became King. She is also a Catholic saint.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jadwiga_of_Poland
:
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Her husband, Jagiello.
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I liked this door handle – Warsaw does like their mermaids:
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Back through the first room we were in. Notice the slightly darker gilded woodwork? Those pieces are original:
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Throne room. Supposedly someone saved one of those spangled eagles and it was recovered and others were made. I think she said it took like a month to make one.
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This room has a neat effect too with its mirrors:
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Ingenious tour idea – we all got headsets and our guide had a mic. She could talk softly into it without disturbing other people, and we could all hear her.
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Detail:
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Some original woodwork:
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You can see the lighter pieces on the vertical section – those are new – the darker ones on the horizontal part are original:
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Blurry sorry, but cool floor!
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Gorgeous floor:
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Not a great picture – this was hard to capture. If you stand in just the right place, two statues on opposite sides of the room will appear in the mirrors to be shaking hands:
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Another clock:
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Lovely inlay on this desk:
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Music box:
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Bedroom:
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More flooring:
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The artist died before he could finish the ceiling mural – they left it as is to honor him:
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Cool floor:
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Chapel:
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The sword you can see the last king of Poland wearing in the portrait from the 2nd room we visited:
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This is the room that has all the Cannoletto paintings that survived the war – they were so detailed that they were used to rebuild Warsaw afterwards:

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This one is of Wilanow Palace which I saw on Friday:
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Here is the artist and the King:
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And Warsaw:
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The back of Wilanow Palace:
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Old Town:
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This decoration was an illusion – it looked 3D, like a frieze, but it’s just a 2D painting:
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Gorgeous inlaid table:
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How big Poland once was:
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Crests of different regions of Poland:
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Back to the Polytechnika:
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The stained glass ceiling:
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A statue of Marie Curie:
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The plaza with the big Communist era light fixtures:
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Lunch – kielbasa and pierogies:
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This is one of the major roads – in English, basically, Jerusalem Avenue. It has a big Palm Tree, but it’s actually fake.
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After lunch with Doug, I headed back up to Old Town to do some more looking around on my own. I had plans to see the Chopin Museum, get a better look at Copernicus, and get one of the famous donuts from A. Blikle bakery.

Donut achievement unlocked! These were described in the guide book as being slightly rose flavored and jelly filled. They were amazing. I think that’s candied fruit on top. The jam was maybe strawberry.
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The Chopin Museum:
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I hit it on the day when it was free! They give you a plastic card when you go in, which is programmed to your language. You can scan it at different kiosks and that way you’d get subtitles in the correct language. It was a neat idea but mostly it seemed like the kiosks were occupied and the info on them was lengthy, so that didn’t work very well. When they were busy, they were busy for long amounts of time. I found myself wishing I could just read the info somewhere. They did have labels on things with English, which I did appreciate though. In Germany a lot of the museums didn’t.

The ceiling in the main stairway in the museum. I believe the museum used to be a palace. Not sure if it’s original or not.
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One of Chopin’s pianos:
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I was super excited to see some of his handwritten music, and especially this piece:
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This is one of his most famous Preludes. I learned it on piano in high school, so it was fun to recognize it.

Next up was the Copernicus statue:
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Which is in front of the Polish Academy of Science:
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I was even wearing my solar system shirt! Though I wasn’t able to get a picture of me in it with him. Oh well.
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Next, I wanted to get a better look at the church where Chopin’s heart is.
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It’s in this column:
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The Warsaw University – wish I’d had time to go in and explore more here:
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The Chopin Family salon, which I saw on a map and didn’t realize I’d seen the other day:
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Subway line construction:
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After this (and stopping in a fabric store I spotted), I was exhausted, so I caught a cab back to the hotel to relax and watch Olympics. When Doug got back, we headed to the Chopin concert we’d gotten tickets to (as part of the conference entertainment).

I don’t know what building this is, but it was next to where we saw the conference:
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This was the Protestant Church where the concert was. It was, of course, say it with me, destroyed in the War. Chopin himself once played in the original church. It apparently had great acoustics. This is the rebuilt church:
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The concert was really awesome – it was all Chopin. She played the other prelude I’d learned once upon a time, which was cool. And a polonaise I’d learned an easy version of when I was little, that I recognized. The 2nd piece she played, a mazurka, was particularly gorgeous.

The only incident was someone’s flimsy plastic chair breaking suddenly. The floor was apparently slippery and when weight was put on said flimsy chair, pressure was placed on the legs, which slid inexorably until, boom, the chair broke! The pianist didn’t miss a note though! :-)

After the concert, we were starving but wanted something quick, so we went to the hotel bar and ordered food there. We got an amazing green curry that was delicious! And we got to watch the Olympics while we ate!

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