The Universe Is Made of Tiny Stories

TRAVEL DIARY
Sophie and Mr House visit Poland
20th -26th February 2017

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.                                                         /Saint Augustine/

Monday 20th February - arrival

Sophie and Mr House arrive in Warsaw, the capital of Poland. Before they had a wonderful week with the Italian team in Gubbio. From Gubbio they got to Verona and boarded a plane for Warsaw. The flight took 1 hour 55 minutes. And here they are at last! Some students meet them at the airport:)

A short tour of Warsaw

Sophie and Mr House decide to take advantage of their arrival in the capital of Poland. Thus, we take them on a short trip to let them feel the atmosphere of the city. Sophie finds it hard to believe that 84% of Warsaw was totally ruined during World War II. Luckily, it was rebuilt after the war and now they can admire the beauty of the city.

Mr House insists on visiting the National Stadium. He is really into football…

Sophie, a dreamer, loves looking at the sky and stars and planets… She really enjoys herself at the Copernicus Science Centre. (click on the button below)

And when she finally gets to the Planetarium she is, literally, at the Heaves of Copernicus! WOW!

She doesn’t want to leave and decides to stay for a Starry Night Concert.

They come to Rybnik late at night. They spend it in Sabina’s house who has prepared bigos for our guests. Enjoy your meal!

Tuesday 21st February - Day at School

Sophie and Mr House come to school at 8 am. They are very happy to start another day full of new experiences.The first thing they notice is our motto: “Tomorrow is ours… Kopernik”. It’s so optimistic – they like it a lot! Julia and Wiktoria show them around…

We buy some snacks in our school shop and visit all the classrooms before going to watch a basketball match.

First we go to the chemistry classroom to be taught about chemical stuff. It is a very interesting lesson. We do some experiments later.

During one of the breaks we watch a mini table soccer match. It is very exciting. Sophie and Mr House have their chance to play as well and they are absolutely amazed by how much fun it is.

Later we go to the gym to watch the basketball match. All of the classes are supposed to choose three students who represent them as their teams. All of the teams play with one another in order to win and bring honour and fame to their class. Sophie is amazed by their skills and Mr House wants to play basketball himself as soon as it is possible. He has his chance to play with the winners.

Our PE teachers are careful and fair referees!

Later we go to the biology classroom where a group of students cut fish. It is really messy but the students and our guests are happy and interested in what's inside the fish. There is a lot of cleaning later but it only gives us a chance to talk more and polish our English:)

Also we are taught about fish and although it's a very interesting topic, we prefer cutting fish.

only Kuba seems to be happy...

Next we talk to some students and ask them about a typical school day. Sophie and Mr House share with us some of their experiences and tell us about cultural differences in all the countries they have visited so far. They are surprised we start school at 8 and finish at 3.

There is also a competition in the library. The students have to translate an English text into Polish. Good luck!

After all the lessons it is time for some extra biology classes for students willing to learn a bit more. The classes are about human anatomy. Our special guest is a university student, who used to attend our school, and now gives the lecture.

They stay at school till 3 o’clock. Then Sophie and Mr House catch a bus to the city centre and go for lunch. Never before have they tasted pierogi (a kind of Polish dumplings). Sophie likes them a lot.

After lunch it's time to visit Rybnik. Karolina and Martyna are Sophie and Mr House's guides.

Rybnik Lake
Rybnik is very famous for its lake called Zalew Rybnicki with its pier and harbour. It's very popular especially in the summer when people spend their free time there. And it's even more attractive in June when Kopernik's students organise their annual ecological event there: a raft race. The rafts are made of plastic bottles.

Now we go to St Anthony's Basilica. It's the most important place of worship in Rybnik, more than 100 years old. It's very well-known for its architecture and interior design. Sophie looks at the monument and recognises the person - Pope John Paul II.

Market Square

We go to the city center and, at first sight, Sophie and Mr House fall in love with its Market Square. It is quite a big place surrounded by charming tenement houses. There is a fountain with a monument of Saint John Nepomuk. It's a great place to hang out with your friends or family. You can choose a place to sit and get something to drink from many cafés and restaurants.

Wednesday 22nd February - a trip to Cracow

Cracow (Kraków in Polish) is Poland's second largest city. It is also one of the oldest cities in the country as it dates back to the 7th century. Recently Cracow has become a business center for many international companies so many young professionals can find jobs there.

St Mary’s Basilica

St Mary's Basilica is one of the most important symbols of Cracow. This church is a jewel of Polish art and architecture and is visited by crowds of tourists from all over the world. One of the most important places in the Basilica is the wooden altarpiece carved by Veit Stoss.

Main Market Square

On the Main Market Square there are the most important monuments of Cracow: the Cloth Hall, Town Hall, St Mary's Church, the monument of Adam Mickiewicz – our national poet. In addition, the place is famous for numerous pigeons, lovely flower shops and wonderful restaurants.

The Church of St Adalbert

This Romanesque monument is located at the end of the Main Market Square. In the basement there is the Archaeological Museum. This monument was built to commemorate the sermons preached by the medieval missionary Adalbert.

The Cloth Hall

In the Cloth Hall there are two rows of stalls selling mostly jewellery, souvenirs and handicrafts. Currently the first floor houses the Gallery of the 19th century Polish Art. On the ground floor there is the famous Noworolski’s Café.

The Wawel Castle

It is the former seat of Polish kings. In the Wawel Castle there are many chambers. The Wawel Cathedral constitutes the burial ground of most Polish royalty as well as the greatest national heroes. One of the attractions of the Wawel Cathedral is the huge Sigismund’s Bell which ranks among the world’s largest bells. It requires ten strong men to ring “Big Sig” every Christmas, New Year's Day or Easter Sunday or when something significant happens in the country.

Sophie’s Diary: Mr House and I visit Cracow which is located in southern Poland. What a beautiful place! First, we decide to visit the Main Market Square. We enter St Mary’s Church and see the miraculous alterpiece by Veit Stoss. Really impressive! Later we go to a cafe for a coffee and cake. Next Mr House and I decide to walk around the Main Market. Here we see the monument of Adam Mickiewicz who was a prominent Polish poet. Nearby we notice the Church of St Adalbert. In the basement there is the Archaeological Museum which we also visit. I just can’t help buying lots of lovely souvenirs in the Cloth Hall (the amber silver ring is my favouite:)). Then we go underground and have fun in the interactive Historical Museum of the city. At the end of our tour we visit the Wawel Castle. We see graves of Polish rulers and Mr House climbs numerous stairs to touch Sigismund’s Belt. Next we walk around the royal gardens and head for the Dragon's Dan where we listen to the legend of the Wawel dragon. We are totally exhausted but Cracow is worth it!!!

Thursday 23rd February - Sports Day

Mr House couldn't wait...

Sophie and Mr House spend the day with the sporty students participating actively in many competitions and other surprises...

Now it's time for a professional basketball match involving Nikola.

A little rest and motorbike ride with Jakub.

Is it possible that Mr House is scared?

While Mr House rides with Jakub, Sophie keeps fit with Martyna.

In the evening – a little surprise! Still, it’s FAT THURSDAY…

Sophie and Mr House decide to take part in the doughnut eating competition. Having eaten her third doughnut Sophie gives up. Mr House is a big eater who doesn’t surrender so easily and he WINS! The award is … a box of doughnuts:) After the Sports Day, he can manage with a few more calories!

Friday 24th February - The Mining Route

When visiting our school on Tuesday Sophie and Mr House noticed, through the window, big chimneys. The students explained they belonged to Chwalowice Coal Mine.

Sophie and Mr House have never seen real coal before so we’ve arranged a trip for them – The Mining Route. Is it going to be only about coal?

Of course, it isn't...

First, they head for Wieliczka.

Wieliczka Salt Mine was opened in Cracow in the 13th century. It is a world class monument which has been on the UNESCO Cultural and Natural Heritage List since 1978. Each year it is visited by more than one million tourists. When seeking a true adventure and wanting to find out about the work of the mine, you can take an exciting trip called Miners’ Route. Here you can put yourself in the role of a miner and see what a miner’s life looks like. Miners’ Route is an unforgettable adventure, a fascinating meeting with mining traditions and rituals and a unique idea of spending an active time.

Both Sophie and Mr House love the atmosphere of the place.

Still, it's not the end of surprises... Next they visit a gold mine in Zloty Stok!

The Museum of Gold Mining and Metallurgy in Zloty Stok is located in a former gold mine. The museum offers an exhibition depicting the history of gold mining. You can also visit the Underground Tourist Route and meet the Gnome on the Death Pavement or see the only underground waterfall in Poland.

The Death Pavement is connected with an extremely grim history. It was here where miners suspected of stealing gold were sentenced to death. Convicts were placed against the wall, with their hands placed in specially carved holes and then the holes were filled with mortar. Such a miner, attached to the rocks, died in terrible agony. Sophie seems really moved by the gloomy story...

It's been another day full of surprising places...

Saturday 25th February - a trip to Katowice

First we head for the University of Silesia, where, at the Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection, we participate in fascinating lectures on human brain. Never before have we seen a brain in real life. Mr House is fascinated. Piotr takes part in a little experiment in which they measure his brain reactions. When he talks about Matura exams, all the measurements go crazy. Sophie can't believe her eyes!

Next we take our guests to the Silesian Museum situated in a former coal mine. What a lesson on history! And so many interactive tasks!

We also get to the top of the tower of the former pit shaft which now offers a panoramic lift. What breathtaking views of Katowice! Sophie wants to stay there forever.

Next Sophie and Mr House head for Wroclaw. They spend a night there hoping to visit this beautiful city the next morning.

Sunday 26th February - visiting Wroclaw

Sophie and Mr House get up early in the morning: they have heard so many positive opinions about Wroclaw they want to see everything with their own eyes!

The first place they visit is Hydropolis – a modern museum of water. There is so much information, so many things to do, they spend most of the day here.

Next they go for a little walk around the city. Wroclaw has the greatest number of bridges in Poland so they decide to cross some of them. Sophie loves the romantic atmosphere of Tumski Bridge with all the padlocks left there by romantic lovers to symbolize their neverending love. Unfortunately, it gets late so it's time to come back...

When they are back in Rybnik, Julia wants to ask them a few questions about their stay in Poland.

Saying Goodbye!

We've had a fantastic time with Sophie and Mr House! Unfortunately, it's time to say "goodbye" but we hope they have some wonderful memories connected with their stay in Kopernik, Poland. They head for Croatia now but promise to come back one day...

Have a safe journey!

Tomorrow is ours... Kopernik

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