Gorka Castle was build as a summer residence of Wlostowic family. Then from XII to XIX it became a cloister and was systematically expanded. It is surrounded by Sleza Landscape Park.
You can tell I’m not really that good with slow travel. Recently I had just one day to go to the sea, but it was so worth it!
Yesterday R. and I decided to start a walking journey through Greter Poland. Two days – 80km and wild camping near lake. So I got up at 5am and it took us until 7am to be ready on the start of our trip. The first day route: Paczkowo – Czarlejno – Dominowo – Rusibórz – Milosław. But we got lost and somehow turned the wrong way. Instead of getting to Dominowo we ended up in Środa Wielkopolska.
The weather was rather gloomy. After the thunder storm during the night there were still heavy clouds in the morning. It was dashing off from time to time but we didn’t give up. You can see my backpack which includes as little as I could think of considering we could be camping wild in a thunderstorm near the lake. This means: foam pad, sleeping bag, sheet to construct the roof, a bit of paper and small twigs and matches to light a fire, pot with lid, tea, warm sweater, hat and documents to recognise my body 😉
I also took two pairs of shoes. As you can see sandals. I remember someone I respected, when I was in high school on kayaking camp, saying the worst thing is to have your feet wet. it’s better to wear sandals than sport shoes with socks that will soak through. I had sport shoes in my backpack as well cos I thought my feet can hurt from walking in sandals and I can change when it’s not raining.
I also had toilet paper, string, knife, a bit of food and water. Not much food considering we were supposed to sleep near village with a shop. So far so good.
We walked along many roads…
we saw many wild animals…
and domestic animals…
and many many more I would love to share. the most important thing though is that walking gives time to observe and absorb impressions, something that is hard when I drive or ride. It also shows there is no silance in nature. All the time there is wind, trees, bees, cranes, birds… thay all make sounds. I was used to then living in Poland but living in London made it necessary to accustom to it again.
Anyway walking out of one of the villages we made the wrong turn and only found out about it when R. feet hurt to much to walk further. He wouldn’t give up, but I just couldn’t look at his suffering and called it a day. I doubted if he could walk on the next day so started hitch-hiking to get us to the train station. It was hard but eventually a very nice guy gave us a lift to the train station. I organised cold beers and we had a lot of fun catching the train.
I loved it. It’s a shame we didn’t have our wild camping but well we can do it next weekend. First somebody needs to get proper shoes… Alltogether we walk from 7am to 3pm. Eight hours. Well I’m proud.
It was starting to get dark when we got to Kórnik. Kórnik means a hen house but is spelt with ó instead of u. I bet it does not ring a bell for anyone who doesn’t speak Polish. the vowels ó and u are pronounced the same (although in former times they were in fact pronounced differently). It means the difference between them is purely orthographic. Polish schoolchildren do not like them because of the spelling errors they cause (and because of the bad marks as a consequence).
Anyway, the castle beginning dates back to Middle Ages. It was a fortified stronghold surrounded by a moat, the only access to the castle was by a draw-bridge and wrought-iron bars. In the XVI th century the castle was rebuilt in the renaissance style and fortified further. In the XVIII century, Teofila Działyńska-Szołdrska-Potulicka, with all determination she had, turned the mansion into a baroque aristocratic residence. The castle as we see today was created by Tytus Działyński, who changed it into a Neo-Gothic, fortified structure with towers, turrets and battlements.
There is a legend about a “White Lady” strolling the chambers of castle at night. You can find her portrait in the castle, it supposed to be Teofila Działyńska-Szołdrska-Potulicka herself.
According to legend, beautiful Teofila, called by everyone the White Lady, descends from the portrait every night and goes to a park, where a rider on a black horse awaits her. They wander around the park until the crack of dawn. This is how the ghost of Teofila Działyńska was punished by evil powers. In the vicinity of the castle in Kórnik there was a small hunting hut. Treasure was supposed to be hidden in the cellar of the hut and guarded by the evil powers. Teofila, however, ordered the hut to be pulled down and gave the bricks to members of the local community. The evil ghosts took their revenge by making her wander around the castle and park. The curse will be removed when somebody finds the treasure once hidden under the hut.
The salon was called by Wladyslaw Zamoyski “peace convicts” because most of the portraits hanging in the family present to persons convicted of participating in various national uprisings. The presence of an empty coffer ceiling heraldic hall Tytus Działyński explained as the need to have free space in case you had to paint a missing arms of a visiting guest. The castle also hosts a library, which contains the works of such great Polish writers and poets as Jan Kochanowski, Mikołaj Rej and Juliusz Słowacki. The Kórnik library also holds the manuscript of the third part of Mickiewicz’s “Dziady”.
The castle’s large park-arboretum comprises over 2,500 species and varieties of trees and shrubs, the largest collection of that kind in Poland.
In Poland we have two public holidays in May: 1st may the Holiday of Work and on 3rd May to Holiday of the Constitution of 3rd May. This year it’s Tuesday and Thursday so taking 3 days off gives you 9 day holiday. Cool huh?
We decided with J. to visit famous Palace in Czerniejewo. Both of us have already been there. J. used to be a tourist guide and take round groups of children and adults and I have many good memories from my visits as a child.
I would like to show you some pictures, share memories and encourage visiting when you get a chance.
Ok a bit of history:
The main tourist attraction in Czerniejewo is baroque palace. The palace was built for a general J. Lipski, in the second half of XVIII century, outbuildings, stables and coach house. The palace is situated within an English style park (13 ha), with numerous ponds and old trees.
Palace of the Czerniejewo is truly a royal residence, one of the most impressive in Greater Poland.
The palace was built in the years 1771-1775 in the place of an old mansion. Architect was probably Ignatius Graff from Rydzyna. The palace was rebuilt twice. For the first time shortly after the founding, already in the nineties of XVIII century, then the great column portico was built which considerably extended the front elevation, providing indoors driveway to the entrance.
The next development came in the twenties of XX century, when a gallery connecting the main body with the wings was built. Then the main body itself was expanded to the east. The construction of the gallery was completed only in 1980-1982. Two courtyards leading to the palace add to its splendour: the so-called avant-cour, and cour d’honneur – courtyards enclosed with stables, coach houses and outbuildings.
The interior remains to the present day the same as it was designed during the reconstruction of the nineties of XVIII century, perhaps by Kamsetzer projects. At that time round, supported on columns terrena and ceremonial hall were built as well as two storeys high and covered with a flattened dome, room on the first floor. Inside the front-end you can see Leipzig Raker coat of arms.
In the years 1979 to 1985 the building was restored. Now it’s used as a hotel with elegant suites and museum interiors.
Behind the palace is a beautiful, 13-acre park established in XVIII century, which in the XIX century was transformed into a landscaped English park, with avenues of lime and hornbeam, ponds and pheasantry.
I was brought up with four boys my so called cousins. Our parents were friends and we used to go away for weekends and holidays together. Czerniejewo was one of the places which we often visited. It was here where i had my first riding lessons. There is still stable here today although I didn’t see any horses at this particular visit. I remember we use to ride through the park to a large meadow where we learned how to move, stop, turn also techniques like rising trot, half-seat, two-point and so on. One day instead of a big horse we chose pony hahahahaa I remember he didn’t want to cooperate and shaked off each one of us. We had quite a trouble to catch it afterwards. My Dad got once a big, fat white mare and we had a laugh they really suit each other perfectly. I remember also staying overnight in rooms above the restaurant you can see on a picture while our parents slept in the Palace. We had so much fun.
You can also rent a carriage or a chaise I think we did that once as well. J. said it wast the peak of their programm while visiting Czerniejewo. You can go into the palace and see magnificent rooms like: Golden-, Garden-, Winter- Salon, Music room, Hunters room and so on.
In the park there are avenues of lime, ash and chestnut, and three axes of the lakes in the north. Initially the park was designed in French style, since the mid XIX century it was transformed into an English park though. Especially noteworthy are stately oaks, hornbeam, lime and yew with four trunks. We found a spot near the lake at the back of the palace in a meadow undreneath trees to have our picnic: pancakes, fruits and cupcakes. From this spot we’ve seen the panorama of the palace and sea of yellow sow-thistles. There was not a single cloud on the sky. It made me think how different it is to UK and London. No screaming, no noises, no crowds, just sun, breeze and greenery.
I haven’t been writing for a while now and really feel bad about it. I still need to finish my Vietnam story especially that now comes the time to describe Mekong Delta trip. It’s just that I don’t really know how to write about it, but bear with me. It’s coming.
In a meanwhile let me share some pictures from a lovely place near where I live in Poland. We went there with my best friend recently in an attempt to sightsee some of Wielkopolska nicest palaces and castles. More should follow.
- Rogalin is primarily famous for its 18th-century baroque palace of the Raczyński family which has been in recent years renovated
- It was erected on a rectangular plan. The centre part of the front elevation, which dominates the entirety, is crowned with a triangular pediment bearing the Raczyński (Nałęcz) coat of arms and the garden elevation has a semi-circular protruding terrace
The building has two storeys from the front and three from the garden side owing to the slope of the terrain. The entrance to the sala terrena on the ground floor is shaped like a sea grotto. The entire body is dominated by a cupolaed garret, the central part of which is crowned with a sculpture bearing the initials “KR” (from the founder Kazimierz Raczyński)
- It houses an art gallery with Polish and international paintings (including Paul Delaroche and Claude Monet and the famous Jan Matejko’s large-scale painting Joanna d’Arc)
- There is a lovely French garden at the back of the palace which then extends into an English style landscape park with famous 1000-year-old oak trees called Lech, Czech and Rus (‘ll tell you two legends about those three heroes so notice the names)
- It’s has a cafe in old carriage house and stables you can visit, but what I would recommend is to make a picnic on Warta riverbanks as we used to do when I was a child
The statues, located here and there in the garden, are of mythological creatures and gods. I remember as children we used to run inside the green labyrinths and pretend we take part in stories full of mystery and danger.
We’d always visit the oak trees and then head towards the river banks for a walk and picnics. I can’t remember swimming in the river besides this one time in high school when we visited summer cottage of one of my friends near Rogalin. We actually swam in a small pond for bathing cows next to the river, not in the river itself. In the summer you can see some boats with anglers forever waiting to catch a fish. Meadows surrounding the banks are full of wild life and here is a picture of dragonfly I took on one of my trips there.
Now, first of promised two legends about three brothers.
Three brothers Lech, Czech and Rus went hunting together but each of them followed a different prey and eventually they all travelled in different directions. Rus went to the east, Czech headed to the south to settle in the Bohemian hilly countryside, while Lech travelled north. There, while hunting, he followed his arrow and suddenly found himself face-to-face with a fierce, white eagle guarding its nest from intruders. Seeing the eagle against the red of the setting sun, Lech took this sight as a good omen and decided to settle there. He named his settlement Gniezno (similar to Polish gniazdo – ‘nest’) in commemoration and adopted the White Eagle as his coat-of-arms. The white eagle remains a symbol of Poland to this day, and the colour of the eagle and the colour of the setting sun are depicted in Poland’s flag.
Another legend with the three brothers refers to how the city of Poznan (where I was born and live nowadays) was founded. Several long years have passed from the time since the three brothers, Lech, Czech and Rus, said goodbye to each other. When a cheerful, golden autumn came Lech gathered his team and set out on a great hunt. They headed west and soon entered the vast forest. Time and time again the team came across cluster of timid or buck deer. Sometimes, the earth rumbled from heavy jog of herd of bison or aurochs. Then the forest was filled with dog clatter, clatter of horses’ hoofs and horns playing fighter announcements of triumph. On the third day morning, in pursuit of a powerful tur, they came to the Cybina river, where a fishermen village laid. Suddenly from the midnight forest rang the sound of distant horns came.
“Who can it be!?” exclaimed Lech. Warriors looked around – everybody was there. The first horn was heard then the second and third.
“The enemy is probably some invaded our lands” said Lech “we have to go back to the edge of the forest and prepare to repel the attack!” Archers and Javelineers hid behind trees, and the warriors prepared bows and swords and formed the order of battle. Meanwhile, playing horns were closer and closer. Wind has already reported the tramp of horses’ hooves and the buzz of people. Finally leaning out of the wilderness a large team of warriors appeared. At its head drove the two leaders. They were going straight towards the village.
Lech ordered his warriors horn the battle-cry and then rolled his hands in a tube and exclaimed: “Who are you and what are you looking for in a foreign land?”
“It’s no Man’s Land and what we seek is ours!” reply came. There was nothing to wait on. Lech shouted the order to archers, and he along with his team hit the enemy like a whirlwind. Already were they to cross the swords, when Lech suddenly threw weapon on the ground and cried joyfully “Czech! Russ! I recognize you (poznaje in Polish)! Welcome!”
Amazed warriors of both teams Put your sword and then began to welcome each other. The three brothers, Lech, Czech and Rus, fell into each other arms and embraced long and heartily. Lech decided to celebrate worthily the meeting with the brethren, ordered to light fire and roast the deer. As they ate and honey loosened tongues, Czech and Rus in turn began talking about several years of their wanderings among the Slavs beyond the Oder.
When the cup of honey made a circle around the campfire Lech said: “This day will remain forever in our memory as the day we met after many years of separation. In memory of this meeting I will build on the site new settlement
fort and name it Poznan.
And so it happened. In the spring of next year Lech built on the right bank of the Warta fortified city Poznan. In the borough artisans and merchants started to build their houses. This created a city of Poznan, which with time expanded to the left bank of the Warta.
So, let me tell you how you make one of the traditional Polish dishes called bigos. The longer you cook it the better it is. The more types of meat you put inside the better. Believe me it’s so worth the effort!
Ok, so first of all you need to cook the sour cabbage with black pepper (grains), allspice, bay leafs. Well to be honest if it’s too sour you need to rinse it first but it rarely happens. It looks like this:
So it is cooked and let me tell you the more the better cos there is never enough of bigos. At this point I add mushrooms. if you read my post about mashrooming you know what mushrooms I’m talking about. At th beginning they are dry so you need to leave them in warm water to soak for a while. chop them and put them in. So now you fry different types of meat. beef, pork, wild fowl, sausage… This year I didn’t get a nice portion of beef, everything looked too fat or not the right quality. So I took: shoulder, veal, pork roast, beacon and rural sausage.
So first onion with beacon:
I put salt and pepper (ground) to all of them. My tip is to put it into pot and then pour some hot water on the pan to get all the remains out and pour it to bigos, it brings in more flavor, and the water evaporates. And let’s not forget the sausages:
And this was only the first day.
No you cool it down or freeze it at least once a day for 5 days.
And then it’s ready and gone in minutes! Enjoy!