Once Upon A Time
Friday, September 26, 2014
Sunday, September 21, 2014
|The Butchers' Hall|
Monday, September 15, 2014
We are fortunate to have a guest post by my friend & colleague, the talented, multi-published author who has written about everything from ghost-hunting & serial killers to Anne Rice's vampires. Take it away, Katherine!
Thursday, September 11, 2014
The Holocaust Memorial
the famous kiss on the Berlin Wall
Monday, September 8, 2014
And I keep going.
The morning sun is faint.
I sit at a cafe, munch a blueberry-crammed pastry, & watch the amber merchants, the guitarist, & the beggars, the cafes, storefronts & cobbled streets already growing familiar. I leave the main street & wander down the amber street, where a tavern dedicated to Copernicus is now known for its gingerbread. Another guitarist in a blue beret plays, "My Way" & "Sunrise Sunset." The open door to the Biblioteka beckons-- a library!
The instant I enter, the young man behind the desk leaps to his feet as if he were waiting for me & brings out a volume & sets it on the desk. "Look at Danzig," he tells me as I page through large black & white photographs of razed buildings & rubble. "Can you believe this is where you are walking now?"
"Hard to believe," I admit.
"They had a choice after the war--to start over & completely rebuild the town or to repair & construct over the ruins. They chose the second option, & I believe it was the right one."
Every volume in the small library, with a winding wooden staircase leading to the second floor, is about Gdansk & its history. The smell of books & fresh green air through the open window & door are my nectar.
The librarian asks eagerly where I'm from. "Pennsylvania?" he says, delighted. "The TV show, 'The Office,' takes place there."
Back on the amber street, the peaceful mood remains through the day, & every encounter I have with people of the town is pleasant.
My friend & I take the train to Sopot, a beach town 18 km. from Gdansk. We arrive in early evening to find a pedestrian street lined with the ever-present Lody ice cream stands, cafes, restaurants, & even an H&M. A festival is taking place that seems to connect gardening & youth camping, a live band with two horns plays Jorge Ben's samba classic, "Mas Que Nada," & everywhere, families stroll. Baby carriages, pregnant women with bellies thrusting under skin-tight leotards, old couples & young holding hands. As in Gdansk, I see many women whose hair is dyed red--a defiantly artificial translucent orange. The men at their sides are in baggy pants or dapper with creamy suits.
On our way to the beach, we pass the grand Grand Hotel, which sits rock-solid, protected by immaculate gardens, & faces the sea as if to say, "Don't dare try to get past me!" The hotel is enormous, a bastion of pre-war elegance that brings to mind Atlantic City's fabulous thousand-windowed hotels where Roosevelt & Truman stayed, & celebrities rode in rickshaws along the boardwalk. The Grand Hotel, Sopot, Old Town Gdansk are all trying to recreate pre-war elegance & charm, to open the story at "Once upon a time," before the children entered the dark forest.
Let's stay with them for a while, at least until the sun goes down.
the Grand Hotel in Sopot, Poland