It is difficult to admit but we Poles not always like each other. It is seldom when the Pole is happy with another Pole's success. In contrary we often with vindictive satisfaction discuss somebody's failure. though similarly to other nations we have many people to be proud of. There are Poles as well which successes are more known abroad than in Poland.


Completely by coincidence we've got to know the successes of one of them during the trip in Austria. The history of one of very picturesque castle is strictly connected with our fellow countryman.


The Kreuzenstein castle lies in Lower Austria and was at the beginning the property of Habsburg family. The lot turns were not favorable for the castle. In his worst time it was difficult to describe where are its gates, mote and towers. At that time on the scene appeared Polish Wilczek family and especially one of its most famous representative Johan Nepomuk Graf Wilczek. Noble Wilczek originates form Dolna in Cieszyn Silesia. In XVIII century it got rich thanks to coal discovered on their grounds and became one of the richest families in Habsburg country. Graf Wilczek was at that time Renaissance man. He studied archaeology, art history and natural sciences. He was the main sponsor of Austrian North Pool expedition after which he became the President of Austrian Geography Association and was supporting building of polar meteorological stations. In honour of him were named such places like Wilczek Ground, Wilczek Ireland in Arctic Franz Josef Ground Archipelago and Wilczek Cape where nearby lies Polish Polar Station Hornsund.


The Graf contributed to set up of Vienna rescue service which evaluated later on into Vienna Emergency Medical Service. Graf Wilczek was the founder of Vienna Art Lovers Association, art patron and lover.

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I like sightseeing and visiting new places, even though my relatives know that the journey itself doesn't belong to my favorite ways of spending free time. My life would be much easier if I could take Harry Potter's Floo Powder and travel hundreds of kilometers in a minute. We try to avoid going to indoor exhibitions with our kids. We make an exception for unique museums such as those where you may touch the exhibits. I really do not like to run after my children repeating all the time "don't touch", "don't sit here", "don't move it" and catching the disgusted look of the museum's workers. Due to this, at the moment we prefer sightseeing outside. Into this category we may put shows, parks, gardens and open-air museums. I really like the last one in particular. Unfortunately I do not have family in the countryside, where kids could learn that milk, butter, and cream don't grow in supermarkets, cows are not violet and chickens are not Angry Birds. We try to show our kids how and where people used to live and work 50 or 100 years ago. I like very much when my father comes with us to such places. He often knows how the particular exhibits worked and tells interesting stories about them. The kids are all ears.


Lately we discovered that we don't have to travel too far from Warsaw to visit a XIX century village. The nearest Open-Air Museum of Folk and Landowning Culture that we know of lies in Kuligów on the Bug river. The creator and owner of this place, which has been open since 2000, is the ethnography lover Wojciech Urbanowski.


New exhibits have been appearing constantly since the first year it was opened. Today you may see here a forge, a village house, a garner, a barn, a cowshed, a little house for nobility and a coach house. The owner says that the main goal of this museum is to show the surroundings of the house for nobility and the occupations from that time. The horse-drawn vehicles and the occupations connected with them (rope maker, wheeler, smith, and saddler) are the pearls of the exhibition. You can also see a rope maker's and carpenter's workshop, a mangle and a carding mill.

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03Aug2016

There are at least a few Dinosaur Parks in Poland. Some are big and some are small, but all of them try to take us back to a time on our planet when there were animals the size of houses, there were sharks in the seas as big as buses, and the air was ruled by flying animals the size of small planes. This year we have visited probably the biggest park of this kind in Poland. Jura Park in Krasiejów proposes not only a classic encounter with dinosaur mock-ups; it is also a real time journey, which we made using our imagination, supported by cutting edge technological achievements.


Dinosaur Park is only a little part of what we may see in Krasiejów. We started with the Science and Mankind Evolution Park. This inconspicuous building on the other side of a car park hides a real time machine. Tooled up with helmets like Lord Vader, we observed and listened to stories of mankind's evolution. We flew a space shuttle, we docked at an orbital space station, we went back in time 66 million years where we saw the extinct world of the dinosaurs and other species' shy attempts to colonize the Earth. Flying the space shuttle you have to grip your chair strongly. The kids were overjoyed with these learning techniques and were able to memorize loads of information.


Following this, we passed by the car park and continued our journey through time. I do not know whether you have seen the "Dinosaur Train" cartoon with your children. The dinosaurs can move between different time eras by driving a train through a time tunnel. We were able to experience a similar adventure. Sitting in a time capsule, wearing 3D glasses, we started from the Big Bang and travelled through all the cataclysms and changes which formed the Earth's surface.

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The holiday – a deserved time for rest, and although everybody wants to, we cannot always go away with our children for two whole months. Fortunately, there are weekends and despite having loads of work we can go away for one day.


We only have to look around and we can find countryside attractions. Today I would like to propose a day out within one hour from Warsaw. There will be a bit of history, sightseeing, nature and some fun. There is something for everybody.


Within the programme for the development region of Łódź, Tomaszowska Okrąglica was created. It consists of Nagórzyce Grottoes, Sanctuary Blue Spring and Open-Air Museum of Pilica River. It is worth visiting all of them.


Nagórzyce Grottoes are a remnant from the underground sand mine which was in operation from the XVIII century to the beginning of the XX century. They consist of numerous passages, niches and chambers created while sand mining. After a tragic incident in which a villager died as a result of one of the chambers collapsing, the local authority handed down a decision to close the mine. For many years the pit degraded and was the meeting place of truants. However, recently, a properly secured tourist route was created. We visited it with a guide, who aimed her account at the youngest visitors. We got to know about different ways of mining and ways of securing the safety of the pits. We heard the story about the Nagórzyce devil, about the ruffian Madej and his bed. We looked out for dwarfs, who turned on the light in the mine, and finally we looked for a red hat lost by one of the dwarfs. My children were delighted. When arranging a trip to the Nagórzyce Grottoes, remember to take warm coats, because the temperature in the mine averages about 10 degrees Celsius.

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Going to the small village of Rogalin, placed picturesquely on the right bank of the Warta river, we didn't assume that the palace of the Raczyński family would be so impressive. Rogalin, which was counted among the most beautiful places of Wielkopolska, became a centre of political and cultural life in the 70s of the XVII century, when Kazimierz Raczyński, a writer of the crown, the main starost of Wielkopolska, and marshal of the crown in the Stanislaw August Poniatowski court, entertained his guests.


We parked our car in the empty car park and went through the gate. The panache of the courtyard and palace made an impression on us. The compound consists of the main building and two connected outbuildings. Along the courtyards are placed a woodshed, stable, coach house, and servants' quarters.


During the Second World War the palace was the dwelling of a Hitler Youth Movement school, but fortunately there was no lasting damage to the architecture. Its original equipment was heavily depleted. In 1948 this unkempt relic was passed on to the National Museum in Poznań, where an agency was created, which has been working here ever since. The palace compound regained its former glow in recent years with the help of resources of The European Union. It has been possible to visit this place since spring 2015.

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