I’d like to spend just a little more time with my Zawady family, before returning you to the big city sights of Kraków.
We sat out, on my last night, under the stars and beside a roaring bonfire. Myself and Jadzia, with husband Andrzej and sister, Ewa. I was quiet, letting the conversation flow around me, while Jadzia and Andrzej took turns to stoke the fire, the kiełbasa bursting and sizzling on the grill. My head was still full of the day’s excitement, with Meg in Łódź.
Broad smiles and hugs had greeted me when I pronounced the day ‘fantastyczny’ on my return. Ewa was quick to produce a bottle of something soothing to rub on my black eye, which was rapidly developing after the previous night’s misadventure. How is it possible to walk into a lighted porch lamp? I’ve no idea, but I knew that an early start was intended next day.
If you look closely you’ll see Andrzej, sitting on the hammock. For the past 50 years he has wanted a motor bike. Finally, as he approaches retirement, Jadzia is considering letting him buy one. And so we went to the Saturday morning market at Piotrków Trybunalski. The last place it would have occurred to me to go looking for a bike, but sure enough, bikes there were. And just about every other conceivable thing too. We stowed our purchases (but not a bike- they were all too old!) in the car, and drove into the town centre.
Seldom have I seen a sleepier Saturday morning than at Piotrków Trybunalski, yet the grandeur of the main square hints at its illustrious past. Medieval Piotrków was an important trading centre, and much later became the seat of the Sejm, the Polish Parliament. In between times it was home to the Polish prince’s tribunals or law courts, including the Royal Tribunal, the highest court in Poland. I knew little of this, as I strolled through the peaceful square.
Under Austrian occupation in World War 1, Piotrków became a centre for Polish patriotic activity and a headquarters of the voluntary troops, the Polish Legions. The town had a large Jewish population, and in October 1939 became the site of the first Jewish Ghetto of World War 11. Fierce fighting took place but the town was subsequently occupied by the Germans for 6 years. The Great Synagogue, listed as one of Poland’s most notable architectural buildings, was destroyed by the Nazis, but renovated after the war.
As we wandered, Jadzia pointed out the school she used to go to, catching the early bus from Zawady each morning. She was proud of the connection with Copernicus, and I was happy to be there with her.
It was time to return to Zawady, but first a very swish motor bike shop, and a stop to collect cake. Just one last coffee before we set off to meet Dad, for the journey south. And then the hugs, goodbye.
Paula has a new approach to Thursday’s Special this week. I think I might just squeeze this under the heading of Transience, don’t you? Family meetings and former glory.