Beautiful Poznan

Citadel Park Poznan

I love a good swath of greenery in the middle of a busy city.

Poznan’s green space is Citadel Park, 89 hectares of grass and hills which contain a number of landmarks, a few cemeteries and the remains of a military stronghold.

The Bell of Peace, rung every year on Liberation Day – Febuary 23 – and allegedly heard 10km away

Citadel Park Poznan

Also these cast iron figurines created by a local artist who also did an installation in Chicago.

Citadel Park Poznan

The guidebook calls them the “headless fright patrol.” I can’t improve on that.

Citadel Park poznan

Cool, green and lovely. A nice break from the sun and the city.

Green selfie in Citadel Park

I spent today walking around, getting lost, taking pictures and exploring. Here are a few things I found:

The remains of the old city walls

Old city walls poznan

A few pieces of street art

Street art Poznan

Street art Poznan Noriaki

Lots of examples of that little guy on top, the one that looks like a tiny black alien with only one eye. As far as I can tell, the artist is a local guy named Noriaki and that little guy is everywhere.

I took pictures in Chopin Park

Chopin park poznan

I stopped by the mall because they had butterflies everywhere

poznan mall

And visited the Lesser Basilica of St. Stanislaus because it was right down the street

Lesser Basilica of St Stanislaus Poznan

 

Lesser Basilica of St Stanislaus Poznan

Lesser Basilica of St Stanislaus Poznan

And then I broke my “no museum” rule and went to the Rogalowe Museum because they had a demonstration about the St. Martin’s Croissant.

St. martin's croissant

You know it had to involve food for me to break the rules.

Problem was that the demo was in Polish. It was supposed to be in English at that time but, as they explained, if Polish people show up then they do it in Polish. Seems totally fair.

Rogalowe Museum Poznan

So I got a personal translator, that charming young man on the left, who called me “Chicago,” tried to teach me some Polish words and not only translated for me but also for the mostly German speaking lady sitting with me.

The demo was great with some funny moments and a modicum of history. The high points are as follows: St Martin was a Roman soldier who gave his cape to a beggar. He subsequently gave up his military career to help the poor. His horse lost a shoe, he became a saint and then a baker in town made a croissant in the shape of a horseshoe to honor his piety and named it after him. Perhaps I missed some salient “tying together” details? But that’s what I remember from my translator and a slightly hilarious animated film showing the history of Poland as it pertains to croissants.

By an edict of law, Poznan is the only city in Poland that can make these croissants. They’re filled with a mixture of white poppy seeds, almond flavoring, peanuts, raisins, orange peel and cookie crumbs and need to weigh between 150-250g.

Rogalowe Museum Poznan

When my young translator passed out chunks of the croissant for us to sample he said “hey, Chicago. Is this your first croissant?”

Me: nope. I had one yesterday.

Translator: so… you would say that yesterday was a very important day for you. Perhaps one of the best of your life?

He also informed me that the word “butt” in Polish sounds like “America” and he doesn’t know why but perhaps because neither one can be easily seen because they’re far away.

Polish people have an engaging sense of humor, a theory underscored by the man at the liquor store who tried to ring up my vodka and then finally said “Are you American?” When I said yes, he said “Let me help you out because you are buying the vodka of poor people.” Then he took all of my small bottles away and gave me a bunch of other ones.

Joel, get ready because we’re sampling these on your birthday.

Joel's Polish Vodka

 

And that was the end of my Polish adventure. I was so pleasantly surprised by Poznan! Such a lovely little city, friendly people and great food. I’d recommend it highly to anyone staying in Berlin.

Dziękuję Poznan! I had the best time and I can’t wait to come back.

Tomorrow, back in Berlin.

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