Frédéric Chopin remains an icon of Polish pride. Born March 1, 1810, he died a young man at age 39. The piano music he left behind remains a favorite among classical music fans, and a high standard for any pianist. I am a fan of classical music, and actually have two pianos in my living room. The first is a Yamaha grand piano passed down from my mother-in-law as my daughter’s inheritance, and the second is the upright Cable-Nelson piano I grew up with. Trust me – if you can play Chopin you have my utmost admiration. And you’re invited to my house for a private recital. See below for a video.
How about a chocolate vacation? If someone organizes it, I’m all in. Think of it. Travel to top European countries, and sample the best chocolate each country has to offer. In Poland, that would be E. Wedel chocolate, the oldest and most famous chocolate in Poland. I confess I missed the Wedel chocolate lounges (they’re called lounges, not restaurants) in both Warsaw and Krakow. But I did manage to scoop up several boxes of Wedel chocolates at the airport prior to leaving Poland. They were some of the best souvenirs I brought back.
Niuta Teitelbaum, aka Little Wanda With the Braids, was one of the earliest volunteers for the Polish underground soon after Warsaw fell to the Germans in October 1939. The petite twenty-two year old devout Jew wore her blond hair in pigtails, which made her look like a sixteen-year-old girl, effectively diguising her real role – assassin. She parlayed her innocent looks to gain entrance to Gestapo headquarters, and silently shot an SS officer as he sat at his desk. The episode is but one of her daring moves.
Holiday Lights in Warsaw are turned on in spectacular fashion. Thanks to Radio Poland, I share a few photos from the ceremonial lighting of the Christmas tree in Warsaw’s Castle Square, and the holiday decorations in the Old Town and along the Royal Route. The menorrah is also lit, in honor of the first days of Hanukkah. Continue reading