All entries for October 2004

October 23, 2004

2nd Day: I went to the beach

Follow-up to Gdansk – German frontier of a lost northern imagination 22–25 Oct 04 from Francisco's blog

Dear readers, I went today to the beach. I love it. Today it was quite worm. I took a bike frm the hostel, they are free, and there I went to sopot. In between I stoped in Oliwia, a outside department of Gdansk. At the beginning it looks like is tis a quind o rural area of Gdansk, and it is. It is sunday so there was a market place. I brought tow apples and peers. They were dilicious. On my city map there was a sign for a big churche I I biked a bit further. A nice Juegent Still church, made of dark red briks. The inside was white full of light, with very interesting strutural solutions, giving the place a cosi enveirement. I didn't stay long, just the enough time to apreciate my second apple and peer. They were dilicious, I shoud had bought many more, they were so sheap. Now the big atration of Oliwia is the big gotic/baroque cathedral. I was not expecting much, since the all area seamed so simple. Somo nice would houses of some last century middle class with nice gardens and that was all. The facade was very nice. Two big gotic towers, on the same gotic north german (or should I say hanseatic) style. But the inbetween of the two towers had been transform to the elegand evy catholic barroc of the east/central europe. But it was when I got inside that I was astonished. It is a wunderful place. And it seams it was a very strong meaning for the Polish history. I didn't realy understand why. What I understand from this church is that there was almost two Gdansks, one theotonic, hanseatic, swidisch, prussian, and later german, resformist and protestant, the habour city. And there was the polish catholic surroundings continusly struglling with the other city. The Oliwia cathedral was first a inflution monasthery in the Polish court a place of culture. Later on was elevated to cathedral and head quarter of the roman chatholique church of Gdansk. It is a very impressive place full of history and very priety and imponent.

Behind the Cathedral there is a old neoclassic palace where is the Contemporary Polish Arts Museum. The palace is of poor simplicity and to tiny to be interesting. The museum was very interesting to visit, on my point of view, but I resisted because I sill wanted to go to the Beach, during the day light!!!!
The gardens behind the cathedral and around the unfortunate palace are just beautiful, small rives and lakes. Very Nice.

Finily the Beach:

October 22, 2004

2nd Impression 1rs Day

Follow-up to Gdansk – German frontier of a lost northern imagination 22–25 Oct 04 from Francisco's blog

This is amazing!
The old town centre is just fantastic. I advise, recommend, suggest everybody to come here. I'll for sure come back. I saw so many incredible things. I'll not describe every thing. But I would like to let some suspicions I have notice. I was very surprise to see in the Bakery shops that the bread and the cakes are very much of German kind. There is some more complexity on some varieties of typical German cakes. I have a little insidious that a big part of the population is still descendent from the pre modern polish period. Since Gdansk was given to Poland already in the 1 World War it might be possible that the Prussian population was just integrated and not expelled like it happened with the territories, that passed to Poland after the II World War.

Luton Airoport and First Impressions on Gdansk

Follow-up to Gdansk – German frontier of a lost northern imagination 22–25 Oct 04 from Francisco's blog

I have just arrived in Danzig. At first is always a strange feeling. Gdansk really exists and I am there. The some feeling occur to me before I arrived there.
I got in the Luton Airport some 25 m. before 6:00 am. Took a tee and eat the best muffin of my all live just for 20p. (In the airport!!!)
My flight was delayed 2 hours, I just lied on the seats and tried to sleep.
Finally the airplane arrived! I got in the airplane, everything was perfect.
Some how there was something like 6 hostess, quite strange for a low cost airline company. All of them were checking half of the airplane, but always the some half, so the never checked the half where I was. On the other hand they were always asking for sorry in a childish English.

The plane took off, oh god; it was horrible always shaking from the right to the left. The worse was the landing. The woman pilot start making ruch turnings, and when it was really near of the ground it was shaking from on side to another much worse than before, I was really afraid, Gosh!!!!!

Danzig/Gdansk, I arrive to the airport. A very small airport. Militaries make the turn of typical airport personal(?). Every thing looked chaotic. Pass control, the really cigilous frontier police personal takes long time analyzing each passport, well we are talking about polish people. When it turns to me, he check the passport number on the computer, takes the number, always with a severe look.

The airport building is new, everything is on small dimensions contrasting with high of the building.

More than one hour to take the bus to the city. I believe the driver skipped several duties.

He arrives! I ask a girl to help me with the ticket, first he takes my 10 zloty note and doesn't give nothing back. The girl explains me that she is paying less because she is a student. I say, I'm a student as well, she translate and he gives our money back, just like that.

Alt, alt, von der Sovietzeit!Goot! The bus was a museum piece. It takes a long time to get into the city, young people gives their place to the old people, very nice! The bus got full!!! Literal stucked, and slowly it starts to stink, oh gosh! Not even the coldness of the morning disfarced it any more.

The first buildings look really nice, very well done modern architecture for the new rich.

Slowly the really city emerges, old German villas completed degradated, it's quite sad…
Faster movement grows; the big towers of north German red bricks churches impose their imponence. Old nice buildings, baroque, juegent still appear in a much higher rate. People, crowds, gardens, and all this in strange sequences of degradated and restored.

I get out in the Train Station. I tried to look for a city map, to find some of the hostel's addresses that I the previous days took from the internet on a worry. I also try to look for the time tables in the station for Sopot. Where I want do go tonight. I ask the lady in the information desk, she doesn’t speak English or German, and my Czech is not coming to my memory. An old gentlemen try to help. It's not the first time that some elder people try to help me in English. In East Germany that's almost impossible. One might easy understand why.

First hostel, the area is horrible, I get to the local and something tells me not to go further, I even walked some stairs, but I got back. I loose my self, or I believe I do, which really leaves me frustrated, I have to walk back again, and that's when I realise that on the end I was in the right way. I do should be a bit more unpretentious.

I walk through the old city centre is marvellous. A Street full with flower shops, big red brick churches like the ones one might find in Hamburg or Luebeck. I'm in a hansiatic Town, and that brings excitement and enthusiasm. I approach the harbour, and again the feeling of the spice city of Hamburg comes to my mind. Memories, history, recreation. I like it.

The hostel, just in front of the harbour. I ring. Noone. The door has some glasses broken and glued. A blond blonded woman come to the door. I ask her if she speeks English or German in Czech, she says no, and somehow I'm happy. What I learned from Czech is getting useful. I try to explain her that I wand a bad, she understands, I'm feeling the superman. But soon the problems arises, I get really difficulty in explain her that I want to know how much is the room, she pretend she doesn't want to understand me, and suddenly all conversation gets blocked. I self block and from that moment on I just have a kind of telepathic language to save myself, I use my hands and express feelings through the face. It results! Could it be that she blocked because I was getting well with my Czech. But of course I myself wonder would it be possible for a Czech person to understand me.

The German guy
On the common room a German guy is! He looks really gay, but he is from Hamburg and that changes for it self the all situation. Hamburg I said, yes. As I’m using the internet a female friend from him arrives and I heard comments like "I don't know why they call it Gdansk when the city's name is Danzig" is has much to be said. Because as I said they are from Hamburg and that changes the all panorama.

It's 17:00 I will walk around through the city. I really existed about this hansiatic thing. I would love to visit Kaliningrad.

October 20, 2004

Kaliningrad: a remaking of one's self

I always had a kind of a passion for Kaliningrad. It’s difficult to say what attract me in such a strange place. Most probably is its mystery. Kaliningrad hide something very powerful a kind of a secret. Whatever that might be, the city always had inspired me a vision of a much more prominent place on history than the one that has now. Kaliningrad is in fact a hidden territory. Hidden? Yes, hidden, one might wonder how it is possible to hide a territory so big. The silences of history maintain it on a dark obscurity. And the afraid (and dangers) of a Russian collapse, prisons it to an asylated position on the worlds geopolitics. But all this is just in part true. Kaliningrad moves many subterranean water much more than it should be expected for such a small territory (!!!!!!!), that apparently is insignificant. This enormous paradox has called my attention immediately after I came to know about its existence. Yes, I didn’t know it. And most of us kind citizens of la belle Europe discover Kaliningrad, or should we still talk about Köningsberg, just by accident. It’s something near to Bhutan, but much more cavernous, much more assaulting, because that’s just there, not so far, and now is just in the middle of our dear “Europe”. A place on heart was consciously taken of the world’s existence. This is non-coincident fact, and all naïf explanations about it will just perpetuate the political phenomena behind it. Now the political phenomena is of much interest for the politicology (Politics?), but behind it there is a kind of forbidden history, and above all side by side there are the people that live there. Which people? How are they? Do they live, I’m not being silly, and I’m really making a strong existential question. Identity, who lives without identity? And how much we ask for them, more we wonder, and more assaulting all the question come unresolved.

What would you say?

Can you be a Kaliningradian?

October 18, 2004

Amsterdam, Portuguese Jews, Freedom, Cannabis, a smooth way of live.

Some of my friends in Cryfield 2, ground floor, would like to go to Amsterdam, mainly Joedy (my dear sweet Joedy), Nicola (sorry Natalia), Signa (the most pretty Russian girl in all Cryfield), and Arran (the barbecue man).
I would love to go, but I have to confess that I do feel I have the duty to study and I'm afraid that travelling to much will for sure destabilise me on the studies.
I probably will have to postpone a trip to Amsterdam to the second Term.
I have been before in Amsterdam, a long time ago. I was 21 fresh and yang. I and some other girls hired a car and we made a trip to Belgium. On our way back we decide to go thru Amsterdam. We stayed something like 2 or 3 hours proportional to the money we had to pay the car parking.

October 11, 2004

Leipzig / Torgau – Post Communist Resistance 5–8 Nov 04

A marvellous Ryanair deal, 0.48 £ each way plus taxes, all around 24£.
Now I have been several times in Leipzig, is a town best known for its music since many famous composers lived or were born here.
The old town centre is a great place to shop, and a very beautiful area, with gothic and baroque churches, lovely civil bourgeois architecture, mostly of the XIX century, but gothic, baroque, belle époque, art noveux, functionalism can also be found in perfect harmony.
We probably have heard several times about neo-Nazis in East Germany, but that is definitely not the case of Leipzig (and Berlin). There is a great deal of left wing conscious as part of Leipzig's historic identity. Unfortunately that's not the case of Leipzig's surroundings, but once again the good thing on it is that citizens of Leipzig won't accept it easily.
All this makes for it self Leipzig an unique place on the pan-Germanic world imagination. There is probably no other place in Germany where people are so open-minded (in ex equo with Cologne) or so friendly (in ex quo with Hamburg or Luebeck). And on the other side, though we are on manly protestant ground, people’s happiness for living is not far from the one of the Rhine Area.

*Leipzig is a great place to visit and have fun!!! *
The reason why I'm going this weekend to Leipzig is because my sister is on Hospital. She is pregnant and she has got some complication, nothing to be really afraid, but the doctors said it would be better to stay on the hospital the next five weeks, she needs to rest and there is a risk of premature birth.
My sister Luisa is a lovely person, she is very intelligent, but sometimes gets on my nerves because she is so hyper-active. She is married with André, a nice guy, he is from Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, but he is half German. They all live in Torgau.
Torgau is a little renaissance town, which was on the XVI the capital of Saxony. We can still find on the centre of the old town the enormous towers of the previous rulers of Saxony. Now Torgau is also known for Luther's teaching, and for his wife who also lived here. Last but not least, though a terrible event in the all human history, it was here that the soviet and the American armies meet, west and east, after such a desespering war who just lead to distrotion. Torgau seems untouched, both by the Nazi madness and by the soviet mega construction hysteria. Quite charming, but go first to Wittenberg, and if you have some two hours left than visit Torgau, and by the way go eat in the Ratskeller, wonderful food, not expensive in the beautiful Town Hall on the Markt Platz.
Accommodations are very cheap here. If you really have loads of time than pay us a visit. Napoleao Weinhandle is a Portuguese wine enterprise. Feel free to come and taste wine, Port or even old Brandies. We are lodged in an old soviet huge cultural centre, a wonderful building. Just ask for the "Haus der Metallarbeiter" everybody knows where it is (Sueptitzer weg 49).

Köln – Back Home / A fake World Centre Imagination 13–15 Nov 04

The best deal that a student living in The Warwick University Campus may ever get 13,98 £ return!!!! Direct from Coventry to Cologne.

*"Die Metropolis" *
Köln is such an auto centric city that its inhabitants do believe that they are on the centre of the world.
Cologne's name comes from the Latin colonia the Romans had here and advance settlement. If you are interested on this visit the Archaeological Museum near the great Cologne's cathedral.
Cologne's Cathedral is considered the highest gothic cathedral on world (?) is really huge and it worth to take more than a half hour to go to the top. The view is just stupendous!!!! Cologne citizens are really proud of their cathedral. During the II big war almost all Cologne was destroyed and the cathedral was the only building standing up, it was just very little damage, contrasting with the deep devastation cause by the British Air Force. It tells the legend that Emperor Williams the II statue defended with its sword a bomb that was intended to destroy the cathedral. Kölners really believe it so doesn’t even dare to question it.
Cologne is and means so many things that's difficult to define it.
Its one of the gayest cities on the world, they are proud for its tolerance and its musty cultural identity.
It’s the German Media and Press capital; all main German popular news papers (not tabloids) are being edited here. RTL group is based in Cologne so as other entertainment industries.
Cologne is the city of the "Eau de Cologne"
Cologne is the City of the famous "Kolsch"
Cologne is the city of the most famous Carnival
All this things make the Koelners believe that they are in a kind of unrecognised world’s centre. This strong magnetic obviously contrast with the fact that cologne is not a financial or industrial centre, but even so its one of the richest German cities.
Düsseldorf it’s the eternal rival of Cologne, so if you feel like provoking the Koelners than just joke about it, I assure you it works and you will get an answer soon (or later!!)
It's wonderful to *show off *in Cologne. Shopping, dress funky, drink bear in the most popular coffees and be always with a smile on their mouth, because that's all Cologne is about!

Gdansk – German frontier of a lost northern imagination 22–25 Oct 04

"Danzig, Preslau und Stettin deutsche Städte wie Berlin"
There is something very painful on this right wing sentence. Painful on the meaning that it expose the historic disaster that the II World War was. First of all it calls the fact that after the recapitulation of the German III Reich Germany lost more than 1/3 of its previous territory. And this of course brings out all the most regretful and negative feelings about Germany and Germans on a kind of water falls of degust and dishonour.
Danzig was probably founded by the Teutonic knights. It was latter a healthy Hansa state Town, and was some time under Swedish rule, I believe. Fredrick the I after acquiring the city with the East Prussian Territory nowadays Kaliningrad (Köningsberg), use it to become King of Prussia and get free of the hierarchy of the Roman German Empire.
One can easily comprehend that Danzig is a strong part of the German unification process a part of German integrity as a construction state. Emmanuel Kant the most celebrated Philosopher was born and lived all his live in Köningsberg.
On the XIX century Danzig was no longer just an important port on the Baltic see it was a beach station for the healthy German bourgeoisie. Some of the most beautiful buildings are summer residences and belle époque hotels on the calm waters of long white sand beaches.
The First World War gave Danzig to Poland, opening Poland to the see on the expectation to give economical viability to the new country supported by the victorious nations. This brook the connection between west and East Prussia. Such facts were used by the Nazis for propaganda issues, and probably this was on the base of the nature of the Hitlers-Stallin's Pact.
On the end of the II world war, Russia didn't gave back polish the territories it got from the Soviet-German Pact, and Poland and other countries used territory annexation as war compensations. Germany lost Schlesiger, East Brandenburg, and many other east provinces to Poland. East Prussia was divided between Lithuania, Russia and Poland. The main heart of that territory is nowadays the problematic enclave of Kaliningrad. But Kaliningrad shouldn't be seen as just a problematic tumor, its potential as a powerful link between what most probably will be the gap between Far East agonising states and the progressive Europe. Kaliningrad means exactly that that it can not happens and needs to be avoid, very much could be said from the Leningrad oblast, Carelian Republic, the Murmansk Oblast or the big Russian communities in the Baltic countries.
Danzig/Gdansk are evocation of my German proximity and from my almost forced existence as a European citizen (much could be told about how an Atlantic Portuguese from one day to another turns European, in rights and duties!)


I'm studying sociology for almost 6 years, the reason for that ist that I have been doing it slowly.
My dearest themes are:

  • Social Movements (NSM),
  • Identity and Collective Behavior
  • New forms of Political participation (Protest and informal political associations)
  • Sociology of the entreprise

October 05, 2004

The greatness of being in Warwick

My name is Francisco but everybody already call me Francis (or Fran for the closest). I’m an Erasmus Student, and I’ll be here the 3 terms. I was born in Lisbon, and supposedly I study there. I love to travel, and the true is that in the last 3 years I’ve been travelling more than the time I’m in my home town. I’ve been a bit all over Europe. The big and almost reason for this is the extremely low price of the flights nowadays.
It is great to be in Warwick, until now everything has been fantastic. The spirit everywhere is amazing. What really impress is the organization from almost everything, but above all from the modules. I really hope I will stay unthil the end, and hope to bring something very special back home.

October 2004

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