Thursday, 14 May 2015

The Forbidden City

One of the most magical places that I've ever been to was Beijing. What I find so admirable about that city is the mix of ancient architecture and the modern skyscrappers. So today's post is about a palace is situated at the heart of Beijing.
The Forbidden City is the imperial palace, that is situated in China. It is also the largest ancient palatial structure in the world - it covers an area of about 72 hectares. There are almost 90 palaces and courtyards, 980 buildings and 8,704 rooms. It was built from 1406 to 1420 in the center of Beijing by the emperors of the Ming Dynasty. 
It was forbidden to ordinary people, and that is where the name comes from. What is more, in 1987, it was nominated as World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.  Mostly because it is the essence of traditional Chinese architectural accomplishment. It is also listed as one of the most important five palaces in the world.
the Forbidden City
the Forbidden City
the Forbidden City

Friday, 24 April 2015

Rome, open city

I have recently seen for the first time a movie that is considered one of the most significant of the Italian cinematography. "Roma, citta' aperta" ("Rome, open city") was directed by one of the greatest Italian movie-makers - Roberto Rossellini. 

It is set in Rome in 1944 and presents the depressing reality of Nazi occupation during the Second World War.
It is mainly a story of two women:
- Pina, played by Anna Magnani, a widowed mother who is pregnant with the child of resistance soldier
- Marina, played by Maria Michi, a dancer who is in love with another resistence soldier and anti-Fascist.

The movie is one of most critically acclaimed representants of neorealism. It was a movement characterized by stories of the working class, usually filmed on location. What is more non-professional actors were hired, to sort of show the real Italian people and to make a movie more natural. Most neorealism movie show Italy after World War II. The most common topic were: conditions of everyday life, poverty, oppression, injustice and desperation.
It is a must-see not only for every fan of classic movies but also for anyone interested in history.

Sunday, 15 March 2015


I've recently watched a movie called "Boyhood" directed by Richard Linklater and starring Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane and Ethan Hawke. It was very well received and won many awards.

As many may already known, this movie is very particular, because for the first time in the history of cinematography it had been filmed for 12 years. It shows us a life of a boy named Mason who grows up on screen before our eyes. Long story short, this movie involves: his childhood, adolescence, his teenage problems, road trips, family dinners, basicly his everyday life. 

Even though I was hoping that the plot would be more interesting, I have to say that seeing those actors aging on the screen has evoced some feelings of nostalgy in me. It is almost impossibile not to reflect on the time passing. It suddenly makes you think about your life and your own journey. I personally believe that the older you are while watching this movie, the more you will gain from it, you will understand more. 

I would recommand "Boyhood" to everyone, because it's an amazing strike to stop and think a little about your life. We're usually trapped in our everyday routine, we make plans for the future, we set goals we want to achieve, but and we don't live in the moment. And we should learn to appreciate every single day. That's what I got from that movie - to stop thinking so much about the future and instead value the present, because it will soon be gone.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

New Year's Resolutions

Each year a huge number of people set for themselves New Year's Resolutions. Even though most of them fail to complete their resolutions, people still continue to do so. Is it that magical date, the beginning of something new that makes people believe that they are in power of changing their life? Or is it just the social pressure?

In my opinion, it's more of a habit, or maybe some form of tradition that many tend to uphold. In general, I'm rather keen on setting goals for us and working on bad habits. But unfortunately, not many seem to treat their resolutions seriously. So what's the point of fooling yourself?

The most popular resolutions are:
- to quit smoking,
- to lose weigh,
- to drink less alcohol,
- to eat healthier,
- to travel more,
- to read more,
- to start going to the gym,
- to dedicate more time to the family.

That may look impressive, but there is only small percentage of people who will actually achieve their New Year's resolutions. I believe that it happens because we lack of constant reminder. We make them at the beginning of January, and then most of us, don't really commit to them, and as a result, forget about them until December! So maybe the good solution would be not making a long lists of resolutions, but to focus on one thing and really work on that? Anyway, to everyone who made some resolutions for 2015 I wish a strong will and good luck!

Monday, 29 December 2014


I recently watched a very good polish movie entitled "Papusza" made by Joanna Kos-Krauze and Krzysztof Krauze.  It is based on actual events. BronisÅ‚awa Wajs, called in everyday life

Papusza, was the first gypsy poet ever translated into polish. It's not only showing her life but also a very difficult times after the II world war. 

I believe it is right to say that in those times and in her reality she might be considered as an emancipated woman. She was one of a few gypsies who knew how to read. She was also open-minded, she was looking forward and didn't have any doubts that the nomadic lifestyle of gypsies has to stop. 

A very important figure for the plot is Jerzy Ficowski, who was forced to join gypsies in their travelling due to the political situation in Poland. He was the first person who noticed talent of Papusza. He translated her poems into polish and helped to publish them.

For me, this movie was not only interesting because it is a portrait of a great poet, but also because it shows the reality and everyday life of gypsies during the first 20 years after II world war, while they were still allowed to lead nomadic lifestyle. 

It is also impossibile to mention the visual beauty of the movie. The cinematographers did very good job. It is a real pleasure to watch a film so beautifully made.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Visiting Sicily

As I mantioned in my first post, I found Sicily a magical place, full of interesting places worth seeing.  
1) Cefalu - it takes just an 1,5 hour to get there by train from Palermo. It's a small town, but it is one of the major tourist attractions in the region. Each year it attracts turists mostly with its beautiful architecture and magnificent gulf.

2) Agrigento - a birth-place of great italian writer Luigi Pirandello. But it is also a place where we can find ancient ruins of Temples.

3) Corleone - not particulary special, but a must-see for fans of "The Godfather" trilogy. There is also a mafia museum, that shows how huge problem it has been and still is.

4)  Syracuse - a historic city, known for its rich Greek history, culture, amphitheatres, architecture, and as the birthplace of the mathematician and engineer Archimedes

5) Scala dei Turchi "Stair of the Turks"- is a cliff near Porto Empedocle. It is a tourist attraction thanks to its unusual white color,

Sunday, 30 November 2014

"Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy"

"Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy" is one of the most intriguing books I've read recently.

In 1964, so just a few months after the assassination of President J.F. Kennedy, his wife Jacqueline sat with historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and talked to him about her life. Those recorded conversations were kept secret for almost 50 years, as she wished. In 2011 Caroline Kennedy decided it was a proper time  to pubblish them.

This book is a great source of information about JFK. She mainly focus on their private life in White House. But while talking about their everyday life she mentions quite often some important historical facts.  She talks for example about the Cuban missle crissis or the cold war, which makes this book also an interesting description of those turbulent period of time. And what is more, there are shown from a very specific point of view. 

Another reason to read this book are anecdotes about well-known figures like Charles de Gaulle, Martin Luther King or Nikita Chruszczow. She also recounts her fears and challenges she had to meet while being the First Lady. It seems very personal, her opinions are honest, sometimes harsh. That's  probably one of the reasons why it was pubblished not until almost 20 years after her death.

In my opinion, this book will be a good read to not only anyone interested in history but also in politics.