Visiting Toruń

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Toruń is one of the oldest cities in Poland, which over centuries was the home for people of diverse backgrounds and religions. Back in the Medieval times, the city was considered the most culturally and technologically advanced centre in Europe. Moreover, during the World War II, Toruń appeared to be one of the few cities in the country, which was left with no damage. No wonder why the Old Town, fully preserved, looks so beautiful and breathes with its history up to now. Nearly every building here is made of brick, while the churches (the cathedral, dating back to 1236, is a must-see!) are  untouched. Walking down the sun-drenched streets, you wonder whether you’re strolling around Brugge or an old Tuscan village…

If you’re here for one day, make sure to visit the District Museum (or Toruń Regional Museum), which is located in the historic Rathaus. The ground floor is an impressive collection of Gothic art and local craftsmanship, while the upper floors hold paintings of Polish artists from XVIII to XX century. Currently, there’s an exhibition of modern art, which presents some of Zdzisław Beksiński, Władysław Hasior and Łukasz Korolkiewicz’s rare works.

In case of culinary experiences, Toruń is recognised for its famous gingerbread. But if you want something less clichéd, try a more niche, off-the-crowd spots. Od Dechy Do Dechy is a cozy, book-filled bar with signature beers, home-made pastries and coffee. Sometimes, they sell second-hand books and vinyls. Perfect place to chill after a busy day.

To sum up, Toruń is totally worth a stay, especially in the summer!

Photos by Edward Kanarecki.

The Sudetes: Royal

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You’ve surely noticed that the last few days were pretty quiet on Design & Culture by Ed – but I’m back for good. The truth is I needed a moment for a well-deserved mind detox. To slow down, rest a bit. And going to the Sudetes, a mountainous region located between Poland and Czech Republic, was the best possible choice for me. So, I’ve decided to divide my journal into three parts – here’s the first one, titled ‘Royal’.

The first destination was the precious Książ castle (pronunciation: ksiowsh), which went through turbulent history. Situated on a beautiful, deeply forested hillside, the castle used to be the go-to place for Polish aristocracy and socialites before the First World War. Right now it’s under major reconstruction and refurbishment, but that’s not a problem, as the delightful baroque hall and terrace are truly breath-taking. Just a few steps from the castle, there’s the all-wooden royal horse stable. Actually, I’ve never seen anything like that before – it’s huge. Although I’m not a horse-riding fan, I fell in love with those beautiful creatures that are kept here. What’s more, local riders wear authentic, pre-war gears while they’re up on the horses, which makes this incredible place even more absorbing with its historic aura.

The ‘Wałbrzych Palm House’ arose from the initiative of the last representative of the Hochberg dynasty in Książ castle, Hans Heinrich XV. The Prince had it built for his spouse, Daisy (a passionate lover of flowers and plants). To this day, his expression of love holds a great charm. It’s said to be the only such facility in Poland that has been preserved in its original construction. Inside gardens are my soft spot, so you might imagine how happy I was to walk around this rather niche tourist attraction.

Stay in tune for more posts coming about the Sudetes!

Borchardt

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Berlin can amaze you with the best Vietnamese cuisine – but it can also make you fall in love with German’s national pride. Wiener Schitzel, hello! I’ve never been a fan of this specialty, however the one I ate at Borchardt changed my view on this usually unattractive way of meat serving. The Borchardt looks back on a 150 year long history, being one of the oldest restaurants of the German capital. In the past, it supplied the Kaiser in the Wilhelmine era, went on to survive the Second World War and the city’s division by the Berlin Wall – so there is no possible way that this place could have dissapointed. Although you might think that Bochardt smells with antique, it surprisingly looks quite modern thanks to perfect restoration, while the marble pillars and an original Byzantine-style enthrone give this one-of-a-kind spot a spirit which you won’t find anywhere else in Berlin.

Franzosische Straße 47 / Berlin

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Men’s – Louis XVI Today. Comme Des Garcons SS16

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Rei Kawakubo and Julien d’Ys are a perfect creative couple. She is designing clothes full of intelligent innovation which is in perfect symbiosis with history of fashion. He is the “hair artist” who does mind-blowing head creations. Comme des Garcons for men’s SS16 is an explosive fusion of Louis XVI nostalgia and extravagant modernism. This season, d’Ys created towering neon yellow bouffants, a striking contrast to Kawakubo’s collection of revisited suits – which saw trousers slit down the legs, jackets with their collars removed or silhouette unexpectedly severed, and shirts that hung in tatters. For the hair  d’Ys was given free hand by Kawakubo to take the direction he wanted. “I have to have freedom,” he says, speaking after the show. “If somebody said to me ‘OK, I want that’, then I can’t do anything, I can’t! I’m completely frozen because I have to be very free and I have to love the person that I work with.”

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