Classic side of Outback

Classic side of Outback

Classic side of Outback

0 comments 📅01 December 2014, 23:44

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Spring in full bloom, time to get away from the city. Time of departure: Sunday noon. Weather: sunny. Estimated time for sightseeing: a few hours. This means that the trip from Warsaw should not take longer than a few quarters. Perhaps the district of Wilanów or suburban Konstancin? Too close. The drivers of Subaru Outback deserve something more challenging. Otherwise they might not even get out of their vehicles for a walk. Other options? Perhaps Żelazowa Wola? We were there 25 years ago. Our memories are not especially positive. Run down park and polluted river. Perhaps something has changed during 25 years.

The decision is made – today we are going to visit Żelazowa Wola, the hometown of one of the greatest Polish composers – Frederic Chopin. Not so long ago we celebrated the anniversary of his birthday, so, why not. On the way we listen to the music of the great master on our multimedia station. The music from cloud service played through the smartphone via Bluetooth is wonderful. „Nocturne No.1 in B flat minor Op.9 No.1” makes the usually dynamic driver feel like a limousine chauffeur. Surprisingly the wild Outback follows suit. Who would have thought that a four-by-four could glide so smoothly over Mazovian roads to the sound of piano music?

The trip from Warsaw does not take more than an hour. There is a big parking lot in front of the museum. Paid, but only once, without time limit. Our Subaru stays in the company of other cars, including very popular SUVs. It visibly stands out among other cars, as befits a true music lover. This is partly due to a good audio system and fantastic soundproofing of the interior. The car gives the words “Enjoy the silence” new meaning.

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We go to the park. The first impression is great. Clean, orderly and organised with taste. The reception building is a fusion of fieldstone, Canadian wood and glass. Everything is well marked and organised. Those who are interested can see the film “Prelude” about the work of Frederic Chopin. Souvenir hunters can find a wide range of publications in the theme shop. When leaving the park it is possible to rent a multimedia audio guide or use a free smartphone app compatible with iOS or Android. The application contains a short video describing the beauty of the Mazovian landscape, multimedia guide and a map for the whole museum complex. The application also lets users listen to the greatest pieces of the composer.

Looks like a lot has changed during those 25 years…

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The present day museum was opened in May 2010. Renovation works took five years. During that time all asphalt was removed from the alleys and some 40 000 new plants were put in. The effort definitely paid off. In the present state the park is green, well organised with lots of benches surrounded by Chopin’s music played through hidden speakers. The place is ideal for a Sunday walk. Even our usually adventurous kids seem to calm down. Such effect was in fact planned by the architects who developed this place. According to the website: – “The showcase is not what is usually associated with a museum. Instead, it is a place where we can experience the atmosphere and space of where Frederic Chopin was born and where he lived. That is why we resigned from many exhibits and focused on the tale of the park and the house where Chopin was born narrated through the audio-book. Moving the museum experience into the sphere of imagination caused the designers to use visual materials sparingly.”.

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Deep in the park we find the home of Chopin. The visitors can see two showcases: living space and workspace. The interior is decorated with photos commemorating the events from the life of Chopin and showing the people close to him. The collection also includes family photos, documents connected to the birth of Chopin and a current visitor’s book.

Most of the furniture was moved to the branch of the museum located in the Ostrogski Family Palace in Warsaw. Fortunately some items remained in Żelazowa Wola including the grand piano of Antoni Leszczyński on which, according to the legend, Chopin played when he visited the Polish painter January Suchodolski in Paris.

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Two hours of walking among musical history of Poland has got to whet some appetite. A restaurant “Przepis na kompot” (Recipe for Stewed Fruit”) soon provided us with a grand feast.

After lunch we head home. We are coming back from Żelazowa Wola full of memories of peace and harmony. The way back goes smoothly and without rush. Our 2+2 configuration changes into 1+3 (one driving, three sleeping).

More information on the Museum in Żelazowa Wola can be found on the website.

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