It is nearly a month now since we returned from our amazing introduction to Poland, and Krakow in particular, where we went to attend the opening of the exhibition British Bohemia: The Bloomsbury Circle of Virginia Woolf in the International Cultural Centre, arranged by our friend Tony Bradshaw of the Bloomsbury Workshop.
Tony ia specialist in the work of the Bloomsbury Group and has many friends and contacts in that world, so there were over 80 works of art and books, many in private ownership and not normally available to the general public, from Canada ant d the USA as well as Britain. Everything was beautifully exhibited, with the rooms at Charleston, the home and country meeting place for many members of the Bloomsbury carefully created so that for those that knew the house, it was extremely powerful.
We felt very privileged to be part of the gathering, being one of the few total hangers on! We met up with a number of old friends from university days, members of Vanessa Bell’s family, librarians and owners of original works of art…
The opening and reception took up half of our three days; on the other two and a half days we packed in a great deal; we managed to explore just some of the delights of the ancient city of Krakow, we went to Auschwitz which was very sobering – we felt everyone should go there, to see what man is capable of doing to man and how a repeat must be prevented at all costs… We also went on a highly informative and entertaining ‘communist tour’ to Nova Huta, the communist showpiece town built round the famous steelworks where Lech Walesaa the great trades union and social rights activist lived and worked worked. We developed just some awareness of the changes and pressures and hardships that the Polish people have experienced over the centuries.
We stayed in a charming hotel called the Grodek (so good we actually did a rave TripAdvisor review!) and came away determined to return as soon as possible (and to take only hand luggage if we ever fly Ryanair again).