The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence

 

Stanislaw Jachowicz, a 19th century Polish poet and fabulist, once said what in English may be translated: ”You are jealous of what someone else has, but you do not know what you really have". International Police Association provides a number of opportunities of travelling abroad, but after all, Poland also has its gems. This time we had to consider whether we go to colleagues Lithuanians who held, at the same time, their annual open family rally of the IPA regions (this year in Klaipeda) or visit the sights in Pomerania. We found a compromise - a modest delegation of the IPA Region Radom went to Lithuania, while a group of 40 persons - members of the Region and supporters of the Association - to Kwidzyń and Malbork.

On Saturday, 14 June 2014, we visited - modeled on the castles of the Teutonic Knights - Pomezania Chapter castle in Kwidzyń. The construction of the castle begun in 1233 and was completed in the second half of the fourteenth century. It was rebuilt several times. Today, the castle-museum is known for its uniqueness, which is manifested in the largest in the Teutonic state sanitary-defense tower, which is connected with the main object by the longest in the world (over 50 metres) porch, supported by five arches.

There was also an additional tourist attraction – the Crypt of the Three Great Masters of Teutonic Knights - the world's only known place of masters’ burial, discovered only in 2007.

After a long day of travel and sightseeing we were looking for a break by the campfire on the Przywidz Lake. Grilled sausage, dancing and singing effectively relegated to second reigning chill in the air and in our wooden chalets.

After breakfast, on a sunny Sunday, we went to Malbork. The vast majority of the tour participants had never had the opportunity to visit the famous monumental castle of the Teutonic Knights, though the "contact" with it we have almost every day, as the outline of the castle is shown on the reverse of the 100 zlotys banknote.

About the size of the situated on the Nogat River castle complex may itself testify the time needed for visiting it with a guide, i.e. about 3 hours plus an additional half hour for extra-curricular entrance to the main tower. The Order of the Teutonic Knights built a castle from the end of the thirteenth century until the mid-fifteenth century. At first it was the Komtur (Commander) castle, but it was also the seat of the great masters of the Teutonic Order, and the residence of Polish kings. History did not spare the castle reconstructions, devastation nor rebuilding. Panoramic pictures from 1945 standing on the castle grounds, compared with today's complex design, give an idea of ​​the magnitude of the financial effort and sweat poured in hectoliters to restore the castle to its former glory. The work is still in progress. From the guide, we learned that the drawbridge leading to the courtyard, apparently is still operational, and the last time it was checked over half a century ago on the occasion of filming for the movie "Knights of the Teutonic Order" by A. Ford. In view of the ruins, which the castle still was in 1960 after the turmoil of the war, what was genuinely filmed in Malbork resulted in just a 3-minute film. The rest of the shots - allegedly from Malbork Castle - was shot, among others, in the Lodz film studio.

So, thanks to the trip we will be able to boast not only what belongs to foreigners, but also what belongs to us.

Text and photos: Krzysztof Kapturski

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