Monday, 21 November 2011
Postcard from Poznan
The last time I was in Poznan was in 1958, to compete in the European Championships. We lodged close to Lake Malta but didn’t venture as far as the city , a mere 3 kms away so, while I noticed that the regatta area had undergone considerable changes in the ensuing fifty plus years, I was a novice as far as the city was concerned.
Poznan is not top of most tourists’ “places to see before you die” list, so I wasn’t expecting much. The drive from the airport provided a crash course in eastern bloc architecture; yet once we pulled up outside our apartment building and saw evidence of cobbled streets, things began to look up. We were lucky to be staying a short walk from Stary Rynek, the picturesque old town square, lined with merchants’ houses displaying ornate gables and colourful decorated facades. The focal point, however, was the stunning Ratusz. This former town hall was a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture - except like most of the buildings it had been heavily restored following the bombing in WW2. In addition to its cultural attractions, Stary Rynek also boasts numerous restaurants and pavement cafes and these became the watering holes for the “après rowing” gatherings. On the first few evenings, it was warm enough to sit outside and meet and greet friends and friendly competitors as we knocked back the local “piwo” and sampled specialities such as “pierogi”, the delicious filled dumplings.
Poznan welcomed us warmly and I’m definitely looking forward to the next Masters at Duisburg where no doubt we’ll all enjoy a taste of German hospitality.
Duisburg - vivid, vibrant and full of contrast
Once known as "Coalville" Duisburg on the Rhine is today a city of full of diversity and has a lot to offer visitors and residents alike.
Fans of history, culture and art, for instance, have four interesting museums to choose between. Classical music lovers may prefer to listen to the German Opera on the Rhine at the municipal theatre which coincidentally celebrates it’s 100th anniversary while the FISA Masters Regatta is going ahead or the Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra in the Mercator concert hall at the brand-new City Palais. If it is nature you are looking for, take time to enjoy the extensive Six Lakes area in Duisburg's southern suburbs, or Landscape Park with its abandoned steel-works-turned-industrial-museum in the north. Those interested in gardening can take their pick of two botanical gardens, one in the east and one in the north. The more active can flit along the Rhine or hike through Revierpark Mattlerbusch. Enjoy shopping in the city centre or one of numerous neighbourhood shopping centres. Children will no doubt love a visit to the zoo to see koala bears and dolphins. Of course, the ideal family outing is a a sight-seeing river boat trip around Duisport, Europe´s largest inland harbour
The possibilities offered in Duisburg are inexhaustible of which one is the Sportspark Duisburg, comprising the world famous rowing regatta course renown for its exceptionally fair conditions to every competitor.