07 June 2011

Stare Miasto, Gdańsk: a Sunday morning stroll

The countenance of the smallest child is priceless.

A mermaid at the fountain of Neptune in the heart of the Dlugi Targ [the Long Market]—the headdress places even this oceanid squarely in the fashion of the time. The lumpen infant on her back is less pleasing.

Neptune / Poseidon is truly an appropriate symbol for a port city that has been a maritime trading power since at least the 10th century. How I've loved being in a city with the sea in its veins!

Such vivid colour, even on an overcast day.

This plump little demon lay smirking indolently at all the virtuously hurrying churchgoers that morning.

These poupettes entranced me—such detail. I love the aviator's shearling jacket, the gleam of mischief in the harlequin's smile, and the bridal couple floating blissfully up towards the rooftops like a Chagall painting.

But of course my heart went out to the raven-haired beauty in her fine brocade frou frou and the feathered topper tilted smartly above her wistful face—I expect some rake of a Mirabell or Comte de Valmont has been toying with her affections. Or perhaps she was merely contemplating the next order for her dressmaker. See the marvellously pleated sleeves, the lustrous handsewn pearl beading on her pelisse, the rich gold damask of her gown (I think we are looking at 1780s fashion, here)—can one have cause for melancholy while bedeck'd in such finery?

Well, Ihab Hassan says yes. From the interview with Frank Cioffi:
...I have no calculus of human suffering, and I don’t know which is greater, the pain of a homeless, hungry man or that of a spiritually stricken woman. But I know that they are both intolerable, and that alleviating the one does not necessarily alleviate the other.

The odd little statuette on the left must be the Cheshire cat, melting away into thin air even as we watch. I do rather love the artfully curled tail.

I can't be the only person who thinks this child is a funny wee mortal.

The gleeful dance of Rumpelstiltskin must have looked very much like this. Or perhaps it's a Polish haka to intimidate the evil rubbish-bin he was confronting earlier.

The reverse of this sign reads antiques, stamps, coins. The rooftops on U. Dluga [Long Street] have such a Dutch look to them—well, after all, Gdańsk was once a prosperous member of the Hanseatic League.

Hanseatic league era roofs

My beloved laptop is throwing a tantrum and flatly refusing to start up past the grey screen—I shan't be able to upload any more photos till we can get the recalcitrant creature to an Apple service centre whe we arrive at Cannes next week. (That sounds quite calm, but really, I am gutted.)

1 comment:

  1. Your comment remind me of when we used to wander through the Art Gallery of NSW and make up stories about the people in the paintings....about what they were thinking while they were being painted or what they were like.

    I love the photo of the raven haired beauty in her frou frou, but that first photo of the little boy is gorgeous.


about this blog

Occasional vignettes from the life of a charter chef who loves simply messing about on boats.

"I still think that one of the pleasantest of all emotions is to know that I, I with my brains and my hands, have nourished my beloved few, have concocted a stew or a story, a rarity or a plain dish, to sustain them truly against the hungers of the world."
MFK Fisher


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