Picture of the Week

1 October 2018

Week 36: a business trip to Kraków and Krynica

Filed under: — Administrator @ 05:30

I spent most of the week in Poland, giving presentations at events in Kraków and Krynica, the latter billed as the “Davos of the East” because it hosts an economic shindig similar to the more famous Swiss version.

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I flew to Kraków via Amsterdam on Tuesday morning. I enjoyed visiting Schiphol, an airport which used to be almost my second home when I lived in the Netherlands in the early 2000s:
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I landed in Kraków in late afternoon, and the organisers of the conference at which I was going to speak (the Polish patent office) were nice enough to arrange for a driver to meet me at the airport. Once I had installed myself at the hotel, I went for a walk to look for some dinner. There was a nice promenade running along the Vistula river:
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The initially nice weather turned wet, but that had an upside from a photographer’s point of view:
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I had a nice dinner at an Israeli restaurant in Kazimierz, Kraków’s former Jewish quarter:
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On Thursday morning I was going to Krynica, about 2 hours away from Kraków, to give a talk at the economic forum. I was meeting up with the driver near the centre of Kraków, at the spot called the Pope’s Window, because the Polish Pope John Paul II used to stay here during his visits to Poland:
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Krynica is a small resort town at the foothills of the mountains. Most of the year it is a sleepy place where people come to hike in the mountains and drink mineral water; but one week each September it is turned on its head by the economic forum:
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A common scene in Krynica, some VIP is being interviewed:
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As a reminder of what things were like before 1989, there was an exhibition recreating a shop with empty shelves and a typical Polish apartment from the early 1980s:
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After giving my talk, I had a couple of hours in Krynica before the shuttle bus back to Kraków. I left the cordoned off forum area to explore the town a bit. I decided to have lunch at a modest local restaurant, known in Polish as a “jadłodajnia”, literally “a place where they give you food”. The decor is basic and you pick up your food at the counter:
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But the food is delicious, wholesome (here, chicken breast with cabbage, potatoes and salad, preceded by a soup) and cheap–I spent less than €5 on a highly satisfying lunch:
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On Thursday morning the two-day conference in Kraków began. The theme was innovation and intellectual property, and the event was organised by the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland (UPRP) in cooperation with the Israeli government. Here, Israel’s ambassador to Poland is delivering the keynote address, with UPRP’s president, Alicja Adamczak, looking on:
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I gave one of the introductory talks at the conference. During the lunch break, I went outside to take in Rynek, Kraków beautiful central square:
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In the afternoon, I wandered around Rynek, and happened upon a “pijalnia czekolady”, literally “chocolate drinking bar”, basically a company store of Wedel, Poland’s leading chocolate company:
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On Thursday evening, our hosts had arranged a concert in the main museum of 19th century Polish art, a beautiful setting to be sure:
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The musicians were the string section of Kraków’s philharmonic orchestra, and they played some standard stuff like Vivaldi, but also a couple of pieces by Polish 20th century composers which were a real revelation for me:
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Receiving the thoroughly deserved applause:
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Me and Matejko:
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On Friday morning, the conference continued with a series of panel discussions:
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One of the nice colleagues from the Polish patent office, Joanna Kupka, takes the floor:
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In the afternoon I played hooky and walked to Kazimierz once again. I visited the Tempel synagogue, one of Kraków’s two functioning synagogues:
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Afterwards, I walked to Schindler’s factory. There was a large crowd of tourists outside, so I did not bother going inside:
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Instead, I spent an hour or so visiting the nearby modern art museum, and then made my way back to the centre where there was going to be another conference social event in the evening. On the way, I stopped for a beer at Mały Rynek (Small Rynek), a lovely little square with outdoor tables, and watched the human traffic over a couple of pints:
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The social event in the evening consisted of a concert by Trebunie Tutki, a band playing traditional Polish highlander (“góralska”) music. The leader of the band:
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Leading lady:
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Young violinist:
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The leader once again, with his traditional hat:
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More Kraków images can be found here, and I have also set up a small Krynica gallery.

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