Friday, 19 October 2012

Krokowa - former borderlands

Today I was up in Pomorskie, speaking at a conference about public-private partnerships to representatives of the province's local authorities. The event was held at Krokowa, a castle with a most interesting history that offers a broader insight into the geo-politics of Central Europe. The castle was built by the Von Krockow family. Of the sons of Graf Döring Von Krockow, one fought for the Poles in the September campaign, two more fought for the Germans; the surviving son set in train the restitution and restoration of the family property, which today is administered by a foundation promoting German-Polish understanding.

I was surprised by how many people I mentioned Krokowa to had either heard of it or been here. As castles go, it's not the most breathtaking, but it has been thoughtfully restored, and at this time of year, in this weather, it was a beautiful place to spend a day, mixing business and tourism.

Left: the inside of the dining room, where I had breakfast (much needed after a night-train journey from Warsaw to nearby Wejherowo). Note the ceiling - when the Von Krockows' castle was appropriated from them by the Polish communist state, it was turned over to the local collective farm. After its restitution, it was subject to a total refurbishment, during the course of which, original painted ceilings were discovered, that had been panelled over. Kashubian folk art - nothing fancy, but characteristic of the region. 

Below: a footbridge over the moat that surrounds the castle. The colours of the trees against the cloudless blue sky, the deep indigo of the moat water and the white railings make for a sublime image. Am I back in old Kentucky?

Below: but this is Europe, European architecture; going back to the late 18th Century.

Below: the cobbled drive to the main road. Plenty of cycle paths around here, a good place from which to set off for lengthy bike rides - down to the end of the Hel peninsula, for instance.

It's a beautiful Polish autumn. Tuesday's downpour was a one-day event, since then the sky has been clear and the temperature around 15C.

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