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  • Writer's pictureNat Studio

DAY 4: Wawel Castle & Masterclass

We started our day with a walk through ‘Royal Route’. With Nina telling everyone the importance of the royal route. We walked straight from the Barbican to Wawel Castle, crossing the whole of Krakow old town through the market square, St. Mary’s Basilica, and other churches that we only saw from afar yesterday. We did altogether 1.4 km. in 20 mins.

Then we started exploring our first bit of Wawel hill with the Cathedral. The cathedral was decorated in different styles due to its many years of construction. However, as the audioguide suggested, the main style is gothic. For many children, it was the first time to see all these decorations up close with so many delicate layers of wooden carvings, gold, and silver.

Unfortunately, photos are not allowed inside, so we don’t have any to show everyone BUT we were allowed to take photos during the most exciting walk of today. We climbed up the bell tower of the cathedral through a tiny old wooden stairways (70 steps!). Now the children understood why the ‘trumpeter’ had to be very fit to play at St. Mary’s Basilica. He probably has to go through similar stairways but much longer and much higher up.

After the cathedral, the children went on a tour to see the private apartments inside the castle. Our dear guide, Bożena, explained that the castle was made in the Italian style and was commissioned by King Sigismund I to an Italian architect. This castle, surprisingly, is the biggest Tuscan style castle in the world. It is not even in Tuscany but in Krakow. The children also learnt about the importance of tapestries inside castle, from its meaning to its functions. It was amazing to see that despite all the wars and invasions, the museum managed to renovate and retrieve almost all tapestries back to their original places. Apart from the tapestries, the children also learnt about the different materials used in different times. While King Sigismund I built the castle, King Sigismund II commissioned all the 160 tapestries to decorate the castle. It was King Sigismund III Vasa who changed the style of the castle. In his apartments, the wooden materials used by his predecessors were changed to marbles as it was more popular during the Baroque time. The walls were no longer covered by tapestries, they were now covered with leather. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take any photographs inside again so I can only share with you what we learnt there.

After the long walk across the old town and the tour within the Wawel cathedral and castle, the children needed to take a break. We went to the walls of the castle, overlooking the Vistula to have what the Polish would call ‘second breakfast’. The host families were so kind to prepare snacks for all of the children. The Polish culture suggests that people have breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks, and dinner. So, I assume the children are learning each day to adapt themselves to this! :P

We walked another 2 km. back to the school. By this time, the children’s legs were already so tired that they just can’t wait to go back to school. But of course….not without Lody first! Another lot of ice-cream was consumed in minutes! Walking and eating, we passed by the famous ‘Pope’s window’ and learnt about his tradition to preached from a window just above ground level with thousands of people filling up the streets to listen to him.

In the afternoon, after our expedition outside of the school, the children went back to the auditorium to study with Prof. Mariola Cieniawa, from Krakow academy. We are so grateful that Paderewski Music School had arranged such an opportunity for the children to study with one of the best piano teachers here. Prof. Cieniawa is part of many committees of various international piano competitions, including the Chopin competition.

The children were so happy to be learning with such a great teacher. They all got something more to work on. We hope that they will push through all their concerts here in Poland. Only two more days until the first concert!

Tomorrow they will work with Ajarn Nat together with their Polish partners on their duet pieces. We will see if they only played together at home after each day’s activities OR also practiced :P

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