Whether you’re an enthusiast of Frederic Chopin’s noble-sounding music or just want to have a different travelling experience in Europe, why not try Poland as a choice for your next travel destination? In this article, we feature Poland from the point of view of Frederic Chopin, one of the most prolific musical composers of all time and often referred to as “The Poet of the Piano”.
Once you arrive at Chopin Airport in Warsaw, the first thing you will notice is that the Chopin element is everywhere you lay your eyes on. Even when you step out of the airport, you will see the beloved composer’s name written in big letters. This is only natural because the composer is proudly seen as the national symbol of Poland.
Frederic Chopin may have had a French name, but he was actually born in a town near Warsaw in 1810. The war at that time forced him to move out from Poland to France, where he remained until his death at 39. There is a united pride over this beloved composer by all citizens of Poland, and this is proven through the development of public concerts, monuments, museums, events and schools, which are all named after him.
Go to the Warsaw Philharmonic to attend the evening concert (the building was built between 1900 and 1901). After you listen to the evening’s concert, take a look at the bust of Chopin in the reception hall.
You can also enjoy Chopin’s music as you stroll through the streets of Warsaw as there are many public benches that have music players which you can use to listen to all the famous piano collections from Chopin. You can also find these musical benches in places like Saski Palace, where Chopin’s family used to reside.
There are many banners promoting Chopin’s concerts hung on buildings along Swietokrzyska Street. You can also go to House of Music and buy a ticket to attend the evening performance for 50 zloty. This is somewhere to enjoy an intimate recital as the place is filled with tables where customers can drink and enjoy the music.
Next stop should be the Fryderyk Chopin Museum, where you need to fork out 22 zloty to enter. Here, there are stacks of memorabilia like manuscripts, concert posters, the personal belongings of Chopin, and also exhibitions that let you get a peek at almost each stage of Chopin’s life. You will be able to see Chopin’s piano as well and even feel the energy and sadness radiating from it. Alicja Knast, the curator of the museum explains that the Chopin exhibition is trying to showcases Chopin’s life, works and personality within biographical and historical contexts. It is designed to let us enter Chopin’s world and also the worlds behind Chopin’s works.
You can also find out about Chopin’s love life in the museum. There are details of his relationships with Maria Wodzinska, Jenny Lind, Jane Stirling and George Sand. Chopin was an avid fan of the opera and he often incorporated opera concepts in his works.
After enjoying the museum, walk to nearby Fryderyk Chopin University of Music, the oldest and largest music school in Poland where you can faintly hear students practicing on their instruments.
If you are hungry from all the Chopin exploration, stop by Jama Michalika, a unique cafe that was founded in 1895 AD. It features Art Nouveau and Polish painting that we can enjoy while enjoying their coconut cake called “Michalik Mariacki”. You can then head to To Lubie at Nowe Miasto to get some cheap Aeropress coffee and caramel covered cheesecake.
Then there is Delicja Polska, a friendly restaurant that sells local specialties such as guinea fowl.
After getting your stomach full, try a day trip to Chopin’s birthplace, Zelazowa Wola, which takes only 35 minutes by train from Central Warsaw and a then short bus ride.
Although the museum is quite small, there is a beautiful park around it where concerts are regularly held on the weekends, mostly in the summer when the weather is most tolerable. It is also best to go on Wednesday as entry is free; however, other days only cost 23 zloty.
The most memorable remnant of Chopin’s life lays in the Church of the Holy Cross, where his heart remains. Chopin made the request to lay his heart in Poland to his sister shortly before he died. The inscription says, “Tu Spoczywa Serce Fryderyk Chopina”, which means “Here rests the heart of Frederick Chopin”. It is sad but meaningful words for a man who has touch our hearts with his music for decades.
See also : Experience True Freedom at Maldives