Park Island is a small island on the Zandvlei, the vlei (lake) at the bottom of my road. The only way to access the island is from a walkway on the other side of the vlei, and while I have paddled around it in my kayak many times, I have never been on the island. This changed last weekend, when I had to do a recon on the island (to look at a possible site for a memorial bench for a friend), so while I was there I took Eccles for a walk.
To my utter surprise I found a labyrinth on the island, just 600m from my house (in a direct line – about 3km if I take the road). It was only created last year, and in the dry weather it has been struggling to get established, but I’m sure that it will be wonderful once it gets more established and teh paths become more clear. Watch this space for an update…
I ran to the Church of route Holy Cross to visit Chopin’s Heart, where I spent a few quite moments wondering around the church, and in particular visiting Chopin’s Heart. There is a strange story to that. He was worried about being buried alive, so when he died he wanted his heart removed and sent to Warsaw, which was done. So it now rests inside a pillar inside the church. I felt a little bad wondering around a church in my sweaty running gear – but at least I removed my cap.
The rest of Chopin is buried in Pierre Lachat in Paris (where I visited in 2005).
Mila 18, the location of the underground bunker where most the the ghetto uprising was orchestrated from is the grave of hundreds of resistant fighters during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. It is a difficult place to talk about, but it is an important remember of human suffering and the will to survive.
The plaque reads:
Grave of the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising built from the rubble of Mi?a Street, one of the liveliest streets of pre-war Jewish Warsaw. These ruins of the bunker at 18 Mi?a Street are the place of rest of the commanders and fighters of the Jewish Combat Organization, as well as some civilians. Among them lies Mordechaj Anielewicz, the Commander in Chief. On May 8, 1943, surrounded by the Nazis after three weeks of struggle, many perished or took their own lives, refusing to perish at the hands of their enemies. There were several hundred bunkers built in the Ghetto. Found and destroyed by the Nazis, they became graves. They could not save those who sought refuge inside them, yet they remain everlasting symbols of the Warsaw Jews’ will to live. The bunker at Mi?a Street was the largest in the ghetto. It is the place of rest of over one hundred fighters, only some of whom are known by name. Here they rest, buried as they fell, to remind us that the whole earth is their grave.
If you want to read an excellent book on the subject, I highly recommend the novel of the same name written by Leon Uris.
Many of my recent posts have been about Warsaw in World War 2. The war is remembered wherever you go. They are determined to never forget what happened, and certainly they should not forget. It is recovering, and I think perhaps that it will never recover. And I don’t think that is a bad thing at all. Never ever forget.
I love these old cars you see all around Poland. Many of them are now retro rental cars. Maybe next time I will hire one to drive around the city in.
I saw this graffiti on the pavement on a recent run. I like this kind of impromptu transient urban art, and of course the uplifting messages.
You are beautiful!
You are loved!