We’re continuing our tour of southeastern Poland visiting Kozlowka, home to a magnificent 18th century castle, once residence to the (then) king’s illegitimate daughter and her husband. It’s considered one of the finest examples of an aristocratic home of its period, filled with over 1,000 paintings and lavish furnishings.
After a spot of lunch (ok… cake. Also, Himself wants you to know he didn’t have a burger, but we both know he did and I just wasn’t allowed to photograph it),
we make our way to the box office for our timed entry ticket. “Sold out” they say – it’s barely 12.30 pm. “We’re shutting at 3 pm”, they say. When the brochure clearly says 5 pm in summer. Hmmm. Not best pleased.
There’s still quite a bit to see though, even with the disappointment of not getting to tour the castle’s interior. There’s the coach house, with its impressive collection of lanterns and saddlery in addition to historical coaches,
beautiful gardens, complete with peacocks,
the chapel, which was modelled on the chapel at Versailles,
and there’s even an aviary with fancy pheasants.
We also see a temporary exhibition featuring paintings, ceramics, furniture and clothing of the period.
But by far, the most fascinating is the restoration work being conducted on the building below, in front of the palace.
They’re replacing its roof…in glorious copper. It gleams a rose gold in the sun looking utterly magnificent. In all the time we’ve toured manor homes, palaces, Paris, Loire Valley chateau, Versailles, I’ve never quite appreciated how stunning their (now tarnished green) copper roofs must have been when they were first built. Copper catches the light so beguilingly it’s quite impossible to tear your eyes from it.
How I would have loved to have seen Paris looking like this, at the height of the Belle Epoque era. It would have been utterly magical. It’s not the first time I’ve wished for a time machine. Himself has to tear me away, yet again. I would have given anything to shimmy up that scaffolding for a closer look, and I’m utterly terrified of heights! The mind boggles at the cost of this restoration. I’ve long longed for a set of copper pans – but even with the tiny amounts of copper they use, the cost of a full set is blistering.
Having intended to spend the whole day at the palace, we find ourselves with additional time on our hands, and so head to our next destination, Kazimierz Dolny, deemed one of the most perfectly preserved Renaissance villages in Poland.
We get more than the occasional head turn on our way. Poland seems quite new to motorhomes – they’re still a curious sight for the locals, especially in the countryside.
Kazimierz Dolny is nestled in a corner of the Vistula, Poland’s largest river running just over 1,000 kilometres.
On the way to the village we have a preview of its history with this 16th century house on its outskirts – built in 1591.
As with many villages, its heart is the market square. This one is particularly busy, hosting a summer film festival.
The village itself is tiny, carved into the surrounding hillside. Houses have beautiful timber roofing, painstakingly interleaved in a tongue and groove placement. The time it would take to build like this.
In the market square, the stars of the show are two merchants’ houses built side by side for brothers, Mikolaj and Krzysztof Przybyla by the same architect in 1615.
Church bells peal as we explore the village,
and sure enough, as we settle for drinks in the square, the wedding party appears for photos. Not in the carriage below!!
Church free, we scramble up hill for a quick look,
but stop short of the castle and tower – have to save something for tomorrow.
We do get beaten home by these sprightly nuns on their way back to the convent. My excuse is that it’s been a busy day.