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Bad Memories of Krakow for Olympic Champs

OLYMPIC champions they may be, but Etienne Stott and Tim Baillie insist that counts for nothing as they return to international action this weekend for the first time since London 2012.

Stott & Bailie

The canoe slalom C2 stars have competed in a series of races at Nottingham’s National Water Sports Centre and at the Olympic course in Lee Valley in the past few months.

But the European Championships in Poland mark the first time they will have squared off against many of the same canoe double pairings they saw off to win Olympic gold last August.

“Some people think that because we have won the Olympics anything other than a podium finish would be a huge disappointment for us, but the reality is quite different,” Baillie said.

“Don’t get me wrong, we’d love to medal (at the Europeans) and we will be doing our best to get up there, but there are a whole lot of fast crews with the potential to podium and it’s a very difficult sport to be consistent.

“Our greatest achievement at the Olympics was that we managed to break free from any perceived pressure or expectation and focused instead entirely on our performance and just trying to get our best effort down regardless of what anyone else did.

“For the race this weekend our approach will be identical; we’ll be preparing meticulously to try to execute our best performance and if we manage to do that in an uninhibited way we’ll be satisfied, It’d be great if that meant we had a good result as well.”

Stott echoed the thoughts of his whitewater rapids partner, adding: “Anyone who knows the sport of canoe slalom realises that it is unpredictable and therefore if it didn’t go well, it wouldn’t mean our reputation was ruined.

“The focus and process that we go through will be the same as for the Olympics; it’s just that the situation is a bit different, that’s just part of the challenge of sports and what I enjoy.”

Pending the event going ahead in Krakow as planned – with flooding problems at the course shifting the start of the Europeans back a day to tomorrow – the duo will also be looking to avenge a bad memory from five years ago.

They may have a European bronze medal to their name from the C2 discipline from when it was staged in Nottingham in 2009, but it was a very different situation for Stott and Baillie the year before.

At the 2008 European Championships, which was staged at the Krakow course they will compete on tomorrow, the pair managed only 16th and this meant they missed out on qualifying for the Beijing Olympics that year.

“This will only be the second race we have done there,” said Stott.

“In 2008, our performance was poor and led to us missing out on qualifying a place to the Beijing Games.

“So it doesn’t have loads of happy memories. But we are much improved as athletes now, and to me it seems like a totally different situation, a blank slate.

“The river is very tough, challenging and unforgiving, which suits our style to some degree, so I am excited to race and see how fast we can go.”

That bad memory was compounded for Baillie, who added: “Krakow hasn’t been especially kind to us. In 2008, the race was actually on my birthday.

“It’s a particularly painful memory because we completely failed to paddle up to our potential because we were too nervous and didn’t have the mental strategies to deal with it.

“Missing the Olympics was devastating for us at that point but looking back now it’s a bitter-sweet memory.

“In many ways that experience proved to be an important catalyst for our eventual success in London.

“It highlighted what we needed to improve and we spent the intervening four years working on our race-day composure and mental toughness.”

Training ahead of the event has not gone according to plan for the Nottingham-based pair, with the course in Krakow closed due to flooding much of this week due to heavy rain that has swelled the river levels.

But Stott says they feel in good shape, and said: “We have worked as hard as we can on the important parts of our training.

“Being the first race of the new Olympic cycle means everyone will be feeling out their form and that of the opposition, so we’ll just have to wait and see. But the way we are paddling and the way we feel physically is pretty good.

“It will come down to how we handle the race course on the race day.”

June 8, 2013 Posted by | Events, Sport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Netanyahu to Inaugurate New Auschwitz Exhibition

KRAKOW TOURS: Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will visit Poland on June 13 for the opening of a new exhibition at the museum of the former Nazi German death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, organizers said Monday.

In the works for four years, the exhibition will present “the murder at Auschwitz in the larger context of the Nazis systematic attempt to exterminate the Jewish people,” said curators at Yad Vashem Holocaust institute.

The “Shoah” display will be located in Block 27, the oldest part of the camp set up by Nazi Germany in the southern town of Oswiecim in occupied Poland.

The unveiling was originally due on May 9 but had to be pushed back because of Netanyahus schedule.

Around 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed between 1940 and 1945 at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the most notorious of the death camps run by Nazi Germany.

June 5, 2013 Posted by | Auschwitz, Events, News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Krakow In Your Pocket

KIP cover

April 23, 2013 Posted by | Events, News, Recommendations, Tour Information | Leave a comment

Franz Ferdinand booked for Krakow festival

KRAKOW TOURS: Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand will play at this summer’s Coke Live Festival in Krakow.

The Glasgow band’s confirmation puts them on the same bill as Florence and the Machine, promising plenty of interest from music fans both from Poland and beyond.

Franz Ferdinand, who take their name from the ill-starred Habsburg archduke whose assassination sparked the First World War, blazed to fame in 2004 with hit single “Take Me Out.”

The group is currently immersed in rustling up their fourth studio album, meaning that fans should be able to savour some fresh material at the festival.

Also newly confirmed are fellow Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro, whose last album Opposites topped the UK charts.

Krakow’s annual Coke Live Festival was first held in 2006, and previous guests have included Kanye West, Kaiser Chiefs, Jay Z, Placebo, The Prodigy and Snoop Lion (formerly known as Snoop Dogg).

This year’s edition runs from 9-10 August, and will be held within the grounds of the city’s Aviation Museum.

via Franz Ferdinand booked for Krakow festival – Thenews.pl :: News from Poland.

April 5, 2013 Posted by | Events, News | , , | Leave a comment

Celebrate Easter – Krakow style

KRAKOW TOURS: Unlike in some parts of the world, where the mutant chocolate offspring of a chicken and a bunny is considered the most appropriate way to celebrate Christianity’s greatest feast, a Polish Easter combines tradition and fun with a great deal of colour and respect.

Holy Week starts on Palm Sunday, and due to a natural shortage of tropical foliage in Southern Poland, other more indigenous plants are bent into service to commemorate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem seated on a donkey. Typically made from dried flowers and branches in villages throughout Poland, these ‘palms’ can be bought in the Main Market Square, blessed in one of Krakow’s many churches and used as colourful home decorations during Holy Week. Throughout this week the Main Square hosts an Easter Fair where traditional gifts and seasonal food can also be bought. The ‘Misteria Paschalia’ early and sacred music festival runs concurrently, and enjoys an international reputation. Easter is also when the events season really begins to get under way.

via Celebrate Easter – Krakow style! – My Destination Krakow.

March 29, 2013 Posted by | Events, This Day In History | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Krakow Ghetto Pharmacy to Reopen

KRAKOW TOURS: Drawers full of surprises, voices on an old phone, and new rooms that will transport visitors back in time – the famed Pharmacy Under the Eagle will reopen after a major refit in March, on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Krakow ghetto.

The Pharmacy Under the Eagle (Apteka Pod Orłem) was the only gentile business that the Nazis allowed to continue operating in the Jewish ghetto. Its owner, Tadeusz Pankiewicz, helped save many lives and is recognised as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem. His staff also risked their lives to help those trapped in the ghetto.

Situated on Plac Bohaterów Getta (formerly Plac Zgody), the Pharmacy Under the Eagle kept people alive by distributing medications for free, as well as providing tranquilisers to help keep hidden children quiet during Gestapo raids and hair dye to aid escapes.

via Krakow Ghetto Pharmacy to Reopen After Major Refit » Krakow Post.

March 12, 2013 Posted by | Events, Krakow Travel Advice, News, This Day In History | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Irish Mbassy – St Patrick’s Weekend

Bringing Ireland to Krakow.

March 12, 2013 Posted by | Events, News, Sport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Valentine’s Day in Poland

Valentine’s Day is being celebrated in Poland, with pastry chefs across the country rustling up suitably romantic confections.

Valentines Day PolandAs with Halloween,Valentine’s Day passed virtually unnoticed in Poland until the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989.

However, in the last ten years in particular, the celebrations have become increasingly popular, especially with young Poles.

The picturesque medieval town of Chelmno, northern Poland, has thrown itself into the Valentine’s Day spirit with particular gusto.

A relic of St Valentine that was donated to the Church of St. Mary in 1630 – but largely forgotten until 2002 – has inspired an annual extravaganza on 14 February.

The municipal authorities have even gone so far as to re-brand Chelmno as “the town of the enamoured” in its official slogan.

Elsewhere in the country, flower-sellers, chocolatiers, restaurateurs and hoteliers are all doing a roaring trade.

February 14, 2013 Posted by | Events, This Day In History | , , | Leave a comment

This week at the Irish Mbassy

 

Irish Mbassy

This Week’s Line-Up:

MONDAY – 11.02

Hiberian Vs St. Johnstone – 20:30

Liverpool Vs West Bromwich – 21:00

TUESDAY – 12.02

Leicester City Vs Huddersfield Town – 20:30

Celtic Vs Juventus – 20:45

WEDNESDAY – 13.02 – WING NIGHT

Real Madrid Vs Man Utd – 20:45

Shakhtar Donetsk Vs Borussia Dortmund – 20:45

♥ THURSDAY – 14.02 – PUB QUIZ ♥

Sparta Prague Vs Chelsea – 19:00

Spurs Vs Lyon – 21:05

Newcastle Utd Vs Metalist Kharkiv – 21:05

FRIDAY – 15.02 – KARAOKE 😀

Tranmere Rovers Vs Shrewsbury Town – 20:45

*RUGBY*

Warrington Wolves Vs Catalan Dragon – 21:00

via Facebook.

February 10, 2013 Posted by | Events, Sport | , , , | Leave a comment

Irish Mbassy – What’s on this weekend

Mbassy

FRIDAY – Karaoke with Mikey!

FOOTBALL

Watford Vs Crystal Palace – 20:45

RUGBY LEAGUE

Wigan Warriors Vs Warrington Wolves – 21:00

SATURDAY – Live music with THE BEERTONES!!

Beertones 1

FOOTBALL

Inverness CT Vs Celtic – 13:00

Spurs Vs Newcastle Utd – 13:45

Sunderland Vs Arsenal – 16:00

Southampton Vs Man City – 18:30

Real Madrid Vs Sevilla – 22:00

RUGBY UNION – 6 NATIONS

Scotland Vs Italy – 15:30

France Vs Wales – 18:00

G.A.A

Cork Vs Kildare – 20:00

RUGBY UNION

Herlequins Vs London Wasps – 21:00

SUNDAY

FOOTBALL

Aston Villa Vs West Ham Utd – 14:30

Man Utd Vs Everton – 17:00

Athletico Bilbao Vs Espanyol – 19:00

RUGBY UNION – 6 NATIONS

Ireland Vs England – 16:00

RUGBY LEAGUE

Dewsbury Rams Vs Featherstone Rovers – 19:00

via Facebook.

February 7, 2013 Posted by | Events, Krakow Travel Advice, Sport | , , | Leave a comment

Fat Thursday

KRAKOW TOURS – Thursday 7th Feb –  Fat Thursday.

Opens the last week of carnival revelries before the 46 day Lent, Poles unite to prove how much they cherish their tradition, standing patiently in long queues to buy the Polish doughnut called “paczek”. Gorging on the deep-fried sweet dough cakes is a must and a temptation, to which even the most determined weight-watchers tend to succumb.

Bakeries are ready to please, turning out mind-boggling amounts of the spongy, round doughnuts with different fillings and toppings. According to statistics, around 100 million doughnuts are sold on Fat Thursday. The average Pole eats two and a half such cakes, consuming a total of 500-700 calories.

It is a big set back for those dieting after Christmas consumption excesses. But then, eating a “paczek” on Fat Thursday is supposed to bring good luck.

February 7, 2013 Posted by | Events, This Day In History | , , , , | Leave a comment

Stella Muller-Madej ‘A Girl from Schindler’s List’ dies age 83.

Stella Müller-Madej, a Holocaust survivor who wrote about being saved by Oskar Schindler, has died.

Stella Muller-Madej

Müller-Madej died on Jan. 29 in Krakow at the age of 83. She was born in 1930 in Krakow. In March 1941, she was moved to the Krakow Ghetto and in 1942 to the Nazi camp in Plaszow. She entered Auschwitz in October 1944. Thanks to the efforts of her uncle, Müller-Madej was listed with her family on Schindler’s list and along with other prisoners was sent to the Brunnlitz factory.

After the war she returned to Krakow, and in 1991 she published a book, “A Girl From Schindler’s List.” In 2001, she published the second part of her memoirs, “A Girl From Schindler’s List: Postwar Years,” which describes the life of her family after the war and the impact of the trauma of World War II on her life.

February 1, 2013 Posted by | Auschwitz, Events, News | , , , | 1 Comment

President Komorowski backs Poland’s Olympic 2022 bid.

President Komorowski backs Polish Olympic bid

“If we want to co-host such an event in 2022 we have to start working on it today,” President Komorowski said in the mountain resort of Bialka Tatrzanska, Małopolska.

The head of state mentioned the state of the road that links the tourist centres of Krakow and mountain resort of Zakopane as among the priorities for preparations for hosting the games.

“The funds should be spent on the ‘famous’ motorway leading to Zakopane which as of now does not meet the standards for such a big international event,” he said of the 1970s-built road.

Komorowski also said that as this was a joint bid to host the Winter Olympics with Slovakia, coordinating the project must begin right away.

“We need to build cooperation with our Slovak neighbours. We could not prepare this bid without them because our Tatra mountains are not as big as those in Slovakia,” Komorowski said.

According to the plan, Krakow, in southern Poland, would host the opening and closing ceremonies and the city would host the majority of the events played on ice, while Zakopane, Poland’s winter tourist capital, would handle snowboarding, cross country skiing and the biathlon.

Slovakia would organise a number of skiing events and some of the ice hockey fixtures.

A letter of intent has already been signed by the heads of the Olympic committees of Poland and Slovakia while the official candidacy declaration is to be made in 2013.

The host city will be elected on July 31, 2015 at the 127th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur.

Several European cities have put in bids to host the event, including Munich, Nice, Oslo and Lviv.

Asian bids have come from Beijing and Almaty in Kazakhstan.

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January 15, 2013 Posted by | Events, Sport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Krakow In Your Pocket

Krakow In Your Pocket

Download the latest edition of ‘Krakow In Your Pocket’

December 3, 2012 Posted by | Events, Krakow Travel Advice, Recommendations | , , , , , | Leave a comment

70th Jubilee Kraków Christmas Crib Contest and Exhibition

Image

Thursday 6th December to Sunday 24th February, Krzysztofory Palace, Rynek Główny 35

One of Kraków’s most idiosyncratic Christmas traditions is the popular creation of ‘szopki.’ Something of a strange cross between a nativity scene, gingerbread house and dollhouse, these unique structures more resemble colourful, foil covered castles or cathedrals than cribs and are the bizarre result of a folk tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages. Re-popularised in 1937 with the first official Christmas Crib Competition, this year marks the historic 70th edition.

On December 6th at 10:00, artists will display their creations to the public around the market square’s Adam Mickiewicz monument. Later they will be moved indoors to the History Museum on the other side of the Rynek, where they will be on display throughout the holidays until February 24th. On Sunday December 9th awards will be given at 14:00 to the winners in a number of categories.

Anyone visiting Kraków should absolutely pay a visit to the History Museum in order to experience this unique folk tradition.

November 30, 2012 Posted by | Events, News, Recommendations | Leave a comment

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