St Mary´s Church

The Polish Church has a rather repressive view of tourism. You aren´t allowed to visit the church during services. If they feel like opening it at some other time, then you won´t be allowed to take photographs. Oddly, they tolerate video cameras; but it is hard to explain why you need a tripod for one of those. Only a few shots are sharp enough to show, and some of them are over-exposed. I can now definitely say that it´s better to underexpose a digital photo than overexpose – you can get a surprising level of detail back with Photoshop; but not from the brilliant white spots here. So here´s a link to a site with some better pictures (I wonder what they paid the nuns …) Jump!.

Perhaps you cannot see from this that the outer doors are about 6 feet wide. The structure is made of oak, and it must way a ton, leave alone the carved figures. The nun who came to open it had to use a boathook to push the panels around.

The whole church is very highly painted. I can only think of one comparable example in Western Europe - the Sainte Chapelle in Paris. The slight hand-shake on this shot (should I have had that extra Bison the night before?) means I shan´t be entering it for any competitions, but it shows how the colour scheme is by Pugin, out of Viollet Le Duc.

According to the guide book the hotel gave us, we should have been able to climb St Mary´s tower. I was annoyed to find out that this tuyau was a canard. I had an ambition to take a shot of the Rynek Glowny; but Christine has seen a TV programme since we returned that shows:

On the other hand, the windows are big enough for the trumpeter. This is the tower from which, every hour, he plays a tune to commemorate a sentry from the 13th Century. Apparently, the sentry noticed the Tartars coming, and had started to give the alert when he was shot in the neck. Given the size of the Rynek Glowny, the height of the tower (54m), and its distance from the ramparts (at least 200m), it seems more likely that the arrow was fired by someone who wanted to go back to sleep than by a Tartar.Anyway, the tune supposedly stops at precisely the point when the sentry was hit.

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