Don’t mind the dwarf on a pigeon sitting on a ledge of Spiż Restaurant in Wroclaw’s Market Square, getting grumpy. Before the Internet and text messaging he was the oh-so-awaited messenger around the world. Today he just ponders the old times sipping beer at the Spiż. He wonders: how did the practice of bitter beer drinking outlast the ancient tradition of caring messages by pigeons? It was his inheritance, trade, passion and dignity. All but a history today, it is a bitter truth for him indeed!
Pigeons always knew how to fly home.
Thanks to this skill they were proven to be effective as massage carriers already by ancient Persian. The Romans also used pigeon messengers to aid their military over 2000 years ago. Even the Greeks conveyed the names of the victors at the Olympic games to their various cities by pigeons.
By the 12th century merchants, traders and travelers used messenger pigeons throughout Europe as a regular postal service. They were also great in military situations, indispensable in a siege or for naval purposes, to send messages from ships out in waters. Various governments established whole systems of military communication by pigeon post.
Still in the 19th century, before the telegraph was invented, pigeons were often considered as a means of sending messages amongst stockbrokers and financiers.
If used only by humans the pigeons were transported to a destination in cages. Before releasing there would be messages attached to them. These messages were typically small rolls of paper, stored in a tiny glass or metal tube. Once the message was attached the pigeon would fly home, thus delivering it and skipping over rough terrain, traffic, dishonesty, and human error.
Once the dwarfs were introduced to the craft the service became even more effective. Dwarfs could ride the pigeons to the destination away from home, skipping the often more dangerous pigeons-in-the-cage part of the process. Also, being more aware of human plots and traps dwarfs could steer away from many dangerous situations unforeseen by the birds on the way home.
The only problem was – many humans did not believe in dwarfs. But that was basically that: the unbeliever’s problem.
Our Pigeon Keeper comes from a family of ancient history and tradition. His ancestors were essential aspects of politics, diplomacy and military actions throughout the Europe and West Asia. The pigeons they trained were used to carry messages during wars and peaceful times. The whole clan was respected and appreciated.
And today? He is still loved by all the pigeons around. They come swarming the Market Place, because they know he will never tire of cleaning their wings if a piece of bubble gum gets stuck to it, or their paws get tangled in plastic bags, ribbons and other human debris. They say he also tells them many unbelievable stories from long ago. But humans never spoke pigeon, so it is hard to know for sure.
If you visit him, use rather your camera than a phone to take a picture. He’s smart. He knows about the Internet. He knows that you can send his picture as a message across the globe in a second. And please, never text standing right in front of him. It really does hurt his feelings.
If you will not find him on the ledge, look above. There might be a pigeon sitting on a head of one of the brewers sculpted over the entrance to Spiż. Chances are that his rider sneaked again for another pint of Dark Caramel.
My friend, ZuzAnna treated me to that caramel beer at Spiż. It was cold and smooth. They brew it in the pub, right in the basement cellar of the old Town Hall. Which is very special. We enjoyed it outside because the weather was great and it was fun to watch the street artist and musician on the Market. And the pigeons, they make their own music! I still could not understand a word of their songs.
The beer was gone and suddenly the pigeons flew away, and I swear I saw the Pigeon Keeper puling his hat bad-temperedly even more over his eyes...
There was a drone hovering above us. Taking pictures? Delivering something?
Times change inevitably.
I mentioned Spiż Restaurant and Brewery without their knowledge or any incentives from them. The beer was ACTUALLY really good.
You’ve picked the best photos of the year and are ready to order your Personal Christmas Cards. Now you may wonder: what to write in the Christmas cards this year?
RELIGIOUS CHRISTMAS CARDS
Religious cards will remind your fellow believers of the true meaning behind Christmas. Bible verses, along with cunning sayings will help you spread the message.
CARDS WITH A TOUCH OF SENTIMENT
A simple and elegant message is the perfect way to say Merry Christmas. Here is a few:
Quotes are a great way to express your Christmas spirit. They are perfect to use when you want to write a symbolic, meaningful but not directly personal message.
CHRISTMAS MOVIES QUOTES
Watching Christmas movies is one of the favorite holiday pastimes for many families. If this is also your case you could not go wrong with several cards starting like this: Every time when Christmas is near l look forward to see (insert your movie tile) again. It remains me of the good times we had together. I love this quote:
TIDINGS OF GOOD CHEER
These sayings are best if you want to incorporate some encouragement for maybe you know that the recipients partake in Christmas this year facing also some major life challenges. (It can happen to all of us!)
THE "OBLIGATORY" CARDS
It may be your boss, co-worker, or spouse’s brother’s wife’s cousin, or the neighbor who always seems to know more about your life than you do (yet you only speak twice a year). Regardless, you’re kind enough to send them a card, and you don’t want to spend an eternity coming up with the message. Try one of these:
FUNNY CHRISTMAS CARDS
It is always good to make people laugh once they open your card. Just remember to send the funny Christmas card sayings to folks who fully engage in your sense of humor!
SHORT AND SIMPLE
The Christmas season can get hectic and often times a short Christmas saying can be just as effective as a long message. To save you plenty of time you could just say:
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You cannot miss the St. Elisabeth Church in Wroclaw. It is one of the oldest churches there, and the tallest building in the Old Town area. Contrasting the church’s high tower there are two little houses framing the south corner of its backyard. They are connected by an arch, which in the Middle Ages crowned a gate to a cemetery.
In those times, thanks to skills and toil of local tradesmen, the city was prosperous, but dominated by the merchant class, which controlled the Town Council. By ruthless regulations the merchants took advantage of the hard-working guilds. It led to rebellion in 1418, when butchers and textile workers stormed the Town Hall. They beheaded the mayor, most of his advisers, even defenestrated one who was trying to take refuge in a tower.
The new order did not last long. Unfortunately for the rebels, two years later the Holy Roman Emperor was in town preparing his soldiers to launch a crusade against Bohemia, and got personally involved in the dispute. Thus, most of the guild leaders were banned from town and over twenty of them executed. The backyard of St. Elisabeth’s Church became their resting place.
People believed that the “rebels” fought for truth and righteousness, and in the memory of the events a sign was carved on the flagstone above the cemetery gate.
It is still there. It reads in Latin: MORS JANUA VITAE – Death is the Gate to Life.
Much of the area was destroyed by World War II, but after the war the people of Wroclaw decided to restore the Old Town, and the two little houses. Joined by an arch the houses reminded everyone of two children holding hands, so they were named: Jaś i Małgosia, the Polish names for Hänsel and Gretel. In English Małgosia translates to Little Margaret.
Now you know why I always felt special about this spot!
Today it is a lively corner of the Old Town Market Square and Małgosia houses the headquarters of the Wroclaw Lovers Association. The Association promotes the city, welcomes visitors, sells souvenirs and organizes guided tours around the town and vicinity. Therefore, to no surprise, right at the entrance to Malgosia's store, you can meet one of the city greatest admirers, a dwarf who does not want to be known by any other name but WrocLover. A happy and loving fellow, WrocLover has buddies all over the world and tells everywhere that Wroclaw is the friendliest place for dwarfs and people alike. Rumor has it, he convinced the dwarfs to move into the city to begin with. He welcomes all with a great smile and golden heart with the city emblem held high in his hand.
And of course, the backyard behind him is swarming with enjoyment and laughter. It is a meeting place for bikers, tourists resting in a local craft beer garden, and children searching for (and finding!) more of the city dwarfs.
I walked through the passage under the arch taking pictures. Caught in the camera intent stare of a handsome biker. Was he offended by being photographed, or wanted to ask if I’d like a close-up of his oh-so-shiny vehicle? I did not bother to check. Moving the lens quickly sideways I saw a glimpse of a strange shape; like a kneeling cross or a martyr-like figure, decapitated and yet holding up strait. Did someone but me remembered in the midst of this place of fun the rebellion from over six hundred years ago!? I came closer and red a sign on the ground:
Born February 4th 1906 in Wrocław
Evangelical Pastor and Theologian
Member of the German Resistance to National Socialists
Forerunner of Ecumenism, Christian Martyr
Murdered in Flossenburg Concentration Camp
April 9th 1945
This buoyant city square remembered one more rebel!
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the greatest theologian of the last century, known for his courage, integrity and moral strength in the face of evil, was born in Wroclaw, and I was standing in front of his memorial. His book The Cost of Discipleship became a classic, and his writings on Christianity's role in the secular world have become widely influential.
The National Socialist was a mouthful to many, so if you are in doubt, there is a shorter version often used: the Nazis. Apart from his theological writings, Bonhoeffer was known for his opposition to the Nazi dictatorship, including condemnation of Hitler's euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews. Arrested in 1943 by the Gestapo he was imprisoned for more than a year, and finally after being associated with the plot to Hitler’s assassination, executed by hanging. He died but a two weeks before the regime collapsed and the Flossenburg camp was liberated. His death was yet another the gate to life...
It takes many rebels to build a city filed with so much laughter and love.
Love conquers all!
There is this myth, often inaccurate, that anyone over 50 is Internet and social media inept. I lived on this planet for more than half a century, and not only enjoy social media for personal and business purposes, but also have several friends on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest who are my parents’ age.
We're certainly not clueless, and needless to say, when on my 50-th birthday I wrote on my Facebook wall, “It is not over the hill, we called the landscapers, and they moved the hill!” it was applauded by many likes.
More and more seniors learn to use Internet and join the social media circles, because it can be fun and provides many benefits. These are some of them:
1. Stay in touch with family
Although most kids have nowadays their own devices called “phones,” they rarely use them to “call” people. Grandma waiting for a call can be a very lonely grandma. The same grandma on Facebook will have a chance to browse through loads of pictures and videos, some of them fondly uploaded just for her. For the kids are still loving kids, just their means of communication changed.
Such connection becomes critical for families living far apart. Updates and family news can be precious both ways. The seniors can enjoy images of growing grandkids and participate in their small and big events, and the kids can watch their elderly. To see them online and well, is often important, particularly when they live alone.
Not to mention that, all the cyber-hugs and story exchanges cost next to nothing in comparison to the phone, printing and postage bills they produced in the past.
2. Reconnect with old friends
The social networks enable us to read posts, see pictures, view videos and have conversations with people who we thought we’d never see again. People are finding their best friends from elementary school, high school crushes, and college roommates. There are stories, memories, and pictures to be shared, and for many that may have been otherwise home-bound, this new venue of socializing can be lifesaving. It provides them with opportunity to mingle with people without going out of the living room.
3. Belong to a community
The importance of socializing and being a part of a community cannot be overstated. The social networks allow to meet others and pursue networking events with like-minded people. Many communities offer opportunities for people of all ages to learn from one another, to share talents, and to work together on shared goals. From arts and crafts shows, through charity events, book clubs, even safety awareness programs, many virtual communities offer knowledge, fun and a sense of belonging.
4. Research and find deals
Didn’t you ever get frustrated navigating a 1-800 number phone line menu labyrinth? By using tools available online, people are able to research and learn at their own pace without being rushed or intimidated.
They can cultivate hobbies and collect recipes on Pinterest, create lists of business ideas on Twitter, collect and research health reports, insurance news and other information by following groups and Business Fan Pages. By watching their favorite businesses and brands, seniors can save money by taking advantage of promotional opportunities. Many times freebies and discounts are available only to Facebook fans or for Twitter followers.
I personally belong to couple of Facebook Garage Sales Pages run within local communities. Talking about treasures, tips and recommendations you can find there!
For many active seniors 65 is no longer the age of retirement. Many would like to continue working, often sharing lifelong expertise as consultants and freelancers. Several people I know look forward to retirement, to venture into the business of their dreams and start something they always knew they’d love to be doing. Social networks enable them to find customers, post resumes, network, and advertise. With so many online productivity and networking tools, the opportunities are endless.
6. Bear witness to history and leave a legacy
I will miss many stories that died with my Grandpa. Living through two World Wars he partook in a wealth of historical events. He was not very verbal about them while younger, since the political climate around was, so to say, not promoting such memories. Few stories my mom managed to write down. But we were still left with handful of nameless pictures, their affairs untold.
Seniors are people who have been “in the trenches” longer than us. Based on what they remember and by using online tools to gather data and research, they could build a legacy of priceless memories. The possibility of sharing about their participation in historical vents, often with hope to find old acquaintances, motivates even more diligent research. Ever heard great stories about unbelievable online reunions or discoveries? Would you care to tell?
We all know seniors keeping their minds active with crossword puzzles, Sudoku or scrabble. These games can be played on social media with family and friends, and they also come with skill levels and font sizes that can be easily modified.
And who is to say what other than traditional games we all, regardless of age can enjoy? My kids still remember how I beat the computer playing Pokémon Puzzle League…
All right, that was still before my fiftieth birthday.
Do you know any cool social media story, reunion or new friendship? Please, share.
In a city called Wrocław humans coexist with dwarfs. They call them "Krasnale".
Krasnal Luminator is my favorite.
He works with a human company called Tauron which delivers energy to the region. Everybody knows that Luminator works diligently to make sure that all dwarfs have access to electricity and gas. But if you get to know him better, you'll se that Luminator does way more than that.
Dwarfs, you see, are very old-school, and they reluctantly look into any innovations or progress. Not him! Luminator is very open-minded, and highly knowledgeable of the technological world. To stay up-to-date he works tirelessly on his little laptop. He uses sunshine throughout the day, and turns on his little lamp to continue working after the sun goes down. Nobody knows when he sleeps. No one ever saw him to leave his little laptop and rest. But rumor has it every so often he vanishes...
They say the ramp he sits on hides a little electric Dwarf-Mobile he uses to travel throughout Wrocław and take pictures. They say he loves the City and loves taking pictures. They say he has a secret file on his Laptop with thousands of best pictures taken in Wroclaw ever! I hope, one day he will publish them. For now, the few pictures I took of him, are my little keepsake.
I am a GRAPHIC DESIGNER, with passion for photography, philanthropy, amazed by colors of the world, and with aptitude to stay organized. I truly believe that "One Picture is Worth Ten Thousand Words", and I like to communicate using images. Maybe that’s why most days there is a camera in the trunk of my car, and I love using it.
Why did I start to WRITE a blog?
Reason #1: I’m busy... As a result, many ideas I have, some of them maybe worth sharing, disappear in my daily hectic. I hope, that commited to writing at least some of them will survive and be useful not only for me but maybe also for others.
Reason #2: The mighty Search Engines still appreciate keywords rather than "key-images" for the optimization. A site loaded with mainly pictures just would not cut into these requirements.
Yes, I intent to bring home some “bacon” from this site. I am a Boomer (we are not Babies anymore!) sandwiched between demanding offspring and fading parent. I went through at least one market crash, learned that real estate doesn’t gain values like it used to, and health care cost skyrockets. Now, I entertain the idea of work till 70-ty to keep some dignity in my retirement. Are you with me? Stick around. I plan some fun, I have some fairytales up my sleeves, but I also plan to dive frequently into my generation final survival plan ideas.
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Thanks for reading!
is a graphic designer, with passion for photography.
is the most innovative, and techy dwarf ever known. He lives in a city called Wrocław, where dwarfs coexist with humans. Rumor has it he also likes taking pictures..
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