Video Of The Day: Warsaw, Poland Stands Still In Remembrance


Each year on August 1, the city of Warsaw, Poland literally stands still to pay tribute to those who fought in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. The biggest rebellion against the Nazis during World War II, the two-month uprising came at a huge cost: more than 200,000 lives and destruction of Poland’s capital city. The film above was shot last year with the help of nearly two dozen people. At points, it appears as though viewers might be looking at still photographs — but a closer examination will reveal fluttering clothing and waving Polish flags. Visitors to Warsaw can learn more about the rebellion at the Warsaw Uprising Museum.

Poland’s Wieliczka Salt Mine: An Underground Wonder


There’s something alluring about underground spaces. Whether it’s the ancient subterranean cities of Cappadocia in Turkey or the alternative art galleries of the Paris catacombs, humanity’s works underground take on a strange and mysterious feeling.

Perhaps there is no underground space more strange and mysterious than the Wieliczka Salt Mine near Krakow, Poland. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was a salt mine from the 13th century until as recently as 1996. In that time the miners excavated 190 miles of tunnels reaching a depth of more than 1,000 feet. During the mine’s high point in the 16th and 17th centuries, some 2,000 miners worked there digging out 30,000 tons a year.

Salt was hugely important in the premodern world. Not only was it vital for nutrition, but it also helped to preserve meat and other edibles in the days before refrigeration. Several countries, including Poland and Ethiopia, even used salt as currency in addition to coins.

Not content with simply mining salt and making a living, the salt miners carved elaborate statues and scenes out of the salt, including a large chapel complete with “crystal” chandeliers made with purified rock salt. The salt in its natural state is gray, and so it resembles granite. Many of the sculptures are religious in nature, showing Christ, the Virgin Mary and the saints. Others show miners and folk figures such as gnomes.

%Gallery-158467%The guided tour takes intrepid travelers on a 1.9-mile route through various tunnels, rooms and even an underground lake. Constantly descending, the group makes their way through dozens of decorated rooms. As this video shows, it’s an unforgettable experience. Also check out the photo gallery for some excellent images of this odd attraction.

The simpler carvings done in the Renaissance and early modern periods are the most interesting to my eye, since they were crafted by regular people out of faith and a sense of fun. Now contemporary artists are getting in on the act and there are many new sculptures, including one of Pope John Paul II, who was from Poland and visited the mine before he became pontiff. The centuries-old mine is continuing to grow and develop.

Interested in seeing more strange underground dwellings? Check out our articles on salt mine tours and underground cities.

Remember the movie The Terminal? Robert Wladyslaw Parzelski lived it.

robert wladyslaw parzelski File this one under “news of the weird.” Robert Wladyslaw Parzelski was sent back to London 18 days after arriving in São Paulo on a one-way ticket … and never leaving the airport.

The story is still unfolding, but Slate reports that Parzelski, a Polish man, traveled on a British Airways flight from London on June 17 on a one-way ticket purchased by a friend in Poland. He was to return with “two telephone sets.” How, when, or why has yet to be determined.

Parleski, who spoke no Portuguese and arrived without any cash, was supposedly meeting a friend in São Paulo, but the friend never arrived, and Parzelski, like Tom Hanks in The Terminal, simply lived in the airport, subsisting on water, yogurt and cigarettes given to him by airport custodians.

When asked what he was doing, he simply replied “I’m Poland.”

This story caught the attention of the Folha de São Paulo paper, where reporters began an attempt to figure out Parzelski’s story.

Newspaper reporters (not authorities) finally found a doctor in São Paulo who spoke the language and was able to speak to Parleski — sort of — and determine that he was, in fact, “lost” inside the airport. The doctor revealed to the media that Parzelski was a father of five from Krakaw, Poland, who moved to London to work as a builder. After he was laid off, he traveled to Brazil at the behest of a Polish friend in London with the mission to return with two telephone sets. Why the telephones? Nobody is sure.

“Before embarking … [we] spotted Parzelski enjoying a dark ale at a bar inside the departure lounge,” the Folha de São Paulo wrote Wednesday.

Parzelski’s story has ended, though. He left São Paulo on a Swiss Airways flight on Tuesday, bound for Zurich and then London.

[Flickr via MarkHillary of Sao Paulo airport]

Incredible video: Thousands of lanterns floating over Poland


11,000 Lanterns Floating Over Poland – Watch more Funny Videos

Although most Break.com videos are of people face planting and other epic fails, this video from Poland will have you staring in awe instead of wincing and turning away.

Thousands of paper lanterns filled the night sky last week in Poznan, Poland to celebrate Midsummer Night, or the shortest night of the year. The event, which was organized on Facebook, took place on a field in the city. Around 1,000 fiery orbs were released en masse around 11:30 at night, easily beating the Polish record for the largest number of lanterns released at one time. With in an hour, some 8,000 lanterns had been sent skyward.

Poland is already planning another event for next year, when they hope to beat the Guinness world record for number of lanterns released in the sky. That record is currently held by Indonesians, a title earned when 10,000 lanterns were sent soaring in Jakarta in 2009.

Some German airports shut because of Iceland volcano

ash, Iceland volcanoAsh from the Icelandic volcano Grimsvötn that caused hundreds of flight cancellations in the UK, Denmark, and Norway yesterday has now moved over Germany, shutting down airports in the north of the country.

Hamburg and Bremen airports are closed. Berlin airport will probably close this morning as well. At least 600 flights are expected to be affected.

Poland may also be affected today but otherwise flights in, out, and around Europe should be operating. There may be knock-on delays because of the disruption in Germany so check ahead before going to the airport.

In better news, Grimsvötn has stopped erupting. Let’s hope it keeps behaving.

Have you been affected by the volcanic ash? Feel free to vent in the comments section!

[Micrograph of volcanic ash courtesy US Geological Survey]

UPDATE: (9:23 EDT) The BBC is reporting that Hamburg, Bremen, and Berlin airports have reopened. About 700 flights were cancelled.