Kraków is definitively more touristy than Warszawa. The medieval town’s survival during WWII made it possible for the city to skip the soviet-style modernist renovation and helped preserve the atmosphere of a historical European city, with all the layers of the preceding epochs in plain view. The historical center is peaceful, if a tad busy with mostly Russian and other European tourists going about. It was at a time, the capital city of Poland, until Sigismund III Vasa, part of a Swedish dynasty of kings moved the capital to Warszawa, to be closer to all the territories that the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth ruled over.
Kraków’s historic center (the Old Town, Kazimierz and Wawel) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since ’78 and was one of the first of its kind. The cultural DNA of the city feels very different from that of Warszawa, partly because while Warszawa was closer to Russia, Sweden and Germany, and prey to their invading armies, Kraków was closer to the Habsburg Empire’s ambitions.
In the last two weeks, with great help from Kim Nicholas, I’ve been guiding a sketching workshop at LUCSUS – Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies, exclusively for the sustainability master programme students. The idea is a simple one, and Kim loved it from the start: to show young people with no direct academic connection with arts that they can learn how to draw!
We held two workshops already and everybody seems to be responding well. The two hours spent focusing on blind drawing exercises turn out to be quite fun and relaxed. All but a couple of all the students don’t sketch regularly, so we were breaking new ground there! After a while the concentration levels go up and from then on the sketching quality improves exponentially. My hopes for these classes is that most of these guys get the notion that starting to sketch is as easy as looking at any given object, and that sketching is indeed seeing reality as it is!
In the end, we did a fun exercise which was suggested by sketcher João Catarino – a frankenstein-making marathon! We faced each other in pairs and had one minute for a blind line portrait which should remain unfinished. When the time was up, everybody would switch partners and continue the portrait with a new face. Some of the results were remarkably recognizable! Here’s my contribution. It’s a frankenstein-portrait of an actual couple that just happened to get merged in my sketchbook. Thanks Theo and Ann.
Österlen’s coastal landscape is beautiful indeed. But it looks even better after a nice dinner with friends and a good night’s sleep.
The picturesque crooked roads that lead from Lund to Kivik opened our appetites to the home-made pizza that our swedish-spanish hosts had prepared for us. Champagne and good wines flowed, mouldy cheeses and spicy olives were devoured, the drums rolled.
Board games were set, pseudo-punk spanish kids TV-show music chimed in, bringing in weird childhood memories for those who hailed from those parts. Even a sketching workshop for children was going on, until it was way past bedtime.
The morning after, all residues of the tiniest hangover vanished at the sight and smells of Skåne’s east coast. In Vitemölla Strandbackar nature reserve, just north of Kivik, the calm waters of the Baltic touch the dunes of sand, the dirt of land and the trunks of pine trees, simultaneously. Something didn’t add up, and yet, it was very pleasant to walk around, up and down from the field to the forest and back to the beach in less than a kilometre. It’s as if three different landscapes came together in the very same spot, like three different sentences that don’t belong to the same paragraph, punctuated regularly by the pre-emptive concrete bunkers of the WWII-era. Later, I learned that this type of landscape is known as sand-steppe – something very particular to this area of the Baltic sea, and that the pine forest is actually planted. Our hosts explained that this area generates some discussion because it seems that the pine forest is conflicting with the native sand-steppe landscape.
Oblivious to these reflections on the conflicting landscapes, Jesus picked mushrooms for lunch. And they were slimy-licous fried in garlic and coriander!
Lundasylt is finally ready! It was prepared by Chef Bianca, from Biancas Kök and Teresa from Fruktsam with the help of dozens of volunteers. The fruit to make this delicious jam was picked from public places in and around Lund. Then, all the ingredients were prepared by the volunteers at Mötesplats Maggan. The cooking process also took part there. The laborious final part was filling the jars and tagging them with the labels that I designed. The whole process is described here.
The jam was sold out to the public in the Harvest Festival in Lund Stadsparken. Unfortunately I couldn’t be present at the festival to sketch or to help out with the sale. Patrícia was there on my behalf and took some pictures of the stand.
Walks with friends prompt shorter and smaller sketches, like the one from Västra Hamnen in Malmö, overlooking the sun setting behind Copenhagen’s coastline.
A few days later, a portuguese dinner party in south Malmö was the setting for the next few sketches. Worthy of record were: a set of chocolate chess, which was devoured after three games; a medronho tasting session, with three different kinds of the moonshine from Algarve and a side of chocolate mousse; a few death metal band recommendations; and a recipe for punhetas de bacalhau (cod-fish jerk offs) (I’m serious!) (really!)
It’s delicious! Try it yourself:
Dip the salted cod-fish in water overnight. Dry it and shred it by hand taking away the skin and bones. Dice onion and garlic in small pieces. Mix everything together with oregano. Season with olive oil and black pepper. Serve with bread. Enjoy!