“Da birdies” was the reply when I asked my son what was his favourite part of our recent holiday in Poland. By “birdies” he means pigeons. Ducks also put in the odd appearance as did seagulls, swans and even the odd flamingo (although granted that WAS at the Poznan zoo). Storks were plentiful – but too high up to be of much interest to a three year old and, following a narrow escape from a ferocious goose (or was it a gander?), geese weren’t about to make the grade. So pigeons it is.
Pigeons have always been popular with him. Feeding them, chasing them, talking to them, whatever…but mainly chasing them. Pigeons love to inhabit town squares (think Trafalgar)… and fountains (more on those later). Luckily Poland, with an abundance of cities, towns and villages, has squares and fountains a-plenty. An added bonus is that most of the old towns are either closed or mostly closed to traffic – so pigeon chasing can be undertaken in relative safety.
Top pigeon chasing locations include the square in front of the Zamek Królewski (Royal Castle) in Warsaw’s old town (stare miasto), the old town square in Torun, the municipal gardens in Kielce, outside the many restaurants that surround the old town square in Poznan, Dlugi Targ in Gdansk, in the courtyards of the Crusader Castle at Malbork and pretty much any place we happened to stop for lunch, a drink, or just to sight see.
The response to my question was a great reminder of just how little kids need to keep them entertained. Pigeon chasing is a great way for small (overly-energetic) kids to let off steam after a long car drive or a morning indoors visiting older ciocie i wujkowie (aunts and uncles). It is highly recommended, inexpensive and has the added bonus of tiring them out so that they nap on the next long leg of the journey.
As I write about places in this blog I will endeavour to give each a pigeon chasing rating. Watch out for them as you read.