Wednesday 10 November 2010

Rowing in Versailles

Wojtek Baginski lives in Warsaw, builds boats and rows them on the Vistula, but work has taken him to another historic capital. He writes:
Grand Canal looks huge from here....
All October in 2010 I was examining stone statues located on the roof of the Royal Chapel of the Chateau de Versailles, France. Such was the deal between my employer, the Museum of Wilanow, Warsaw, Poland, and another member of the Association of Royal Residences in Europe, Chateau de Versailles. My basic tools up there were a pen, a notebook, a laptop, binoculars and a camera. Working on my project I could hardly stop myself from visiting other parts of the roof few times, and enjoy the amazing view towards the Grand Canal. Built by Louis XIV (the project has been started in 1667) it was the biggest artificial lake made just for pleasure of one person. There was even a fleet of sailing ships founded there to entertain the King and his court.
Anyway, even being very busy with my work I was able to observe the Grand Canal very often, and the idea of rowing there appeared very soon.
The boats are more stylish than usual
On the last day of my stay in Versailles, after the presentation of the project results, I have felt as a free person and decided to run down there after lunch to rent a boat and row at last!
That looks a long way away
Now I should explain something. Being the frequent visitor of the Chateau the Versailles roof I lost its scale in my mind, due to the fact that it was located under my feet! The Grand Canal, seen almost day by day from the roof, started to look like a really big water area. “Challenging, but still manageable” – I was encouraging myself walking down there that last day.
So I got a boat. Those boats are very nice and simple, flat bottomed, able to take a family. Probably a little bit too heavy for one guy exhausted after a long and extensive project, in addition forced by the price table to return the boat in just one hour. Getting farther and farther from the eastern quay I started to wonder: what’s that huge castle which is growing on and on above the Versailles gardens? Is this the chateau I know so well? Wow!
It took about 15-20 minutes to make maneuvres to take the good photo of the castle, and I started to row like crazy to get to Grand Trianon and back. Well, maybe not extremely crazy to respect the royal place and to not scare other boats and people, which were rowing with more or less dignity around me. I reached Trianon in five minutes or so! Is this really that big Grand Canal I was observing over the last four weeks from the roof? Hmm… It gave me an opportunity to spend another quarter hour or so to look for a nice view of the chateau on my way back. Now I can share few of them on my Flickr pages. Please enjoy!

1 comment:

O Docker said...

It's good to be king.