Well, I was going to make a post exclusively about Warsaw, but as I haven’t had enough time lately to update this blog properly, I’ll summarize the rest of my trip by talking about Poland on this post, and then Czech Rep and Germany on the next one.
So after 5 years I had another chance to visit the city of Warsaw, and again it was great! What a beautiful and pleasant city… It seems that Poland is getting better and better, and that the problems we can see in any other EU country do not exist in Poland, or at least they are not so visible. And one thing that Poland offers its tourists that you cannot find in almost any other country in Europe is CHEAP and AWESOME food! We ate like a king and a queen there, it was simply amazing, and we spent probably less than half of any meal in Norway or Sweden. A place that I do recommend if you enjoy cheese, cold cuts and beer is a restaurant called BrowArmia: we just loved it, and I had the BEST beer of my entire trip there. They’re a microbrewery, which means instead of having those large-scale commercial beers, they have their own local one, and believe me, it’s amazing, much better than any German beer… But I’ll talk in details about the beers I had on another post…
This time in Warsaw was a little different from 2008 mainly due to our visit to the National Stadium, which was built for the Euro 2012 and is now the home stadium for Poland’s national soccer team. It’s pretty easy to get there, and their World of Great Football exhibition is definitely worth a visit: lots of cool jerseys, scarves, pictures, trophies etc.
Warsaw is great, but Krakow is even better. We spent unforgettable days there, learned a lot about History, had excellent food and had a lot of fun with our Polish “family”. The city centre, called Stare Miasto in Polish (or Old Town), is part of the the UNESCO’s original World Heritage List, and it’s easy to understand why: the architecture is beautiful, there’s culture everywhere there, and the restaurants offer some delicious food for a very good price. Do I need to say that I want to get back there?
We took two amazing tours in Krakow, each to a completely opposite place: the first to one of the most depressing and sad places on Earth, the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp; and the next day to a very refreshing place, a 700-year old salt mine called Wieliczka.
Before we went to Auschwitz, I think I listened to my favorite song from Slayer (and one of my top songs ever from any band), the neck-breaking Angel Of Death, at least 10 times! It was impossible not to think about this song when I was heading to the concentration camp where around 1.3 million people were killed… A very sad part of our History, that (unfortunately) we must never forget…
“Auschwitz, the meaning of pain
The way that I want you to die
Slow death, immense decay
Showers that cleanse you of your life
Your life’s worth
Human mice, for the Angel of Death
Four hundred thousand more to die”
Then the next day we “refreshed” our minds and souls at the impressive Wieliczka Salt Mine. It’s said that the air inside the mine is excellent for your health, and they even have a health resort/spa inside the mine. Everything there is made of salt, including a huge chapel, many statues, the walls, the floor… We saw some kids literally licking the walls just to confirm everything was pure salt! If you visit Krakow, do not think twice: VISIT THE MINE!
And finally we had a perfect afternoon/evening/night with all our Polish friends! Guys and girls, you were GREAT! We’re here waiting for all of you in Canada for more fun. We felt like you were part of our family, and you made it feel like home for us in Poland. Dziękuję bardzo!
We’re almost there… Two more countries to go! And as you all know… Iron Maiden’s gonna get ya, no matter how far!
By Billboard Staff | May 02, 2013 6:11 PM EDT
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Jeff Hanneman of Slayer performs onstage during The Big 4 held at the Empire Polo Club on April 23, 2011 in Indio, California.
Just over two years after contracting a rare skin tissue disease, Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman died on Thursday from liver failure at a hospital near his home in Southern California’s Inland Empire area.
Slayer made the news public on Thursday afternoon, announcing that the band “is devastated” and calling Hanneman, who was 49, their bandmate and brother. Twitter quickly filled with messages from fans and fellow musicians, many of whom were in Los Angeles for the 5th Annual Revolver Golden Gods Awards show at Club Nokia. Disturbed/Device frontman David Draiman was among the very first, posting “RIP TO A TITAN OF METAL,” while drummer Mike Portnoy wrote, “WOW…I’m in shock…RIP Jeff Hanneman.”
Hanneman has been off the road since early 2011, when he contracted necrotizing fasciitis — most likely from a spider bite — a quick-progressing disease that literally eats away at the flesh from deep layers of skin and tissue. Exodus’ Gary Holt stood in for Hanneman starting in February of 2011, while Pat O’Brien joined the band when Holt returned to Exodus during 2011.
It’s not known what role the disease played in Hanneman’s liver failure.
Throughout the ordeal, Hanneman’s bandmates expressed optimism that he would one day return to the group full-time. Bassist-singer Tom Araya told Billboard during last year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival tour that Hanneman was “free of the disease” and was “working on his playing ability…He’s working on strengthening his arm and his ability to play.” He predicted that Slayer would “probably get together and start writing together and start making a new album,” the group’s first since 2009’s “World Painted Blood,” with Hanneman contributing material.
But in February guitarist Kerry King told Australian press that “we don’t know when Jeff’s gonna be able to play guitar. Jeff’s kind of like a wait-and-see thing.”
Born in Oakland, Calif., and a devoted Raiders fan, Hanneman was raised primarily in Long Beach and became fascinated with wars and military campaigns — themes he’d bring to Slayer’s music — via his father, a World War II veteran, and brothers who served in Vietnam. He met King in 1981 and decided to form their own band, mixing heavy metal and punk influences and signing with Metal Blade Records for Slayer’s first two albums, “Show No Mercy” in 1983 and “Hell Awaits” in 1985. The group made an eyebrow-raising move to the hip-hop label Def Jam in 1986 for the covers album “Undisputed Attitude and the classic “Reign in Blood.” Slayer released seven more studio albums and two live albums, as well as a pair of EPs.
Hanneman, an ardent collector of World War II memorabilia, was at the center of the controversy over Slayer’s supposed Nazi sympathies, stemming from the resemblance of the group’s eagle logo to a Third Reich image and the shape of the S in the group’s typography, and from songs such as “Reign in Blood’s” “Angel of Death,” about German doctor Josef Mengele and his horrific “experiments” at the Auschwitz death camp. But Hanneman frequently explained that the song was in no way intended to glorify Mengele. “I know why people misrepresent it,” he told one radio interviewer. “It’s because they get a knee-jerk reaction to it. There’s nothing I put in the lyrics that says necessarily he was a bad man because to me — well, isn’t it obvious? I shouldn’t have to tell you that.”
Hanneman’s songs have been recorded by groups such as Hatebreed, Children of Bodom, Hellsongs, Cradle of Filth and others, and sampled by rapper Styles-P. He’s survived by Kathy, his wife of 16 years, sister Kathy and two brothers, Michael and Larry. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Mais um grande nome do Metal que se vai… E pior, de umas das bandas que eu realmente amo, que nunca enjôo de ouvir… Como eu já disse uma vez, não sei pra onde o Jeff vai, mas se ele for pro mesmo lugar que Clive Burr, Dimebag Darrell, Jon Lord, Cliff Burton e Dio, quando chegar minha hora é pra lá que eu vou! Bang my head for all eternity with PURE FUCKIN’ METAL! \m/\m/
Deixo aqui dois momentos sensacionais do Jeff: uma entrevista para a ESP Guitars com o tema “5 THINGS I HATE” (e que eu concordo com ele em quatro itens, tirando a parte de viajar!), e o Slayer com o Jeff no DVD Still Reigning tocando aquela que junto com Raining Blood é a minha porradaria preferida do Heavy Metal em geral, não só do Slayer: ANGEL OF DEATH!