Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge – Day Four: The Pink Palace

Branicki Palace full frontalThe above photo was taken at the worst possible time – dusk. I hate to even admit that I went to art school for photography, among other things. Now, a decade after graduating, I barely take any photos, and the ones I take are on my phone. I only own an old manual Nikon from the ’70s, which I don’t use. But I didn’t go to art school to become an artist, I went to art school to become a better writer.

To tell you honestly, this post is more about longing than some photograph. When I was living in the US, I’d come to Poland for summer vacations to visit whenever I could. This palace, the Branicki Palace, was pink then, and for me stood for my dream of one day living in Poland.

Branicki Palace was built to look like a smaller Versailles. It’s definitely a beautiful sight in the center of a fairly small town of just 300,000 residents. I’ve never seen the original Versailles, but this palace looks pretty close to what I’ve seen in pictures.

I spent many years longing. My art school days were filled with work about Poland and the duality of existing between two languages and two nations. I even made an art work called The Pink Palace, inspired by the work of Joseph Cornell. I tried to learn about Polish art and culture.

Then I moved, and I couldn’t believe that a dream that seemed so distant and almost impossible came true. I made it come true. There is something unbelievably empowering about realizing your dreams. You learn to believe that you can accomplish pretty much anything. You learn to think: “If I can do this, then I can definitely do…”

But there is also something else about realizing a dream – you leave an empty space where that longing used to be. I longed for so long that now I don’t know what to long for, but I do feel a longing. It’s been ingrained in me.


I was nominated to take part in this photo challenge by Geoff Le Pard, who tells the most interesting stories and takes us on wonderful walks, as well as the talented and amazing Sacha Black. I nominate Solveig Werner to take up this challenge. She lives in France at the moment, so it only seems fitting. 🙂

The rules of the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge are:

1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive days.
2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.
3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is fun, not a command performance!

26 thoughts on “Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge – Day Four: The Pink Palace

  1. Oh no! I just scheduled tomorrow’s post which… nominates Solveig as well!!! 🙂 Oh, well, Solveig, you are a super-star of this challenge with a double nomination!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh thank you for the nomination, I love how you chose your nominees in relation with the theme.
    I have some good pictures in mind, hopefully I will be able to dig them out.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this picture and dusk does it no harm in terms of moody longing which seems apt. Interesting point about missing the longing and needing to fill that space. I understand that in the same way that achieving a goal can leave you hollow rather than euphoric, exhausted rather than enlivened.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think I know what you mean… I had a dream engraved in my heart, to visit one day Prince Edward Island, Anne of Green Gable’s home… I dreamt this dream hopelessly, being certain whole my life it will never come true… I mean – me, being in Poland? how could it?
    …And when it came true I quite did not know what to do with this spot leftover after my dream… 😉
    Got filled up since, but for a while it was there 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful shot. I did not know there was a “smaller Versailles”. Interesting to read the longing has been ingrained. It’s sad but also something you’ve made me aware of in my own life. I need to pay more attention to that. Well, like I said, it’s a lovely photo. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. This begs a thousand questions! My own series of 5 all featured Polish family 🙂
    I have been to Versailles, and it’s beautiful. Where are you living now? I guess I can find out from your about page.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m quite curious what questions this brings up for you.
      I’m currently in Bialystok, Poland. I took the above photo just a few days ago.


      • Family history and stuff. I had a little look around yours earlier so I’ve answered them, more or less. 🙂 It was just rather a surprise to see the subject matter of this post. I think I may have seen you, in passing, in Geoff’s comments, but never really twigged that we had a common Polish heritage. I have a very lovely niece called Ula (and a deceased auntie, whom I never met, for whom Ula was named)

        Liked by 1 person

      • My basic story is my family moved to the US when I was little. I lived there for most of my life until the age of 25. My whole education was there – from primary school through university. And then I moved to Poland on a whim (kind of). I’ve been here 9 years now, but I am starting to think of moving back now.
        Ula is not a very popular name. I know only a few others besides myself.


    • Thanks, Charli.
      When I was 17 and went to my first serious job interview – at a bank. I told the guy interviewing me that I want to work there to get experiences to write about. You can imagine the look he gave me – like something was suddenly growing out of my head. I managed to get the job, but I have yet to write about any of those experiences. I have written about some of the people I met there, who became lifelong friends.


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