Monday, September 24, 2007

Wrocław (Wroclaw): A very unsystematic approach - but I like it!

I wanted to tell you why I felt so attracted to Wroclaw, Poland, but why not tell you why you'd feel attracted to that city of fame.
I showed you the totally hilarious tram/bobsleigh film and thought it wouldn't get more impressive than that.

But it did.

Here is another Youtube film from Wroclaw where it seems every year on May 1st they assemble a bigger guitar orchestra than the year before to play Jimi Hendrix's Hey Joe.

Last year they reached the number of 1581 players. I don't know how many there were this year but if they organise the same thing next year you bet I'll attend - playing my modest little guitar along with all the other modest little guitars.
Let's see if I can drag VallyP over there with me (she plays the guitar as well).
Ad maybe my eldest son (he is a pretty good guitarist).

Any of you, readers of this blog, want to join in?

If you like to see crisp photographs (not mine), try this

Monday, September 17, 2007

Wrocław, the first night

This was supposed to be a quick sequel to the first instalment about a short trip to Poland, but The Sensational Steel Orchestra got in the way - and before that Valerie's new book Watery Ways, of course.

But here goes.

Maybe arriving at Wrocław is just like any other place on earth. Where are the pitfalls? I should have looked them up on the internet but failed to do so.
A fellow passenger and I find a taxi that takes us downtown through areas that can be described as mostly decrepit, but nearer the centre things brighten up slightly. Coming from a country where every square meter is used, I look in amazement how much land lies fallow here in Poland.

Public transport is good, and I wonder why I'm in a taxi. There is such a good bus connection between the airport and Wrocław, while nearer the centre we come across more and more trams.
Here is how the tramway system in Wrocław works, or is it? Anyway this video is a must see:

This seems like quite an effort, so maybe the taxi was the right choice after all.
In the end the taxi driver (sorry, no English. Nein, kein Deutsch!) understands my destination as I have it in print and delivers me at the hotel I booked in Holland.

The receptionists are just wonderful (blushing when I tell them so) and before I know I am at ease in the hotel room.
This doesn't last long, so I go into town as described earlier.

At ease? After such an exciting journey into the unknown? Don't think so. Just after midnight I'm wide awake an decide to go out and roam a bit. The camera is my best friend at the time, the light is sodium-based, so the colours are horrible and I change to black and white.
Here are the images.

The liveliest place is Wroclaw central station, but not on this platform at 2:20

Sleepless night
The only rain (and I mean rain) occurred during the first night, when I was supposed to be asleep. The rest of the time I had the ideal weather.

Another black and white picture:
Wrocław, Poland

See my complete set of night pictures from Wrocław

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


The title: Watery Ways

Here it is:

And here's a description:
(the back cover)

Find it HERE

Monday, September 03, 2007

Wroclaw, Poland. First impressions

Never one to follow the guide on the well trodden tourist path, I'd feel barbaric if I totally ignored the historic city centre, so the first evening I go where the action is.
This is one of those sultry evenings that I yearn for so much in the colder seasons.

What I find around the ratusz, town hall, pleases me. The quiet murmur of tout Wroclaw and small groups of tourists from Spain, Germany and the US.

Wroclaw townhall square seen from street level

The prices in Poland are still in Zloty, and haven't crept up to euro standards, so being there is very affordable for us 'westerners', whether it's lodging, food or other products.
I find the façades really impressive and charming. This being the centre, the buildings are well maintained or in the process of restoration.
(As we'll see later, outside the centre the situation is much less favourable).

It is getting dark, and anyway I have left the camera in the hotel. Now I am just taking in the impressions. The photos here were made during the following days.

Here the centre as seen from the footbridge of the Mary Magdalene church's twin towers.
Wroclaw, Poland

Here's another one from the centre: the Mary Magdalene church watching its reflection in a modern building's mirror façade.
A reflective mood
Can anyone tell me what NIE PARKOWAC means?

In my book a visit to a foreign city is not complete without a seeing the railway station, so here it is (much more later).
Yrrah in Poland
A useful general link about Wroclaw

Here is a satellite view of Wroclaw, with its amazing maze of waterways that I found so appealing.

View larger map