’12 Sep: Wroclaw, Poland
An interesting and historic University town.
It’s been all about eating out with friends for days. Not much better than that – friends and food.
Tomorrow is our Un-Birthday Party for the girls, and then Sunday, Bon Voyage!
Aug 27-03 Budapest (leave lax on the 26th)
Sep 04-05 Sopron, Hungary
Sep 06-15 Vienna (+Salsburg and/or Bratislava)
Sep 16-18 Brno, Czech Republic
Sep 19-25 Prague
Sep 26-04 Wroclaw, Poland to Dresden
Oct 05-06 Hanover/Stadthagen
Oct 07-16 Berlin
This is an internet view of one of the plazas in Old Town. Notice the small facades that face into the square. You’ll be seeing plenty more of those babies.
From what I read these are basically reconstructions, not restorations, as the bombing in WWII from the Soviets during the Siege of Breslau pretty much destroyed the town.
In 1925 there were estimated 23,000 Jews, all escaped or dead by 1945.
In 1945 there were 189,500 Germans and 17,000 Poles. By 1949 almost all the Germans were gone from Breslau, having fled or been expelled to Allied Occupation Zones in Germany, and the town was resettled with ethnic Poles during the post-war ‘population transfers’.
The Gnomes, or ‘krasnale’ of Wroclaw. There’s one little guy by a sign and another positioned in the alcove on the right at the grand University building. They appeared first in 2001 and there might be 200 by now, each individually commissioned to be site specific.
I have to copy this from the InYourPocket website because it is just right:
“Although it sounds like little more than a twee tourist gimmick, gnomes have long held a place in Polish folklore, and their current iconic incarnation as symbols of Wroclaw actually has a direct correlation to the political climate of the 1980s.
“Under communism gnomes became the absurdist calling card of the ‘Orange Alternative’ movement – an underground protest movement that used absurdity and nonsense to stage peaceful, yet subversive protests.”
There are maps for the tourists to buy and make a project for the kids to find them all.
Sorry this is so out of focus but I wanted to say how my first bite of this dinner – pierogi with kasha and a big sigh on the onions and garlic caramelized in chicken fat, and sour cream that I had to get more of.
My grandparents on my mother’s side came to the US from the Ukraine during the pogroms of the early 1900s and this was Grandpa All Over.
My mother made dishes like this too although she very well might have added leftover chow mein because it was in the refrigerator and about to go bad.
Here’s what it says on a plaque on the building wall facing these sculptures:
“Jerzy Kalina ‘Przejscie 1977 – 2005’ The idea of ‘Transition’ in the form of installation has been presented in Warsaw at the crossroads of Swietokrzyska and Mazowiecka Streets. A permanent form of this piece was displayed on December 13, 2005 in Wroclaw – a City of special ‘Transitions’.”
Starbucks has settled itself nicely everywhere I’ve been. It looks exactly the same inside, this is a big one, and there’s always a bathroom to use and free wifi.
The biggest chain of course is McDonalds followed not so far behind by KFC and they are both wildly popular and really, they are more like local institutions than exotic imports.
Everything actually is inexpensive here in comparison and I notice that overall averaging the whole trip I have been managing $100 per day which is actually a surprise. I was expecting more.
My time in Berlin is coming up and I don’t have accommodation there yet. The 2010 Bloomberg Report on the 30 most expensive cities puts Berlin at #26. NYNY, the most expensive US city comes in at #29. So we’ll see how that goes.
I couldn’t get the gold on this building, the Dom Handlowy Renoma, to shine right.
It’s a department store built in 1930 by a Jewish family, the Wertheims, who owned and operated a chain of high-end department stores around Germany before WWII. A long tragic story followed with a very few members of the extended family surviving the war.
The main building of the University, with a history dating back to 1505.
The population in Wroclaw skews young because of the University with an enrollment of about 43,000.
“Since the beginning of the 20th century, the University of Wroclaw produced 9 Nobel Prize winners, such as Theodor Mommsen, Philipp Lenard, Eduard Buchner, Paul Ehrlich, Fritz Haber, Friedrich Bergius, Erwin Schrödinger, Otto Stern and Max Born.”