Thursday, July 17, 2014

First day in Wrocław

As noted in my previous post I arrived here quite tired, slept late, and went to breakfast sometime after 10:00 AM before the breakfast closed at 10:30. Thank heavens for the weekend extension of the breakfast time

And where is here? I'm am staying at the Hotel Dikul. I looked at a lot of possibilities before selecting this one. It is noted on web sites that this a renovated hospital building, and some reviewers said it was in a chancy neighborhood. Well, I think the neighborhood is just fine.

Yes, I can see the building may be old and renovated.

The stairwell has what people on HGTV would call character.

And the hallway floors may look a little bit like a hospital.

 But the lobby is what is what I call 21st Century European design.

And my room is whiz-bang! I wish I could take it home. There is a remote control to raise the head of the bed so I can turn it into a comfortable place to read or write this blog. I can control the room lighting from a switch by the bed. A large window makes the room seem very spacious, but I thought about the 4:30 AM sunrise in Poland and wondered about how I'd like that. Then I discovered a switch by the bed that raises and lowers a shade over the window. And on the ground level there is lovely patio.

I have enjoyed sitting under the shady arbor reading on my Kindle. And the Wi-FI works great out there too. What a treat!

After getting myself a bit organized for the day I took off walking to the rynek, this time trying to to find the more direct route than the one I had taken the previous evening. I headed for a spire. That is the Church of St. Elizabeth. My Lonely Planet guide says the tower is 83 meters high, but I had no interest in purchasing a ticket to make the climb. I had walked enough steps in the hotel in Koscielsko to make my osteo-arthritis return. (As I told my students there, I don't recommend badly fracturing your left leg when you are 29 years old!)

The church building looks like this.

And notice in the parking lot -- motorcycles. I have found much to my surprise that everyday there are many motorcyles, and I don't mean scooters, in this area of the city. They come complete with riders who wear helmets and black leather jackets.

I proceeded along to the rynek where I stopped  again at the Cafe Lwowska. Here I got the first of many iced coffees that I have enjoyed here during the warm spell of weather. In fact, this city is warm enough that I am practicing the art of walking on the shady side of the street or rynek anytime that is possible.

I enjoyed the musicians who came along the rynek area and played near each cafe.

After finishing the coffee I went to the corner where one finds the

Jaś and Małgosia Houses.

My guidebook says that German and English speakers know these characters better as Hansel and Gretel. 

About this time I was approached by a young man asking me if I would like to take a city tour. I've never done this before in Poland, but have heard other Americans discuss how much they have enjoyed similar tours so decided to take a chance. 

My tour guide was a 2nd year university student here. She explained she came from a village 150 kilometers away and is so glad she decided to attend the university here, saying the city is "so logical" in its design that she can find her way around, but never could have done that in Warsaw! The tour gave me a good idea of where to find the various things I wished to visit the next couple of days. Also when we were along the Odra River she offered to take my picture. 

So I have some proof I'm really somewhere else than Minnesota! 

After the tour I returned to Cafe Lwowska this time for obiad. Then I walked back to the hotel. I had a plan to go to a concert in the evening in the museum just across the street from me. 

Earlier in the day I had walked over to see if I could buy a ticket and was told to come back after 6:00. I got there about 6:30 and got a ticket without any difficulty. The concert was held in a large tent erected in the courtyard of the Arsenal, right across the street. This building, according to my guidebook says this building is the last remnant of the 15th century fortifications for the city.

The concert presented five compositions by Bach. Two were orchestral only and three included the vocalization of a mezzo-soprano, Urszula Kryger. Often the ones with the vocalization were almost a duet with an oboe played by Sebastian Aleksandrowicz. All in all it was terrific. I paid about $8.00 for this ticket, getting a seniorow ticket without asking for it, so I guess I'm starting to look my age. 

So I had a great first day in the city.

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