A really great small city with a long and diverse history.
24.03.2013 - 26.03.2013 -4 °C
We took right off the night mom and Dad left on an overnight train for Poland. This is the third and unfortunately last leg of our semester break adventure. The train was definitely better than the overnight busses we’ve had to take, but you don’t exactly get a restful sleep either. Our first stop after a short layover in Berlin was Wrocław, formerly known as Breslau. It was a really interesting city, and with such a long and really fascinating history. It’s been part, at one time or another, of almost every major European dynasty – from the Czechs and the Luxembourg dynasty way back when to the Third Reich. In between it passed through the hands of Habsburgs, the Prussians, Napoleon, the Russians, and even the Poles once or twice, on top of being part of both the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich.
Poland is located in a terribly unfortunate location, right between Germany and Russia, and at the time the Prussians and Russians had massive and developed armies, they also had the militant Swedish army to the North and the Habsburgs to the South with the Ottomans beneath them. A lot of powerful empires have tried to claim the land that we now call Poland over the years, but luckily their language and culture has survived it all and today there is one amazing country to visit with an unbelievable history.
As for the city itself, I really liked Wrocław. It’s a relatively small city by European standards, although one of the bigger ones in Poland. I like the cities you can get around on foot, though. We spent some time just seeing the sites – the old town, market square, cathedral and bridge(s). At the risk of sounding jaded, these are always the main things to see. Almost any village and every city in Europe has them, but it never gets old. Wrocław also has a really great museum about the city’s history, which we had the time to check out. We were happy to spend the day inside a warm museum anyway.
The weather is a lot colder than we were expecting. I figured at the end of March it would be spring, and naively associated “spring” with warm temperatures. It’s been about -5 degrees or so for our stay, but they have the same icy wind here as back home which makes feel a lot colder. It’s nothing we’re not used to, but after having spent the last six weeks travelling through places like Turkey and Spain, it just takes a little readjusting.
We’re heading to Warsaw next on another overnight train. It’s definitely not an ideal way to travel – a few too many restless nights can really take their toll, defeating the whole purpose of travelling overnight which is to save time. This trip we don’t have a ton of time though, and we’re really trying to cram in as many cities as we can to get a feel for Poland, so onto another “City Night Line” it is. I can’t wait to see Warsaw.