Sunday, October 16, 2016

Poznan to Wroclaw.

We didn't get up quite as fast as we meant to this morning, so Anne changed he train times from 9.45 to 10.30am to give us time for a quick walk around Poznan before we headed to Wroclaw.  The early morning light was beautiful. You can see the castle at the end of this street.

We found part of the old town wall.

and another church...

We then found the market..

\and a last photo of this part of Poznan..

then into Wedel for a hot chocolate. I had the Marzipan Latte and Anne had the dark chocolate with Plum and Cinnamon.  Much needed as it was very cold outside - although the sun was shining at last!

 Breakfast was Apple pancakes and chocolate dumplings!

Poznan was beautiful.. I enjoyed staying here.

We then caught the train to Wroclaw and it's beautiful. Our apartment is right on the old town square on the second floor. We checked in then went on a walking tour.

The tour was the Jewish tour - and it explained the history of what happened to the Jews from the 15th century right through to present times.  This was part of the city where you can still see places that haven't be built after WWII.  One of the saddest things I learnt was... In the 15th century, a nobleman came to Wroclaw and, becuase he was rich, people listened to him. He told the people that the problems of the day were caused by the Jewish people. All the Jewish people in Wroclaw at the time were rounded up and burnt in the square. Only children were spared and they were baptised into catholicism. This made me incredibly sad. All in the name of religion.

Everytime I walked though the square after learning that, all I could think about were those poor people. I hate the human race sometimes!

The University Library buiding that wasn't touched at all.

And into an area that has all the neon sighs from the communist era...

Beautiful facades of buildings that survived the war..

This was the old hospital and it still had bombshells in the building.

The last palace from Prussian times...

and a square - once full of buildings, but razed in WWII.

Some old buildiings - on the right was the court house and on the left was the old gestapo headquarters in WWII, but which is now the police station..

Back in the square..

Our apartment is the yellow building second from the right - we're on the second floor and look out to the square.

After a bit of a rest after our first walking tour, we did a second - the island and bridges tour at 6.30pm. It gave me a chance to see the city at night and do some night photography.

On Cathredral Island - they still use gaslamps and you can find a guy who turns them on at ngiht, and off in the morning.

One of the churches that was completely destroyed during WWII but rebuilt.

After the tour we found a great Restaurnat and had a beautiful meal - actually recommended to us by Jay and Gordon - and it was delicious. the meat just melted in our mouths.

Friday, October 14, 2016

A Day in Poznan, Poland

I woke at 4am, never really got back to sleep as we were up at 4.50am to catch a train at 5.30am to Poznan from Lodz. We travelled first class which was very very comfortable. The price difference was double, but it was so cheap anyway we decided to go first. I took a look at 2nd class and I'm glad we took the first class option.

We arrived in Poznan at 8.45am, and got a Uber to our apartment. We couldn't check in until 2pm, but we had instructions to leave our luggage. Once we dropped off the bags, we walked nto the old town which was literally around the corner. 

It was freezing cold and we had a couple of hours to kill before our walking tour, so after walking around the square we found somewhere for a hot chocolate to warm up. It was only 6C and the wind had a real bite.

My hot chocolate had salted caramel at the bottom - and was delicious.

The buildings around the square have been reconstructed since world war II.  We learnt that Poznan didn't fare as badly as Warsaw - only 50% of the buildings were lost, but the old town took a beating. The colours are vivid, and no one is sure whether they were coloured pre-war, but understandably after the war people wanted new beginnings.

These buildings were built in the 16th century and were originally the fish markets. 

The square itself was unusual - it's a huge quadrant with buildings also in the middle.

This is the town hall of Poznan in the middle of the square built by an Italian architect also in the 16th century. It has a mechanical clock where two goats come out at midday and headbutt each other.

The symbol of Poland is the white eagle - as seen on this building in the square.

This is meant to be the most beautiful church in Poland, founded by the Jesuits in the 15th century. It is rather beautiful inside, and at first glance it looks like it is marble and a lovely dome. However, the Jesuits ran out of money, so the marble columns are false - made from Stucco, and the dome is just painted on.

The building is large and used to be a unversity but is now the new Town Hall.

We were at the old town hall at midday to watch the goats headbutting at the stroke of 12. It was a bit underwhelming!

The old reconstructed castle - apparently there's some ghosts you can see if you've been drinking vodka and visit the castle at night. We gave that a miss. Too cold!

Poznan has a legend of the two headbutting goats which is why it's there in the mechanical clock. So famous is the legend that a sculpture has been made.

And apparently if you sit on the goats, clutch their horns, and make a wish - the wish comes true. Good excuse for a photo anyway :)

After the walking tour it was so cold and we were both miserable so we walked to a really neat cafe that sits by the railway tracks and we could watch the trains go past. We had the potato and horseradish with beetroot with grilled pork, and a duck with boiled buns and sauce - both wonderful traditional Polish dishes and very beautiful/ I had a mulled wine as well as I was cold, and Anne had a hot beer!

After lunch I had my hair done as I was like a woolly bear. I went to a small hair salon not far from our apartment and had a wash, cut and blowdry for 100 zloty (about $35 nzd). They did a really good job. During the shampoo I was on a massage chair that was very like a cat scan, with coloured lights that changed as my hair was washed.  A bit weird, but all part of the adventure. I had a great cut, and what surprised me was that after the cut, they washed the hair again - this time without the coloured lights and without the massage. Then the blowdry and gel. Was very impressed, and it doesn't look too bad! I still get a fright when I look in the mirror from the eyebrows yesterday though!

Tonight we went out to a Pierogi restaurant and shared two lots. The first was Pierogi in beetroot pastry with buckwheat groats, mushrooms, pickled cucumber and feta cheese, covered with yoghurt sauce with cucumber and mint. (and dill).

The second was Pierogi with tomato pastry stuffed with sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella and basil with an tomato and onion sauce.

We shared a bottle of wine, and had Pierogi with strawberry, and pierogi with apple and cinnamon for dessert.

I can barely move - I'm really turning into a dumpling!