In 2013 I started learning Polish in an evening class in Karlsruhe. Through two international conferences I got in touch with a couple of colleagues from Wrocław who work in a similar field of research as I am. I happily tried my very limited language skills on them, to everyone's fun and entertainment, and they helped me with my homework. But then a certain someone (you know who you are!) told me about their university's summer language class, and talked me into attending. Oh my, what did I get myself into, LOL.
So I spent the whole month of August 2014 in Wrocław, and a large amount of time in the building in the main photo, transformed into a student again despite my old age, and dealt with aspekt, czas przyszły, czas przeszły, przypadki and przyimki and all the other mean details of Polish grammar! Not only was I one of the oldest 'students' there, they put me into a group that was too advanced. Of course I learned a lot, but it was very very hard for me.
However, I did not spend all my time studying the language. Instead of studying grammar and vocabulary I was out and about in the afternoons and weekends. Seeing the city, visiting its sights and learning about its history was just as important to me as the language class, and in that field I was more successful! I think I got to know the city quite well, of course just as well as an outsider can.
Acknowledgement: I owe a lot of special guidance and unique personal tours and discoveries and background knowledge to my Wrocławian colleagues and friends - to Prof. H., to Justyna, Ania and Wojtek, and to Stefan - who showed me places and details I would never have found on my own. Dziękuję bardzo!
This blog is based on material that I had in my big Wroclaw travel page on Virtualtourist, together with some new additions. It will contain personal reports as well as practical travel tips. I am not planning to assemble a complete guidebook in here, but during thouse four weeks plus two later revisits I have seen a lot and figured out a lot. Hence it may be of help for future visitors' planning.
Wrocław gets its share of tourists but they do not dominate the overall picture. The locals have their favourite spots in the heart of the city just like the visitors. Gastronomy is (mostly) yet unspoilt, good and affordable even in closest vicinity to tourist hotspots. A lot of historical buildings have been perfectly restored, and the city is rich in culture.The traces of its difficult history between Bohemia. Austria and Prussia, between Germany and Poland are visible everywhere if you know where to look and what to look for. World War II has left its mark. In 1945 the population of the formerly German city was expelled. Instead, Poles moved in. Now it is a Polish city. Nevertheless the German past cannot be denied and is regarded with an open mind nowadays.
I herewith declare my affection for Wrocław. Despite being aware of the city's problems, its many ugly spots, dirt and graffiti, poverty and all sorts of people including some I would not want to share an apartment with... I have a warm feeling for the city.