Picture of the Week

14 January 2014

Week 01: New Year in Poland

Filed under: — Administrator @ 21:47

I spent the first week of the year in Wrocław in Poland, visiting my sister.

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I flew to Dresden on December 30th. In the winter, there are no direct flights from Alicante to Wrocław, so Dresden, about 3 hours away, was the next best place to fly to. My sister and brother-in-law picked me up, and after arriving in their garage 3 hours later, they insisted to toast my arrival immediately. It helps that they use the garage as a storage area for vodka and other essentials:
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The next day my sister and I went for a walk in the centre of the city. On the main square, all the restaurants and (mostly) bars were getting ready for New Year’s Eve. This particular bar is called PRL, the acronym for Communist Poland until 1989 (Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa = Polish People’s Republic). The theme is illustrate by the slogan on the poster, which can be loosely translated as “proletarians in all lands, party down”:
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And now you know how to say “dreadlocks” in Polish:
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New Year’s Eve at my sister’s. I am preparing a drink for us, called Wściekły Pies (Mad Dog) which I discovered in a nearby student bar a few years ago. It involves vodka, pepper, sweet syrup, hot sauce and other healthy ingredients. It is also very effective:
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It has just gone past midnight, and this is the view from my sister’s balcony:
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This is an ordinary picture but it has a lot of meaning for me and my sister. The tourist information office on the left used to be the Russian language bookshop that my mother managed when I was a small child in the 1960s. I used to go there after school and hang around until closing time. Since I was the cute little son of the boss, everyone treated me well. And the Novocaina bar next to it has always been a bar; my sister told me that she used to go and party there when she was a student at the University of Wrocław in the 1960s:
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Young Poles want it legal too:
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My sister and I went for a coffee at a café on the main square:
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Same place, a couple in serious conversation:
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My sister has a generous window sill, useful for keeping basic foodstuffs at the correct temperature in the winter:
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On January 2, we drove to a small town called Sobótka where my sister and brother-in-law used to own a plot of land, just to have a look. On the way, we stopped at this roadside bakery:
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Inside, it was nice and warm and the place was doing good business:
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The goods on offer, all homemade, all good, and all very cheap. For reference, 1 Polish Złoty equals about 25 Euro cents or 30 US cents:
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The centre of Sobótka. One of the curses of the Polish winter is that many people still use coal to heat their houses. As a result, many villages and small towns are shrouded in a smog-like substance:
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Back in Wrocław, I photographed some young urban climbers outside my sister’s apartment building:
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January 5th was my brother-in-law’s 76th birthday. My sister is 68. I made them the traditional birthday breakfast of tortilla and cava. I don’t think either one of them looks their age:
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Later in the day, we went to have a look at Sky Tower, a newly constructed building. At 212 meters, it is Poland’s tallest apartment building:
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Sunrise from my sister’s balcony. The building in the distance was built by the Germans in 1913 to commemorate the centenary of a victory over Napoleon. It was originally called Jahrhunderthalle, Century Hall, but in 1945 the name was changed to People’s Hall to go with the newly installed Communist paradise. After 1989, the original name was restored:
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A closer look at the needle:
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Century Hall at dusk:
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The inscription on this bench can be translated as “we bring people together”:
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More pictures from Wrocław can be seen here.

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