Picture of the Week

21 October 2015

Week 44: cycling and Wrocław

Filed under: — Administrator @ 11:20

The main event of the week was a trip to the city of my birth, Wrocław in Poland, where my sister still lives. Tuesday was her birthday, hence a quick trip to celebrate it. It was my first visit back since January 2014, and given the pace of development in this part of Poland, there were a lot of new things to look at, some of which I show in a separate gallery. In this blog I focus more on the people I was with.

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Since our flight to Wrocław left Sunday evening, I still had time for my usual bike ride in the morning. I chose to go to the mountain village of Relleu. I took my little Ricoh GR as usual, but this time I also added my recently purchased adapter to make the lens wider, 21mm instead of 28mm, so that I can show you a more expansive view of the road:
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I always admire this beautiful house amid the almond trees:
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Arrival at Relleu. At this point I have cycled 35 km, much of it uphill, so I always take a break here:
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Sunday night we flew to Wrocław, arriving around midnight. We went straight to our hotel, and then Monday morning we went to my sister’s apartment. Here is my brother-in-law Telesfor. He is in his 70s, but keeping well:
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One of the places I always like to visit is the Century Hall, built by the Germans in 1913. It has undergone a significant renovation since my last visit:
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Looking out:
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Afterwards, I engaged in some urban grit photography. This is an abandoned car park under my sister’s apartment building. It IS due for renovation:
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This used to be Telesfor’s parking space; they have now bought a proper garage:
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Shoe repair sign:
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Urban fauna:
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Back in the apartment, it is lunch time. Telesfor pours us a glass of vodka, an indispensable part of a Polish lunch:
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Part of a lunch spread: tomatoes, herring and salceson, a kind of Polish head cheese but leaner and tastier than the American version:
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And what is for me the main attraction, bigos and delicious Polish rye bread:
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If you want to know what bigos is, look here.

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Tuesday morning. My sister is now 70 years old, and we celebrate in the morning with a glass of champagne (although not served in the correct flute):
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A km or so from my sister’s place there is a nice, peaceful park with some interesting sculptures. My wife had some fun with this one, trying to copy the pose of the woman in the other chair:
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The view of the Odra river with new and old buildings. The twin towers in the distance are the cathedral; the new buildings on the right bank are part of the University of Wrocław, housing mainly the science and engineering departments:
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We went for lunch at one of my favourite places in Wrocław, the vegetarian restaurant Vega:
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Colourful hat:
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This veggie burger is better than anything you will get at any burger trough:
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In the evening, we had the birthday dinner for my sister at a nice, modern restaurant serving traditional Polish food:
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Wednesday morning it was raining but I still went for a walk in the neighbourhood around the hotel. One of the places where I stopped was the White Stork Synagogue, today a symbol of a revived Jewish community in Wrocław but also with a plaque reminding us of the terrible past:
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My sister’s balcony. The colourful parrot is not there for decoration. It is there to scare off the pigeons which would otherwise leave guano all over the balcony:
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We flew home Wednesday afternoon, and I spent Thursday and Friday at the office. But then Saturday arrived, and I was back on two wheels in my beloved hills. This time I did a more challenging route, to a town called Tibi. The first 30 km of the ride are basically continuously uphill, at first mildly, but after the road crosses under the A77 motorway, the climbing gets serious. This is why I stopped here to take a brief break (and to pee):
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Now I am close to Tibi, it is hidden somewhere in these mountains:
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Tibi is a typical sleepy small town in the mountains, with steep streets and not a lot of traffic:
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To get out of Tibi, there is a fairly brutal 4 km long climb, actually the hardest part of the ride (as verified by my heart rate as recorded by the Garmin cycle computer). But at the top of the climb there is relief, the prospect of many km downhill, and this view:
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