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European Railroad Discussion > Poland, Part 16 Scenes in Wroclaw

Date: 10/11/21 22:23
Poland, Part 16 Scenes in Wroclaw
Author: gobbl3gook

I spent a few days in Wroclaw, Poland in September, 2019.  

1) arriving on a crowded intercity train from Leszno after watching/riding steam trains in Woltszyn.  The train was about 10 cars long and completely packed.  I was going to buy my ticket on-board, but in the 2 or 3 hours of travel the conductor never got to our car.  I think this was a train from Swinoujscie to Prysmyzl -- the extreme NE to extreme SW of Poland.  It's probably listed in the Thomas Cook Timetable, I'm guessing it's a 30 hour run.  

2) big city, big apartment buildings, tram tracks and trams everywhere.  Note that there are three trams arriving in 1 minute, and two more in 3 minutes.  US cities could learn something from this -- you don't need fast service, you need frequent service!

3) modern looking trams.  Though may have been kitbashed from old trams. 

Wroclaw was part of Germany until WWII.  Then parts of eastern Germany were assigned to Poland after the war.  I think the German spelling of the city was Breslov?  This is all googleable, I'm sure.  But I'm just giving the account that was tossed to me at hostels & etc.  It was one of the larger cities in Germany at the time.  

I had two different options for my 2019 travels -- I had 2 months. I knew I would do Utrecht, Copenhagen, and Woltszyn.  Then either
(a) south through Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Albania (Adriatic Sea Coast). Or
(b) east across Poland to the Carpathians in Ukraine, then south through Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania.  

Riding the train south from Lezsno I still hadn't decided which route to take.  The train was headed to Prymzyl, on the Ukrainian border, arriving around midnight.  I could just stay on it, then head east into Ukraine.  While I really wanted to do Ukraine again, but, the weather was cold and cloudy.  Not especially good for backcountry camping and bicycling.  

So I resigned myself to heading south.  While bicycling along the Adriatic Sea for 3 weeks would be great, it wasn't quite the adventure that Ukraine promised.  And detrained in Wroclaw, spent a few mostly rainy days there, then headed south into CZ by train.  

Wroclaw was a big, plain city.  Not much to say for itself, it seemed.  Well designed, smooth running.  Bicycle lanes and tram routes everywhere, a bustling downtown, interesting hostels.  Museums, cathedrals, bridges, trains, all the good things, but not particularly remarkable.  University, Japanese Gardens.  But, it is off the beaten path for tourists for these very reasons, which makes it attractive to me ;^). 

Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 10/21/21 17:12 by gobbl3gook.

Date: 10/11/21 22:26
Re: Scenes in Wroclaw, Poland
Author: gobbl3gook

Date: 10/11/21 22:31
Re: Scenes in Wroclaw, Poland
Author: gobbl3gook

Bonus photos -- bridges.  

7) this one survived at least one World War.  Maybe two?  
"The bridge was damaged during World War II but by September 1947 it had been repaired and reopened."

8) with a little luck this bridge won't need to survive any wars... 
Good reviews on Google!  

9) this one also also survived a war or two.
"During the siege of Festung Breslau in 1945, German soldiers, who wanted to prevent an expected attack from the east of the city, prepared to blow the bridge up by planting explosives. The Red Army troops, however, launched an assault from the South, saving Zwierzyniecki bridge from being destroyed"

I bring chalk and a measuring tape to create an inventory of sidewalk/bike path widths.  Note that the 100 year old arch bridge has walking paths that are 4.4 meters wide.  And the fancy new bridge paths are only 2.5 m wide... 

Questions, comments, observations?  

Ted in OR

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/18/21 20:05 by gobbl3gook.

Date: 10/12/21 04:38
Re: Scenes in Wroclaw, Poland
Author: Train29

I hope you don't mind my adding some photos to your fine work. The street side of the station is really cool. Looks more like a castle than a station. 

Date: 10/12/21 08:14
Re: Scenes in Wroclaw, Poland
Author: WoodwardEJ

When you venture away from Wroclaw Glowny, you may find that it's more than a "big, plain, city"

Date: 10/12/21 08:26
Re: Scenes in Wroclaw, Poland
Author: WoodwardEJ

A few more, this time featuring some of Wroclaw's famous gnomes.

Date: 10/12/21 14:48
Re: Scenes in Wroclaw, Poland
Author: GPutz

Thank you for this interesting tour.  Gerry

Date: 10/12/21 15:17
Re: Scenes in Wroclaw, Poland
Author: krm152

Thanks for the interesting photo tour.

Date: 10/12/21 19:38
Re: Scenes in Wroclaw, Poland
Author: kentishtim

What a marvellous building that barn is!  Any idea how old it is?  How did it survive WW2?  Unless it's a reflica like so many buildings in Warsaw...

Date: 10/12/21 23:55
Re: Scenes in Wroclaw, Poland
Author: gobbl3gook

train29 and Woodward -- thanks for the additional photos.  

Yes, Wroclaw did have plenty of charm.  I wandered the plazas of old town.  And departed from the central station.  (I got off at a suburban station on the way into town, so I could test out the bicycle infrastructure from the suburbs to the city center).  

Not all of Europe was destroyed in WWII -- certainly large swaths of some cities were bombed.  Others were destroyed by retreating forces.  All the gripping accounts of battles and destruction occured, of course, where a lot of things were destroyed.  There don't seem to be as many accounts of cities that changed hands without wholesale destruction.  But, fortunately, it seems that the vast majority of European cities survived okay.  I've visited about 40 major cities now, and only Freiburg, Germany had a partially rebuilt city center.  All the rest that I've wandered through had vast quantities of pre-WWI buildings, and relatively few holes.  Obviously, I haven't been to Berlin, Dresden, Warsaw and a few other more tragically destroyed cities...  

And interesting case study, Woltzsyn, Poland, where the last mainline steam passenger service is located, has no train station.  I wandered around Woltszyn for three days, and at one point saw a museum exhibit that stated that the station was destroyed by the retreating Poles in the opening days of WWII.  So there were many ways that useful buildings are lost in a war.  And, amazingly, the vast majority of buildings seemed to have survived.  Like these bridges and the tram barn in Wroclaw.  

Ted in OR

Date: 10/13/21 13:04
Re: Scenes in Wroclaw, Poland
Author: Lackawanna484

Breslau, Danzig, Posen, Stettin, and other cities were in the area reallocated from Germany to Poland, as Stalin redrew the map of Central Europe.  The German city of Wollstein and its rail hub became Woltzsyn.

Breslau / Wroclaw suffered a three months long siege in 1945 which nearly destroyed everything.  The advancing Soviet Army faced the fortified German position, resulting in huge casualties on both sides.  The surrender of German forces preceded the collapse of German military forces in Europe by a few days.

Date: 10/14/21 09:48
Re: Scenes in Wroclaw, Poland
Author: 86235

Świnoujście to Przemyśl is about 900 kilometres (540 miles). Back in 2019 the 08:29 to Przemyśl took 12.5 hours via Szczecin, Poznaň, Wroclaw (arr 14:00 dep 14:26) and Kraków.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/14/21 09:56 by 86235.

Date: 10/19/21 00:25
Re: Scenes in Wroclaw, Poland
Author: gobbl3gook

Thanks for the additions and clarifications, everyone.  

I added some location info to the original posts.  

I was in a glum mood when I visited Wroclaw.  Also in a glum mood this month (two years later).  So I didn't really experience the city in an upbeat sort of way, nor is my recollection putting a rosier hue on it right now.  

All good, I appreciate all the additions, corrections, supplemetal info and photos!  

Ted in OR

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