We have just finished our first full day in Poland! We had a great buffet breakfast of Polish foods (as well as some familiar cereal and fruit) and then headed out on the bus at 10 A.M. Polish time to have a tour of Wroclaw with our guide for the day. We toured around the town in the bus and then were dropped off in the restored medieval section. From there, we stopped in the second oldest cathedral, which had been restored after it was bombed in WWII. The oldest parts of the church were from the 1300s! At the outside of the church were old medieval lions that guarded the elaborate doors. The local legend is that if you rub the head of the lion with someone, you are destined to spend the rest of your life together. The lion heads had been rubbed for centuries, to the point where they were unrecognizable as lions!
We continued on our tour across the lover’s bridge, where people put padlocks on the bridge with their names on it and throw the key in the Oder river to seal their love. The bridge was entirely filled with padlocks (the tour guide said there were over 3500)! In places, it looked like the structure of the bridge was the locks.
We stopped in the local bazaar, which was gigantic. There were fruit stalls, meat stalls, snack and sweet stalls, fabric stores, watch repair places (“zegarmistrzs”)….pretty much everything in one giant place! Many people tried the gooseberries, which were delicious but turned our hands and tongues blue!
We also got to see the inside of the Wroclaw University. We visited first the baroque main hall (which had not been bombed in WWII so had its original gorgeous frescos on the ceilings and walls). We then went down the stairs to see the music room, where Jesse Bogdan tested the acoustics by singing the trombone part of Stars and Stripes! It sounded great and had everyone cheering!
After free time for lunch and hanging out around the town, we headed on a short bus ride to our first concert at the Wroclaw Philharmonic Concert Hall. Our concert was being promoted by a giant banner across the front entrance and the promotion worked: there was a great turnout! We played through a program quite similar to the send-off concert. It went really well, and the after-concert spirits were high! We finished the day at a very nice restaurant .
Tomorrow, we plan to travel the 1.5 hrs to Auschwitz and stop there. Everyone will have the option to go in if they choose or stay out and do something else with a chaperone. From there we will continue on driving to Krakow.
I would say that so far, everyone is having a great time! We are attempting to learn Polish (some more successfully than others), and are overall appreciating just how kind and friendly the Polish people are!
Until next time,
Sr. MYWE Ringer