After the long trip yesterday, we needed a good night sleep. But now our holiday has really started, since we have no obligations anymore, we can just go where we want and stop when we want. This morning we spend walking through the historic centre of Wroclaw. We start from the marketplace and make a walk along all the monuments.
Wroclaw was declared a bisdom around the year 1000 and it developed into an important city since it was situated along several trade routes. The foundation of most monuments started in the 12th or 13th century. The oldest part of the city hall (Ratusz) dates back to this time.Today is Sacrament Day in Poland which is predominantly catholic and all people seem to have a day off. Near all 13 churches we see within a few hundred square meters, people gather and soldiers are busy making pulpits outside of the churches. Well, that's always better than making war.
The cathedral is the biggest church of all. It is the fourth church on this spot after the earlier ones were destroyed.
After a few hours we continue our trip towards Czestochowa. In Truskolasy we see this wooden church, very similar (to us, as laymen) to the stave churches we saw in Norway last year. It is just the use of wood and the colour of it that makes it look similar. The way of building is quite different.Then we arrive in Czestochowa, a famous pilgrimage place for catholics and especially for Poles. The monastery has a painting with a black Madonna with a black Jesus. It draws many visitors from all over the world, but since we aren't here as pilgrims, but as tourists we just walk around the buildings and admire the tower (105 meters high) from outside.
There still are a lot of sallow and shabby houses, but the Poles obviously love colours as can be seen in many other buildings. We have seen an urban neighbourhood with only clear blue rooftops, squares with houses in all sorts of colours and also this nice building in Czestochowa.
This area is well known for its rock formations and the many caves. King Kazimierz III build a lot of castles in this area in the 14th century on these rocks to defend his country. They are called Eagles nests. In Olsztyn we see these remainders of this once large castle.Since the capitalisation of Poland, lots of people had to find a new way of living, but the Poles always liked to be independant and we see that along the road, where many have their own enterprises. Yesterday we saw a lot of parking places altered into market squares where they sold ceramics and stuffed animals, today many people are sitting along the highway to sell vegetables and fruits. Quite dangerous when someone suddenly decides to go shopping and stops while everybody is driving like crazy.
But when we arrive at Ogrodzieniec to visit the castle, we see the best of private enterprise. Families are waving to try to get visitors park their car in their garden. We park not far from the castle and although we cannot understand each other (we only speak 10 words Polish, they don't speak any other language) we understand that they want 5 Zloty (€ 1,25). But we have only a 50-zloty note and they don't have change. With hands and feet we talk about Holland, Poland, the European Union and the joining of Poland next year and we give them € 1,50 in Euro coins. After some debating they seem to get the point, we hope. At least they know exactly how to squeeze tourists: asking twice as much money than on a guarded parking in a city. But, this had something special: parking our car in someone else's garden while grannie watches it.
The castle has been build within and between the rocks and the area is a paradise for mountaineers. We walk around the castle but we also have to scramble a lot against steep hills.
The combination of rocks and buildings make the castle very impressive, as does its size. It takes a colossal area. Here, Elisabeth demonstrates her fear of heights is (almost) gone. And we have had enough of training today with all this climbing.We have now come from a flat region into a hilly area and we like that much better. Like the weather: it has been sunny all day with a temperature of 27° while the forecast was lots of rain. But now the sky becomes quite dark and looks threatening. So when we see all kinds of motels for € 25 or less, we decide to sleep once more in a motel. We find one for € 18 with shower and electricity and a good bed: that's enough for us.
The next two days we should have rain again, but also lots of sun, so we don't know if we are going to stay on a campsite or take a cheap motel. We will see, most times we are quite lucky with the weather.
Well, what can we say about this last picture: Teije working on our laptop to write this travelogue. It is quite nice to do, since our memories of the day are much better than when we write it later, after many weeks. We always make notes, but this feels different. But, be warned, when we don't have time, or have better things to do, it could take a few days before we write this account and put it on the internet. We see you tomorrow.