The drive to Wroclaw is notable only for three reasons. Firstly, there are no petrol stations along the highway. You have to follow signs to petrol stations in the villages along the highway. Secondly, the highway is in super condition. And finally, the further we got from Lodz the less snow we saw until the world was once again awash with green near Wroclaw (pronounced Vrots-waf).
We found our apartment with relatively few difficulties and went out to buy some groceries for breakfast over the coming days. There was a big shopping center across the road from our apartment that made finding food to buy easy. But the food wasn’t that interesting … I was far more interested in the fencing competition taking place. I’ve never seen living fencing before so it was fascinating even though the competitors were only teenagers. I guess to some of these kids fencing is as normal as surfing is for some Aussie kids. It was fun to watch for a while.
But the best was yet to come. After dropping our groceries home we decided to go out for dinner as this was our final Polish destination. What we didn’t know was that Wroclaw was being opened as one of two European Capitals of Culture for 2016 (the other being San Sebastian in Spain). We innocently walked out towards the main town square only to discover marshals, barriers and vendors selling light sticks. There were drummers beating drums and video footage of four parades that would converge on the city centre. Unfortunately, we didn’t know where to go for the parades and ended up being just 100m from a display that looked spectacular when we saw it replayed on the television later that night.
But we did see some pretty cool drumming and acrobatics.
It was particularly cool to see this with such a beautiful square as the backdrop.
We didn’t wait around for the parades to reach the square because it was obvious that (a) we weren’t going to understand the story that they were telling and this was a very theatrical parade and (b) we weren’t going to see much because we were already being pushed further and further to the back of the now swelling crowd. Instead, we went out to dinner at a pub that served good honest polish food and then caught the new Star Wars movie at a nearby cinema. The cinema usually shows art house films so there were lots of art house types around playing board games.
The movie itself was actually quite good. I haven’t enjoyed any of the previous Star Wars movies (including the original trilogy) but decided to give it a go because the franchise is now being produced by Disney and I tend to like the Disney focus on character development. I was not disappointed. The cinema that we went to was more of an old university lecture theater in style than traditional cinema but that just added to our international movie-going experiences.