Ewelina and I left Rybnik by train early Tuesday morning. (7.57 exactly, Ewelina reminds me.) We arrived in Poznań in the early afternoon, walked from the train station with our bags to her friend Maciek's place, where we made our greetings and left our bags before going out to explore.
Poznań is a university town, chock full of students and lively as a result. Ewelina studied economics and then philosophy there for 6 years, so she knows the place like the back of her hand. We had perfect weather and with such a good guide; the place seemed fabulous. I might even go so far as to call it my favorite Polish city, but I should probably visit it on a rainy day before going that far.
It was for the most part very well maintained, better than most Polish cities I've been to. There was a nice mix of old buildings and new, classical architecture happily coexisting with a gigantic, brand-new, and incredibly tasteful shopping mall built on the ruins of an old factory. I'm generally not a fan of shopping malls, but I liked that one! The city was also full of trees and green places, and downtown on one square the city had dumped a load of sand to create a fake beach where people were playing volleyball and taking dance lessons in the sun.
Ewelina's favorite places were cozy cafés and bars, places with low light, funky wallpaper, old furniture, books on the walls and good music. That's right up my alley as well, and the town seemed literally full of lovely little places like that to rest our feet and escape the sun for a bit.
We managed to meet quite a few of Ewelina's friends in Poznań, both deliberately and bumping into them by accident. They seemed like good people.
Our last stop in Poznań was a cozy little bar where friends of Ewelina's were narrating a slideshow of pictures they took on a 6 month trek through South America! Very appropriate, the pictures were amazing and made me look forward to our own adventures even more.
Thursday morning Ewelina and I got on a train to Wrocław, We arrived around noon, stashed our bags in lockers at the train station and headed into town. We visited a lovely little market where Ewelina picked up bags full of her favorite Polish sweets and then went looking for more substantial food.
We ended up going to Miś, a 'milk bar' which was very popular with students in the area. Milk bars are remnants of communist times, basically non-profit, state-supported caffeterias open to the public. The food was very cheap (our two cokes cost more than the food we ate), simple and still quite tasty. There was a steady stream of people in and out and of course we had to share a table with a couple we'd never met before because it was so busy. I've been to milk bars before, and every time I visit Poland I like to make a point of eating at one; it's one of those 'authentic' Polish experiences. :-)
After the food, we visited the main square (beautiful!) and had one glass each of a very tasty honey beer. Halfway into it we realized that it was quite strong: 12% according to the sign! One half-liter glass of that stuff was enough to make me feel a little dizzy... luckily it wasn't on an empty stomache.
After the beers we slowly made our way back to the train station, stopping in some shops, a post office and at another bar to see if we could find a usable internet connection to update the blog. That failed, but after riding the bus to the airport and checking in we found a free wifi point there which we could use.
Then we got on a plane to Alicante, Spain. At the airport we were picked up by Joanna and Pedro, and eventually fell asleep in their lovely new house in Murcia.
As I type this, it is afternoon siesta, around 35° in the shade. Hot, hot, hot, but at least it is a dry heat. In a bit we're going to venture into town to sign up for Spanish lessons and find an Internet café. If we succeed, you'll get to read this!