The Road to Wroclaw

Our breakfast smorgasbord at the hotel in Swidnica was delicious, although I think our perceptions have shifted a little bit over the past few months because it wasn’t quite as spectacular as we’d hoped. Here’s what I think is going on: in New Zealand we were eating oatmeal for breakfast every single day. When we got the chance to eat toast, cereal, eggs, pastries, and more at the hotel during our forced layover between Auckland and Singapore, we thought we’d died and gone to heaven. All that food practically made up for the canceled flight and one day delay! Here in Europe we’ve been eating more than just oatmeal every day. When we stay with families we get to eat meals with them, which is wonderful. Also, we can usually afford to buy bread, cheese, muesli, and yogurt because they’re not as expensive here as they were in NZ. Yogurt is only 50c for 500 grams, and you can buy generic bags of muesli for only $1.

After breakfast we visited Swidnica’s World Heritage church. This is the largest wooden religious structure in Europe. It was built after the Catholic-Protestant war. The Catholics won the war and told the Protestants that they could build a church if it met the following conditions: built outside the city walls, made of impermanent materials (wood, clay, or straw), and finished construction within one year. So the most impressive fact is that people managed to build this gigantic structure in only one year and it is still standing.

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The pretty city center of Swidnica:

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We followed bicycle route 9 from Swidnica to Wroclaw. I was fed up with attempting to follow bicycle routes, but for some reason we decided to give it one more try. R9 was fairly well signed and we only got lost two times on the way to Wroclaw.

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It was grey and rainy all day long which made the 85km seem to last forever. Ugh.

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We arrived soaking wet and an hour late to the home of our couchsurfing host Jan. I felt a little embarrassed hauling our soaking wet bags and bikes into his apartment, but he was extremely friendly and sweet about it all. Jan turned out to be an excellent cook. We love food, so his efforts were very much appreciated by us! He had a delicious three course homemade Polish dinner waiting for us when we arrived. We had homemade tomato soup with cheese first, then chicken with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut, and finally a homemade dessert that was sort of like a warm gooey jello filled with tart cherries.

Sarah and Arthur (a cousin of Jan’s who was there during our stay):

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We chatted with Jan and Arthur over a glass of wine after dinner. We had a lot of fun listening to them say Polish words that have an amazing number of consonants but almost no vowels. They sounded more like buzzing bees than people speaking. They also taught us how to say a few words. For example, the city name Wroclaw sounds nothing like we thought it did (Row-Claw or Raw-Claw). Instead it is pronounced something like Vrote-Suave.

In this picture I am looking up Polish words in the dictionary and asking Jan how to say them.

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We went to bed early to get ready for a day of sightseeing in Wroclaw.

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