A Swiss butterfly in Poland: Wrocław or Breslau

End of August 2021, I am on the road again, to Berlin via Slovakia and Poland. 

My route begins in Slovakia: Bratislava – Trnava – Nitra – Žilina – Strečno and Terchová – Dolny KubinPodbiel and Tvrdošín. It continues in Poland: Wilkowisko – Kraków – Szklarska Poręba – Wroclaw, and finally I am Berlin. 

To round off my days in Poland, I stay one night in Wrocław (or in German Breslau).

I have selected the Hotel IBIS Styles Centrum. I look for a functioning hotel infrastructure and easy access to parking. Furthermore the IBIS is conveniently located, not too far from the city centre and across the train station. When getting lost, you can always find the train station in a city.

I am south of the city centre, about half an hour’s walk away from it.

Source: Tomasz Torbus, “Polen”, Dumont Kunst-Reiseführer 2011

The city centre of Wrocław stretches along the river Odra (Oder) and consists of three main areas:

  • Stare Miasto with the market square (Rynek) and the Old Town Hall as well as the University quarter. Part of the moat has been preserved.
  • The roots of the city are on Ostrów Tumski or Cathedral Isle with the cluster of churches (founded before 1000 AD).
  • Sand Island lies between the city centre and Cathedral Isle.

I was all surprised to come across the river Oder here… I know it from the “Oderbruch”, the Oder wetlands in Brandenburg, at the border to Poland. But yes, the river Oder or Odra starts in the Czech Republic, flows through Silesia, makes the border between Poland and Germany for almost 200km and ends in the Baltic Sea. 


Walking from the hotel to the city centre

From my hotel, I walk north towards the city centre. After some ten minutes, I reach the moat, the Fosa Miejskia on Ulica Podwale.

I like the pretty Art Nouveau houses along Ulica Podwale.

Now I am zooming in Atlas carrying not the world, but the oriel. It is so heavy that he has a brother and a sister helping him. 


Stare Miasto with the Old Town Hall and the market square (Rynek)

I reach the Old Town Hall. The construction of the mainly Gothic building lasted from about 1300 until the middle of 16th century, adapting to changing needs over time. In 1930, the Old Town Hall was converted into a museum. Dumont rates it as one of the most beautiful profane buildings in Eastern Middle Europe (p. 246). 

This is the eastern façade. The astronomical clock is from 1850.

Now we look at the west side of the Old Town Hall. I stand on the Rynek.

Humorous gnomes (or dwarfs) are scattered all over the city centre. There are more than 150 of them, as I read in my “old” Lonely Planet. I come across “my” first one near the Old Town Hall. 

The gnomes can be considered to be an allusion to the Orange Alternative (Pomaranczowa Alternatywa), a group of communist dissidents in the 1980’s that used intelligent humour to express their political protest. Waldemar Fidrych was their leader. 

In the narrow streets north of the Old Town Hall, I have delicious Spaghetti in a tiny Italian restaurant.

Since 1240, there has been a market square, where the Rynek is today. The Rynek is a charming mixture of Gothic and Art Nouveau houses. The north and south side had been destroyed in WW II. Everything has been reconstructed or renovated. It is Poland’s second largest Rynek after Kraków.

The Rynek is full of inviting restaurants.

I plan dinner at Fredro’s. Count Aleksander Fredro (1793-1876 ) was a noble landowner and a poet venerated in Poland. Dumont calls him the “Polish Molière” (p. 249).

Here are some of the colourful houses at the Rynek. The playful façade of the pharmacy attracts my attention.

Furthermore I like this house with the frescos. Dumont tells me that it is the house of the seven electors (Haus zu den sieben Kurfürsten), painted in Baroque style by Giacomo Scianzi (1672).

The glass wall in front of the New Town Hall symbolizes the Sudetes or Giant Mountains (Riesengebirge, Karkonosze).

Hänsel and Gretel is the name of these two tiny and slim houses. In Polish they are called “Jaś i Małgosia”.

The Church of Saint Elizabeth (Bazylika św. Elżbiety) is a  Gothic brick building from the 14th century.

It was a Lutheran church from 1525 until 1946. Then it became a catholic church. It was heavily damaged by a fire in 1976 and has then been restored tastefully. 


University Quarter

To the north of the Rynek, I find the university. The Habsburgian emperor, Leopold I, founded the university of Breslau in 1702 as a Jesuit academy. This was a catholic institution in mainly protestant Silesia and acted as a centre of the Counter-Reformation, until Silesia was conquered by the protestant Prussians in 1741. The university was re-established in 1945 replacing the former German University of Breslau. 

This is the north view from the river bank.

This is the view from the south.

This professor-gnome-dwarf makes it very clear: This is a university!

The Baroque University Church of the Holy Name of Jesus (Kościół Uniwersytecki p.w. Najświętszego Imienia Jezus) was built by the Jesuits in the late 17th century. It reflects in the windows of the modern building across.

The market hall is an Art Nouveau building constructed in 1906-1908. It is in use as a product market until today.


Sand Island (Wyspa Piasek) with Church of our Lady on the Sand

To get to the Cathedral Island or Ostrów Tumski, I cross the small Sand Island or Wyspa Piasek. 

The 14th century brick Gothic Church of our Lady of the Sand (Kościół Najświętszej Marii Panny na Piasku) is the dominating building on this small island.

This is the inside view with the Gothic vaults, 24m high. 

The church has been destroyed during WW II. The tasteful stain glassed windows are modern, from 1968.


Cathedral Isle (Ostrów Tumski)

I approach the Cathedral Isle walking along the Odra or Oder. The two towers of the Cathedral Saint John the Baptist dominate the skyline.

I cross the Tumski bridge that in local legends tells love stories – similar to Romeo and Juliet. To the left is the Saint Peter and Paul church and in the background we see the towers of the Cathedral.

Another gnome-dwarf here.

The Collegiate Church of the Holy Cross and St. Bartholomew (Kolegiata Świętego Krzyża i św. Bartłomieja) is a late Gothic brick church with two storeys.  

The lower level is closed. I can look through a grill locking the door to get an idea of the upper level. 

Elaborately cut trees lead to the Cathedral Saint John the Baptist. In Polish it is called Archikatedra św. Jana Chrzciciela.

The current construction in Brick Gothic was started in 1244, after the Mongolian invasion of 1241. Fires damaged the church in 1540 and in 1759. Then during WW II 70% of the cathedral were destroyed. It was reconstructed after WW II.

Across the street and north of the Cathedral is the small Church of St Giles (Kościół św. Idziego; in German: Aegidius). Built in Romanesque style in the early 13th century, it is the oldest active church in Wrocław. It has survived the Mongolian attacks. 

Nearby Saint Martin Church is also of Romanesque or early Gothic style. 


Coffee and Legends – taking a break in the Bishop’s Gardens

Behind the cathedral, I see this friendly invitation to the coffee place in the garden.

I enter and order a coffee. With it I receive a piece of paper, carefully rolled up with a bow. It contains legends of Ostrów Tumski.

While drinking my coffee, I read the legends referring to Ostrów Tumski.

One legend tells about the dangerous power of white roses. The bishop loved Agnieszka who cultivated white roses in the Bishop’s Gardens. When Agnieszka died, the servants wanted to comfort the bishop and decorated his bedroom with white roses. The following night, the bishop died. Since that night, white roses, now considered to be dangerous, have no longer been planted in the Bishop’s Gardens.

I leave the coffee place looking back at the Bishop’s Garden with the cathedral towers in the background,…

… and cross the bridge Tumski…

… that crosses the river Odra.


The White Stork Synagogue southwest of the Rynek

I return to the Rynek and continue my way southwest to visit the Jewish heritage, the White Stork Synagogue (Synagoga Pod Białym Bocianem), built in elegant neoclassical style in 1829 and restored in 2010. It is presumably called “White Stork”, because it stands where there was a restaurant with the same name before.

In the adjacent courtyard, I am tempted to sit down in one of the restaurants.

However, I return to the Rynek to eat in front of the Old Town Hall at Fredo’s. I have a salad with chicken and I complete my meal with a glass of Żubrówka, the Polish vodka with the buffalo grass.


Good-bye Wroclaw

Evening falls. I walk back to my hotel. I take Ul. Świdnicka (former Schweidnitzerstrasse) that in the 19th century became the new centre of the city with the Opera House from 1839-41…

… and department stores like this Art Nouveau building across the moat.

In the side streets, I come across German reminiscences. 

I settle in “my” comfortable hotel IBIS. I have a glass of wine in the friendly restaurant here to say good-bye to Wrocław and also to Poland.

Tomorrow I will drive to Germany to my mother-town Berlin.


Background information about Wrocław and Silesia: The history in a nutshell

From the “Lonely Planet”, the “Dumont” and from various Internet sources about Silesia, Wrocław, the Piast family etc. I try to understand the major history pattern. I am not a historian, but I like to acquire a structured overview, though it may not be perfect. 

Before 990: The roots of Silesia 

  • In the 4th/5th century, the Vandal tribe Silingi (in German: Silinger) settle, where Wrocław is today. In the 6th century the Slavic tribe Slegani build a fortification on Ostrów Tumski. It is under debate, which of the two tribes is the basis for the name “Silesia” (or in German: Schlesien, in Polish Śląsk).
  • Until 985 today’s Silesia belongs to Bohemia.

985-1335: Under the rule of the Piast dynasty, first Polish and then more and more tending towards the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation

  • 985: Duke Mieszko I. from the Piast family conquers Silesia with Wrocław and integrates it in the kingdom of Poland.
  • 1000: For the first time, Wrocław is mentioned under the name of Vratislavia, in a Papal bulla. The diocese of Wrocław is one of the three newly founded Polish bishoprics. It is located, where two trade routes intersect. (In 2000, Wrocław will celebrate its 1000 years anniversary).
  • 1241: The Mongolians (or Tartars) destroy Wrocław and retreat due to successor fights in Mongolia. Wrocław is rebuilt again.
  • Late 13th century: Various branches of the Piast families reign their own duchies, one of them being Silesia. Poland is now a community of duchies with one duke being elected as the leader. The dukes of Silesia balance their politics between Poland and the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation. They invite Germans to settle. Soon the German colonists are a majority in Wrocław. In 1261, Wrocław takes over the town law of Magdeburg.
  • 1335: The last member of the Silesian Piast family branch dies. The last Piast king of Poland, Cazimir III the Great, declares to abstain from Silesia; he prefers to focus on expanding the kingdom of Poland to the east.

1335-1526: Under Bohemian rule as part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation

  • 1335, after the renunciation of the Polish king, Silesia and Wrocław are part of the Bohemian kingdom and hence part of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation. Wrocław flourishes as a trade and handcraft centre.
  • 1523 Silesia and Wrocław  join the reformation, the leader is Johann Hess.
  • 1526 With Ludwig II, the last member of the Bohemian-Jagellonian dynasty dies and the Habsburgians inherit Bohemia (they have married in, as usual).

1526-1741: Under Habsburgian Rule 

  • 1526: Having inherited Silesia, the Habsburgians fortify Wrocław to withstand modern weapons. Though Austria is catholic, Wrocław continues to be protestant. 
  • 1702: The Habsburgian-Austrian Emperor Leopold I founds the university of Wrocław as the Academy of the Jesuits. 
  • 1741: The last Bohemian king, Ludwig II, dies in the War against the Turks.

1741 – 1945: Under Prussian Rule and from 1871 part of newly founded Germany

  • After the wars of Silesia, Frederic II integrates Silesia in the Prussian empire with its centralistic government. The Slavic population is under pressure (even more than under the Habsburgians).
  • 1807: Napoleon conquers Silesia, tears down the Wrocław/Breslau town fortification and installs a modern town government creating the basis for its economic development towards industrialization in the 19th century; it becomes an economic and cultural centre as a well as a railway hub.
  • 1871: The state university at Wrocław/Breslau is founded. 
  • After the First World War (1914-18) Wrocław/Breslau becomes an economic and cultural centre again, satellite settlements are built around the city centre.
  • 1933: Wrocław/Breslau is part of the fascistic machinery.
  • 1945: Having been spared from the war until January 1945, the city is declared the “Fortress Breslau”. The Soviet Army sieges Breslau for almost three months. The city surrenders on May 6th 1945. It is in ruins (67% of all buildings destroyed, Dumont says on p. 245) and the death toll is high).

1945 until today: Again Polish (like about 1000 years ago)

  • 1945: Still in May, Poland takes over, based on the Potsdam agreement between US, UK and SU. The remaining Germans are expelled and Poles start to settle, above all from the part of Poland that was integrated into the Soviet Union (Poland was basicaly shifted to the west).  The city is now called Wrocław, no longer Breslau.
  • End of the 1950’s: Wrocław is an economic, scientific and cultural centre in Poland.
  • Late 1970’s: In Wrocław, the Orange Alternative (Pomarańczowa Alternatywa) organizes humorous events to make fun of the communist regime (leader: Waldemar Fydrych ) 
  • 1989: After the fall of the iron curtain, Wrocław is thriving economically and as a centre of tourism. Like other major cities in Poland such as Kraków or Warszawa.
  • 2000: Wrocław celebrates its 1000 years anniversary. The circle closes. The city was Polish then (until 1335) and now belongs to Poland again.



A Swiss butterfly in Poland: Szklarska Poręba

End of August 2021, I am on the road again, to Berlin via Slovakia and Poland.

My route begins in Slovakia: Bratislava – Trnava – Nitra – Žilina – Strečno and Terchová – Dolny KubinPodbiel and Tvrdošín. It continues in Poland: WilkowiskoKraków – Szklarska Poręba – Wroclaw, and finally I am Berlin. 

Now I am at Szklarska Poręba to find out more about my grand-father, the artist.  


My motivation: Find the location of my grand-father’s painting (Hermann Radzig-Radzyk)

Currently, I am interested in the life of my grand-father Hermann Radzig-Radzyk who was an artist and painter. Many of his paintings decorate my house. While doing research about him, I have found more paintings that are traded in auctions, one of them being “Der Kirchberg in Schreiberhau mit dem Reifträger”. 

Source: https://polska-org.pl/7992365,foto.html 

This painting was exhibited at the art exhibition in Berlin in 1924 (see  
Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung <1924, Berlin> [Editor]; Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung [Editor]: Katalog: Im Landesausstellungsgebäude am Lehrter Bahnhof: [dauert vom 19. Mai bis 17. September 1923] (Berlin, 1923) (uni-heidelberg.de)

“Dr. Google” tells me that Schreiberhau is now called Szklarska Poręba, that the Reifträger is the mountain Szrenica and the church on the Kirchberg is Kościół p.w. Bożego Ciała or the Corpus Christi Church. 

I like this painting. I drive to Szklarska Poręba to find the place, where my grand-father had painted it and I come close. 

However, the landscape has changed. Much more forest here now.

I return the next morning to take a photo of the same view, but with more sun.

I assume, my grand-father stayed in a pension below the point I am standing at; I saw houses, but did not dare enter the private properties.

Close below the church, there are some buildings that did not exist, when my grand-father made his painting.

My “cousin” Dietrich (the son of my mother’s best friend) owns this painting which is a slightly different view of the Kirchberg. 

More closely to the perspective of the second painting is the following photo taken by me, when walking to Szklarska Poręba Średnia .

My “cousin” Dietrich knows of this painting of the mountain Szrenica (Reifträger) that is with a friend of his in Berlin. Update of February 2023: After having climbed this mountain from Karpacz (Krummhübel) in October 2022, I know that this is the Schneekoppe, today called “Snieska”. 


Approaching the church Corpus Christi, the church on the Kirchberg

The Corpus Christi Church was built in Neo-Roman style in 1884-86. The dukes of Schreiberhau, the family Schaffgotsch, financed the church. 

I walk around the church.

Inside are paintings by Wlastimil Hofman, a Polish painter who settled in  Szklarska Poręba after the Second World War in 1947. 

I find a tomb slab. It commemorates Germans that have died in the First World War.

The surroundings have changed since my grand-father has made his painting. There are more trees. The shop for skiing equipment indicates sports activities in winter.

The shop for mountain biking equipment may be busy in summer. Parking is free here.

I select my own perspective to take a photo of the Church Corpus Christi; perhaps it is this pond that appears in the right hand corner of my grand-father’s painting.

One day was not enough to find out everything about the painting of my grand-father. I should return and spend several days to dig deeper. In addition, I would like to benefit from the hiking opportunities, one of them being a climb the Reifträger or Szrenica.


Where are we geographically?

Now we are at Szklarska Poręba (in German Schreiberhau) in Silesia (in German Schlesien), close to the border between Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. The mountains are called Giant Mountains, Riesengebirge or in Polish Karkonosze. The mountain above Szklarska Poręba, the Szrenica (in German Reifträger) is 1362m high.


Some background information about Szklarska Poręba (Schreiberhau)

This stone indicates that Szklarska Poręba existed already in 1366. At that time, it was a settlement with the German name “Schreiberhau” (also called Schribirshau).

German colonists established Schreiberhau around the newly founded glass factory. The area was part of Bohemia (since 1335) and hence part of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation. The landlords here were the counts of Schaffgotsch, a family that still exists today. 

The term “hau” in “Schreiberhau”, refers to the “forest clearing” needed for the settlement and the glass factory. Why was the place not called “Glashau” to reflect the existence of the glass factory? The village chronicle (Ortschronik) of the local teacher suggests that “Schreiber” (“writer”) perhaps alludes to the man who wrote the documents required to install the factory and the settlement.

In 1617 the Preussler family took over the glass factory business and managed it until the middle of the 19th century. In 1842, Franz Pohl founded the new glass factory Josephinenhüttte; it thrived and was the largest and best-known glass factory in Silesia. 

In 1902 the railway to Schreiberhau opened. It was now easier to reach the place. It became an attractive mountain resort and a centre for artists (see below). 

In 1945, the Potsdam agreement assigned Silesia to Poland. The Poles now changed “Schreiberhau” to “Szklarska Poręba” which translates to “glass forest clearing” (the German equivalent to “Glashau”). The mountain Reifträger became the Szrenica or the “hoarfrosty” mountain (the Polish word “szron” means “hoar” or “Reif”). Most of the German inhabitants were expelled from Silesia and Poles, expelled from the east, settled instead. In 1945 Poland was literally moved to the west; it lost land to the Soviet Union in the east and gained land in the west, at the expense of Germany.

Renamed to Glashütte Julia, the Szklarska Poręba glass factory continued to operate until 2000. The family Schaffgotsch moved to Schwäbisch Gmünd. Here, the former Josephinenhütte was refounded in 1951, and it worked until 1983. 

By the way: Karkonosz in Polish translates to “Rübezahl”. He is the capricious mountain troll who lives in the Giant Mountains that the Poles now call Karkonosze. Telling stories about Rübezahl has been a tradition known since the 15/16th century. Nice, how the German past continues to live in the Polish toponyms.


How are artists and art related to Szklarska Poręba or Schreiberhau?

In the 18th century, the first artists discovered the beauty of the Riesengebirge. Carl Christoph Reinhardt (1738 – 1827), Christoph Friedrich Nathe (1753 – 1806) und Anton Balzer (1771 – 1807) were some of the names. Later, Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840, romanticism) painted here. 

Around 1900, Szklarska Poręba became a centre for artists, among them Gerhart Hauptmann (there is a museum about him). Also around 1900, Carl Ernst Morgenstern (1847-1928), professor at the University of Breslau (1883-1913), taught pleinair painting at nearby Krummhübel (Karpacz). Some of his students later belonged to the Schreiberhau Association of Artists St. Lukas (Schreiberhauer Vereinigung bildender Künstler St. Lukas) that was founded in 1922. Their seat was the Lukasmühle at the Zackerle creek (now:  Kammiena; later, in 1930 the artists moved to the hotel “the Zackerfall”).

The Lukasmühle (Młyn Łukasza) is an inviting restaurant today. 

I had selected it for dinner without knowing about its history.

It could well be that my grand-father Hermann Radzig-Radzyk was a member of the Lukas association, but I cannot find any details about that in the Internet. 


Strolling around in Szklarska Poręba

For one full day, I explore Szklarska Poręba. Here are some impressions. There are nice villas…

… and apartment houses. 

The winter must be busy here. The continental climate makes for good snow,…

… but nevertheless snow canons hidden behind this house wait to be used in winter. 

This is a rather “flat” slope, however the Szrenica seems to offer a variety of attractive ski runs. 

There is also a Dinopark for chlidren, with free parking (now a bit dirty…).

Above Szklarska Poręba Średnia I find the Sudecka Chata or Sudetenhütte. 

It is closed. The friendly owners prepare coffee for me. They take a vivid interest in my research and take me up to the rooms under the roof, where I have a gorgeous view of my grand-father’s church and the Szrenica or Reifträger.

There is a crane disturbing the view: Holyday Inn builds a luxury resort. Their infinity pool is “announced” with the view from the garden of the Sudecka Chata, it seems.

This is, what is going on under the yellow crane. It seems that Holiday Inn believes in the potential of Szklarska Poręba.

At lunch time, I stop at the restaurant Płękitny Paw and have a wonderful meal in the garden, a delicious soup and excellent stuffed omelettes.


Good-bye Szklarska Poręba and Giant Mountains

I would have liked to stay another day to hike around Szklarska Poręba, but my hotel is fully booked. I leave and look back to the Giant Mountains, where Rübezahl, the mountain troll, is up to mischief.

I may return one day for more research and for hiking.

Now, I say good-bye and drive to Wroclaw, the capital of Silesia. 



About art and artists in Silesia and in the Giant Mountains:

A Swiss butterfly in Poland: Kraków again

End of August 2021, I am on the road again, to Berlin via Slovakia and Poland. My route: Munich, in Slovakia: Bratislava – Trnava – Nitra – Žilina – Strečno and Terchová – Dolny Kubin, then in Poland: Wilkowisko – Kraków – Szklarska Poręba – Wroclaw, and finally Berlin. 

Wow Kraków! I encountered this bus below the mound of Tadeusz Kościuszko. Yes, I agree to “wow”, Kraków is a charming city and I have good friends here.


To recapitulate:

This is my route in Poland, from Wilkowisko to Berlin. Now I am in Kraków, for 5 days.


The hotel outside of the city centre

I stay in the hotel Vistula west of Kraków in Zwierzyniec bordering the river Vistula or Wisła, in German: Weichsel. From here, it is about 3km to the city centre.

After having arrived, I have a picnic with Radosław in the garden under the tent.

The hotel offers sportive activities on the river. It seems, they also offer competitions and the winners receive a gold, silver or bronze medal. Nice.

Nearby is a camping site, safely far away from the car parking. But – a Dutchman “manages” to damage my car by driving backwards. I cannot understand that. 

Fortunately, I can complete my tour and have the car repaired, when back in Switzerland. My insurance company will deal with the Dutch insurance company. Good that the driver has given me his address and filled in all the forms required.


Walking to the centre of Kraków – Stare Miasto and Wawel

I walk to the city centre (Stare Miasto, Wawel and Kazimierz) twice. The first time by sunshine. I am surprised to see so many tourists.

The charming Kanonicza Ulica at the foot of the Wawel always makes me believe that I am in Florence. 

With a smile I remember that my friend from Munich and Agata once counted eleven apostles, one of them seemed to miss. But no, all twelve apostles stand in front of the Baroque Saint Peter and Paul church after having recounted them.  

To the right of Saint Peter and Paul church, I greet the beautiful Romanesque church of St Andrew.

In the solemn Franciscan Church I dream under Wyspiański’s “Creation of the World”. I have lit a candle for Ernst and he is with me in my heart.

Hello, here you are, Bronisław Chromy’s loving mama Owl with the her children in Planty. They often go unnoticed in the park just near Wawel hill. 

My second walk to the city centre occurs on a rainy day. The ducks love wet weather. Wawel hill is in the background.

The Vistula vegetable garden on the wooden boat leads to the boat dedicated to Sobieski, the Polish king who had defeated the Turks near Vienna in 1683.

Near Wawel, Bronisław Chromy’s Pies Dżok reflects in the puddle. 

In Kazimierz, I have a delicious soup at Ariel’s. Then I walk back along the Wisła or Weichsel. 

The Wawel hill looks grey in the rain and I am wet through. Very uncomfortable.

The monastery of the Norbetine Sisters reflects in the Wisła.

The mound of Tadeusz Kościuszko appears behind the trees, when I cross the bridge to get back to my hotel Vistula. 


The mound of Tadeusz Kościuszko

My hotel Vistula is located in Zwierzyniec at the foot of Bronisława Hill with the mound of Tadeusz Kościuszko. One sunny morning, I climb the hill. 

In 1823, the mound was completed on land granted by the Norbertine Sisters. For three years, volunteers brought earth from their villages to contribute to the 34m high tumulus for the venerated fighter for freedom. 

In the 1850’s, the Austrians built the fortress around the mound. It was destroyed in World War II, and reconstructed after it.

The view from the top of the mound is beautiful. I look towards the city centre.

And then I turn to the south.

There is a restaurant integrated in the fortification that allows to enjoy the autumn sun on the terrace.

I would almost feel like sitting down on one of the merry deck chairs, but I have to leave. I will meet Piotr’s mum in the city centre at lunch time. We spend a wonderful afternoon together.


Sunday walk in Las Wolski

The forest Las Wolski, located west of Kraków and belonging to the city, owes its name to Mikołaj Wolski. Around 1600, he invited the king and his court for dinner, because he wanted to build the Camaldolese Hermit Monastery. When the king donated the forest for his noble plan, Wolski gave the silver dishes from the dinner to the court. That is why, one of the hills of Lask Wolski is called “silver hill” or Srebrna Góra.  

We enter the park from the south and walk to the zoo, then to the Kopiec Piłsudskiego, another burial mound. Erected 1934-37, it is dedicated to Józef Piłsudski. He was chief of state from 1918-1922, when Poland was re-established on the world map.  

There view from the mound of Piłsudskiego,… 

… is fading a bit in the rainy weather. 

We approach Wolski’s monastery on the silver hill from behind. 

I buy a bottle of Pinot Noir in the winery Srebrna Góra that takes its name “silver mountain” from the hill.

We return to this beautiful viewpoint with birch trees. I am not sure, whether we can see the Tatra mountains in the background.

Thank you, Radosław, for this wonderful Sunday walk with the shortcut that ended up as a detour, which was precisely, what we needed to get enough exercise.

One evening, I have prepared Röschti (Swiss potato dish) for my friends. And I stayed another two days with Asha and her family. It was their son’s birthday and he started school on the same day. How exciting. 

Thank you for your hospitality. I have not seen you all for more than two years. Now I do hope to see you again sooner.