Sitting here in a hostel in Wroclaw with tinny Russian reggae blaring from the computers speakers and my girlfriend rattling off a frenetic succession of polish syllables on the phone next to me, I thought this might be an opportune time to start a blog.
She is speaking with people about apartments and rooms; places for us to live in Wrocław, the city where I have a job, and that we'll soon be moving to. A group of Russian workers, mending a door, smoking ciggerettes and loitering in equal measure are responsible for the reggae.
I've been here almost exactly a month and half now, half the alotted 90 days on my visa. Most of that was spent in Kraków, which I've really fallen for. It's easy to imagine living there for a lengthy period. My thoughts on Wroclaw are more ambivalent.
Wrocław is meant to be this jewel, this southern diamond of dolnoslaskie. I can't help thinking of it as the toad that was kissed by a princess, but that was somehow disturbed during the metamorphosis. It is handsome and beguiling in some ways, and positively dystopian in others. Natives speak of it with a proud, almost protective haughtiness, and I can see that. The old district has the characteristic pre-industrial splendour of cobbled streets and beautiful facades in many contrasting colours, but stray very far from this relatively miniscule and circumscribed area, and its almost post-nuclear. I exaggerate of course, but Wrocław has the feel of an industrial city, a city of workers. It is littered with apartment blocks in varying degrees of disrepair and ugliness, and is dominated by cars. A large double laned ring road penetrates into the heart of the city, bringing noise and pollution and effectively partitioning the city into sections, disrupting the flow of human traffic.
Maybe after living here a while I'll have a better opinion of it. I think just people speaking so glowingly of it, and and the constant comparisons to Krakow, which are just absurd, must have distorted my expectations a bit.
Seeing one more place tonight, then it's on a train back to Kraków.
Hooray, it’s bunad time!
14 hours ago