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Wrocław Pt. I – Moose On the Loose

November 28, 2012

Weekend before last, I went to Wrocław with several friends from work.

A street musician in the square, near my flat.  I passed him on my way out of town.

My bike, packed for the ride to Rybnik.

I rode my bicycle to Rybnik, a trip to which I am becoming accustomed.  The mild autumn and the late onset of winter has made it possible for me to do quite a bit of riding, which lets me see the area and helps with  my weight loss, mood and general health.  (Geez, I sound like Jack LaLanne already.)

I realized once I got to Rybnik that I did not know how to find the train station.  I had been there several times, but never by bicycle.  I’ve come to enjoy these sort of wayfinding challenges.  Noticing the train tracks, I saw that one direction clearly led out of town.  So I followed them the other way and sure enough, I soon began to recognize my surroundings.

I was a bit early and wandered across the street to the Tania Odziez (Cheap Clothing) shop to buy a couple of shirts to wear on the trip.  After a while the others began to show up.

  • Rachel, who I haven’t seen since we went to Prague together a couple of months ago.  The only remotely normal member of the party.  Remotely, I say.
  • Widdop, whom Helen and Jana call Weirdo, but who I find uncannily sympathetic on innumerable points, which may indicate that I am not as far along with the Normalization Process as I once thought I was.
  • Helen, who talks to noodles.
  • Danger, our Liverpudlian member, the newest ragged teddy bear on the Island of Misfit Toys.
  • Tanner, a horn-rimmed Scotsman, who has a degree in geopolitics or international relations or whatever-it’s-called, and is thus teaching English in Poland.

Boarding the train in Rybnik. L-R: Rachel, Widdop, Helen.

When Widdop showed up, I mentioned that I had spotted a moose hand puppet at the Tania Odziez.  He insisted that we go back and get it.  It became the trip mascot.

Danger holds my moose.

On the first hour or two of the ride, we all gabbed happily in the empty car.  As we achieved escape velocity from the Polish hinterlands—where the teaching jobs are—however, and began to approach civilization, the car became rather crowded.  Poor Danger got trapped in conversation with a gent who smelled like an Olympic pool filled with sweat and vodka.  In an appalling show of treachery, we all inched away and left him alone to nod and smile at this unsettling fellow-traveler.  Fortunately, D. has a friendly and reassuring demeanor which soothes the savage beast.  After a while, failing to sell drugs to anyone in our car, Mr. Personality rose and lurched along to the next one.

The Wrocław train station.

I think it best that I post what I have so far, for a.) I am a pathetically slow fashioner of prose, and; b.) there’s no telling when I can be bothered to keep going.  There is after all, very much beer in Poland which requires drinking.  So more later, maybe, I guess.  Probably.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Sibyl White permalink
    November 28, 2012 3:06 pm

    How do you pronounce Wrocław? Is it as simple as Vroclahv? Or is the funky ‘ł’ not ‘l’?

    • November 28, 2012 10:00 pm

      Vroht-swahf is about as close as I can get in English. The ł is a w. And c is usually pronounced as ts. Go to google translate, enter Wrocław, and hit the speech button. It’s pretty close.

  2. Anne Morrison permalink
    November 28, 2012 8:31 pm

    So how do you pronounce Wroclaw phonetically?

    We missed you at Thanksgiving but had great fun!

    Love, Mom

    _____

    • November 28, 2012 10:01 pm

      Vroht-swahf is about as close as I can get in English. The ł is a w. And c is usually pronounced as ts. Go to google translate, enter Wrocław, and hit the speech button. It’s pretty close.

      Sorry I couldn’t be with you this Thanksgiving, but I had a great one in Poland. I even ate turkey. More on that later.

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