Wrocław - crossing over into Poland (day 1)

Trip Start Oct 24, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Sofitel Wroclaw Old Town
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of Poland  , Western Poland,
Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wrocław This week, I've been fortunate to have the chance to accompany Tracy on business to the beautiful city of Wrocław, Poland’s fourth-largest city. The Poles of Wrocław, to my experience, are very friendly and welcoming. Thus far, my experience with Poland has been outstanding, and I will be eager to return whenever I have the chance. Sadly, Tracy’s and my travel plans may not include Poland in the remaining year and a half we have in Europe, since there are so many other destinations we want to become acquainted with.

The morning of Friday, May 6, Tracy and I dropped the dogs off at boarding, picked up our rental car in Ramstein, and, after making a brief stop at Sandhausen, near Mannheim, to pick up DeAnna, we hit the A6 for Poland. Tracy was disillusioned at the fact that our Ford wagon had a standard-shift transmission, but she worked out the kinks in short order, and soon was navigating the machine like it was an extension of her. I, up front, read my book for much of the first leg of the journey, to Nürnberg, and DeAnna slept in the backseat. At Nürnberg, we pulled over at a WC (a European rest stop or bathroom), where I took command, and Tracy and DeAnna switched places. Shortly after getting back on the Autobahn, I spied Tracy with her earbuds in, her head on a pillow against the door, and a blanket covering her head. She wasn’t sleep, though; she was dulling her contact with the outside world, trying to distract herself from the fact that someone other than she was driving. Since her car collision a year and a half ago, in which she was the passenger, Tracy has developed a bit of a phobia of others driving a vehicle she is in. Understandable.

For me, the six-speed wagon took some getting used to, and driving on this unfamiliar route with most of the Autobahn in this part of the country without a speed limit, gave me a sensation of borderline sensory overload. Before long, the driving became smoother, and at the next WC, east of Dresden, I discovered that my international driver’s license was out of date. While that doesn’t prohibit me from driving in Germany, it is illegal for me to control an automotive vehicle in any other country. So Tracy took over the pilot position again and we crossed the border in Poland.

               The country’s government has a policy that certain makes of vehicles, when rented, are not permitted in Poland; at least this is what the rental agent at Sixt told us. BMWs, Mercedes, and Volkswagens are three examples. Already nighttime, our Ford penetrated the darkness of western Poland, scarcely drawing the attention of the border patrol. The E40 from the German-Polish dividing line, up until just a few miles outside of Wrocław, are eerily dark. Business, residences, and establishments of any kind are conspicuously absent. As we sped through the outskirts of the city, signs of life picked up; shops and streetlights appeared; traffic roundabouts and confusing intersections became a matter of concentration; and eventually we began to encounter tram tracks – the beginning of our first adventure.

                As we neared the area of Wrocław where our hotel was located, we entered one rather large roundabout. Neither Tracy nor I could decipher in time which outlet the GPS instructed us to take, and so we exited prematurely. This started us on a detour through an area criss-crossed with tram tracks, which are shared with automotive traffic. Following the cues of the GPS, we rounded this corner and that, turned here and there, until we took one right that put us on a quick head-on collision course with city tram. The headlights aimed right at the car, Tracy made a quick lane change, which put us on another set of tracks and immediately at the next intersection, as the tram whizzed by to our left. Now, to our right, was a double line of cars waiting for the tram to pass. We were far enough out in front of them for us to have to cut them off with a wide left. Surprisingly, no one blew a horn. Five or six minutes later, we concluded our initial circuit of Wrocław, arriving at the Sofitel Hotel.
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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Patrick M. on

Please keep writing these and any other blogs you care to create. It's always great to hear what is going on with you two.

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