Trip Start Feb 04, 2007
107Trip End Mar 09, 2008
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Every minute here, the cold dominates my thoughts. At 8a.m. on the second day it was -10 degrees. By lunchtime it was snowing densely. By late afternoon it was a world of grey mush. But each day I pushed on, determined to be smitten, even if I got frostbite in the process.
The city definitely has its charms, and shows amazingly little sign of its World War II rebuilding programme. Interestingly, this had been part of Germany until the Soviets adjusted a few borders to make a lot of eastern Poland into the Ukraine and Belarus. In return, they stretched Poland about as close to Berlin as you can with a straight face. As a result, in the post war era this is a place where a lot of German citizens were deported west in order to Polify it. A very mixed pedigree results.
Walking around town is best done briskly. I spend a lot of time noting how few of the locals are wearing gloves or hats (of which I have two on), and those with English cheerily note that its not that cold yet. (Yet? Whats this yet about?) I stop having any real sense of feeling in my fingers and toes pretty soon after being outside. I plan numerous little pitstops at retailers and fast food establishments so I can partially defrost every 45 minutes or so. In a final indignty yesterday as the snow fell in its thickest dollops yet, I noticed its propensity to start to pile up on my head, shoulders and backpack as I walked: meaning I was transporting extra coldness with me as well. Critically, I also had noticable ice on the tip of my nose. I can't pretend this doesn't start to impinge on your desire to explore the town further.
Onwards to Prague, a further couple of hundred kilometres to the warmer south and west. And I have already checked - there are cheap flights to Cairo if the need for warmth continues to rise as a priority.