Lodz is described as ‘the Manchester of Poland’ and I can see why. Arriving at Lodz Kaliska was unimpressive, but I then walked across a lovely park to get to the hostel. The parkrun park, I’m fact, so I took a run round it this morning to see if I could work out the route. Mostly, though not the start point, but it’s not a huge park and they can’t hide.
Beyond that is a road with alternating pubs and restaurants, which also seem to alternate states of decay. There’s a university all around the area, with various campuses, but the student numbers haven’t supported the Retro pub, nor the couple of music clubs, which are just as dead and derelict.
Wandering around last night I found myself on Piotrkowska street, the main shopping etc street. Fairly unprepossessing to begin with, but a trip to the tourist info centre today made me look a little more closely, to spot the different architecture and grandness of what once were houses and now shops. They even give you a glossy book on the street, taking you through the more interesting buildings. It’s really a history of who lived there and what style the building is in, so unless you’re a student of 19th century architecture it’s all pretty dry. All in all, then; Manchester. Not without attractions, but it makes you work for them.
Plus it’s raining.
I visited the Museum of Lodz, which is near the shopping centre Manufaktura. Being me, I managed to wander in through the vehicle entrance and take a tour round the gardens before I found the main entrance, but made it in. Exhibits ranged from Lodz art-tick a box for the art of both here and Gdansk-through the development of the city to famous people of Lodz, but the star is the building itself. The main rooms were the residence of manufacturer Izrael Kalmanowicz Poznański, listed as making many objects “as well as spicy products” for those lucky lucky local people. The ballroom and dining room were particularly grand, and a great place for a wedding. I wonder whether the pictured couple in wedding gear had had their wedding previously and were just having photos done. Otherwise it seems odd in the extreme to come see the place in full gear without anyone else, though perhaps only as odd as not having photos when you and guests have the run of the place and don’t have to have your picture taken by tourists, as was the case for them today.
Dinner was at Soplicowo, which I’d spotted the night before. A review of trip advisor’s third rated restaurant suggests good eating is a stranger to the city, and this place bears that out. Nothing terrible, but it’s ornate and fancy in appearance, yet the food was only pretty good. I over ordered, and fed right up.
Back at the budget ‘Boutique Hostel’. Word to the wise – it is cheaper to book without going via Hostelworld, and worth paying the extra for the more up market hotels in the group, or even the Grand. The latter is only three star, yet has the location and exterior of a grand city hotel. Budget boutique place has small cell like rooms if you’ve booked a single, and no frills. Plentiful facilities in the communal areas, a smell of smoke (though less today, so it depends on the other guests) and noisy corridors. Not to mention (and this is related) doors which are impossible to close quietly. It’s perfectly fine, but there are plenty better, and it was a come down from the cosy Riverside hostel in Gdansk.