The blog title doesn’t really make sense when you realise that Łódź is pronounced Woodge but anyway. Me and Lucy are just back from a mini break in Łódź, Poland. Andy showed me a photo some months ago of beautiful buildings lit up and the seed was sown – I’d booked a flight quite soon afterwards. Now I know people complain about Ryanair but when I get a flight for €15 I can’t fault them. I wouldn’t have been to half the places I’ve visited if it wasn’t for them.
If you are looking for a cheap city break Łódź is for you. Admittedly it’s not as pretty as Krakow, in fact it’s completely different. Krakow is thronged with tourists and Łódź isn’t. In Łódź I feel that you are getting a more authentic Polish experience. There are plenty of parks and the place is spotlessly clean, I would see the street cleaners busy from 7am.
We stayed at the City Center Rooms on Piotrkowska Street, which at almost 5km is one of the longest streets in Europe, the rooms were clean and comfortable. Breakfast was included and it’s a Polish breakfast so expect cauliflower, mixed salad, hot dogs, hams and cheeses as well as waffles and pancakes.
Piotrkowska Street is a mixture of retail shops and places to eat, there are also creative courtyards. It even has a version of Hollywood (Hollywoodge) with stars on the pavement. We were quite taken with the Fart shops, fart means luck in Polish, and these are second-hand shops with some gorgeous clothes. We got some great bits.
Our first place to visit was the Herbaciarnia Kocie Oczy, this is a gorgeous little Cat Cafe. It was like stepping into a Doll’s House with musical box music playing and the 5 cats hiding and sleeping amongst the many cat ornaments. It’s a perfect hidden gem and well worth a visit.
Food is very, very, cheap. My favourite place where we ate was called Tel Aviv Urban Food. This is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant, the staff were so friendly and spoke excellent English, they even had an English menu. We shared a Mezze board which worked out to around €7! We liked it so much we went back for dinner the following night.
We also enjoyed lunch at Grand Coffee, a three cheese toasted sandwich was €2! One night we went for dinner at Senoritas, which is a Mexican restaurant and this place is buzzing. We were lucky to get a table here, the portions were huge and again it was really cheap. I loved the bill being presented in a jewellery box.
For desserts we went to E. Wedel which is a really popular chocolate brand in Poland. I had the most gorgeous ice cream sundae and Lucy had chocolate fondue, both were delicious. We also had Paczki, these are Polish donuts and there were several places along the street making them…they are delicious!
As for the drinks cocktails are around €3 and are readily available, alcohol is really cheap too. I now have quite a liking for cherry vodka and it was only around €1 for a 100ml bottle.
With all that eating it’s just as well we walked so much! Around 16km walking a day, my feet were burning as I was wearing boots and not sketchers…lesson learned. There are a lot of museums in the city and on certain days of the week admission is free, even if not they are very cheap to visit. I went to the sewer museum (yes that’s a thing), it’s disused and I have a bit of a thing for tunnels so it was great to go under the Liberty Square. It was a bit confusing as I think you have to buy the ticket elsewhere but luckily the man let me pay him.
I also checked out the Archaeological and Ethnograpic museum which was very interesting and well worth a visit. I spent a good hour there and enjoyed it. We visited the Manufaktura Centre which was formally a textile factory and is now a huge shopping centre and also contains lots of restaurants, a cinema, hotel, gym and more.
On Friday we spent some of the day with Krystian, this man went out of his way to help us. I met him through Twitter after having hassle organising an airport transfer, he picked us up and dropped us back which was so kind of him. Krystian took us around the Ghetto including Radegast Station, the concentration camp for children and also to the Jewish Cemetery.
The Cemetery was established in 1892 and around 160,000 people are buried there. Part of the cemetery is made up of the ‘Ghetto field’ where over 40,000, who died from hunger and consumption in the Holocaust, are laid to rest. As we walked into the cemetery there were several open pits, Krystian explained that these were dug by the remaining Jews from the ghetto and were intended to be mass graves for them. The Nazis could not carry out their plans to kill them as the Russian military was approaching. The survivors decided to leave the pits as they were to remember.
It’s just so heartbreaking thinking about what happened to those poor people. We were speechless at the Broken Heart Monument in the concentration camp, looking at the beautiful park as it is now it’s impossible to imagine the horrors that occurred there.
Radegast Station is where the people were transported to the death camps. Thousands of people left from this station never to return. It now has a memorial there and there is work underway, the train track still runs alongside the station.
We are very grateful to Krystian for his time and for sharing such a powerful history with us. It really does make me so very grateful to be able to live the life that I live. You can read more about the ghetto and the history here.
Our last night was spent checking out the Light Move Festival. This takes place every September and was what inspired the trip to Lodz. The buildings are lit up with coloured lights and slideshows, there’s music and everyone gets into the spirit of the festival.
It’s very busy, it was quite a shock to see so many people as it had been fairly quiet before the festival. I loved the violinist at the park, the lights seemed to move in time with the music and the reflections on the water were beautiful. It’s a fantastic atmosphere and it reminded me of New Year’s Eve celebrations.
I took a lot of photos so I’ve put them all on Flickr for you to see. I really enjoyed my visit to Łódź.