Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Görlitz: The Good and the Bad

As far as first impressions go, Poland can thank Zgorzelec for a lousy one. Zgorzelec being the Polish side of Görlitz, Germany’s eastern most city. Görlitz is utterly charming. It has three impressive church buildings, three old towers, an old town hall with an astrological clock, and so on and so forth.

But. Reader, beware! When you stand next the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul and look across the river into Poland and think, “Wow! That is really ugly, but I think I will cross that bridge so I can say I was in Poland,” you need to know that is the beginning of a bad idea. For, when you cross that bridge, you will be informed that you are not a resident of the city and you must cross at the next bridge where the border crossing is located. Since it is a nice day, you might just walk down the river to the right bridge, not knowing that the next bridge is a really long walk away. When you finally get into Poland, you might decide that since you are hungry you will change some money and find a place to eat so you can say you ate in Poland. After walking around Zgorzelec for the better part of an hour, you will realize that there is nothing to eat near the border! But your car (and all the German restaurants) is an hour’s walk into downtown Görlitz! So you change your Polish money back into Euros (except for the coins that can’t be changed so you are stuck with them) and head back famished, tired, and thoughroly unimpressed with Poland, which is probably under normal circumstances not a bad country.

So, if you go to Görlitz and want to experience Poland, drive across the border.

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