Friday, October 20, 2017

Pondering Ponder

Historic house in Ponder
One of our small communities has had a rather infamous history. According to local legend, Bonnie and Clyde tried to rob the Ponder State Bank the week after it went broke. This may not be true since it’s not listed in the Barrow Gang's activities; the robbery may have been attempted by another outlaw, Eddie Bentz. This didn’t prevent movie makers from filming the Bonnie and Clyde in the north Texas area with some of the actors and other workers visiting Ponder during their time in near this town.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Wroclaw Reviews

Girl Statue
I had no expectations coming to this city beyond that it would have cobblestone streets. And although it did have those ankle breakers, the city has lots to recommend it. There are all sorts of hotels, many more good restaurants than I had anticipated in a city this size, and a myriad of things to do in town. It is also located relatively close to other places of interest, such as the Baltic Sea, Krakow, and the concentration/extermination camp museums. If it were not so difficult to get to Wroclaw, I would certainly come back. Lots of tourist areas are closed at odd times. The market is closed on Wednesdays; some museums are closed Mondays; and somethings are supposed to be open and aren’t and vice versa. If you want to do something and it’s available to do right then, do it! Also, don’t be afraid to open what looks like a closed door to a site. It may just be shut rather than closed.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Going after Gnomes

They are hiding in plain sight and are usually found first by children since
Welcome to Wroclaw
the kids are much closer to the ground. You’d think that it would be easy to find many of these 400 statues, but that’s not the case! They eluded us at every turn. We finally bought a map only to learn that the little beasties had changed locations, or simply vanished; and there were many more that weren’t on the map at all! The Gnomes of Wroclaw (or Dwarfs as they are called locally) are two-foot tall statues that lend great whimsy to the city and captivate visitors into seeing the sights by going on a Gnome hunt. Their history, however, is much more political.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Lest we forget…

While World War II and its aftermath were horrible and there were more
Grounds of the Auschwitz-Birkeniu
State Museum
tragic occurrences than have ever been reported, the worst was the Holocaust. This came about because of bigotry and hatred, two characteristics of mankind that the winning of any war or the embracing of any religion has not obliterated from our collective consciences. One of the most interesting stories was told by Jakob, our Free Walking Tour guide, was about his grandmother. For many of the people in Poland the war didn’t end in 1945; his grandmother still overbuys when she goes to the grocery just in case they need the food to flee. When US leaders start talking about ‘registering’ people, the first thing that springs to mind is how the Jews and other minorities were ‘registered’. Let’s hope the population in this country never has to make the choices that the people in Europe had to make.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Walking in Wrocław, Part 2

And walking was what I did most often during my visit. Although I spent a
Wall art
week in the city, I don’t feel as though I scratched the surface of Wrocław’s history; I still don’t know why there are so many churches in such a small area. In this blog you’ll see several of the sites I visited that were around the main square. Wandering around the square is a good way to spend time; the map makes it look as though everything is very far away and Google maps gives walking times that are only accurate if you are dragging your feet. The old town is mostly traffic free and the cars do have to yield to you IF you are in a crosswalk. People are friendly and will try to help you find your way; once you’ve found a particular landmark, it’s an easy city to navigate. Many of tourist areas are closed at odd times. For instance, the Hala Targowa (Market Hall) is closed on Wednesdays while some museums are closed Mondays; and somethings are supposed to be open at specific times aren’t, and vice versa. If you want to do something and it’s available to do right then, do it! Also, don’t be afraid to open what looks like a closed door to a site; it may just be shut rather than closed.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Walking in Wrocław, Part 1

My friend, Barb, said, ‘The IFLA Annual Conference is in Wrocław,
Wrocław city square
Poland this year. Do you want to go?’ I’d never been in Poland, nor did I know anything about Wrocław so I replied, ‘Of course!’ And off we went on a rather unusual adventure. Wrocław has a history dating back a thousand years and throughout that time has functioned as the capital of Silesia and Lower Silesia; it’s still the capital of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship (a governmental region similar to a county).  Currently it’s considered one of the best places in Europe to live because of the high level of art appreciation, education, and international business; this is probably why it is the fourth-largest city in Poland. While the part of the city that we saw was attractive, I particularly liked the historic part. It’s very walkable with plenty of things to see and do as well as good places to eat and shop.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Just in Justin

Bishop Park, Justin
What I didn’t know about this town would fit in a boot. Back before the settlers arrived, this fertile land was home to Native Americans, specifically the Navajo. Conflict between these people and the settlers arose in about 1841, resulting in the Battle of Village Creek. About seven years later, French utopian socialists established an Icarian community at the juncture of Denton and Oliver Creeks. They were given several thousand acres by the Peters Colony, but conflict with Peters and unforgiving conditions brought on by Texas weather caused the 70 or so settlers to abandon the area within two years.