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Saturday, July 13: Day 82 – All Things Water!!!!

Now here is an interesting museum. The Hydropolis is all about water: where it comes from, what we do with it, why it is important, etc.

Science: vapor, water, ice and the water cycle

Sacred: flood, baptism

Machines: boats to millwheels to water clocks.

Archeology: conservative estimates say that there are a million shipwrecks in the ocean.

Ancient: cities thrived when they could give their citizens access to drinking water – aquaducts, cisterns, reservoirs.

“Water is to nature what blood is to the body.” DaVinci

Art: Impressionists Monét’s Waterlillies to Thomas Cole’s Voyage of Life

There was a spa in the middle of the museum route. (Every museum needs one of these!) There are lounge chairs for you to kick back and listen to waves and rain. Restrooms are nearby since after listening to all that water, you’ll need to potty.)

Oceans: The hadal zone is the deepest part of the ocean named after Hades.

The Mariana Trench (36,070 ft.) is deeper than Mt Everest (29,029 ft.) is high by at least two miles.

Thousands have climbed Mt. Everest, an amazing and daring feat. Twelve people have walked on the moon; only three have descended to the deepest ocean trench known as the Mariana trench.

Don Walsh and Jacque Piccard reached the bottom in the 1960’s. They weren’t there as scientists but just to see what worked and what didn’t to pave the way for those scientists who would come after. All the instruments were one of a kind prototypes.

Their descent took 5 hours and 15 minutes. There was no communication. A sonar took 12 seconds. I would have been so frightened. The pressure is 8 tons per square inch. (FYI: The third person was Jim Cameron in 2012.)

Another scientist named Sylvia Earle made history by walking on the ocean floor off the coast of Hawaii in 1979.

Contained in an armored diving suit called JIM, she descended 1,250 feet while strapped to the front of a small research submersible. Once on the seafloor, Earle untethered herself from the vehicle and went exploring at a depth no human had done before for more than two hours.

“It is like a zoo where you see creatures that you never knew existed.”

“Scientists and explorers (and might I say world travelers) like children, ask questions. Never grow up!”

At the end of the exhibit we marveled at the water printer. Watch this short video:

When we left the museum, God continued the theme of the day by providing a downpour on our walk home. We found shelter with several others.

Our evening tour was called Bridges and Islands. Wroclaw has 112 bridges and 12 islands. Some call it the Venice of the North. Historically, bridges did not arrive there until the 19th century. Wroclaw was on the Amber Road and the island inhabitants would demand a tax to pass.

In 1997, there was a millennium flood. University students tried to save rare library books.

Each island has a theme: cathedral, student, university, children, Marina, architecture, lovers, etc.

Poles went to church as a protest against communism. To be Polish meant that you were Roman Catholic. Here the churches were packed with people in defiance.

Pope John Paul II asked that no monuments be made of him when he died and instead to donate the money to charity. When he died, there were hundreds of monuments made. He was so loved by the Poles.

Miscellaneous Interesting Facts

European Union has been good for Poland as they gave them money to rebuild.

Chicago is known as the second capital of Poland.

There are very few pigeons in Wroclaw. They have introduced birth control to lower the population.

We wonder why no one crosses the street when it is red when there is no traffic. We learned that there are police who will fine you 100 zlotys (about $25). They speak English and take credit cards.

The following picture is of the first building built after communism and was purposely made different and colorful after years of the grey naked buildings of Communism. This was a top tourist attraction in Poland and many traveled here to get their picture taken in front of this building.

Wrocław is one of only two cities in Europe that still employs a lamplighter (the other being Brest, Belarus).

The first gas lantern was lit in Wrocław in 1846 and gas street lamps were common throughout the city even after the war and up until the 1960’s when they were replaced in the Old Town. Fortunately those on Cathedral Island survived modernization and the tradition of the Wrocław lamplighter is carried on to this day. Every day this gentleman can be seen at dusk in his unique cape and top hat lighting the 103 gas lamps in the district and then extinguishing them again at dawn.

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