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Monday, July 15: Day 84 – Used to Be

We watched Wimbledon on the big screen at a Czech bar in Wroclaw. Both Federer and Djokovic are so evenly matched. I wish that they both could win. It lasted almost five hours with the decision made on a 5th set tiebreaker. Federer used to be #1.

All the walking tours have a theme and a target audience. We took an English speaking Old Town tour. It lasted 2½ hours and the tour guide was concerned about our physical and cognitive limits. Boy, did he have me pegged!!

We saw a group of nuns (pronounced nouns by our tour guide) on a tour. I was amazed that the nuns’ guide pointed out a fountain with a statue of a naked man on top. There was an internal conflict for each of them: they weren’t sure if the should study it or avert their eyes.

On the main square was the pillory which used to be the site for executions up until 1842. For minor offenses, one could be put in to a cage for up to three days. Its presence served as a deterrent as well as an entertainment opportunity. Our guide said that the Polish have a weird sense of humor. They find problems and suffering of others very funny.

Rob found an interesting legend so we circumnavigated the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in search of a statue head embedded in the side of of tower wall that appears to be screaming.

The legend is that this man fell in love with a woman who had a very wealthy father. When he asked her father for her hand in marriage the father refused, because the young man was too poor for his daughter. The young man claimed that he would come back in a year with a fortune.

The young man spent the following year as a thief, thinking this was the quickest way to gain a fortune. When he returned with his fortune the father again denied the young man his daughter’s hand in marriage because the young man’s soul became so black with sin. The young man became mad and attempted to kill the father and the young woman by burning them alive. The young man ran to the Cathedral tower to get a good look at their house burning. According to the legend God made the window shrink to where the young man’s head was stuck. People heard his screams and assumed they were coming from the burning building. The last thing the young man saw was the young woman and her father being freed from the burning building. What he used to love, he now wanted to destroy.

This popular courtyard restaurant used to be a prison.

This beautiful manicured garden used to be a soccer field.

This wall used to be a site where mass executions took place in WWII by the Germans.

Cathedral Island used to be an island but now is part of the mainland. They still call it an island. They have many bridges that cross the Oder River and Wroclaw is third to Amsterdam and Venice in the greatest number of bridges.

At one spot on Cathedral island, one is able to see five Gothic churches.

There used to be a live mortar shell in this cathedral tower.

It was removed and diffused (how would you like that job) and put back in the tower as a reminder of WWII.

This street used to be the street where the butchers were. One can see the troughs where blood ran along the street and down to the river.

Now it is a row of artist stalls where individuals have set up shops. A monument to the animals that were slaughtered here has been erected. These lifelike brass statues were made by different artists. The goat even has brass poop!

When you think about it, everything used to be something else!

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