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Adventure: The Metropolitan City of Wroclaw, Poland

By Adventures, Friends & Family, Thinking, TravelNo Comments

I recently visited Wroclaw in Poland with my brother and his friends for his stag do and his birthday. It was the first time I had met many of my brother’s friends and they are a great bunch of lads. In this post I’ll be discussing my experience of being in Wroclaw.

The first thing to write is that the architecture is aesthetically pleasing. There are many buildings with a Georgian style and many churches that are exquisitely designed. Here is an example of one such church:

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A Church in Wroclaw, Poland.

Here are two photos of fountains I took:

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Fountain (1).

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Fountain (2).

Wroclaw is vibrant, youthful and has an upbeat feel. It is a clean city, only being let down by graffiti that is everywhere. There are plenty of places to eat and drink, with some even having English menus upon request. The cost of living is cheap with roughly 10 slotty (about £2) buying a double vodka and diet coke. I did have difficulties getting zero sugar drinks in a number of places, which was a bit of an issue with me being diabetic.

The only Polish word I managed to learn was Kawa, which means coffee. The main square is huge and has flower market stalls that appear to be open 24/7. I found myself listening to Polish conversations as I walked around and appreciating the beautiful sound of the language. Some Polish spoke English exceptionally well whereas others didn’t speak any English at all. I found the Google Translate App really useful.

Without doubt it is people that make a city. All appeared happy, content and liberal. Polish people had less inhibitions when it came to dancing than we English have. Polish people will quite happily bump into anyone in their way in pubs and clubs. This is normal to the Polish, but being British I found it a little rude.

As Poland is known for being Roman Catholic and as such conservative when it comes to gay people and their rights. I decided to test the waters with a Polish man who I had been talking to and getting on with whilst smoking a cigarette. I came out and asked his views on gay people. He said:

“I don’t care, I don’t give a fuck. That’s your choice. We’re all just friends here.”

He described himself as not being religious, male, heterosexual and was in his mid twenties.

Overall Wroclaw is a beautiful city, with wonderful people and a place that I will be visiting again.

Take care,

Antony

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The Hadrian’s Wall Adventure (Part 1) – Lanercost Priory, Banks East Turret & Birdozwald Roman Fort

By Adventures, Friends & Family, Happiness & Joy, Life, NatureNo Comments

Recently my good friend Simon and I went up to Cumbria to visit Hadrian’s Wall and places of interest nearby. We planned to follow Hadrian’s Wall from Cumbria to the beginning of Northumberland. We deliberately missed out Carlisle Castle, as we felt that this would probably take up most of the time on our day trip and wanted to see as many places as possible. It was great weather and we set off at 07:45am, completing the drive from home to Lanercost Priory in about two and a half hours with a service station stop.

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Hadrian’s Wall Sign

Before I write about Lanercost Priory and the other places we visited, I want to say that most places were well sign posted and on Google Maps (providing that you could get a mobile phone signal). Two things should be noted:

  1. Romans like to build things on the top of hills – so good mobility is required. Carparks are short or long up-hill walks from places of interest. Some places have free car parking whereas others you have to pay. Once you’ve paid for parking in one carpark, you are covered in most others using the same ticket. But I would still encourage you to check that you are covered with your ticket. If in doubt, ask English Heritage Staff who will be able to tell you.
  2. Most sites are looked after by English Heritage, with some places being free entry and other places being paid entry. English Heritage don’t do an all-day ticket that covers the admission fees to all charged places of interest that they run. So you have to pay per place, and this means that the cost can quickly add up.

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1. Lanercost Priory

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Lanercroft gate entrance remains.

Lanercost Priory is an architecturally beautiful Priory complete with traditional working church. The Priory’s beauty is increase by the sunlight.

Inside the church I didn’t take any photos out of respect. But in the centre of the room is a ginormous plane-glassed window which gives a superb view of the priory.

Essential Info and plenty of photos below:

Essential Info:

  • A Priory & Church. Priory dates back to the 13th century.
  • Highly Recommended.
  • Admission Fee: £4.60 with gift aid (£4.10 without)
  • Opening Times: View Here
  • Cafe: It has a Cafe but it is expensive, so avoid.
  • Toilets.
  • Gift Shops: It has plenty of them which were overpriced.
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Lanercost Church

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The Priory (1).

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The Priory (2)

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The Priory (3)

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The Priory (4) – A Small Door with Lovely Brickwork

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The Priory (5) – Tomb

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The Priory (6) – Roof.

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The Priory (7 – Tomb Carving (close up).

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The Priory (8) – Another Tomb.

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The Priory (9) – Hand Carved Baby’s Tomb.

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The Priory (10) – Another Tomb.

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The Priory (11) – Another Tomb Carving.

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The Priory (12) – Door to ruins.

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The Priory (13) – Simon in a doorway.

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The Priory (14) – Courtyard remains.

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The Priory (15) – Side building that would have been the kitchen.

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The Priory (16) – An outside view.

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The Priory (17) – Rectory Undercroft from the 13th century.

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The Priory (18) – Me being silly with an open gate (1).

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The Priory (19) – Me being silly with an open gate (2).

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The Priory (20) – Inside the kitchen building, which would have been four floors up. The Ivy growing up the ruins of the building were beautiful, so I just had to take a photo of it.

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2. Banks East Turret
Along Hadrian’s Wall at each Roman mile was either a Turret, Milecastle or Fort (written in order of size from smallest to largest).

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Banks East Turret gives you a feel for how wide the wall was (about 8 feet wide).

Bank East Turret gives a good indication of the width of Hadrian’s Wall, being approximately eight to nine feet wide. Hadrian’s Wall would have stood at sixteen to twenty feet tall, but unfortunately there is no place where the wall remains intact. People took it down to build smaller walls and other buildings sometime after Hadrian had built it.

Out of all the turret’s we came across, Banks East Turret is the Turret that had most to see. It has free admission and parking and has an exquisite view of the landscape.

Essential Info and photos of Banks East Turret are below:

Essential Info:

  • A Turret that would have been on Hadrian’s Wall.
  • Has a exquisite view of the landscape.
  • Highly Recommended.
  • Admission Fee: Free
  • Opening Times: all days & times.
  • Parking: Free
  • Gift Shops: It has plenty of them which were overpriced.
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    Banks East Turret remains (1).

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    Banks East Turret remains (2).

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    Banks East Turret has free parking and an exquisite view of the landscape.

    From Banks East Turret we drove to Birdoswald Roman Fort. Along the road were a few tiny turrets that aren’t worth stopping for, just slow down the car and take a glance out of the window on the way past.

    3. Birdoswald Roman Fort & Museum
    At Birdoswald Roman Fort & Museum is were we saw Hadrian’s Wall at it’s tallest. It’s a good opportunity to get a good photo of the wall. It costs £6.80 with gift aid (£6.10 without gift aid) for entry to a tiny museum that we walked around in 5 minutes and is totally overpriced. It has a paid carpark, but the ticket can be used at other sites throughout the day. It has toilets and a reasonably priced Cafe. The place features foundations and although they are mildly impressive, they are nothing when compared to Vindoland Roman Fort & Museum.

    Rather than paying for entry, you can walk around the outside of the fort for free and see the foundations over a small wooden fence. Below are Essential Info and photos:

    Essential Info:

    • Remains of a Roman Fort, mostly foundations only.
    • Cautiously Recommended: We would recommend walking around the outside of the Fort and looking in. Admission fee too expensive and not value for money.
    • Admission Fee: £4.80 with gift aid (£6.10 without)
    • Opening Times: View Here
    • Car Parking: Paid, but can use ticket across other sites throughout the day.
    • Cafe: Reasonably priced. Well worth stopping here for a drink and cake.
    • Toilets.
    • Gift Shops: One small gift shop.
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    Hadrian’s Wall View at Birdozwald Roman Fort.

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    Birdozwald Roman Fort – Photo Opportunities, especially on the outside of the fort.

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    Another View of Hadrain’s Wall.

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    Birdoswald Roman Fort (1) – The Foundations, which for price of entry were disappointing.

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    Birdoswald Roman Fort (2) – The Foundations, which for price of entry were disappointing.

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    Birdoswald Roman Fort (3) – Remains of gate entrance.

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    Birdoswald Roman Fort (4) – Remains of gate entrance house (1).

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    Birdoswald Roman Fort (5) – Remains of gate entrance house (2).

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    Birdoswald Roman Fort (6) – A beautiful view from outside of the fort.

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    Another view of Hadrian’s Wall.

    In Part 2, I’ll be writing about and sharing more photos of: Bridge Over River Irthing, Milecastle 48, Poltross Burns Milecastle, Walltown Quary & Vindoland Roman Fort & Museum.

    Blog soon,

    Antony

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