Opole (pronounced, well, A-Po-Le, not Opal) is a small town situated roughly halfway (very roughly) between Wroclaw and beautiful Krakow. Unlike my other great stop off during this holiday, Opole is actually not a bad town. Small but perfectly contained it has all the usual amenities of a Polish town. The railway station, an overpriced hotel and a concert hall…
I will give the Polish one thing in their favour. They are cultural…maybe it is due to my Metropolitan location, but do provincial British towns have convert halls? With performances every night of the week?
This is also a very British town. You see, there are red phone boxes on the streets:
and British music clubs:
But in the case of the latter, what is the point? You see, there are no young people in Opole.
I went out on the town on a Saturday night. And not a single person was there to be found. The town was dominated by folks in their forties and fifties. And there were few families out and about. In fact, if you wanted night life, then head to the…ice cream parlour. Yeah. In this cold country, what everyone wanted to do was to eat cold food. Yeah…
But if you looked around there were plenty of advertising hoardings. Advertising work opportunities. In Holland. Anywhere but Poland. Welcome to South West Poland 2011, welcome to the EU and there is a good chance that if you know a Polish person in the UK, they always say they are from near Krakow. Try near Katowice or near Opole. And you want to know why there are so few young, working age people here in Opole.
But enough on the socio, politico and economico commentary. Let us head back to Opole town. It is a pretty place. With the usual cathedral, dinky bridges, a pretty pedestrianised centre and lots of public art dotted around. It is a fine town to stop over in, but do not expect any sparks of night life. A useful place to break up the journey, a pretty enough town to while away a day en route to somewhere else, but not a destination in itself…
Getting there and away:
Opole lies on the main railway line between Wroclaw and Katowice/Krakow. Easy to get to, several trains head there everyday, but watch out on a Sunday, as the trains often change their timings.
And really, there are plenty of ice cream bars, so this is not the place for diabetics!