Tag Archives: abbey

Lubiąż Abbey – a little walk round

On my last trip to Poland, I happened to visit Lubiąż Abbey, one of the largest Christian Complexes in the world and while today its Holy functions no longer exist, it is still a significant tourist draw in this part of Silesia. Of course, the day I went Siberia had decided to camp out in Poland (although it was still October) meaning that it was…well…cold when I visited the former monastery on the banks of the Odra.

A little history (my usual Wiki-Quote). The first Christian functions on this site were established around 1150. Like many parts of Silesia, its history is intertwined with the political wrangling that this part of Europe has found itself in. Lubiaz Abbey has come under the control of the Prussian States, the Polish, the Bohemians and even the Habsburgs of Austria-Hungary.

But it is during WWII that Lubiaz’s history come closer to the history in the UK. While occupied by Nazi Germany, Lubiaz’s vast underground complex was home to the engine factories for the V1 and V2 rocket bombs. This vast slave labour camp existed until the Red Army invaded. The Abbey itself fell into decay until 1989 and the fall of Communism. Restoration started and it is a process that continues today.

One little titbit about the Abbey was that in 1997 Michael Jackson visited Lubiaz. Rumour has it that his helicopter tour and stop-off was to see if he could buy the Abbey. Well, his offer was rejected. However, according to the guide who took us round, the visit was meant to be kept a secret, but the whole village (and most of the surrounding area) turned out to greet the King of Pop! Given the traditional Polish welcome of bread and salt, Michale Jackson was in Lubiaz Monastery for only 20 minutes. It is reported that he was astounded by the lavish interiors. Yes, I did go inside, but we were not allowed to take photos inside of the Abbey 😦

Yeah, I think you noticed it was snowing like crazy that day. Of all the days to see a top tourist attraction, I had to pick the one day in October where Siberia decided to decamp. Snow was everywhere, but luckily, having been bitten by the famed Polish cold earlier this year, I came fully wrapped up.

One little extra you will see at the abbey is an exhibition on old German trains. I do not exactly understand the reasoning behind it (other than the fact that Lubiaz was a hot tourist spot when it was called ‘Lubies’ and a part of Germany). Although I could not get exactly what everything was about, it was fascinating to see the old cultural links that used to exist between Silesia and its big neighbour to the west (something that is more evident in Wroclaw).

Getting there and away:

One word – car. It maybe only 40 miles or so from Wroclaw, but Lubiaz is a small village and it is difficult to get to. There are local (and infrequent) buses from the two nearest railheads in Glogow and Wroclaw throughout the day, but really, unless you have your own transport (or speak brilliant Polish), it is a pain to get here.

Accommodation here is non existent too, and the restaurant in the Abbey keeps limited opening hours, so plan your trip accordingly…

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The Motorcycle Diaries – Waltham Abbey

This should have been a relatively pleasant post about me wandering to a suburb of London to take in some of the local air and to treat myself to a bit of history. Instead this was a drama that nearly turned into a crisis. But before I get into a rant, here is my one photo of this corner of Essex that lies within spitting distance of the Capital:

Yes, Waltham Abbey is pretty historical. If you are into Medieval British history and live in London, this is one great place to come. The Abbey, the last one to survive the reformation, lies on the Greenwich Meridian and (if you believe in legends) Waltham Abbey is the resting place of King Harold (of Hastings Battle fame).

But did I get to experience any of this history? No. Of course not! This is me! And while I have never been truly been through the awful shits, I do have the luck of Charlie Brown. So, instead of experiencing some culture, the rear wheel of my bike punctured. So instead of enjoying this joyous part of London, I spent the day panicking before eventually finding a bike shop (thank you to the locals who helped me on the way). Now that did mean riding on the flat until it became too flat before then wheeling it to the bike shop for half a mile. And the tyre cost me £80 to replace. Now, I was going to replace my rear tyre in September, to be ready for the winter, so it was not a complete waste of time, but still, £80 when I did not budget for it!

As I renewed my motorbike insurance this weekend, I made sure to get breakdown cover as well…

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