This week at school I was privileged to help with an interdisciplinary learning exercise where I worked with a group of students on a short film. While I play a math teacher the majority of the time, it was nice to shift into someone different for a class day. I probably should be dwelling on the fact that I was roped into a feature theatrical role for the film and my final scene was quickly screenshot and posted to social media . . . But that would take away the fun ‒‒ talk about scary.
In the middle of preparing for this special film I offered my camera for use. Little did I know that one of my memory cards kept a reminder of a previous Polish excursion, filmed exactly one year ago this weekend. Fittingly, the footage that remained from my trip to Opole, a small city between Katowice and Wroclaw, was entirely intact including the first four minutes where I had climbed up the city walls and my witty side comments were muted for no other ears to enjoy. Trust me, they were classic.
I remember it all so well from that February weekend in 2023. I was bummed when I returned to my hotel room that night. It wasn’t only from the worst pizza I had ever eaten on Polish soil; I mean how hard is it for an American themed restaurant to use some tomato sauce? No, I was more upset over the fact this side trip to the zoo started off with a bunch of unusable footage. I still don’t know if it was the weather, cold temps, or just bad luck, but that exploration to Bolko island was a mixed bag on camera.
In fact, I was ready to write off the entire trip to Opole, as a giant waste of time. If only the earlier footage was still preserved and my tale of wo from the city center restaurant where the chef messed up my sandwich and then refused to correct the order. Now that was some amazing entertainment. We also had several minutes of me gallivanting around the Venice inspired canals and sidewalks, but all of it was lost.
Fast forward to the present and this time capsule to the second part of my Opole trip is a wonderful reminder on how you can’t judge a city or an area by initial impressions. Walking around Bolko Island, I was a bit underwhelmed. I even said as much on the video, with some extra choice words outside the famous zoo. And yet, venturing around that part of the city left enough of an impression to explore more the following morning.
There are no pictures or films from one of my favorite runs in all of Poland. Truly, running along the Ober and catching glimpses of deer, rabbits, and other wildlife was refreshing and reason enough for me to consider returning to that city. With my spirit renewed from that awesome run, I took a different side street back to the train station. Not only did I find some beautiful architecture, but restaurants and shops that begged for more attention.
To some Opole is the Venice of Poland, to others it’s a no name town with a music festival college students flock to in the summer months, in between the hustle of Wroclaw and Krakow where tourists remain in awe. If you are lucky enough to venture outside the tourist hubs, add this little wonder to your list. Just don’t go in the middle of winter and please don’t be afraid to add some sauce to your pizza.
Meet Mr. Jon
- a traveler at heart who loves a good story and walk. Jonathan has over twenty years experience in independent publishing. While he prides himself on crafting a good story, nothing truly beats an adventure and a camera.