Friday, 4 April 2014

Poland: Signs and Portents 5

An occasional series in which I display interesting signs encountered in Poland. This collection is from my Lonely Planet research trip in 2007, when I was accompanied by Narrelle Harris...

1. We saw this excellent hotel sign in the northern city of Słupsk (pronounced swoopsk), in Pomerania. Poland in those days was full of retro neon signage of this sort. Sadly it's now slowly disappearing. I used this pic as my desktop wallpaper for a long time, I liked it so much:


2. We found this stone memorial in a park behind some big communist-era housing blocks in the town of Malbork, famous for its huge Teutonic Knights' castle. It was a monument to the artificial language Esperanto and its creator Ludwig Zamenhof, a multilingual resident of northeast Poland back when it was part of the Russian Empire:


3. This sign in the western city of Poznań translated as "second breakfast", a hobbit meal created by JRR Tolkien in his novel The Hobbit. It also happens to be Poland's version of the mid-morning snack:


4. We encountered this station sign on the Żnin District Railway, a narrow-gauge tourist railway northeast of Poznań. The place is pronounced venetsya, which made me wonder if it had been named after the city of Venice, Italy. Of the scary wicker animals waiting for the train, we shall say nothing:


5. Another hobbit reference! This was a bookshop in Toruń:


6. This delightful Toruń sign is a bit difficult to make out, but says "Mechanical Workshop, H Wakarecy" beneath the cyclist:


7. Finally, here's a hotel sign on Toruń's beautiful Gothic market square. It says "Hotel". But you worked that out, right?