Down in the sewers where nobody goes, there’s the Muzeum Kanału which is really popular with the locals, and simply involves a twenty minute tour of the underground. This was my first stop yesterday as it’s easily accessible by public transport.
Most trams travelling through the centre stop at Legionów – Zachodnia. If you then follow Legionów towards the massive statue, you’ll reach Plac Wolności. There’s a building on the right that belongs to the Muzeum Miasta Łodzi and this is where you can buy the tickets to the sewers.
At 6 / 4 zl, it’s definitely worth it. My tour guide took us round once as a big group, then let us wander through a second time at our own pace to snap a few photos. Just make sure you’re not claustrophobic and, again, if you don’t speak Polish, I’m afraid you’ll just have to listen and nod your head throughout the tour.
Once you climb back out again, take a moment to admire the massive statue I talked about. Plac Wolności, which translates to Freedom Square, is basically the centre of Łódź. The market square was given its name when Poland regained independence in 1918 and the monument was built in 1930. The German occupation demolished the monument in 1939 and renamed the square Deutschlandplatz (Germany Square). By 1960, after World War II, the monument had been rebuilt identical to before and it became Plac Wolności once more.
Plac Wolności lies at the top of ulica Piotrkowska, the main shopping street. At this northernmost end are where there are plenty of bargains to be found, with lots of cheap multi-purpose stores for you to pick up some souvenirs to take home. Don’t head down to the shops just yet.
The square is also home to several other museums. If you head back to the place where you bought the sewer tickets, you’ll find the Muzeum Farmacji. Sponsored by Professor Jana Muszyńskiego, the museum recreates a nineteenth century pharmacy. I was luckily enough to stumble in on an English tour (ask at the desk for details) which made the experience much more entertaining. Our guide even demonstrated the methodology in the production of drugs by creating pills from plasticine. Admission is 6/3 zl but if you can organise a guided tour, it’s definitely worth it.
The last museum round the square is the Muzeum Archeologiczne i Etnograficzne. This hosts my favourite exhibits so far. The cost of a ticket is 9/6 zl or free on Tuesdays (unfortunately, as you guys know, I was at the zoo on Tuesday). The first part of the museum is dedicated to old foreign and local currency which is interesting enough, but it only warranted a few glances as I walked through.
The next exhibit really grabbed my attention. Apparently, Poland is home to four glacial fields and in the youngest one, remains of civilisations have been discovered. You’ll find old pottery, rugs, weapons, and even skeletons on display, along with various mineral rocks found on archeological digs.
Once you’ve been torn away from the dead bodies, you’ll stumble onto the final floor. Here, you’ll walk through display after display of traditional Polish costumes and homes throughout the centuries. A true rounded experience of what it means to be a Pole.
After this museum, you could head onto the shopping street and spend the rest of your day browsing the wares of local stores. I didn’t. I hopped on a bus to the Herbst Palace, part three of the Museum Sztuki exhibits that I visited yesterday. Yes, the 1 zl ones. Remember when I told you to buy a three part pass? That only works if you’re visiting them all on the same day which is probably a good idea. For me and other under 26 years olds, it barely makes a difference. Oh, and did I mention that the Herbst Palace has free admission on Thursdays?
If you take bus no. 96, as Google recommended to me, you’ll be dropped off in the middle of a run down estate. Try and stick to the main roads and you’ll soon find the way. To avoid this confusion, find a no. 77 bus instead which stops right outside the Palace. Head inside and enjoy the incredible scenery.
Herbst Palace is home to a museum of furniture and other rare collections, an art gallery, and a beautifully maintained garden – not to mention the obligatory cafe for visitors. Take your pick or visit them all, it’s up to you. I spent the most time in the garden, updating my Instagram with some pretty photos.
For dinner that evening, I visited the most amazing restaurant, Impresja, on ulica Radwaska. It is pancake heaven. There are so many different fillings available from sweet cheese to mexican to greek to oreos. Topped off with delicious sauces, and all for under 12 zl (£2.50), who could say no?
Seriously, guys, the lady who runs this restaurant is the sweetest person. It’s open 8 to 8 throughout the week, 8 to midnight on Friday, and continues on a similar pattern throughout the weekend. And it’s always deserted. It’s such a shame that the locals don’t visit more often, which means she only snags the occasional passing tourist. My hotel happens to be round the corner, but at only a ten minute walk from the main shopping street, it’s absolutely worth the effort.
I spent most of Friday sorting out some admin work for my blog, purchasing a few souvenirs and presents for my family, and then revisiting Impesja for another fantastic dinner. Tomorrow, if all goes to plan, I’ll be off to visit the Open Air Textiles Museum.