Posted: 7/26/2008
Title: IS POLAND READY ?, YOU BET !

Blog:                                                                                                                         

     I only had 4 hours in WROCLAW on a day trip from Dresden in Germany, otherwise the later return train would take 12 hours via Warsaw and Berlin instead of 4 hours direct. Wroclaw main station looks as if it needs to be  'tarted up' a bit and is similar to many Eastern European stations I have  experienced, with tiny little hole-in-the wall ticket and information counters, and not enough light. Well, when they give the old girl a scrub she should look fine,and already a McDonalds and KFC brighten the gloom.

     Wroclaw is a delight -a mix of ancient and modern, and lots of young people speaking English. Well, if you go to Dublin, Belfast. Barcelona, Liverpool, Edinburgh etc. these places would not run smoothly without the hundreds of thousands of temporary and full time residents who arrived after the country gave up Communism and joined the West.

     According to Hanna Domogala, who spent 16 years in Ontario, Canada and returned  and is now the director of operations for WROCLAW 2012, one of 4 Polish cities that is supposed to be co host with Ukraine in 4 years time, all is on time.  After touring the old town and visiting a very useful city tourist office I went to see Hanna round the corner at the office that already employs 20 peope. Its upstairs above a store selling machine guns and machine pistols and lots of other 'Heavy Metal', so watch out you English hooligans. She told me that all four host cities would expand their train stations, and I saw plans to double the size of the international airport than has lots of flights with LOT Polish Airlines, Lufhansa and Ryan Air and other discount airlines. COPERNICUS AIRPORT is named after the lad of the same name., Nicolaus Copernicus, the first astronomer., 1473-1543.   PKP the train company will have more high speeds trains between the 4 host cities, Wroclaw, Warsaw, Gdansk and Poznan.   Breslau is the German name for Wroclaw on many maps.

    The stadium, just called MUNICIPAL STADIUM for the moment, was approved recently and tenders are out for construction, planned to start at the end of this year.  JSK of Dusseldorf were the architects chosen after a contest and it will be situated 7 km from the airport and 6km from downtown, with fast transport between.  www.wroclaw.pl/euro2012 will tell you much more. They intend to raise some big bucks by selling the 'naming rights'.  At the moment the local club SLASK WROCLAW play in a small 8,000 capacity stadium, but will move into the new 40,000 all seater as soon as it opens.

    Outside, the city was jumping, with the week long ERA NOWE HORYZONTY (New Horizons) Film Festival, and with 20% of the 650,000 populations students, there is lots to do, and during Euro 2012 presumably lots of 'cheap sleeps' during college vacation.

    If you consider that Germany has 120,000 km of autobahns, Poland only has 699 km and Ukraine just 16km!!, then you can see that there us work to be done.  Its Ukraine that has everybody at UEFA worried. Just look at the distance between Wroclaw and Donetsk in the East of Ukraine, near the Russian border. It would take a couple of days for fans to get between those cities by train, and air connections are not good. Note my statistics on the Ukrainian autobahn as well. There is a big debate in Kiev, where the  2012 final is supposed to be played at a remade Olympic Stadium(Olympic because as part of the Soviet Union it hosted Olympic soccer matches in 1980). After the Orange Revolution things haven't gone smoothly and this week in BILD, the German daily newspaper there were quotes from Wolfgang Niersback the DFB General Secretary and DFB President Theo Zwanzige, about the possibility of using Hamburg, Berlin, Hannover  and Leipzig as an alternate if Ukraine is a no go. (I would personally support Dresden with its new stadium as another alternative.)

  

 

 

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