Yes, I am settled in Łódź where I’ve gone to meet restlessjo in the world outside the blogosphere. But the settling has not been without adventure. I get off the train at the right station: just a kilometre stroll to the hotel, so I am told. But do I turn left or right? My map finishes just before the crucial spot and doesn’t register the train line. After a phone call to the hotel I’m on Tram 15A, but going the wrong way and I end up in the city. Crossing the line for a return tram doesn’t provide me with the option of a 15A. But all’s not lost. I spot a taxi rank. So I flourish my address, get trustingly into the taxi. It deposits me opposite an unlikely building in an area reminiscent of the dilapidation of Praga. I poke around hopefully, entering a dingy courtyard through grand peeling archways, and eventually bail up a man who is lounging against the wall and has just ejected a gob of spit. I show him the address I want and he manages to indicate that I am at First of May street, not Third of May street.
OK, so I’m in the wrong place, but how am I going to remedy this? No sign of a taxi rank, and by now trams scare me. I mutter expletives in some distress. Another man offers help. He points to the next cross street, tells me in mime that I can catch a tram there back to 3 Maja, even points the direction the tram needs to be travelling. My gratitude is without limit.
I find 3 Maja, and walk along a battered footpath, bordered with dandelions and crossed by a number of substantial puddles. Now my task is to find 15A. When I reach No 27, I finally acknowledge that I’ve gone too far. I begin to feel Apartmenty Hotelowe simply doesn’t exist. Then of course, there it is, just where it should be, well labelled “Bedrooms”, although the entrance is in a side street. The front is quite bushy, and the footpath at that point full of gaping holes and broken pipes, so I obviously missed it taking care of my footing.
By now I am tired, so I collapse in my very pleasant room for an hour or so before I feel brave enough to venture into town with a limited agenda: collect a fistful of pamphlets from the tourist information office. All very well, but in executing this plan, I manage to get the tram in the wrong direction on the way to town, and to overshoot my stop on the way back.
However, I do have a pleasant room, a foretaste of grand buildings lining a street stretching off into afternoon sunshine, an encounter with street statues, and I’ve located a very splendid and unmissable main tram station.
And so, as Samuel Pepys said long ago, to bed – and the pleasures of contemplating a day with restlessjo tomorrow.