My second full day in Łódź lacks the warm company of Jo, who made yesterday so pleasant, and my sightseeing feels a bit weary and unprofitable. After a very satisfactory breakfast, I dilly-dally before setting off. This time I have a plan, but I suspect more pleasure comes from desultory rambling, just stumbling across things. I’m gradually getting my head around the geography of inner Łódź and mastering the 11 tram route as I develop a theory about the number of days one (or at least this one) needs to orient oneself in a new city. I juggle two pamphlets, a map, a notebook and an unwillingness to make an effort. The plan is to leave the promenade part of ul Piotrkowska and head down towards the Central Museum of the Textile Industry, taking in a few villas and some factories. As I set off, I have to swallow my boast about mastery of tram route: it’s exactly that route I’m now walking down and I had no idea!
I reach the museum, and again I’m in the world of brick. It’s a glorious day, so I only spend a short time inside. A mural offers graphic confirmation of the pollution that drove Łódź rivers underground, and a projection of the factory floor with one woman attending many clattering looms shows clearly how machines put an end to cottage industry.The technicalities of textile manufacture are beyond me so I opt for patterns. Once the machinery changes from wood to metal I lose photographic interest. However two things capture my imagination: a reconstruction of the spinning jenny, a key invention in the mechanisation of weaving; and a reconstruction of an ancient vertical loom, with its loom weights.
Outside, I spend a pleasant half-hour wandering round the skansen: wooden buildings with a simple beauty from the early nineteenth century.
I leave the museum passing the elegant gate and the guardian dwarf, catching a glimpse of what might be a river …
… and head up to the other end of town to pay a duty call on Manufaktura, a 27 hectare complex resulting from the “revitalisation” of an old factory building. It takes me about two seconds to decide I don’t want to be here amidst razzmatazz, crowds and commerce, despite the clever repurposing, and I go back to ul Piotrkowska for lunch.