September was fading from view as quickly as the summer was draining from the sky. Through the corridors I had heard sporadic tales of the light festival that finds it’s home in Łódź and although procrastination left me scrambling to get my hands on a ticket my fingertips were laced in luck. Chelsea and I snagged a hotel and two seats upon a train headed southwest. Autumn had just started to show it’s colors as we slipped onto a dull and clunky train sporting tattered and enclosed seating areas. The inner wizard in me was on the look out for a Honeydukes Express cart because we obviously boarded the wrong train. These trains no longer exist in the 21st century, unless you’ve climbed upon the janky Hogwarts Express. I am sure of it.
It was friday night and the city was attempting to resist darkness when we stepped onto it’s illogical streets. We were going to brave public transportation and we would be damned if it didn’t work out. But wouldn’t you know it? Erin and Chelsea ended up going the wrong way on the trolley and after 30 minutes of failed attempts at navigation we admitted defeat in the backseat of an uber.
We were staying in a Austin Powersesque hotel with 1970’s shag that clashed greatly with its modern flare but was situated nicely just off the main road. Although the cool air left us shivering and breathing smoke we needed to get food, a drink and then we could rest easy after a week of battling the youths of the world. We quickly joined the hoards of people, didn’t play the right game at a pub and twisted through the crowds until hunger took control and our dinner was sponsored by Zabka consisting of wine, junk food and chocolate. Tomorrow we will try again.
Sporting my best Autumn wear Chelsea and I began to explore the tattooed city of Łódź where murals are splashed upon walls from artists around the world and the streets are lined with statues. Home to some dilapidated buildings that hold ghosts of another time it’s streets can either be cheery or a bit eerie and barren in the morning. As afternoon approached us we met with some co-workers and cheers each other at a shot bar lined with records. Reunited with our friends we all skirted our way down to Pasaż Róży.
The moment one steps into Pasaż Róży the amount of beauty cannot be put into words. You cannot help but being paralysed by the three-storey high building dawning the most stunning mirrored dress. The walls played with the sun flirting with light and reflecting laughter as we snapped various pictures with Joanna Rajkowska’s beautiful masterpiece. (fun fact: this is the same artist responsible for the palm tree in Warsaw) We still had some daylight to burn before the lights took over the town so we headed to an establishment where we could cheers, grub and marvel at the city.
Once the sky was painted over with black ink the streets started to sparkle. There were bubbles sprinkled with fireflies dancing on strings, neon colours situated just perfectly so that one was deemed a queen for the night (or until the batteries ran out). Glasses illuminated faces outlining their realties with a highlighter’s touch. It seemed like a million hearts were beating as the lights drenched buildings coating them in rollicking colour. Upon one wall was a short movie that stopped many feet in their tracks. Even though there were some technical difficulties with the lights being in full effect we found our eyes filled with amazement.
Somehow Saturday melted into Sunday and we were back on the winding roads of Łódź which were taken over by a random motorcycle brigade. The sun was out to play and we enjoyed its sparkling rays from the Starbucks rooftop balcony until it was time to watch the fireman competition that was happening in the city square. Stretching out in the midst of the centre watching clouds and zip-liners zoom in and out of view our stomachs grew hungry for lody and lunch. Tired and weary soon enough our eyes were taking in the view of the Palace of Culture greeting the city I now call home.