I didn’t plan on going to Łodz (pronounced “Woodge”). In January 2019 I met a nice guy online who lives just outside of Łodz. In February we decided to meet and since I was craving a trip I left my hotel in Rzeszow which is in eastern Poland then took the train north west to Warsaw, then I took a second train to Łodz. I only had a week to spend there, but it was enough time to see all the sights. Łodz is a historical city with a punchy environment that the Europeans like to call punk, in America we call it funky. The city reminds me of Saint Louis due to the reclaimed old buildings with fun restaurants and bars showing off their industrial brick and steel frames.
I stayed in the Double Tree which is about a ten-minute walk from the fun streets and activities. It was February and winter wasn’t taking any breaks. I had my coats I brought over from France so I was nice and cozy for long walks exploring the city. I found an interesting restaurant while there, it’s very close to the Doubletree. The U Milscha was delicious and the ambiance was incredible! The restaurant is in an old villa which still has all its original details.
Lodzia as she was originally called dates back to 1332 when it was only a small town of eight hundred people. After Napoleon retreated from Russia, the Russian Empire incorporated Łodz into the its Congress Poland. Due to the many rivers, streams and forests for lumber the city slowly grew into a manufacturing center by 1825. People from as far away as the UK and France came to work in the city. By 1850 Łodz was the largest textile manufacturer in the Russian Empire. By the early 1900s the city was one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
The Germans later occupied Łodz, but only for three years. After WW1 Poland was able to get her independence, but soon after the independence Łodz lost most inhabitants due to a combination of influenza and the migration of German and Russian inhabitants back to their home countries. Years later the city also lost the German and Russian markets for trading.
In 1948 the National Film School moved into Lodz and doing so created an industry of film.
Only fifteen years ago the city had over forty percent unemployment. Today the speedy regeneration is visibly changing the city, the largest retired factory has been turned into Manufaktura which houses a mall, hotel, museums and a range of restaurants, activities and shops. There are also many shops, cafes and restaurants found along the famous long pedestrian Piotrkowska Street. Cobblestone streets lined with brick hipster bars and restaurants are spread around the city. Alleys off of Piotrkowska street host more cafes, restaurants, hotels and bars. The city is a street art paradise; the art includes the Róża’s Passage mosaics, Fairy Tale Łodz with nine cartoonish statues which can be spotted around the city and massive funky murals can be found on the sides of reclaimed building.
If you make it Łodz make sure you stop by the botanical garden Palmiarnia for a walk through a tropical paradise and even a desert area. This attraction is not dog friendly, but many of the restaurants and bars are dog friendly. It’s a fun little city and worth the visit.