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Fairy-tale road trip in a blue Pagoda.

Silesia is awakening from its slumber. A journey to magical castles and exciting Wroclaw in a Pagoda SL W 113.

Text and photos: Helge Bendl

Perfect travel companion.

Jan Sentyrz from Krakow and his German friend Hans Peter Barthel are on the road in south-west Poland. Their faithful travel companion is Jan’s almost 50-year-old Mercedes-Benz 230 SL, which was built in 1967. “I first saw the car decades ago in an auto magazine and long dreamed of one day being the owner of such a sports car,” says Jan Sentyrz. He finally found a suitable Pagoda in the USA. The fully restored roadster is now the perfect touring car on the road to historic mansions and luxury residences.

Romanticism in the Hirschberg valley.

The blue 230 SL is a perfect match for the romantic landscape of the Hirschberg valley. The route passes by fields, dotted with red corn poppy and meadow barley, and along densely overgrown avenues. On Jan Sentyrz’s front passenger seat is Elisabeth von Küster. Having moved to the Hirschberg valley from Berlin 25 years ago, she is fighting to conserve the region: “Anyone wishing to bring all these magical castles back to life must be something of a romantic. And rather crazy.”

Romanticism in the Hirschberg valley.

The blue 230 SL is a perfect match for the romantic landscape of the Hirschberg valley. The route passes by fields, dotted with red corn poppy and meadow barley, and along densely overgrown avenues. On Jan Sentyrz’s front passenger seat is Elisabeth von Küster. Having moved to the Hirschberg valley from Berlin 25 years ago, she is fighting to conserve the region: “Anyone wishing to bring all these magical castles back to life must be something of a romantic. And rather crazy.”

A labour of love.

So Piotr Napierala must be crazy, too. Having bought a ruin in the small village of Wojanów, he lovingly restored his new property. In 1825, the castle was a wedding gift from the Prussian King Frederick William III to his daughter Luise. Napierala, a building contractor, redeveloped it into a conference hotel, which, with its turrets, fountains and fire-red roof, still has the appearance of a princess’s fairy-tale castle. In actual fact, Piotr Napierala is a cool and calculating businessman from Wroclaw. Yet, for him, this was a multi-million labour of love.

Historic mansion and castle park.

Elisabeth von Küster is enjoying the road trip in the blue Pagoda. Even though the blast of wind is probably just as cold as the nights in her castle. While her hotel guests remain comfortably warm in the restored historic mansion, she herself sleeps without heating in the rooms of the castle she restored. Yet it isn’t just the buildings that are worth seeing: the castle park, too, is worth a trip. There is a clear view of the snow-covered Sniezka, known as Schneekoppe in German, a 1603-meter-high mountain.

Historic mansion and castle park.

Elisabeth von Küster is enjoying the road trip in the blue Pagoda. Even though the blast of wind is probably just as cold as the nights in her castle. While her hotel guests remain comfortably warm in the restored historic mansion, she herself sleeps without heating in the rooms of the castle she restored. Yet it isn’t just the buildings that are worth seeing: the castle park, too, is worth a trip. There is a clear view of the snow-covered Sniezka, known as Schneekoppe in German, a 1603-meter-high mountain.

Wroclaw: Classic meets hip.

Jan Sentyrz and Hans Peter Barthel’s destination is Wroclaw. This is a city where culture lovers rub shoulders with hipsters. Of the 600,000 people who live in Poland’s fourth-largest city, 140,000 are students. The street cafes and bars are home to young and old alike – the old town is a stage for artists and strollers. Architecture lovers are enthralled by the 13th-century town hall, while beer connoisseurs find delight in the cellar of the same building, where beer has been served for 700 years.

Life in the valley of castles.

An idyllic nature park on the Bober river is home to the dreamy Hotel Castle Lomnitz (Lomnica), not far from Hirschberg (Jelenia Gora). In the just twelve rooms, guests are afforded the same personal treatment as in the restaurant, which serves Silesian specialties. A double room with breakfast starts at 60 euros.

www.palac-lomnica.pl

Life in the valley of castles.

An idyllic nature park on the Bober river is home to the dreamy Hotel Castle Lomnitz (Lomnica), not far from Hirschberg (Jelenia Gora). In the just twelve rooms, guests are afforded the same personal treatment as in the restaurant, which serves Silesian specialties. A double room with breakfast starts at 60 euros.

www.palac-lomnica.pl

Relaxing in Lower Silesia.

The romantic wellness and conference hotel is just 20 minutes by car from Wroclaw. Topacz Castle. The historic fabric of the castle complex has been transformed into a four-star hotel. The grounds also house a collection of classic cars in a converted barn, including many vintage Polish automobiles.

www.zamektopacz.pl

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