Ringmarkt 170OSCAR 2021 took place from 28th June to 2nd July 2021 in Wrocław (in former times: Breslau) in Lower Silesia/Poland. As every member of Eurojumelages knows, OSCAR is an event where sport-loving twinners from several national federations of Eurojumelages meet to cycle, walk and forge and consolidate new and old friendships between people from different European countries. After OSCAR 2020 had to be cancelled due to the Corona pandemic, far fewer participants than usual met in Wrocław: only 6 from Germany, 19 from France and 17 from Poland.

Due to high incidences of corona in Germany and Poland, the Foreign Office in Germany had recommended refraining from tourist trips to Poland. On the other hand, you can't have an OSCAR without participants from Darmstadt, because after all, the 1st OSCAR was launched in 1998 with the support of Darmstadt twinners. So I decided to participate in OSCAR 2021. Breslau Hauptbahnhof a 250 After a long train journey, I arrived at the main station in Wrocław on Monday 28th June. The station with turrets and battlements, built in the years 1855-1857 looks like something out of a fairy tale. From there it was only a few steps to the hotel “Piast”, in which the OSCAR participants were accommodated. After moving into my room, I went to the 6th floor where the dining room was. There I was welcomed by Adam and Tomasz and given the usual T-shirt with "OSCAR 2021 Wrocław" printed on it. The dining room was already well attended. Eventually I found a seat at a table with three French people before dinner was served. After dinner we moved to a meeting room where the organisers gave important information about the OSCAR schedule. Suddenly an image flickered on the screen: The chairman of Eurojumelages, Peter Backes, wished the participants success and a lot of fun in an internet connection.

vor dem Postmuseum 250On Tuesday, we OSCAR participants had the opportunity to get to know the city of Wrocław. With more than 650 thousand inhabitants, it is the third largest city in Poland. Four tributaries of the Oder flow through the urban area as well as numerous canals. The city is located on twelve islands connected by more than 100 bridges and footbridges. Wrocław was the European Capital of Culture in 2016. A coach took us first to the Postal Museum. There especially Polish postal history as well as numerous telephones, radios and television sets were on display that reminded me of my youth.Picknick im Bot. Garten 200 Our next destination was the Botanical Garden of the University of Wrocław. A pond with a waterfall and water lilies, palm trees, numerous outdoor ornamental plants and sculptures could be seen. We had lunch in the park. After that, three city guides took us over and led through the city in German, French and Polish. It was not far from the Botanical Garden to the Cathedral Island. The 13th-century cathedral was badly damaged during the Second World War and was not rebuilt until 1951. In sunshine and temperatures above 30 degrees, we visited the Market Square and Salt Square with old patrician houses, strolled past the town hall and the former city palace of the Prussian kings and finally arrived at Ulica Świdnicka, the most elegant street in the city with department stores, theatres and churches. Zwerg in Breslau 200On the way we passed dwarf figures again and again. The first ones emerged in the 1980s, when the "Orange Alternative" used the dwarfs as a symbol of resistance against the communist system. Tired we reached our hotel. But we didn't have much time to rest. After dinner, a visit to the evening Wrocław was on the program. We took the tram to the Centennial Hall, which was built in 1913Jahrhunderthalle 250 and added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2016. Behind the Centennial Hall is the largest Polish fountain. Every hour on the hour there were water features from numerous water jets to classical and modern music. It was already late when we finally went to bed.

For Wednesday, 30th June, the weather forecast had predicted thunderstorms and heavy rain. Fortunately, however, the weather remained dry with a bit of sunshine. After breakfast, a coach was waiting for us OSCAR participants to take us near the town of Sobótka. Before we walkers had reached our starting point, the cyclists got off the bus: three people, one each from Germany, France and Poland. Their bicycles were brought a little later by a car with a trailer. Only a few meters after the start, the small group had to stop again: The bike chain of long-time OSCAR participant Herbert had broken. Fortunately, Rafał, the leader of the cycling group, had the necessary tools and skill to repair the chain within an hour. The bike chain held even when several steep climbs had to be mastered.

vor Wanderung im Gora 250The walkers got off at Przełęçz Tapadła car park and walked in two groups in the Góra Ślęża Nature Reserve. The stronger group was led by Adam, the less strong group by Tomasz. For a while the two groups walked the same path with rubble and small stones. Then Adam pointed to a steep path: "We have to go up here". It went uphill between granite stones. It was good that I had my walking sticks with me, because after the steep ascent, the path also led steeply downhill. Everyone looked for his/her own way over stones and undergrowth. After a total ascent of more than 400 metres, we reached the mountain "Ślęża" (718 m) with a lookout tower. A few meters further down we reached a plateau with the chapel “Visitation of the Virgin Mary”, a transmitter mast and a mountain hut. Here we met walking group 2. On separate paths, the two groups descended to the town of Sobótka, where we had lunch - together with the group of cycliDominsel am Abend 250sts - at the Sobotel Hotel. Afterwards we boarded our coach, which took us back to Wrocław.

After dinner we took the tram to the market hall. From there it was not far to Sand Island, where we boarded an excursion boat and took a one-hour round trip on the Oder River. The following walk on the Cathedral Island showed us that time has stood still there in some respects: Their alleyways are still illuminated by gas lanterns, which are lit by a night watchman with a long pole. From there we walked back to our hotel.

On Thursday, July 1st, the OSCAR 2021 participants also had a full program. After breakfast a coach took us to Krośnice, where the small group of cyclists left us. Their guide had chosen a tour on former railway tracks and past fish ponds.Mittagskonzert 250The walkers took a two-hour walk to be back in time for lunch. Group 1 walked on a circular trail (about 6 kms) between fish ponds in the Dolina Baryczy nature reserve. Group 2 walked about 5 kms through woods and meadows and received a "little medicine" - good vodka - from Tomasz. oscar21 Museum Bombek250 1Our way back led us to Wierzchowice, where we had a small lunch. The walking leader of group 1 showed that he is also a musician: During lunch he entertained us with a lyre and his singing. After dinner we visited the “Bombek” museum in Milicz. There, in the production hall of a former factory, around 6000 Christmas balls in various shapes and colours are on display. Afterwards we were taken back to our hotel to freshen up for the evening event.

The closing ceremony of OSCAR 2021 took place in the hotel "Europejski" in Wrocław. For dinner, a long table had been set up at which all OSCAR participants were seated. A rich buffet and a red wine from Gorzów Wielkopolski, edition "OSCAR 2020" (which had to be cancelled due to Corona) was offered. After the meal, the “award ceremony” took place. The organisers and participants of OSCAR 21 decided that all participants were the winners. Therefore no trophies were presented.Organisatoren Oscar 2021 450

Instead, each participant received a certificate of participation, which was documented by a photo.

On Friday, July 2nd, after breakfast, it was time for me to say goodbye. Those who still had the time and felt inclined could take part in a joint visit to the Hydropolis in Wrocław. It is an interactive center for ecological education, in which interesting facts about water are conveyed.

OSCAR 2021 in Wrocław was an all-round successful event - excellently organized by our friends from Gorzów! The participants will certainly look back on it for a long time.

Meinhard Dausin
Association of Darmstadt
Germany