Sunday, November 27, 2016

Preserved! Staying at the Pałac Żelazno, Kłodzko, Poland

During my 2016 trip to Poland, we needed a room near the southwestern town of Kłodzko. It was a long drive there, and we wanted to visit a castle in Kłodzko in the morning. I booked via Easyjet's web page and by chance found a place called Pałac Żelazno at a reasonable price. OK, no problem.
Following the GPS unit, we drove some distance south of Kłodzko through woods and rich agricultural fields, turned and drove through a monumental gate, and there it was. It was a palace, not a chain hotel. Poland is full of neat surprises like this!
We checked in and were booked in a room on the second floor. The next  morning, I started exploring. The great rooms are just amazing. They survived the Great Depression, World War II, and 50 years of Communism?
The solarium on the south side was cheerful and sunny. It had some massive radiators to maintain heat during the winter. Our proprietor told us they use coal in the furnace (and a lot of it). I wanted to see the basement, but it was off-limits.
Wandering through some hallways, I found a stairwell that led upwards. All of a sudden, I was in the 1970s. Pałac Żelazno must have been a rest and relaxation hotel for workers during the Communist era, and the rooms in the attic had been decorated in Communist-moderne style.
The carpeting had a design that looked like old-fashioned TV sets. The brocade was gold. Some of the rooms had sinks, with lavatory was down the hall. What kinds of fun and games went on here when factory workers came on holiday? Recall that in the pre-World War II era, the servants would have lived under the roof (think of the intrigue and activity in the attic in Downton Abbey).
The palac has a tower on the south side (see the first photograph). On the ground floor, there was a gorgeous, sunny, cheerful round room with yellow plaster. Very nice. But what was above?
I snuck (sneaked?) through a doorway and up some curvy stairs. Hmmm, a fixer-upper room with some air conditioners. Note the 1960s lamp fixture.
Finally, the garrett (from an old French word guerite, meaning "watchtower" or "sentry box."). I looked for Rapunzel, but she was not there. I suppose her prince already took her away.
The former stables were out back. They needed a bit of restoration, but the massive tile roof looked sound. Did the Communist administration pay for that?

Palac Żelazno has its own web page where you can book a room for your stay. I'm impressed that they can cover maintenance and utilities. And I am glad the Communist authorities maintained the place in the post-war era. In the West, it likely would have been demolished on purely economic grounds. But the Poles have done a fantastic job preserving their historical culture. As I wrote above, Poland is full of surprises like this.

Photographs taken with a Fuji X-E1 digital camera with 18-55mm and 14 mm Fuji lenses.

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