We have already promised ourselves that Bielsko-Biała will be our next destination. We were tempted by an intriguing story and mountains that start just outside the city.
I think every Polish when saying ‘Bielsko-Biała’ thinks a car factory and animated films. It was not different with me. I had less than a month when in June 1973 the first Fiat 126p left the Small Cars Factory (FSM) in Bielsko-Biała. And on the 18th birthday, I received keys from my parents for my own Maluch (“Toddler”). Well, Daddy bought it occasionally for himself, but it turned out that it only ignited from gear two because the starter did not work, he gave it to his firstborn. A few years earlier, on Saturday evening, I sat in front of the TV (mostly at my grandmother’s) to see Cartoon – the adventures of Bolek and Lolek. I did not like puppy Reksio too much – he was too polite to me. For the “Kidnapping of Baltazar Sponge” with a villain – Spy of Rainy Land, I loved it. All these films were made in the studio of “Polish Disney” in Bielsko-Biała. But although from my hometown Zakopane it’s basically a stone’s throw, I never got there. And I have the impression that the city of Bielsko-Biała was waiting for me until 2018.
We have travelled a lot in Poland in recent years. But there are few cities that during the walk still carry us through the ages. In Bielsko-Biała, we can feel like in the “old, good KK monarchy”, where Art Nouveau and solid Habsburg architecture are the perfect settings for the confectionery where elegant company drinks the Viennese coffee Julius Meinl. But next to it, we find workers’ houses from the first half of the 20th century. A little further all the quarters marked by the communism in its late edition. Some pavilions from the ’90s hung with advertisements. And as we have to look back, the neo-renaissance town hall, an architectural pearl from the turn of the ages, is emerging from behind the corner.
And there are great mountains with dozens of hiking trails for the whole family. Just outside the city. And everywhere, a whole bunch of cyclists who are speeding on their mountain bikes.
Our goal was to show Bielsko-Biała to a five-year-old son. That’s why this list of Bielsko-Biała hits is set not in the order of the tour, but in line with what Wiliam liked best. This is the top ten. The next five, in turn, our types. For a small child, for understandable reasons, they will not be high on the list. But Bielsko-Biała is a fascinating, multicultural city for the whole family, which is worth showing and explaining to a child.
Number 1: Market Place in Bielsko