imageFor all the beautiful architectural buildings in Bydgoszcz, there are also an equal number of buildings that need repair or are undergoing renovation.  Just walking down the street you’ll see new buildings or buildings that are being remodelled right next to buildings that have missing or broken windows, crumbling brick or covered in scaffolding.  From what we’ve been told, what we see in Bydgoszcz today is a huge turn around from 5-10 years ago.  In the U.S. we marvel at buildings that might be 100 years old try to preserve them as is for future generations to look at.  Here in Poland a 100 year old building could be like new construction!  They are preserving their history by renovating and repurposing.  Take into consideration that the buildings here could be serveral hundreds of years old.  And here’s a fun little history fact for you  (ok David this may really be for you) – Poland has been invaded or fought for freedom 43 times between 1600-1945….just maybe just a little war-torn the years.

The same holds true for places to shop.  There are several beautiful shopping malls that are all within walking distance of our flat.  There is Drukarnia which is sandwiched between rows of older buildings IMG_3896Focus Mall – a two story mall with 150 stores (or so says their website) not counting the  parking garage on top that holds 1200 cars….that would rival MacArthur Center in NorfolkFocus Park 2And there are big stores that anchor samller shopping malls like Auchan (like a Super Walmart) and Tesco (like a nicer version of Target).

But what really gets my heart pumping is this.  At first glance, it just looks like an old building or warehouse.  Something you’d drive right by without a second glance.  But hold on……image…inside is a crafters (and scrapbookers) paradise!  I didn’t know what to look at first!IMG_3804image

And inside another part of the building, it’s like a huge version of Michael’s and Hobby Lobby and Party City all rolled into one.  Other parts of the building housed discount luggage, clothing, household cleaning products, artificial flowers and even a “white store”….everything in there is white….vases, containers, baskets, you name it…a perfect place for wedding decorations.image imageAcross the parking lot/street is this little unmarked building.  Carrie, who is the wife of David’s boss,  took me on this little day-trip and introduced me to these hidden gems.  She had never been in this building, so we decided to take a look.  We initially thought maybe it was some sort of medical clinic, but nooooo…..imageIt’s filled with discount office supplies, school supplies, you need any kind of pencil, pen or paper supplies, art supplieis and more.     And it was also the place that Carrie found the most unusual “office supply” I’ve seen. image Yep — buy some glue and get a can of Coke for free!