After two days in Wroclaw, Poland we took a day trip to Opole, Poland on our way to Krakow.
With a long history dating back to the 8th century, Opole is one of the oldest cities in Poland. So we thought we would check it out over lunch.
Like all of southwest Poland, throughout history Opole was variously ruled directly or indirectly by Slavs, Austrian Habsburgs, Polish Vasas, Prussians, Germans and, of course, the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
Anyone who every tried to hold Eastern Europe in the board game Risk has some empathy for Opole, Poland throughout history!
Today it’s a university town known for its lovely market square. That and Piast Tower – the last remnant of the Piast Castle built in the town in the 1300s but destroyed by the Germans in the 1930s.
Our Day Trip to Opole, Poland
We arrived in Opole at midday.
I parked our Mercedes wagon as close to the square as possible. The parking spot seemed a little odd. But I comforted myself that other cars were parked there. More on that in a minute.
We got out to explore the square and look for a lunch spot.
Polish Food by the Market Square
Opole’s market square is a pretty place. Bars, cafes and restaurants line the square. In summer months it’s a great place to enjoy some delightful Polish cuisine with a heavy German influence.
We settled in at an outdoor table at Pub Maska where I had a super keto friendly whole trout.
Built in the 14th century, Opole’s Piast Castle endured centuries of invasion and multiple wars.
By the 20th century it was in a state of disrepair.
In the years 1928-1931 the German regional administration had Piast Castle demolished.
But the castle tower was saved from demolition thanks to the strong opposition of the local Polish community.
Today Piast Tower it is one of the city’s landmarks.
So we took a peek.
The Cop Who Didn’t Know What to Do With Us
After lunch and a stroll we walked back to our car.
We got back to where we had parked on the square to find 4 cops standing around our car and the cars parked on either side of us.
Apparently we had all parked in a no-parking area.
It was obvious that the cops had just started assessing the situation. So I walked up the one nearest our car to apologize and plead for mercy.
But he spoke no English. I speak no Polish.
So I gave him my Florida drivers license along with my international drivers license. And I made some gestures of ‘have mercy’. At least I hoped they did!
I expected the worst: we would have to find the courthouse, pay a fine and hopefully not have to do hard labor before being on our way.
But it quickly became clear that the cop was perplexed. And it soon became clear why.
We were Americans. Driving a car in Poland that we had rented in Germany with German license plates and registration. He was literally standing there scratching his beard trying to figure out what to do.
Eventually he took out a little spiral notebook and wrote down my name and Florida drivers license number. Then he said something to me in Polish that seemed very much like ‘this is a warning, just get out of here.’
At least I HOPE that’s what he said. Because that’s what we did!
The cops were taking pictures and ticketed the other parked cars as we pulled away.
Another disaster narrowly avoided!
Bottom Line – Day Trip to Opole, Poland
Opole is a cute little town.
It is the perfect place to spend a couple hours. Have a leisurely lunch, walk the square and see Piast Tower.
Just be sure to park legally!
From there it was on to Oswiecim and Krakow!