Poland

Wrocław – Poland’s Hidden Gem

Ah, back to Poland again, for the third time this year. It’s almost like I can’t keep away from the cheap beer, amazing food and beautiful architecture. Funny that.

My first stop was Wroclaw (not pronounced how you would think, and yes I found out the hard way), partly because it was ridiculously cheap to fly there from the UK, and partly because my friend Pawel, who I met while I was teaching English in Kwiejce  had promised to show me around!

Wroclaw, Wroclaw cathedral

The view from the cathedral tower. Yes it was cold.

 

After arriving at my hostel and drinking some of the free sangria on offer, I forced myself to skip the free pub crawl and get a relatively early night so that I could be up bright and early to meet Pawel (both things I can honestly say I’ve never done in my life – skip a pub crawl or be up bright and early for anything – what’s happening to me?).

However, good intentions apparently count for nothing in this world, and as a cruel twist of fate, I didn’t actually manage to get more than 30 minutes of uninterrupted sleep, and so when my alarm went off at 8.30am the next day, I was not feeling good. I may as well have drunk allll the sangria and done the damn pub crawl. Typical. Anyway, after making myself a cheese and tomato toastie and some fresh coffee (my hostel provided free breakfast which was a definite plus!), I made sure that my eyebrows were on point and went to meet Pawel!

Well we walked. And we walked. We probably spent 4 hours out of the 6 that we had together walking. Now, while walking 25km is not usually my idea of fun, it was nice to walk with Pawel because he’s lived in Wroclaw forever and so it was like having my own guided tour of Wroclaw!

Wroclaw

Wroclaw

My new friend

 

After visiting to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and paying the 5 PLN to go all the way up to the top of the tower and see the magnificent views of Wroclaw (which is actually a far larger city than I’d first imagined), we headed to the Racławice Panorama, which is a 114m panoramic painting that depicts the Battle of  Racławice during the Kościuszko uprising.

Now, Pawel had been talking about this painting for months and I won’t lie – I had been wondering just how good it would actually be. However, our entrance tickets (30 PLN each) both included a 30 minute audio guide which explained not only the battle scenes that the painting depicts, but also the history behind the painting itself.

I was particularly interested in how, over time, various agencies have attempted to censor  the Racławice Panorama but to no avail, as all 114m of it stands proudly on display to this day. Issues of censorship and freedom of expression are such a hot topic at the minute that this part of the audio guide really stood out to me, but even if you’re not big on politics and/or history, the panorama itself is a sight to behold, with not only an incredible attention to detail, but also a 3D effect that almost makes you feel as if you’re on the battle scene yourself!

Wroclaw

Next it was time for food, and so we headed to Konspira, which is a themed restaurant dedicated to the history of the anti-communist opposition in Wroclaw. Along with our cold beers, we had tripe soup (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it), and HUGE plates laden with meat (I opted for pork knuckle), cabbage, beets and potatoes. I have honestly never seen so much food on one plate and neither myself nor Pawel managed to finish even half of our portions (although much to the amusement of the waitress, I got a doggy bag so all was not lost).

Konspira Wroclaw

Konspira Wroclaw

Unfortunately it was then time for Pawel to leave for his English lesson and so I headed back to my hostel. I’d planned to meet a guy from Tinder for a drink that night (don’t judge me – you all do it), so I wanted to have a chance to shower and relax for a bit before we met.

I don’t usually use Tinder to meet people while I’m travelling, but I’m not actually sure why, because the worst case scenario is that you get raped and murdered a sexy tour guide who shows you all the best drinking spots. Win win, right?

Anyway, I had a great night checking out all of the cute hideaway bars in Wroclaw, and so it more than made up for missing another pub crawl (although I wasn’t feeling too great when I woke up with a banging head needing to pack my bag and check out of the hostel).

Unfortunately that brought an end to my time in Wroclaw as I had planned to meet my friend Julia in a small city called Gliwice, a couple of hours east. However, I’m sure I’ll be back soon (no, I really am sure – I’m heading back there in a few days), and I hope to see even more of this charming city.

Accommodation:

I stayed at Grampa’s Hostel, and although I didn’t get to spend much time socialising there, I highly recommend it. It is a very sociable hostel, with different events on every night, and the free breakfast is definitely a plus. The rooms and bathrooms are also super clean and the hostel is situated really close to the old town. If you want to book your stay at Grampa’s Hostel then simply click this link!

Have you ever been to Wroclaw? What did you think? What do I need to check out next time I’m there? Leave your recommendations in the comments section for me!

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