What is the first thing that springs to mind what you think of Poland? Vodka? Let me tell you there is so much more.
Wroclaw is the city of culture for 2016 and it is easy to see why. I thought we were lucky living in a city as historical as York, with its beautiful buildings and city walls. But York has nothing on Wroclaw. When I arrived it was late in the evening, which was the perfect opportunity to explore. The first thing I noticed was the architecture, it was out of this world. The majority of the city was destroyed in the war and had to be rebuilt. The restoration was in keeping with the style at that time. Too think that this was all rebuilt sort of takes you back to that era.
Before arriving it is fair to say I did no research on the city, so I really didn't know what to expect. With its river running through and its city centre parks, it is much so different too any other city I have visited in England. It doesn’t have the same busy feel as London, you don’t feel enclosed. There isn’t the pollution and overcrowding you have in London. For a country girl it was my perfect kind of city break.
We stayed in the Sofitel in the city centre, this is a 5 star hotel and you can tell why. The room was spacious and the bed was amazing! The breakfast had everything you can imagine from continental to full English. I took full advantage- stocking up on food for the day ahead, 4 plates each morning.
On our first day we went on a city tour on a golf buggy. Being the most safety conscious person, this sent me into overdrive. Asking for a seatbelt and helmet wasn't well received. But once it started it was really enjoyable. We opted to not have the audio and the driver talked us through all the sights. This was more personal and she was really informative. It was great way to see the sights and have mini history lesson.
Also on the first day in the centre square there was a Guinness World Record attempt. This was a concert to see how many people they could have playing guitars at once- the record was broken- over 7000 people. Needless to say it was busy.
That evening we ate at Mama Manousch, I had tuna steak. It was fantastic, so fresh. The best I have tasted. I would 100% recommend this to anyone and the staff where lovely to say we spoke not even one word of Polish. Let’s just say Hola isn't Hello!!
Wroclaw is famous for its dwarf (or krasnale hunt. Around the city outside churches, restaurants and tourist spots hide little dwarfs. They are in a variety of poses, from fire fighter dwarfs protecting the cathedral from any future fires, to one outside the city bank using an ATM. This is probably a children's activity but we had a lot of fun. With over 200 dwarfs in the city it is safe to say we only managed a few before we got distracted by ice cream.
The dwarf hunt originates from the Orange Alternative Movement. During this time any street art and political artwork was quickly painted over and covered up, meaning the people didn't have a voice. The dwarfs were the start of a rebellion and peaceful protest, which soon developed into a famous activity around the city.
Leigh was acting as my tour guide for the trip as he has been to the city on business a few times before. As we wondered in and out of the city gardens we made our way to the Tumski Bridge. This is a love lock bridge like the famous one in Paris. Couples decorate the bridge with locks to symbolise they love for each other. As we spent our trip being 'typical tourists' we added our own lock.
After this we made a slow walk back to the hotel for our daily afternoon nap. After we had recovered from our 12,000 steps we went out for tea. This was our treat of the trip. We went to a small restaurant called La Folie, a quiet place just off the centre square. This restaurant is famous for its steak, and it didn’t disappoint. This was a perfect way to end the trip.
Full of food and wine we made our way back to the hotel, ready to say our good byes to this beautiful city. It is fair to say I have fallen in love. Until next time Wroclaw.