I had an opportunity to spend a couple of days in Wroclaw and although I only had a few hours on Monday evening to have a look around, I was delighted with it. Wroclaw is a modern, cosmopolitan city and on a few occasions I lost sense of where I was: in Poland, Germany, Holland or elsewhere. I really want to go back there for a whole weekend of sightseeing.
Wroclaw has a proud heritage of industry, trade, science and culture. It was once a part of Germany which is reflected in its architecture, very different from that of Krakow, though examples of Habsburg – influenced baroque can be found too. It boasts a respected Uni and its population is indeed very young. It seemed relaxed, calm and safe. I went for a stroll around 7 pm and did not come back to my hotel until midnight. Some restaurants kept on serving food until 11 pm and the main square, the second largest in Europe, was still bustling with more and more people heading to bars and clubs. No sign of stag parties or half naked individuals vomiting into fountains; Poland is becoming more expensive these days so maybe they now have moved on to places like Albania. I was alone and walked all the way back undisturbed. I would not risk that in most large cities in the UK.
Despite not being very hungry I stopped at one of many restaurants situated on the square and had a reasonably priced meal of tripe soup washed down with we call highlander’s tea – strong black tea with a shot of vodka. A day before I met with a friend and we had a couple of nice beers at Targowa Craft Beer and Food, accompanied by snacks and dips. I noticed restaurants serving Georgian, Armanian and Azer food, however they seemed empty so I decided to give them a miss. Perhaps next time. It is interesting how Poland welcomes more and more immigrants from mentioned countries, but predominantly from Ukraine. Wroclaw is understandably full of German tourists, who perceive it as ‘theirs’, in a similar way that we Poles view Lviv.
I was lucky that evening because there was a most stunning sunset. The river Odra, the islands on it, the surrounding buildings and churches were all illuminated with gorgeous light. Street lights only helped to create an eerie atmosphere and hour or so later, when it finally got a little cooler and less humid.
Sudety Mountains, not dissimilar from the Peak District here, are easily accessible from Wroclaw: only 25 miles by car. I saw the mountain Sleza from distance and I was told it used to be a sacred place for ancient pagan tribes. Another must see destination then next time I visit Wroclaw. Hopefully it will go there for one of May bank holidays 2020.
Wroclaw is only 2 hours on a plane from Liverpool. The flights are infrequent but it is possible to fly with a stop in Germany. I think 2 full days are a minimum, with another for a trip to the mountains. Krakow can be reached in 3 hours by car, bus or train, so why not combine both cities and get the best of both worlds!