Last weekend, my friends and I made our escape from the mundanity of student life and caught a flight to Wrocław, Poland. Taking advantage of off-peak prices for flights and accommodation, we managed to secure a flight from East Midlands Airport for the equivalent of a train journey to London. Despite feeling incredibly impish at taking a holiday mid-semester, the short break has taught me that a) I really should have done this before and b) it’s actually pronounced vrots-wahf.
Landing in Wrocław late afternoon, we were keen to orientate ourselves within the city and took a walking tour of the city’s bridges and islands. With my view of bridges veering to the utilitarian side, it wasn’t a tour I would have specifically sought out, but I’m glad to have done so. It was mind-opening to learn the historical significance of the unassuming, everyday features which make up the city. It’s interesting to think how much history you’re passing by unaware! Despite no longer being an island, the cobbled streets and traditional gas-lamps of Ostrów Tumski (Cathedral Island) was my favourite that we visited. Unfortunately, it was too late in the evening to catch the Wrocław lamplighter – a job that is strangely pleasing to hear still exists!
Our short stay in the city meant that the novelty of finding a dwarf statue never really wore off. From spotting our first dwarf on the way to our hostel, to finding another as we headed back to the airport, an excited shout of’ DWARF’ accompanied our childlike giddiness at seeing each new variation. Linked with an underground movement called ‘Orange Alternative’, the dwarves represent a silent protest against the communist government’s censorship in the 1980s. There’s over 350 scattered across the city, but I think we only encountered ~40 during our stay. If you have more time on your visit, it would be fun to go on a dwarf hunting adventure around the city! (Not meant to be as sinister as it sounds).
We ended our night with a dinner of pierogis, a popular Eastern European dish that my friend was determined to eat. So what better place than the aptly named Pierogarnia, located conveniently on the Market Square. While Georgie opted for the traditional pierogi ruskie (cheese, potato and onions), I chose a filling of meat and cabbage along with an oven-baked chicken and spinach version. As a great lover of East Asian style dumplings, pierogis weren’t delicious enough to convince me otherwise, but were an admirable contender nonetheless. The oven-baked dumplings were also pretty tasty, reminding me of mini calzones and two alone were very filling!
An early start the next morning meant heading back to the hostel to wind down with some card games and ridiculously cheap alcohol (but more on that later), only to end up actually getting to bed at 1am. Catch you in my next post for a run-down of a full day in Wrocław!