A free cup of coffee can sometimes be the best motivator to get out of bed and when that doesn’t work, try sleeping next to an open window. At Hostel Mleczarnia, the compensatory coffee was given due to a broken shower in the women’s bathroom and with no curtains, we were woken up by natural sunlight streaming in through the windows each day. None of this was overly bothersome, but if you’re sensitive to light, it might be worth packing an eye mask! Location wise, it’s perfect for exploring the city, being only a short walk away from Wrocław’s Market Square, tram lines and buses. The quaint vintage style décor was also very photogenic and its main living quarters provided an easy way to meet other travellers. Downstairs, Mleczarnia Café made a terrible latte, but was forgiven after the cappuccino the following day.
Skipping the morning’s walking tour in favour of the view atop St. Elizabeth’s Church, I found myself regretting not immediately eating the onigiri I had purchased for breakfast. 91m high and 300 spiralling steps to get there, reaching the top was a struggle on an empty stomach. However, a quick refuel at the top and I was ready to take in its stunning views sweeping across the city. Located on the corner of the Market Square, St. Elizabeth’s provided a beautiful vantage point for photographs. Our timing proved perfect as this turned out to be the sunniest part of the day!
Back on ground level, we swapped the hunt for dwarfs with street art in Nadodrze. Having been the focus of a revitalisation project over the past years, its reputation as a creative hub is slowly growing and can be seen through gems of street art tucked away in the quiet residential areas. Although there’s plenty of street art to be found in Wrocław, we found that it was more interesting to take a small step out of the main city and explore a neighbourhood not quite so saturated with tourists.
For lunch we stopped at Pasibus, a local burger chain that seemed to be everywhere in Wrocław. Perhaps it was just the flavour combination that I chose (mango salsa), but I’m pretty sure this was the best burger I’ve ever eaten. The bun was perfectly crispy with the burger itself cooked medium rare – my mouth is watering at the thought of it. It’s popularity with locals seemed a good sign, with each branch we passed looking happily busy with customers!
Feeling full, we walked back to the Market Square to pick up souvenirs and stopped at Cherubinowy Wędrowiec, a hipster coffee shop hiding in the Ossolineum Gardens. On a warmer day, it would have been the perfect setting to sit and relax for a while, but with the cold biting our ankles we hurried into the enveloping warmth that only cafés can provide. While the coffee here was lovely and smooth, I think the standout has to be the hot chocolate, which looked basically like melted chocolate in a cup. Continuing along the food theme for that afternoon, we popped into Hala Targowa, Wrocław’s market hall. Walking through the stalls made me wish we had more time in the city to rent an Airbnb and make a home cooked meal. The fruit looked so fresh and the asparagus in particular, were the biggest I had ever seen!
With a couple of hours to go before it was socially acceptable to sit down for another meal, we took a tram to the contemporary art museum, Muzeum Współczesne Wrocław. For casual viewers like us, contemporary art is always entertaining to observe, regardless of whether or not we can truly appreciate its deeper meaning. Luckily we were given a free, comprehensive guide upon the purchase of entrance tickets (students = 5zł ≈ £1), which did a very good job in helping to tackle some of our confusion. Intrigue from a graphic, yet intimate love letter from an artist to her daughter, a shared moment of complete bafflement between ourselves and another couple made for an enjoyable couple of hours spent wandering the expansive floors of this converted air raid shelter.
Finally getting to dinner, we ate at Kurna Chata, which felt as if we had stumbled into a Polish grandmother’s kitchen and warmly invited to stay for dinner. Rustic and generous, the food was quite standard, but made for a cosy dinner to end our trip with. Closing the night in AleBrowar where beer is satisfyingly cheaper than the UK (convenience stores are cheaper yet, with a standard bottle of beer/cider costing under £1), we unabashedly played cards until midnight. It’s also worth noting, the Neon Side Gallery is just a short walk away. Visiting on our first evening, we discovered many of the lights no longer working, which took away some of its appeal for my friends, but I still enjoyed visiting nonetheless!
A quick walk around Centennial Hall before our flight the next morning marked the end of our short trip to Poland. Although I always wish to stay longer, the amount of time we did have in Wrocław was a perfect balance in allowing us to explore Polish culture and history, whilst keeping us off the edge of restlessness and wanting to discover more.