Neither of us really knew what to expect on our first trip to Poland and, seeing as it was just a week after getting sick in Prague; we were a little weary of hopping on a bus again. However, cheap beer and pork products beckoned so we were obliged to heed the call.
Food and Drink
Poland was probably the cheapest country we visited; I don’t think we paid more than $25 for even the fanciest meal out including drinks and tip. The food was all very good and consisted of the usual middle European fare: lots of pork, lots of potatoes, and lots of cabbage. Perogies, of course, were also available everywhere and universally excellent. They also have this, which I have vowed to try to replicate when I get back to the USA:
Beer is cheaper in Wroclaw than anywhere else we’ve been. Tyskie and Zywiek are the main brands and both are passable if unmemorable.
Most of the main sites are all within walking distance and the area around the market square is a nice pedestrian zone. The market square is one of the largest in Europe with a huge town hall on one end and a church anchoring the other end. The rest of the square is filled with restaurants, cafes, and a few shops.
We also went to the old Prussian Royal Palace which now houses a city history museum and to the Panorama of the Battle of Wroclaw. The panorama was nice but the history of how it was hidden from the Nazis and then the struggle to find a permanent place for it after World War II was perhaps a little more interesting than the thing itself.
Wroclaw was a nice city to wander around in. It has a large university, many old churches, and lovely residential neighborhoods. While it remains obvious that the Communist era took it’s toll, it’s former position as a rich market town also remains evident.
- The Renoma department store wasn’t worth the walk. It is a beautifully designed early modern building; but the inside has been gutted and it is now just a run-of-the-mill mall.
- We went into a couple of old churches. They all had at least a picture of if not a small chapel dedicated to the late Pope John Paul II.
- On both the bus ride out and back we had to stop just inside the Polish border so anyone who wanted could stock up on cheap booze and cigarettes. Poland: It’s like the Delaware of Middle Europe.
- I was mostly unaware of Wroclaw’s role in the Solidarity movement until I visited the Centennial Hall’s temporary exhibit.
- Wroclaw is approximately pronounced vroswaf. I continue to find Slavic languages bemusing.