Try to Say It: Wroclaw

22 07 2008

Wroclaw, Poland

Sounds like ‘Rock-law’, right? Wrong. It’s pronounced ‘Frots-swoff’. Yeah, that took us a little while too. Although I think that Rocklaw is a little more fitting. Especially the rocking part. I fell in love with this city. There’s so much to discover here. We spent four days in Wroclaw and I doubt that we even saw an eighth of the city. Not that it’s all that big, but every nook and cranny of the place has something cool for you to check out. When I asked a couple of Polish girls at our hostel in Krakow where we should go next, they both said Wroclaw and I can see why.

I think what I like most about Wroclaw is it’s eccentricities. The Polish people are extremely reserved in public (probably due to years under communism) and therefore it was unsual to read about the crazy character of this place. First up would be the gnomes that are scattered throughout the city. I didn’t take a picture of any of them, but you can see them at the artist’s site and then click on ‘realisations’. These little guys are symbols of the anti-communist movement, Alternative Orange. This group exercised the free speech they wanted by staging ludicrous protests that made the police look foolish for arresting them. What protests you ask? How about taking to the streets and demanding the release of Santa Claus? Or singing communist songs to the chimpanzees at the local zoo? Creativity and rebellion:) How glorious. Other eccentricities include allowing one of the city’s beloved eccentric artists to rent a flat from the state for the equivalent of half a penny per month. Or the ugly communist block apartment buildings in which owners paint their balconies to give it a more homey touch.

Obviously Wroclaw has a lot of history to share with its visitors, but even if you were to ignore the history completely, you’d still be in awe just by looking around. The most obvious would be the beautiful market square that is surrounded by candy colored buildings. This is definitely a time when a picture is worth a thousand words.

So, so, so, gorgeous. Like living in a postcard. If I could have taken a picture from a helicopter you would have been able to see that Wroclaw also has a hundred bridges and a handful of tiny islands that are filled with parks in which Wroclawers spend their weekend recreation time. Now I know Rhonda is saying to herself, there’s no way that they could like a place so much unless they found a lot of really good food. Right you are, Rhonda.

Did I mention that Wroclaw is a college town? And college town = cheap food. Cheap and good. Our first dish of divine cookery was a little treasure called pyzy. Since we can’t pronounce them, we’ll just call them Gage Eggs. These little suckers are round dumplings made of potato flour and filled with juicy meat, topped with the sauce of your choice. Though my personal indulgences are usually toward the sweet variety, I have to say that my favorite treasure was discovering pirogie ruski at the market hall for only $1.50. Of course the pirogie stand in the market hall may have been directly across from the Wawel chocolate stand, but that was only a bonus. Honest.

But I think the greatest thing that Wroclaw did for us was to put life in perspective. We keep running around Europe and trying to see and do all that we can. Well, a life of constant tourism is more like a job than a joy and we quit our jobs so it’s time to start indulging in more joy. We finally made time to do what we really love (yes, besides eating). In fact I have photographic proof that Gage is finally starting to draw again. And I whipped through two books in a week. Now if only we could get free worldwide gym memberships.

Wroclaw Suggestions:
– If you’re a chocolate lover go to Esencja Cafe or Caffeina and order one of their hot chocolates made by Antica Cioccolateria. It’s more like liquid fudge in a cup. I recommend not ordering any food with it. You won’t have room.
– Our hostel was the cheapest in Wroclaw and it showed. Spend a little extra and stay at Nathan’s Villa. Everyone we talked to who stayed there had rave reviews.
– If you’re looking for cheap food near the market square, head to STP where the service is cafeteria style and the menu is always changing. If you went there everyday you’d always be trying something new. When you walk through the square, look for the sad souls dressed as big silver forks. They hand out 10% off coupons to STP.
– If you want practice the art of self-catering, head to the Market Hall (Hala Targowa) at 17 Piaskowa St where you can buy just about any food item from loose leaf teas, to produce, to fresh meats, to cake toppers, or just grab a cheap meal and eat there.




2 responses

22 07 2008

Wroclaw is pronounced “Frots-swoff”! For someone who’s always spelled things phonetically, that’s pretty scary stuff.

It’s good to know that these pronunciation challenges seem in no way to impede your culinary adventures. You may not be able to communicate especially well, but I get the feeling that you two are in no danger of going hungry.

23 07 2008


Just wondering if they give hair cuts in “frots-swoff”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: