We spent a total of 13 nights in Poland, the first four being in Zakopane, which I blogged about previously, and the remainder split between Krakow, Warsaw and Wroclaw. Krakow Poland is the birthplace of my father. I knew very little about Poland before I went; my dad never talked about Poland and never returned after the second world war for a visit. It’s a shame; I think he would have liked to have seen how the country recovered as it really is beautiful. Virtually all of the buildings bombed during that time were rebuilt, most restored to their former glory with their former architecture.
I do have to say that much of the Czech Republic and Poland is starting to blend together.
Each place we saw had a centrally located “Old Town” which always had a town square with a town hall, with or without an astronomical
clock, and spiraling churches. The buildings in the square are all painted with the same hues of earth tones. The square is filled with outdoor cafes serving coffees, drinks, desserts and
meals. There are horse drawn buggies taking tourists for a ride through the streets, loads of tourists walking around following a tour guide with a colourful umbrella stuck up in the air, and a few buskers playing musical instruments vying for any loose change. Of course there is a castle or two thrown in for good measure, between the many churches.
That being said, we have had fun wondering around. A few highlights…..
While in Warsaw we stayed with Jacek, a friend of Sanford. He acted as our personal tour
guide and took us around Old Town, New Town, and even to a few places on the outskirts. On our last evening with him, he took us to a traditional Polish restaurant where he ordered us three appetizers to try: Bellini with Caviar, Steak Tartare, and Pork Knuckle in Aspic. Of the three, I didn’t think I even wanted to try the Steak Tartare. The thought of eating raw steak repulses me and I’m the type that likes my meat well-done. I did however try it and I loved it! It was my favourite amongst them all.
We were only one full day in Wroclaw and did our usual walk around the sites which were mostly the same old, same old. However this city has done something that made walking around so much fun….they have small dwarf statues all over the place. The dwarf sculptures are in all manner of poses and activities, often related to the nature of the adjacent building or commercial enterprise. For example, next to a bank is a statue of a dwarf using an ATM. I spent my time trying to spot the statues and came across 18 all together. Don’t worry, although I took pictures of all of them, I’ve only shared a few of them here.
Also in Wroclaw, we saw what I consider to be the most beautiful church to date. The church is called Church of the Blessed Name of Jesus, and what make it so wonderful was all the statues and artwork. Stunning! My pictures really don’t do it justice.
So what to say about Poland? My absolute favourite place was Zakopane and that was because of the hiking. I really enjoy physical activity based vacations. Should we ever come this way again, I would go back to Zakopane and then just pick one other city, probably based on the museums or other sites to see beyond the “Old Town” squares. Warsaw, I believe, has many wonderful museums (we just saw one), so that would be my choice.