Wrocław–a modern medieval city

We are now in Wrocław, Poland.  We’ve been coming here since 1991, so 20 years.  I mentioned that to the fellow in the tourist office and he said he doesn’t hear that much from tourists.  This city has changed so much since we first came here.  It was heavily bombed at the very end of WWII and since then they have been working on rebuilding, modernizing and sprucing up the city, till now it is one of the loveliest cities in Europe, in my opinion.  If you’ve never been here, try to fit it into your travel plans. Below is a photo of the eastern façade of the medieval town hall.

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We’ve been here for 5 days and will be staying 4 more.  We have an apartment, just a block off the main square, which is so convenient to almost everything.  Last week I visited the botanical garden, which I just love.  I think it is the best in the world,  well at least the nicest one I’ve been in. The labeling of the plants is excellent, with labels in Latin and Polish on almost every plant. It is very nicely laid out, with walking paths in the woods and around the ponds. I think they much have every kind of plant that will grow in this climate. But I think I’ll do a blog post just about the garden, so won’t say more here. 

This weekend we mostly walked around the city.  The large town square is wonderful, so we spent much time there.  We also climbed 307 steps to the top of a church tower that we hadn’t climbed before.  Here is a picture I took from the top of the St. Elizabeth church tower. It shows the market square, which is the center of town.  It is actually a very large area around a central group of buildings, that contains the medieval town hall and other buildings and is cut through by 2 small streets. There are many, many restaurants, cafes and shops here.

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In the photo above the clock tower on the right is the town hall; the two towers near the top left corner are the Mary Magdalene church, which is the Polish National church, which started in Chicago, by Polish-American immigrants. The two streets I mentioned cut through the central square of buildings come out through those two archways you see on the façade facing us.

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Here’s a modern fountain in the square. Straight ahead is the tourist office and to the right in the background is the smaller square called the salt square, because there was once a salt market here. I hope you can blow these pictures up, by clicking on them, if you want.

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This photo (above) is taken from my seat in a café, where we had breakfast yesterday.  It looks towards the St. Elizabeth church and the tower, from which the first picture was taken. There were not only no cafés on the square there were only 2 restaurants and one disco here the first time we came.  Now there are more than I could count, on all sides of the square. This one is a Café de France and had a wonderful breakfast, so we had brunch here yesterday, skipped lunch and had a light supper back in our apartment.

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Just a couple blocks away is this little alley of artists shops. The alley used to contain the butchers’ shops and is still called Butchers’ Alley.  You can buy all kinds of art here and some shops also sell art supplies.

Our first 3 nights here we had dinner with 3 different groups of people. Since we have been coming here for 20 years, we do know quite a few people here.  Our third dinner with good friends was in a newer restaurant that we had never been in before.  It was decorated with cutwork and lace, with some faux lace painted on walls and ceilings.  Each table had a khaki colored linen tablecloth topped with a cutwork tablecloth.  And there were little pillows with cutwork covers all around the room. The traditional Polish food was delicious.

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I have so many more pictures, but perhaps that’s enough for today.  It is raining a bit outside today. I went out twice this morning, once to get laundry detergent and a second time to get groceries. I had to go to the Super Pharm(acy) to get the laundry detergent, but both that and the grocery store are only about 3 blocks from here.The weather has been wonderful since we’ve been here and is supposed to be nice again after tomorrow, so this afternoon seemed like a good day to stay in and work on the computer.

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