Trip Start Apr 05, 2007
Trip End Aug 15, 2007

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Flag of Poland  ,
Sunday, May 6, 2007

Wroclaw was once part of Germany and is the area that my grandparents originally come from.  I spent a few days here soaking up the local vibe and seeing the main sites before catching a night bus to Prague.  Unforunately I didn't have time to go and visit any of the surrounding villages but will do that another time!  I would love to spend more time in Poland so will definitely come back here.

Wroclaw is such a cute city, not heaving with tourists as most travellers go directly from krakow to prague or berlin etc.  It's definitely better to get out of the big cities cos after all, one big European city looks like the next one, with a castle and imposing cathedral, right?

Wroclaw purports to have the 3rd highest number of bridges of any european city (I think) but you really wouldn't believe it.  It's not like they've got really cute or imposing bridges, there's just a helluva lot of them.  apparently.  Cathedral island is of course accessed by these many bridges and is, just as the name suggests, riddled with cathedrals.  overload... However the most impressive with stunning frescos is the Cathedral next to the University which i believe you can only view before/after mass so timing is the key here.  The University also opens up 2 or 3 rooms to the public which, my Opa believes, are even more ornate than the Sistine Chapel in Rome.  It is pretty amazing and well worth paying the peanuts to go in and see it.

Another amazing thing to see in Wroclaw is the Raclawice Panorama.  The painting is a 360o panorama of the battle of Raclawice from 1794, a heroic but in the end fallen attempt to defend Polish independence.  It is totally impressive perspective painting that artfully combines with 3D items (such as artificial terrain, gates, etc) so that you can't tell where the painting starts and ends and helped with I guess use of technical effects.  There is a polish language tour but other nationalities are given headsets to listen in their own language.  Very powerful.

Also worth seeing is the National Museum (more of an art gallery and only the top floor is really worth seeing), wandering around the Old Town with cute statues of gnomes, main Cathedral with spire to climb and Old Town Hall.  If you have a spare sunny 1/2 day then definitely go to the botanical gardens for some peace and tranquility.

Anyway, in my own little anal german way, I was recording my spending while I was in Poland - food, drink, souvenirs, accommodation, transport etc.  I spent a whopping GB 16.50 per day!!!  I kid you not.  I did self-cater a lot of the time but did not deny myself the essentials such as (at least) one local brew and ice cream per day and ate out at least once in every place visited.  So, pack you bags now and head off to Poland while it's still cheap!
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