Ah, Wroclaw. This pretty Polish town had me walking around with my face looking like the heart eyes emoji during my stay – it’s so gorgeous. Not to mention the fact that it has fantastic beer, hearty and delicious food, and a fascinatingly complex history to boot.
I had little planned for my visit, apart from eating my body weight in pierogi, that is. So my first meal in Wroclaw was, of course, a plate full of those delectable, pillowy dumplings. I went to Pierogarnia Stary Mlyn – a centrally located (and subsequently tourist-laden) spot offering dozens of savoury and sweet pierogi. Despite its touristy reputation, the food is made fresh to order and they apparently have a “Grandma’s Certificate”, issued by authentic grandmothers who help prepare the dishes and traditional recipes. Sounds totally legitimate, right?
Possible senior citizen exploitation aside, the food was excellent. I started with a bowl of hot beetroot soup, followed by potato and sauerkraut & mushroom pierogi. Doughy, savoury, and rich, these pierogi were flavourful and deliciously satisfying.
In-between pierogi feasting, I meandered through Market Square, gawking at the beautiful townhouses and snapping an absurd amount of photos. I also stopped for a pint or two – the dark beer at Spiz was a standout for me, along with a beer-infused cocktail from Zloty Pies. Both restaurants have outdoor patios in the bustling main square, and I loved pausing to savour a beverage and people-watch for a while.
I perused the souvenir and food stalls, admired the striking Gothic Old Town Hall, and stumbled upon a few of the city’s most infamous residents: the gnomes. Gnomes have become synonymous with Wroclaw, and are a trademark of the Orange Alternative – an anti-communist movement that began in the 1980s. Members of the group used gnomes as a peaceful and satirical protest against the authoritarian regime at the time, and now more than 300 statues can be found around the city.
Wroclaw was my first taste of Poland, and not only did this charming little city leave a lasting impression on me, it also left me wanting to see so much more of this friendly and intriguing country.