Pierogies in Poland
I am moving backwards in time it seems. Two weekends ago, I went to Wroclaw, Poland. It was my first time really being in Poland, other than some train journeys that quickly passed through. Surprisingly, I didn’t have much enthusiasm for this trip; for some reason Poland has never seemed so illustrious to me. I didn’t really know what to do in Wroclaw. That, and I was feeling a big wave of homesickness.
In any case, the journey started on an early train from HK to Pardubice, the city with better transportation. From there I caught a direct train to Wroclaw. It was kind of a long journey at around four hours, which left me a little antsy. The real problem was that the train stopped at EVERY stop along the way and had really bad brakes. If we had just driven straight on, it probably would have been only 3 hours max.
Upon arriving, I came to realize that the train station was basically a castle. I mean, look for yourselves:
|Fancy, fancy, fancy.|
After that, I visited the tower of St. Elisabeth’s church that allowed me to see a panoramic view of the city. It was pretty nice, though a bit chilly up there with the wind. After that, I continued my trek to the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, and began to realize the Wroclaw and probably Poland in general has a lot of churches. The clock approached 2 PM, which meant that I could go drop my stuff off at the hostel instead of carrying it around with me.
At this point I was hungry again, and knew that I needed to try a snack. Earlier I saw a Trdelnik stand with TOPPINGS! So I got one with sprinkles. It was ok, it was a little burned so that kind of made it weird. Either way, I had my sugar rush for the moment.
Continuing on to more churches, I journey across the river and embarked on a quest to find the main church – the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Eventually I did stumble across it, after having to enter probably three more churches on the way. It was a nice place in a nice location… that’s really all I have to say about it.
After some more wandering and a failed attempt to find the Wroclaw Panoramic building (when I finally did, it was closed), I decided it was time to eat. I tried to go to this restaurant that all the internet and guide books raved about called the Art Restaurant, but when I got there I saw that prices were super expensive! So I walked down another side street and came to a great little pub that served tasty and filling food – just what I needed. I got fried chicken breast and fries, which doesn’t sound very traditional, but I liked it.
While the internet tells me that Wroclaw has a fantastic nightlife, I honestly couldn’t have cared less at that point. I was pretty exhausted, and wanted to go to bed. I went to the mall for a few minutes before they closed, and considered going to see a movie, but as usual, nothing was playing. Therefore, I just retired back to my hostel for the night, but not without taking a glance at the old town once more in the evening darkness.
Morning arrived, and with a slightly embarrassing hostel fiasco, I was able to successfully check out. OK, you are all probably wondering what I mean. It’s not as bad as you think. I simply lost the key to my locker that they had given me upon check in. Oops. Luckily, I had all my things out of the locker, but I honestly have no idea where that key went. I checked everything, everywhere. They had to get a hammer and pound the lock open to get it off. Eek. Needless to say, I lost my key deposit!
After some more debating about what to do in Wroclaw, I had determined that I wanted to go to the zoo, because I like the zoo and it is the biggest zoo in Poland. It was an alright zoo, but a large part of it was under construction, so the layout and presentation were quite shabby. All the animals seemed pretty happy though, or at least content at being alive. They were all pretty active and most of them refrained from hiding all day.
There were a couple interesting incidents, like the case of the puckering butthole or the lion cuddle pile. I posted videos of these on YouTube, but maybe I’ll post them here too – because they are both really strange things.
After the zoo, I headed over to Centennial Hall, because it was right next door and apparently on the highlights of Wroclaw. It was OK, but it was just a rotund-looking building with a cool lake behind it. There was some sort of cultural festival (I think?) going on, so it created a nice party atmosphere. In any case, I powered on around it all, because I wanted to head to the famous Japanese Gardens.
Also on the highlight list, this garden was supposedly built by Japanese people and has lots of flowers. It cost money to go in, so I just walked around the perimeter and basically got the same view as if I had gone inside. It was very pretty, especially with all the spring flowers blooming, but in the end, it was just a garden.
At this point, I was again starving, and trying to calculate my next move. I desperately wanted to eat one more Polish meal for lunch, and then get a bunch of pierogies to take back with me on the train. I even had a great plan – there is this customizable pierogie place right on the main square, where you can order basically any kind of pierogie you desire. Oh. My. God. But when I finally got there, they were full – literally. There were no tables, inside or out. That hardly ever happens in Europe, especially not at 3 PM on a Saturday. Oh well. I cut my losses and instead went to a restaurant that I had passed several times earlier. I got pierogies and potato pancakes, because why not. The pierogies were kind of interesting, as they were fried – deep fried. It gave them a nice flavor and crunch!
It was now time to head back to the train station. My journey in Poland was complete. It was a nice trip, and I do like the city and would go back. Overall, my impression of Polish people is that they are nice and helpful, and aren’t so annoyed to speak English with you as Czech people. Polish also has some similarities with Czech (very little, maybe like comparing German and English), but I could at least sort of understand what maybe one word or two words meant. In any case, it was certainly my last trip to Poland for a while, so I bid both the city and country adieu.