How I fell in love with this awesome city
I first made the trip in 2005 so I could meet Kinga's Mum, Magda. I wasn't sure what to expect really and I probably couldn't even have pointed at Poland on a map. I knew it was somewhere in the middle of Europe, but other than that, I had no idea. I suppose I expected it to be grey and boring and I was nervous about meeting the Polish people and I wasn't sure how I'd be welcomed. I remember meeting Kinga's friends in the bar on her Osiedle, they all came to meet me, tried to speak English with me, shook my hand and all of them wanted to drink with me!
I met Bartek (Bartłomiej Skryzński) on that trip, he is one of Kinga's closest friends and now he is one of my best friends too. Bartek and his sister, Magda, are both Godparents to Oliver and to us, all of their family is like an extension to ours.
The people I met on that first trip were a typical example of Polish people. Proud of their country, proud of their city and the most hospitable people I have ever met. We went back to Wroclaw at every opportunity we could and until 2014, we didn't go on holiday anywhere else!
It's hard to explain without writing hundreds of words, but Polish hospitality really is awesome. If you're lucky enough to be invited to an (imieniny) name day celebration or a birthday party, then take your chance. You will be given so much food and drink that you won't be able to move. And Polish weddings? don't even let me get started on those! That's a whole blog post in itself.
Being made to feel welcome really helps you to make a place feel homely. In addition to that, Wroclaw, being a pretty big city, has plenty of things to do. As you've probably guessed already, me and Kinga really enjoy drinking a beer and eating at some of Wroclaw's restaurants. For me, there is nothing like a Wroclaw summer, the sun beating down whilst we are enjoying a nice cold beer sat outside a bar in the Rynek. Often the beer is served with 'chleb ze smalcem' (bread with lard). The lard is made with onions and meat and is great for beer drinkers and very tasty.
Don't worry, we don't just take our kids on day trips to the Wroclaw pubs and bars! They really love to visit restaurants with us too and Wroclaw is such a friendly place for kids. It has an amazing Aquapark, lots of museums and a really great zoo which has been updated a few years back. All of these are a really great value family day out. Pod papugami, Whiskey in the jar and Szajnochy 11 are just a few of our favourite restaurants in the city and we visit them time and time again depending on what food we fancy.
The whole family are partial to an Ice-cream too and Wroclaw has some top notch Ice cream parlours. My favourite is Przełam Lody pictured below. They make natural Ice cream and have different flavours of the day. My weakness is salted caramel flavour.
Another love we have all developed is for Speedway. I'll do a separate post on that but Kinga has always been a huge fan of this sport and in Poland it is massive! Kinga has made sure all of us developed a liking for Speedway or 'żużel' and we try to get to as many home games as we can.
One of the other things I love about Wroclaw and Poland, is the seasons. Winters are proper winters and summers are proper summers. We usually see snow in winter and sunshine in summer; exactly how it should be!
In winter, an outdoor Ice skating rink is built just a bus ride from our house. I love walking around in winter then popping into a cafe for a hot coffee or restaurant to scoff down a warm bowl of homemade soup of the day.
So, there are a few examples of why I fell in love with this city. It actually feels like home, it helps that we actually lived there for two years and that we have our own place there. I feel welcomed every time I'm there, the Poles appreciate that I speak at least some of their language and as I keep repeating their hospitality is second to none.
All of my family have been to visit; my sister and her family, my parents. Even my friends have made the trip and every single one of them loved it! Whats not to love? It's less than a two hour flight, the city is amazing and the prices compared to the rest of Europe are kind to your wallet. 'Nuff said, get your backsides to Poland.....at least once.