Wroclaw, a city full of colors and gnomes.Β 

A week after landing in Warsaw back in September, I was already eager to explore other Polish cities. Despite the numerous advice from colleagues, telling to visit Krakow, I decided I needed to first pay a visit to one of the most colorful cities in Poland. I was looking online at pictures of different Polish cities and this picture stuck out. I thought to myself could this be in Poland? This reminds me of perhaps somewhere in the Netherlands or Belgium. Vibrant colors definitely was not what I had in mind when I thought of Poland, with its conflicting past.

Image from google of Wroclaw

Back in September when the weather was still warm and sunny, I was happily admiring the vibrant colors and also people watching in the market square. I was also very keen on finding the photo spot from the Google image.

I went inside a vegetarian cafe,”Vega”, right by the old town hall, which by the way is delicious and a very affordable price. I Β asked the waitress if she knew where the photo was taken. However she said she wasn’t sure. :/

After wondering around the old town, I think I found the spot where the photo was taken πŸ˜€ However, because it’s still warm outside, patios and visitors were covering some parts of the buildings, so I decided that I would return to Wroclaw when it’s chilly and sunny:) brrr!

 

And fast-forward to Feburary, I did return to Wroclaw, with a side trip to see the UNESCO wooden church in Swidnica, which I will write about in another post.

The weather was very sunny but also cold ! However there were way fewer people on the streets, and I had the colorful houses all the myself πŸ™‚

Here is my attempt at recreating the Google image that I found.
And now, I will share my two cents on the things you shouldn’t miss when visiting Wroclaw!

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1. Climb climb climb ! Up the church towers!

For the best views of the views of the old town, climb the bell tower of St. Elizabeth. For a small fee (I forgot how much >βˆ†<) and lots of hard work, you are rewarded with super awesome views of the cute buildings down below!

Fu view of old town wroclaw

Adorable!

Houses right out of a fairy tale

Another tower to climb is the tower of St. John the Baptist on Cathedral Island. This will/might give you a view of the sunset and the beautiful canal, which I hopd, but did not see :/ due to early closing times.

Awesome views from St John the Baptist

2. Look down, and spot little gnomes hiding in the city.

For some reason (perhaps I can Wikipedia) Wroclaw is sprinkled with little gnomes hiding in unexpected corners throughout the city. There are apps and maps that you can download or buy that gives you the exact location of each gnome. There’s a gnome riding a pigeon, eating pierogo and even one playing the slot machine πŸ˜€ I’m a big fan of gnomes because of one of my favorite childhood book —

See how many gnomes you can collect ! :3

3. Stroll around Cathedral Island and the romantic ‘most Tumski’ bridge full of love locks.

Don’t be like me and rush into buying a lock from the first lock vendor you see. The further along I walked, the cheaper the prices got !!

I was alone, but I think with your honey here, it’s going to be very romantic ❀

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our love lock hehe

4. Visit Β cute independent stores.

I really like this bookstore hiding the alley behind the town hall. It has a hipster feeling to it and tastefully decorated and so serve as a cafe. Β I bought a classic Polish children’s book on world maps. πŸ™‚ I will need to learn more Polish to understand it, but the reason I bought the book was because it listed Taiwan as a country !! Woohoo ! Being a Taiwanese-Canadian, those are the small things I become to appreciate:D

Those are my thoughts on the beautiful city of Wroclaw. If you have another other suggestions please let me know !

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I’m hoping to visit Poznan next as I read that it’s also very beautiful ❀

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Winter weather in Warsaw is not very outdoor friendly, unless you’re prepared to wrap yourself up like a snowman before venturing outside. I decided that this gloomy winter weekend is a good time for musuems.

I didn’t have much expectation for the POLIN, Museum of the History of the Polish Jews, as my interests are mostly in the fine arts and not history. However, the winner of ” European Museum of te year  2016″ did not disappoint! 

A mondern and minimalist design building

Ticketing and entrance

I was very impressed by the numerous interactive displays in museum, clearly captioned in both Polish and English. I quite enjoyed the display that lets you create your own Jewish coins with your name spelled out in Hebrew. I wish I can somehow take one home ! 

My name coin

It also had stamping stations for you to take home prints taken from  traditional Jewish designs. 

Printing station in POLIN

The museum follows the timeline of Jewish history in Poland since the first arrival in 10th Century, up to the dark times of Holohaust. I found it extremely heavy and sad to walk through the WWII section of the museum. I think the museum did a very good job of bringing visitors back in time to the 1940s through many personal quotes as well as old photos. 

I did not know that Poland had the highest number by far of Holocaust victims. I also learned that thousands were killed in the gas chambers while being told that they were given a chance to shower. πŸ˜₯ 

The museum had on snippets of personal stories which really makes me able to connect and trying to picture myself in their shoes. 

Warsaw post war


In addition to the Holocaust section, the museum also features a replica of a sysnongue alter which is beautiful decorated, as well as a replica of a typical Jewish street and village scene. 

Street scene

Wooden synagogues of Poland


The gift shop also carries a nice selection of books and artsy souvenirs which I didn’t see in the old town. I bought a famous children’s book written by a Polish Jewish writer which I will be reading soon πŸ™‚ 

Adorable childrens books in the gift shop


I highly recommend the POLIN musuem as it gave me a more in-depth look at my new city that I’m temporally calling home.