Wednesday, May 3, 2023

[WROCLAW] Pronounced vrots-waf


It was a toss-up between Wroclaw and Krakow, wherever Flixbus could take me from Warsaw and back, really. Of the two options, I preferred Krakow because I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about it. The thing is, Wroclaw had more schedule options on a daily basis to and from Warsaw. Both are around 4 hours away by bus and the ticket prices are almost similar. Wroclaw it is, then, even though I have no idea what there is to do and see there. After a grueling bus trip of almost five hours, we arrived.


Wroclaw is the third largest city in Poland and as I looked at a map of the country, this city appears to be closer to the borders of Germany and Czechia than it is to the Polish capital itself. The city has changed hands multiple times over Poland's tumultuous history. For now, it is called Wroclaw, pronounced vrots-waf, the reason for which you shouldn’t be asking me because I am not well-versed in Polish, even less so when it comes to its pronunciation. Since the German name is easier to pronounce, I tend to refer to the city as Breslau instead of calling it roh-kloh as I’ve always naively been doing.



The bus station is under a huge mall called Wroclavia, which is probably my favorite mall now because it looks modern AF, well-equipped with all the shops you need, has free unlimited fast WiFi if you register, free toilets, and lots of benches fitted with both sockets for chargers and USB. Some of the benches even have mini tables. It would probably be a better airport than effing NAIA, to be honest. Whoever conceptualized this mall was thinking ahead and digital nomads can only be so thankful. My accommodation for two nights called Starter III is literally across the street.



That meant convenience as far as my bus trip going back to Warsaw is concerned. The caveat here is that since I am in the new part of the city, the stroll towards the town center will take me around half an hour, which is not such a bad thing considering how the sun has been appearing a lot lately, although it still remains cold because of the 14C weather and wind-chill. Having three to four hours to spare, I walked towards the old town center and was ambushed by a middle aged woman hurling what I can only imagine to be racist BS in Polish at my face. That incident ruined the mood for sightseeing.



Anyway, let’s not dwell on that. Wroclaw’s old town center dates back to the 13th century and the remnants of its fortified city style is still evident given how the old town is organized. This part of town is on the left bank of the Oder River, which makes it a hotbed for social life among the locals, not to mention students because Wroclaw is a university city. Benches abound along the riverbanks and the frequent river cruise boats are complemented by the gorgeous backdrop of two churches on the other side.



The old town itself is compact and easily walkable. If you are not a fan of leisurely strolls, you can utilize the trams. Just like in Warsaw, you can buy tram tickets here with contactless credit cards. Most of what you will see are churches, museums, and the sprawl of University of Wroclaw’s campus which encompasses both banks of the river. Of course, this wouldn’t be Central Europe if they didn’t have those colorful houses at the old town square, which is all that is left in my memory as far as my quick weekend Poznan visit half a decade ago is concerned.



Since it was cold and I was a bit annoyed by the incident earlier, I just took selfies along the river and watched people go about their daily business before calling it quits. For those who are interested, Wroclaw has a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the form of its Centennial Hall, which is considered to be a landmark in the history of reinforced concrete architecture. The building looks okay in pictures and rather imposing, but not enough to keep me walking some more. The stadium it houses looks huge based on pictures on Google Photos.


[WROCLAW] Pronounced vrots-waf

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