Wrocław: Land of Gnomes

When I moved to Europe, I imagined spending weekends touring castles in Germany, eating croissants in a Parisian cafe, and swimming in the blue waters of Greece. So where do you think we went for our first gnomadic weekend traveling in Europe? We went gnome hunting.

Yup, that’s right. Gnomes. And no, it’s not something I’m just failing at translating from Polish to English correctly. I mean gnomes. Kinda like the ones in Gnomeo and Juliet but less talkative and colorful. Wrocław is a city in southern Poland known for its large town square, historic brewery, and brass gnomes. There are over 240 of these little guys hiding all around the city and Ry and I made it our mission to find at least 54 of them (we chose our flat number, 18, times 3, ‘cuz why not?). A Game of Gnomes, if you will. And I have to say, by the time we left, we were victorious having found 67 gnomes.

Adding to the already impressive list of Things We Have Accomplished Before Work, which currently includes “moving everything we own across town and unpacking”, we decided to return from our weekend in Wrocław on Monday morning. We caught a quick $2.38 flight back to Warsaw at 6:50 am, landed, hopped on a train, and casually strolled into work 45 minutes early, gnome questions asked. Professionals to the end.

Saturday:

Breakfast – Central Cafe (delicious porridge, croissants, and omelets)

Gnome hunting.

Walked through the town square and across to Cathedral Island in the morning. On this light stroll, we saw the famous, albeit clichéd, lock bridge – though I hear they periodically chop the locks off so the bridge doesn’t collapse – in addition to seeing a flock of nuns (think The Town) and many street musicians (such as Recorder Girl below).

Gnome hunting.

Ice Cream #1 – The key to fitting a lot of ice cream into any trip is to start strong so based on reviews, Polish Lody was the spot for us. The ice cream was a solid 6 out of 10 but Ice Cream #2 was definitely the winner for this weekend.

Gnome hunting.

Wyspa Słodowa is a beautiful park on an island in Wrocław and was the perfect place to post up and creep on French Bulldogs. In case you were unaware, I freaking love them and have been known, as I did many times throughout the weekend, to send Snapchats of these cuties to family and friends, regardless of whether or not I know the owner. Generally not knowing the owner. Okay, I never know the owner but they have cute dogs so I film them. The dogs, not the owners.

Gnome hunting.

There are two breweries on the square that we’d recommend. Spiż Brewery is the one we chose for Saturday night but Piwnica Swidnicka is the self-proclaimed oldest restaurant in Europe, having been open for over 725 years.

Sunday:

Breakfast – Giselle; if you’re looking for a great place to eat a warm, relaxed breakfast, Giselle is the spot to go. It’s definitely one of the best cafes we’ve found so far in Poland.

Gnome hunting.

After fueling up, we explored Town Square and the squares surrounding it. The buildings are all very brightly colored and there are a ton of cool streets winding off the main square with small shops and cafes. Living in Poland has tempered our bodies’ abilities to gauge warmth. While still moderately chilly at times, we lived by the motto Sun’s Out, Guns Out, and shed our jackets to allow for maximum Vitamin D absorption.

Ice Cream #2 – No trip is complete without multiple rounds of ice cream and Tralalala Cafe was the spot for us. While Ice Cream #1 had 6 or 7 flavors of ice cream, this joint had like, 40. And the 4 we tried were all winners.

Gnome hunting.

Whilst strolling along the river, we spotted from afar a group of hooligans practicing their hardcore parkour moves on the opposite bank. I think they imagined they looked as cool as the people on The Office, but sadly they did not. We sat in eager yet cynical anticipation, waiting for someone to either a) fall in the river, or b) injure themselves. Alas, neither of these happened. After we left the scene, we kept waiting to hear ambulance sirens headed their way.

On the way back to the Corner Hostel, we saw about 40 people waiting in line for something. Fancying ourselves British, we decided to queue without knowing what they were waiting for. When we made it to the front of the line (after about 25 minutes) we found out that Stara Paczkarnia serves Polish jelly filled doughnuts. And man were they worth the wait. Not believing in doing anything in half measures, we bought half a dozen and ate half of them that night and half the next day for breakfast at the airport.

Gnome hunting purchasing: we jointly decided that Audrey could use another roommate back home. She sometimes gets lonely when we travel. An old man in the Town Square was selling hand-carved gnome figurines. Though we normally don’t pick up tchotchkes from our travels, we figured when in gnome, deliberated for a bit, and then selected this dude to commemorate our weekend:

Trip book purchase: Goblin Market

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6 thoughts on “Wrocław: Land of Gnomes

  1. With all the ice cream and pastry consumption you may want to start a weight log. Love the narrative on the local color. King

    Like

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