Adventure Thrifts: Wroclaw

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Despite what you might think, mid-semester breaks aren’t just reserved for exchange students. Whether in first year or final, a weekend in another country can fit alongside course deadlines and doesn’t have to take you into your overdraft.

Although travelling abroad during term time can feel especially cheeky, the advantages of cheap flights and smaller crowds were enough to win me over. Booking in advance also lets you plan effectively – reserving days off your part time job for ‘university trips’, handing in essential pieces of coursework on time – which turns the opportunity from a ‘why?’ to a ‘why not?’.

Travelling in itself is a learning (see, educational) experience and one of the first things we discovered was that our harsh pronunciation of Wroclaw (row-claw) was wrong. It’s actually vrots-wahf. Knowing embarrassingly little about the city, a free walking tour was the perfect way to familiarise ourselves and learn more about Wroclaw’s history. Touted by our tour guide as Poland’s answer to Venice, Wroclaw boasts as many as 300+ bridges (depending on how you categorise bridges), an impressive treasure hunt of  350+ dwarves, and hidden gems of street art scattered throughout.

“Wroclaw is full of cosy cafés to warm up from the cold if you’re travelling mid-March like we were…”

The market square is the largest of its kind in Europe, but it can be a little hard to distinguish from ground level. Climbing up St. Elizabeth’s Church and viewing from atop, the shape of the square is much easier to make out and if the 300 step climb wasn’t enough to make you feel dizzy, the sweeping panoramic view is sure to take your breath away. Back on the streets, Wroclaw is full of cosy cafés to warm up from the cold if you’re travelling mid-March like we were – Cherubinowy Wedrowiec was our pick to spend an hour.

One of the main attractions of the city is Raclawice Panorama, a painting which surrounds you with a scene from the Battle of Raclawice. Highly recommended by locals and people on the Internet, it was unfortunately the only thing we didn’t manage to see (note: always check opening times). In its place, we decided on Muzeum Wspolczesne Wroclaw (MWW) – a gallery of interesting contemporary pieces inside a converted air raid shelter. Wednesday through to Sunday, MWW is open until 8pm, saving us from our previous folly and filling in that awkward gap before dinner.

Dining out in Poland was very inexpensive, with our first meal costing only £7 per person. Alcohol is also much cheaper than the UK when buying from both convenience stores and bars. In total, we spent approximately £110 on our ‘study break’ to Poland. Arriving back in the UK, we resumed the daily grind, but it was strange to think we were just in another country and even stranger to think that I had never done this before.

Karmen Truong

You can read more about my travels here:

Images courtesy of Karmen Truong.

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