After a leisurely breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant, we checked out of our room and stored our luggage until late afternoon. The Ibis Styles Wroclaw Centrum had been a good choice for our short break and its location near the railway station and the airport bus terminus provided us with easy access to public transport.
The day had started bright and sunny so we took a tram to Szczytnicki Park, a short distance out of town. The park is the oldest in the city and contains both Wroclaw Zoo and the Japanese Garden. We had hoped to visit the garden but were one week too early for its opening date of the year. However, we did manage to walk along the perimeter of the garden and catch a few glimpses of its buildings and stream through the metal fence.
The garden was originally created in 1913 for the World Fair, when it was exhibited in the category of artistic gardening. Over the years it fell into disrepair but with funding from the Japanese embassy in Warsaw, it was finally revived in 1999. It features a tea pavilion, narrow bridges with cascading waterfalls, koi carp pond and oriental landscaping of shrubs and plants, There is a nominal admission charge of 4zl. (79p) to look around.
Located a short walk to the south, we came to the Centennial Hall which was also opened in 1913. The building has become one of Poland’s national historic monuments and was listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006 for its reinforced concrete architecture. It is nw mainly used for sporting events, concerts and exhibitions.
To the left of the Centennial Hall stands a large pergola and semi-circular colonnade. It would be nice to return here one evening during the summer months when the multi-media fountain is operating. Built in 2009 in honour of the first free elections in post-war Poland, it is the largest fountain in the country and one of the biggest in Europe. With its dazzling displays of light, sound and water featuring 800 lights, 300 water jets and 3 fire jets, I’m certain it attracts many visitors and is a pleasure to see.
Leaving the park, we then felt the need for a little retail therapy, so we hopped on a tram to Magnolia Park, the largest shopping mall in Wroclaw. We were fortunate to have timed our visit to Poland to find shops open on a Sunday. Since March 2018, a Sunday trading ban has been enforced in Poland closing shops on alternate Sundays so it is a good idea to check the calendar before embarking on a Sunday shopping trip!
It was then time for something to eat so we made our way back to the centre by tram and opted to eat lunch in Pierogarnie where we had enjoyed bowls of soup the previous day. I didn’t want to return home without sampling local dumplings so I ordered some with a ham, cheese and potato filling which tasted delicious accompanied by a glass of beer.
Returning to the hotel, there was just one more thing we wanted to see. On the junction of Piludski and Swidnicka streets stands the Monument of the Anonymous Passerby. These bronze statues were originally displayed in Warsaw but moved to Wroclaw in 2005.
The installation consists of 14 life like figures. The main character is a woman and the others are of her family, half of whom are falling into the ground in front of her whilst the other half are climbing up behind her. I’m pleased we found time to take a look at this unusual sculpture by Kalina, which is located on a busy street corner in the city centre.
After collecting our luggage from the hotel, we caught the Airport Bus (106) from its terminus near Wroclaw railway station utilising our 24 hour ticket we had purchased the previous day. The journey back to the airport was quick and easy taking about 40 minutes and it was not long until we were sitting in one of the airside cafes enjoying a pot of tea. Our return flight with Ryanair to Leeds-Bradford airport departed on time and in a little over two hours we were back in the U.K. after an enjoyable weekend in yet another of Poland’s beautiful cities.
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