Waking up to breakfast, already made for me, fulfilled my sleep and food ambitions within moments of waking up. The smell of fresh coffee with the heat from the open fire gently welcoming me as I sat to the table to eat the eggs prepared by Filip. Accompanying our breakfast this morning were two freshly made Valentines cupcakes that Babcia (Polish for Grandma, in this case Filip’s Grandma) had bought for us on her morning errands.
Once we had eaten and showered we headed off towards the city via local bus and tram, the air surrounding us crisp and hazed. A hard frost had covered the landscape around us transforming it into a sliver white oasis. As the gentle breeze shook the street lining trees, frost fell around us, almost fooling us that the clear blue sky had somehow produced a snowfall that followed us on our journey. Arriving in the city centre we fulfilled our love of coffee by visiting “Gniazdo”. Even by looking through the window you could sense this was a place for good, serious coffee, the shelves were lined with various beans from around the world as well as an array of Chemex and Aeropress just waiting to feel the warmth of coffee swirl around its filters creating for you the perfect smooth cup. The inside was spacious and bright with hexagon tables decorated with a mini eco-system living inside of a bulb. One’s mind can only start to drift and picture whether we are just simply placed within a bulb within a coffee shop part of a much larger universe.
Our coffees appropriately finished off with a beautiful latte art heart we sat and took in our surroundings, sipping away at the warmth and caffeine that would ultimately spur us on towards our next destination.With coffee comes good cake, at least in our rule books it does, a short walk away just before you get into the Old Square we stopped via “Paczkarnia”. A small windowed ‘donuterie’ – its freshly made, filled donuts lined the window towards a small hatch where you would order and pay for which ever mouth-watering donut you chose. Beyond the donuts a team of bakers hurriedly prepared the next batch, puffs of flour occasionally reaching towards the ceiling as the dough was smacked down on a side ready to be rolled out into shape. The flavours were vast and exotic, we settled for a simple pear filled as these had just be placed down and showed warmth of just having freshly been baked. There’s often a queue for Packarnia, it’s become a must visit place for me on our trips to Wroclaw, although the pastry jam filled delights would soon become a burden if I experienced one each day.
Next a short tram ride away saw us arrive at ‘Ostrów Tumski’ or otherwise known as ‘Cathedral Island’, the oldest part of Wroclaw the island is made up of a number of different Cathedrals and churches, flanked by the now partly frozen river Oder, its cobbled streets and grand churches create an island of tranquility amongst the otherwise bustling city. From Ostrów Tumski we walked up towards the newly built university library before heading back alongside the river oder until we reached ‘Hala Targowa’, Wroclaw’s market hall built between 1906-1908. Created and built-in order to organise street trading in the city centre, the hall was renowned for its then innovative application of reinforced concrete trusses, which was unique in Europe at the time. Its use of reinforced concrete trusses took me back to the days of playing video games as the grand hall reminded me of a German armoury that you may come across in a game of ‘Call of Duty’. Although not used as an armoury in real life the building remained intact during the second world war and continued its duties as a market hall shortly after.
The cold bitter air had once again started to take its toll on us as we walked the historic streets in search of lunch. ‘Zupa’ is where our search ended, a small take away only soup restaurant offering different vibrant warm & hearty soups. My flavour of choice being parsley, pineapple and sunflower seeds. The delicious combination of flavours proved everything I could have hoped for, walking along the streets back towards a tram with this warm soup in hand-made the cold disappear with every mouthful. Before heading home we stopped by a shop to pick up some lunch bits for our coach ride to Krakow tomorrow.
After a short stop at home we again jumped on the local tram heading back into the city where we would enjoy the delights of a 3 courses meal accompanied by a bottle of wine in fine-dining vegetarian restaurant ‘Ahimsa’ for our Valentine’s meal.