This post is also available in: Ελληνικα (Greek)
Resembling a different type of Venice, Wroclaw is a city with countless bridges, little green islands and gothic architecture. Something out of fairy-tale, full of mystery and playful energy, hugging the river banks of Oder with cobbled roads and gardens with elegant mansions.
A good day starts with a good breakfast!
By luck our apartment was right next to the best humus place in Wroclaw, Wkontakcie. We had the most colourful tasty breakfast comprised of humus, omelettes, fresh juice, salads and herbs in a very artistic alternative space. Our day started full of energy ready for the walk towards the zoo. The city has very distinct character. It feels like we have entered a kids painting with lots of red colours and brick houses.
Some childhood memories don’t ever change.
Wroclaw is a paradise of ice cream and I wanted to try out all the flavours in five days!
In every small corner there is some sort of sweet temptation in this fairy-tale city. On the road towards the zoo, everyone was holding a multi-coloured ice cream cones: cyclists, mothers with prams, young couples and pensioners. Endless rows of vegan ice creams with flavours including mango, ginger, coconut, lemon with basil, lavender, mint, pin colada, pistachio and the list goes on. We briefly stopped for refreshments at café lodziarnia next to the red bridge, we then continued our stroll towards the zoo!
In the afternoon we wandered around the old city, discovering cafes and restaurants. As we walked past the gallery of modern art, we followed the wonderful aroma from cafe Amorinio. There are two mischievous dwarfs appeared, Ciastus and Amorinek.
And in that magic moment, I look at Zenako and his lips spread into a wide smile!
They were both outside the coffee shop window fascinated by the aromas and so the shop owner invited them to live there and help with the company. Every day they climb up to the shop window hauling the magic of the city by rope: Ice creams, tarts, biscuits, cakes and coffee.
While we were passing Szewska, a miniature motorcyclist overtook us and I just managed to snap a nice photo. But there are also tiny photographers! Troszka is the first female photographer in the city and her model is the dwarf of the dwarfs called Adoratorek. It suddenly occurred to me that there is a smaller world in the world of dwarfs. It reminded of the scene with the locks from the Alice in Wonderland.
I wonder if there are small doors leading to secret gardens. In a small alley way behind St. Basils church, we met another little person who was enjoying an ice-cream on the window sill of the popular cafe shop Lody Barton, meanwhile Tynkus nearby was repairing a broken wall by pasting on coconut cream. He told us that the materials came from Ice roll factory in which they create the tasty ice rolls on frozen metallic plates at –30°.
We arrived at the Rynek central square, next to the old town hall and the church of St.Basil. Outside the town hall there was a collection of artists, painters, pianists, clowns and fairies welcomed us to an ice cream party full of sweets and lots of bubbles.
In front of the town hall three little dwarfs appeared and brought life to the area with their humour. The deaf dwarf Gluchak explained the magic games with incredible detail, while the blind dwarf Slepak gave rhythm to W-skers who was dancing and laughing in his wheelchair giving the giggles to every passer-by. I remembered the scene from Mary Poppins with the chubby gentlemen, who was laughing non-stop and who slowly started floating to the top of the room. That’s just how these dwarfs had got through there disabilities, by bringing joy and energy to others. We had just made an amazing discovery.
Laughter can overcome the laws of physics!
In line with Greek mythology, Sisyphus managed to trap Death (in Greek means Thanatos) in the chains. Once Thanatos was bound by the strong chains, no one died on earth. This caused an uproar especially for Ares and so he intervened and freed Thanatos. Thanatos was angry, so he took Sisyphus and gave him to the underworld. Persephone was pressured that Sisyphus didn’t want to stay in the darkness of hell. So, Sisyphus lived till old age, because Thanatos was afraid to take him due to what happened in the past. As a punishment for his trickery, Sisyphus was made to roll a huge boulder endlessly up a steep hill. Every time he would get close to the boulder would roll backwards.
That is how these miniatures Krasnale are the heroes that could be identified with modern humans that waste their lives in a futile fight trapped inside the same day.
Around the Rynek Square, we found many nice restaurants. We sat down at Soczweka Kitchen, which stood out with its rustic feel, traditional polish cuisine and excellent beers! Right next door is the Akropol restaurant, which is owned by a Greek chef. In this city there must be dwarfs taken from Greek Mythology. Right next to the post office we found two dwarfs named Sisyphus, they were pushing a big boulder against each other. It looked like they sentenced to an eternal punishment.
And yet every day you can find something different even in your routine!
Is it compatible to have comfort with creativity or the other way around? The Art of Routine for the locals of Wroclaw means discovering the best way of passing the day.
Next to the gallery we found two special characters: The Hipster programmer and the pole dancer. The travelling hipster with the beanie hat, the laptop and the nice cup of Barbadian coffee, every day carrying his office to a different corner of the city, writing code for an app for art workshop of Wroclaw. The acrobatic dwarf reminds me of myself, crazy and flexible.
It’s impressive that someone can see the world upside down!
Rumours say that some brave dwarves have climbed the lamps around the city, because they are curious to see what the world is like from high up. Impressed from the view they have decided to stay up the pole.
On the corner of Świdnicka we met the wise Papa dwarf again. He was proud of the city that started to calm down surrounded by purple clouds. At that moment, five yellow cyclists passed us and turned to the cultural center (Strefa Kultury Wrocław).
Next to a line of bikes, was a small artist that draws the sunset every day!
That Cultural Centre was created by merge of two organizations: One holds the title of “European Capital of Culture 2016” and an older one that paved the way for the artistic landscape many decades ago. The Centre is active in organizing workshops, festivals and artistic programs.
It started to get dark and we just about managed to catch two more dwarfs that are dedicated to keeping the city clean.
Florianek is the chimney cleaner of Wroclaw, specialized in cleaning the soot from old chimneys. He wore a top hat and held a clean cloth, but his face was still black from dirt. He was full of energy and in a dancing mood, as though he had come straight out of the musical from Mary Poppins where Bert sings ”Chim Chim Cher-ee”.
Further down the road his friend is holding a plastic recycling bin, reminding the people of Wroclaw to not pollute the environment and to avoid using plastics. The bin itself is super tiny so that it wouldn’t fit more than ten small bottle caps!