It can't have slipped anyone's notice on reading this blog that my family and I love Eastern Europe, especially Poland! We visited Wrocław in the summer and all agreed that rather than buying presents in Christmas 2019 we would instead return for its beautiful winter market.
My parents would have loved to have joined us but my father's health (Alzheimer's) has taken such a downturn in the last month that it just wasn't logistically possible. This blog post will therefore seem a little self indulgent, as it mainly consists of family photos that granny can show granddad on her tablet!
|A is for Alice!|
The weather was unbelievably warm with sunshine the entire weekend. Even the evenings were mild and it felt quite strange to be enjoying better weather in Poland than we had left behind in England. In fact, without the festive market, we would have struggled to remember it was just four days until Christmas!
Wrocław is a stunning city and, with the Christmas market nestled in the centre of the old town, it presents an experience which is quite simply unforgettable. I'm not usually the sentimental type but as a street musician began playing carols on his violin it felt incredibly beautiful and sharing it with my husband and children created a very precious memory for all of us.
These pictures do not do justice to the market, as my photography skills are bad enough in the daylight, let alone in the dark ... you'll just have to add a sprinkle of imagination! The market's main tree was a very tasteful mix of pastel icy tones which looked gorgeous at all times of the day and night.
In common with all European Christmas markets, there were multiple cute little wooden stalls selling handmade crafts and regional produce, but my lot were far more interested in those peddling Polish street food and the local beers!
There were five wooden chalets to chose from when needing liquid refreshment, ranging in height from one to three storeys. They each served a choice of hot and cold beer and wine as well as drinking chocolate and flavoured coffees. We tried everything except hot beer(!) and whilst I didn't get any pictures of the chalet interiors, they were very cosy with lots of fur rugs on chairs and countless twinkling fairy lights
The chalets were very popular with people of all ages, from tiny children to senior citizens, along with the occasional group of young men or women on a festive night out. As is common in Europe it was all very laid back with absolutely no drunkenness to be seen anywhere.
The picture above is the rear porch of one of the smaller chalets and the one below shows the boys enjoying a beer on one of the larger upper balconies. Each of the chalets offered a choice of inside or outside drinking spaces.
The chocolate box coloured buildings of the old town looked like a scene from a fairy tale as we viewed them bathed in the glow of millions and millions of tiny Christmas lights.
On the Friday of our visit we climbed up to the 'Penitents' Bridge' or Witches' Bridge' which links the two towers of the church of St Mary Magdalene. The bridge is said to be haunted by the tortured souls of women who chose a single life of fun in preference to being a subservient wife and mother!
The church you can see in these pictures taken from the bridge is St. Elizabeth's, which we previously climbed during our visit to Wrocław in August.
The Christmas market is just peeking into view in the snap below!
The bridge is also home to an adorable trio of Wroclaw's famous dwarves, who in this instance recall the original legend of the Penitents' Bridge and thus serve as a reminder of the fate awaiting any young woman who chooses the path of debauchery over wedded life.....being turned into a witch forever doing housework. I'll leave that one to you to ponder upon!
|Dragon Fountain in Plac Solny (Salt Square)|
Looking towards Ostrów Tumski (Cathedral Island) on a warm and bright December day!
Whilst we were wandering along the Oder river we spotted yet another of the 300+ dwarves that Wrocław is famous for, this time a cute little digger driver with roses in his trailer!