Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Winter in Wroclaw in June

From Prague to Wroclaw

We are excited to show Chris' parents where we have moved to. When Chris and I drove from Wroclaw to Prague, we loved the country side and everything we saw - so we are hoping the same beauty shines on the way to Wroclaw with his parents in the car. But as we are ending the roads in the Czech Republic, we run into a closed road on a round about and it takes us through this tiny, tiny village and because of the flooding - a few washed out roads along small creeks. Don't get me wrong it was pretty but when in the car with others, it's better to stay on the main roads. We question the GPS a few times but finally, we follow some large trucks up a road that to us looks like a one way road - figuring if a car is coming the other way, they will have to move for the truck. Luck would have it - it worked out in our favor. On the road again to Wroclaw. But I think after that - we all just needed a drink.

And then we pull into to Wroclaw - but we only know one route (the bus route) back to the city center and it isn't the prettiest way to be introduced to the city - so I think his mom had her second "oh shit" moment of the drive. Until we pull into the city center.

Cute summer festival going on during June in Rynek

Festival in Rynek

Chris and I think Kurna Chata is the best place to bring guests for good traditional Polish cuisine when they first visit - it's a good trusty spot.

Chicken wings

Broccoli with cheese and tomato

Polish Pork Chop with olives and cheese - and don't forget the side of cabbage

Flaming Goulash

Flaming Goulash

Flaming Goulash
This side of the world is still experiencing a lot of rain and fairly cool temperatures for summer but on their first full day here, we take them to Cathedral Island (Ostrow Tumski). We think Cathedral Island is the prettiest part of Wroclaw. There is the main church there, Wroclaw Cathedral but there are lots of things to see - great for a stroll. Try going at sunset and seeing the Lamplighter who still lights the street lamps by hand each night.

Locks of Love

Tumski Bridge to Cathedral Island

Cathedral Island

Cathedral Island from across the Oder River

Pretty garden overlooking the city - along the Oder

Gate to river
Lunch we head to Rynek for Zurek soup. We think Piwnica Swidnicka has the best Zurek. It is at the bottom of City Hall (claims to be the oldest restaurant in Europe but we don't buy it) and is decorated cute. Service is a bit odd - doesn't seem like the get a full house but tourists coming in for Zurek. 

For dinner, we go to Brasserie 27. They have the best soups and salads. Our favorite is the warm goat cheese salad. Delicious. Their lentil soup, pea soup and asparagus soup are also spot on. The only complaint is they aren't the best at making drinks. Still confused on how martini's aren't a staple here. Recommend sticking with beer or wine.

Being in the center of WWII history - everything around us has a story.  The Jewish Quarter in Wroclaw is no exception. We visit the White Stork Synagogue, Wroclaw's only Synagogue to survive the war. On the balconies, they have a collection of stories, poems and pictures. This is a must when visiting Wroclaw.

Another great site is the University. They have the prettiest church in Wroclaw, hands down. The church is free but if you want to explore the University Musuem, head next door and tour the math tower it costs only a few PLN. The Meridian Line runs through the building and you can also get a nice view of the city and Oder River.

We cap off the vacation at OK Wine Bar. This is our first time here as well and it is amazing. We love the salad, they have a nice wine selection and everything else we ate was delicious.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Prague Underwater

Before we knew we were moving to Poland, Chris' parents planned a trip to Ireland. Once we told them the news, they decided to extend their vacation and visit us in Prague and then to Wroclaw - and start the celebration of Chris' 30th birthday. We are so happy they did!

Chris and I rented a car and drove from Wroclaw to Prague. Who would have thought, the Czech Republic twice in a week. It is a fairly easy drive - most of it highway but between the borders, there are some smaller roads. We are first to arrive at the Sheraton Hotel where we are all staying so we check into the room and scope the place out. They are pretty sweet rooms - his dad booked joining rooms which worked out perfectly.

While waiting for them to arrive, Chris and I go for a little stroll. We decide to celebrate with a bottle of some absinth.

Absinth from Prague
When his parents arrive - we hit the streets. Our hotel was about 5-10 minute walk to the historic square. We make our way there, then over the Charles Bridge and on to the other side, we take a taxi to what we think is a where we want to go to dinner "The Monastery"  - only to find out - it wasn't. So we headed back into the historic area and went to a local brewery which we passed on our walk it. It was perfect.

Prague's weather while we are there is making international news because of all the rain and flooding. While it isn't a down poor, it is steady and the river is pretty rough and definately flooding out some stores and restaurants along the water. We didn't let it get the best of us and our vacation though.

Flooded restaurant - owners trying to remove everything to dry grounds

Kafka Museum in Prague - Flooded

Vltava River

Vltava River

The next day, we opted for the "Hop On - Hop Off" bus tour and as we called it - the "Hop On - Stay On". We do a whole loop around the city and then jump out at the Prague Castle. We watched the changing of the guards which is what we would call uneventful - but hey at least we saw it! We also loved seeing the church and the grounds.

View from the top of Prague Castle

The church
The church at the top of Prague Castle

The Guard
Anne and I
 Our walk back to old town, we took a stroll through the vineyards.

Old Town is beautiful. You can see a lot of similarities between Prague and Wroclaw. Here are some of the sites:
Astronomical Clock

Charles Bridge

The Charles Bridge Tower

Old Town Square

Ham - lots of ham - Chris can't help himself

Tyn Church

Old Town and the Astronomical Clock

The Astronomical Clock (it goes off every hour)

Streets of Prague

St. Nicholas Cathedral

Inside the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Old Town
Chris and John in Prague

Center of Old Town

We wrapped up the day with dinner at Il Flekil. It was a great dining experience. There was music, signing and beer flowing. They walk around the treys of beer (1 kind) and replace empty glasses with full ones. They have wine too for those who enjoy the vino.

Each morning Chris spoiled us with breakfast to the room and a little happy hour each night before dinner.  Great time to just sit around and talk.

Our last day there, the Hop On and Off bus shut down because of the weather. There were some areas that they couldn't go and bridges were closed so we just walked around the old town area. They say it was the worst flooding in over 50 years. They even shut down the Charles Bridge. Anne got her trinket shopping in with John and Chris and I went off to some other parts of town for a few drinks.

For our last night in Prague, we dined at Kalina Restaurant. Everything we ordered was made to perfection. It was a great way to end a great getaway to Prague.

Lobster and Peas - these flavors burst in your mouth

Mashed potatoes à la Joël Robuchon

Green Beans