At the beginning of July this year I started a new job at a tech consultancy. We tend to work on client site and one of the things you kind of need to be okay with is potentially working away from London. In my first few days there I bumped into my boss and he asked me – “Where do you want to go? Birmingham, Paris or Poland?” with a big grin. I didn’t realise he was actually serious until I received an email where my name was listed under a team destined to work in Poland. The following Monday I started a three month project which had me flying back and forth from Wrocław (pronounced ross-wav) in Poland each week. Lucky me.
I’ll just quickly summarise the experience of being there for work. I adore travelling obviously, so the commuting (flying) didn’t really bother me. I got to stay in a 5* hotel (dreamy) and each day I was there I got an allowance on top of my salary for food. So I could hardly complain about that! Unfortunately the actual work I was doing there was dreary and unsatisfying. The client was friendly enough though. And the team I was with from London were good, although very male.
Anyway long story short I ended up in south western Poland for an extended amount of time. And luckily, Wrocław is quite a nice place! Most of the opportunities I had to explore were in the evenings after work. We worked 8 – 4 so if I was lucky I got back to the hotel with plenty of daylight to spare. The city centre is full of beautiful old buildings, many of which had been restored after the war – its location so close to the German/Polish border probably made it quite prone to being destroyed I guess! The River Oder splits and goes around the city centre, with lots of lovely parks and promenades built along the riverfront.
The highlight of the city was the town square. I discovered it while strolling around on my first evening there getting my bearings. I entered through a very unassuming side street and my jaw actually dropped; I remember because some nearby tourists saw my reaction and laughed at me. The square serves as the central hub of the city, with restaurants and bars galore (even at high touristy prices they were fairly reasonable) plus the incredible city hall building. The city’s only gay bar is also in the square… I was quite bemused when I visited because it was karaoke night and everyone was just scream-singing along in Polish to songs I’d never heard of.
One day I managed to walk all the way out of the city to the Japanese garden (trust me if there’s something Japanese in a city I’ll find it!) where I spent a lovely evening in my own company, watching the red squirrels and reading.
Did I go to any of the museums in the city in the three months I spent there? No. Because I was only really there for weekdays and by the time I got out of work they were all closed. This also meant I missed out on the zoo! 😦 There was just one weekend where I didn’t fly back to London – and on that occasion I got a four hour train to Berlin for £16. I’ll share that experience in another post…
Wrocław wasn’t a bad place to spend a bit of time this summer. Out of the three options I was ‘offered’ I am glad I was sent without any consultation to Poland. Good food, reasonable prices, a swanky hotel and a beautiful city centre. I can hardly complain about that!
(yet I did. A lot. Of course I did!)