When you would actually spend some time exploring Poland you would soon learn that there is really a lot to love about this country. Many that visit it for their first time get actually quite astonished how much the country has to offer to tourists. You might expect boring central European cities, however you will find rich medieval statue filled towns and villages with colorful food, beautiful Slavic decor and happy sometimes even tipsy people! In other words it would prove to you that this is not some cold ex-communist country but actually a rich cultural bomb that is getting ready to blow your mind away.
Who knows, maybe many people connect Poland with grey color due to so much ww2 documentaries that show it that way, so it’s our turn to show you a different colorful Poland where your eyes, tummy and mind will relax and enjoy with friendly Poles! From statues that are alive, to completely rebuilt old towns and delicious food nothing can stop Poland to surprise you, so let’s stop talking and start listing:
1. In Krakow, There Is A Dragon That Breathes Fire
No medieval city can exist without having a dragon, because a dragon was a must in medieval times! Little kids as they approach this monster feel safe thinking “hey it’s just a statue” until the big stone monster releases real jets of flame from it’s dangerous mouth. This ladies and gentlemen is a Wawel Dragon, a mythological creature that terrorized the city according to the city lore and he obviously still is here scaring unsuspecting visitors with it’s fiery breath!
2. Wroclaw Is Home To 300 Miniature Gnomes
Just that your town exploring wouldn’t be boring, there is a nice game to play in Wroclaw. We will call the game “spot the gnome” where while you are seeing all the cathedrals, market squares and the picturesque waterways you will also look for those little pesky gnomes that do their devilish things. Ok they are not devilish, they are actually quite adorable and these little guys will make you happy when you spot them and take a photo of these little hard-working guys. They were first spotted back in 2001. however the gnome infestation has now overcome the whole city and you will find them on almost all objects of the city such as lampposts, hanging from doorways and perched on benches. You wonder why gnomes? Because Oragne Alternative was a Polish anti-communist movement that has gnomes as their symbol.
3. In Warsaw, Public Benches Serenade You With Chopin
After hours of walking and exploring you will want to rest your tiresome legs and take a break right? Well Warsaw officials had that in mind so why not learn something while you sit?! So in memory of Fryderyk Chopin, Polish born composer there have been 15 elegant black stone benches placed around Warsaw where Chopins life played itself. When you sit, you just push the button and get a free 30 second play of Chopins music. We think that is more than enough to start learn about his life.
4. Wieliczka Salt Mine Is An Underground Gallery Of Salt Sculptures
Those that love fantasy movies will love Wieliczka Mine that was functional until 2007. Today as expected it is a cultural monument and major tourist attraction for all the brave explorers that dare to enter it. Even the Egyptian mummies would be jealous of the decor and underground atmosphere that these underground mines offer with their surreal beauty and carvings that were hand made by generations of salt miners in a period of hundreds of years. Just to be more awesome, there is a underground cathedral with dozens of statues all packed in there for you to enjoy this quite unique place.
5. You Can Be Fined For Crossing The Street On A Red Light
In many countries people can cross streets as they wish, because people are inpatient if the street is empty of cars. Obviouslly Poles are inpatient as well however you will see them all waiting untill the green light gives them the signal. However don’t think they are strange, they just have very strict laws when it comes to crossing their streets and they can get quite large fines for doing so. Take your cues from locals and don’t even think about jay walking.
6. The Food Is Confusing
Mmmmm imagine soft, warm and tasty dumplings filled with blueberries, cold, blood-red soup, potato pancakes and pizzas doused in ketchup. Oh yes, that is pretty amazing and all Polish food is very tasty, however it will probably be surprising to those that try it for the first time. So take our advice and keep your mind open for all the different tastes that Poles have to offer and for the love of God you have to try pierogi (Polish dumplings) as much as you can. No regrets!
7. Crooked Everything — And An Upside Down House
Forests that are crooked? is it due to vodka? Well that are many theories about how they came to be this way but they have become a real bizarre unexplained attraction in Poland. People love explainable and mystical things and this is one of them, your kids would love it probably. So as you can see Poland is also filled with mind-bending things to see, better get ready and visit it.
8. The Statues Are Funny
Polish people really do love statues as you could have seen by now. They range from gnomes, dragons, mermaids, soldiers, depicting historical events and so on however many of these statues are deep and have a historical meaning to them. Even tho they might bring a smile to your face upon seeing them they usually cover a story that might shock, amaze or cheerish you. These statues are everyhwere and to be honest it looks like it’s a Polish national sport to build a statue, we like that! For example, the boy with a blatant erection in Gdansk, or a dead pig in the Vistula River in Krakow. World’s largest Jesus statue. Lenin peeing. Do you need more?
Vodka…ah yes the best folkish antibiotic, best drink, best everything. Polish vodka will erase all your memories of previous vodkas you tried becuase this one is really uniqe. Vodka in Poland doesn’t just has a status of hangover-inducing student beverage that is called by the same name in other parts of the world. It comes in a range of flavors (and colors) that are so good they can be imbibed straight.
10. Warsaw Was Completely Rebuilt After World War II
Warsaw Old Town is really old and is protected as UNESCO World Heritage Site, just there’s a little catch, it’ isn’t old at all. Warsaw’s Old Town was completely reconstructed after the second world war that destroyed 90% of Warsaw and claimed one fifth of the Polish population. The reconstruction encompassed the Royal Castle, Old Town Market, city walls and townhouses, recreated as accurately as possible from the paintings of 18th Century Italian artist Bernardo Bellotto.