Poland: Exploring Katowice and Wroclaw

I made a business trip to Poland a few years back. And not for any regular projects, but a dust explosion test! Who knew that in this little town of Katowice, there’s an institute specialising in dust explosion, more commonly commissioning test for mining industry.

Anyway, I’m grateful to have had this opportunity to witness the dust explosion test, and better visit more of Eastern Europe!

Poland was the first country invaded by the Nazi Germany and Soviet Union in World War II. The two cities I visited, i.e. Katowice and Wroclaw, still remain its post WWII communistic influences in their buildings.

Katowice

From Kuala Lumpur, I flew on Lufthansa to Katowice (pronounced “Ka-to-wee-che”), with a stopover in Frankfurt. My colleague (and host) would only be meeting me the next day, so I had the first day to myself. I explored the city on my own, and had my first taste of Polish cuisine.

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I found this local restaurant, Tatiana, which serves authentic Polish cuisine.

For starter, I ordered the Zurek, which is a sour rye soup with sausage, egg, and potatoes. Honestly, it was kinda weird for me, but at least I gave it a try. For main, I ordered Pierogi, which are Polish dumplings. I remember I was smiling to myself, while eating it, amused by how this is essentially Chinese dumplings going haute cuisine! The restaurant was very kind to have offered me a sampler set, so I can try different fillings. I had venison, pork, and lamb & cheese. My favourite was the venison.

While in Katowice, I realised I was the ONLY Asian there! I’m not kidding! I didn’t see any Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, Thai etc. Which was why the entire time I was there, every single person who walked past me, had to check me out, like I’m a rare panda.

While I didn’t get to spend much time exploring the city, you should consider visiting attractions such as Silesian Museum, and the red brick neighbourhood of Nikiszowiec and Giszowiec. Check out Mywanderlust blog for more travel ideas in Katowice.

Zamek Moszna

Over the weekend, my host offered to bring me on a road trip to Wroclaw. On our way, we stopped by Zamek Moszna (Moszna castle). Apparently, this castle has been often featured in many lists of most beautiful castles in the world.

Wroclaw

Wroclaw (pronounced “Wrotz-suav”), is the largest city in Western Poland, situated on the banks of the Oder river.

The Old town (Stare Miasto in Polish) is definitely one of the main tourist destination. It is apparently one of the biggest city squares in Europe, very happening with restaurants, bars, and historical sites of interest.

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University of Wroclaw at night
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Wroclaw townhall
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Rynek (market square)

Besides walking around this old but pretty town, you should also rent a boat and cruise the Oder river. On the river cruise, you’ll get to see Wroclaw from a very different perspective.

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There are plenty a few museums in Wroclaw. However, you really should check out the Panorama of the Battle of Racławice, to learn more about the Battle of Raclawice, which was the first battle between Poland and Russia, fought in 1794. It is a 15 m high X 114 m width circular painting, depicting the Battle of Raclawice. This is museum is none other than the usual you have ever visited.

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I also visited this very beautiful old church made of wood, outside of Wroclaw. I was told that they still have their masses outdoor, which is pretty cool!

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Wooden church

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After my short weekend in Wroclaw, my host and I drove back to Katowice to finish our work. On our way back, we made a stop at Auschwitz Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration camp. That was one very emotional visit I’ll never forget. I’ll write more about it in another post.

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