Photo Diary: Poland, October 2016 – Wroclaw

Although I’d already visited France and Norway in 2016, it felt like I was absolutely desperate for a holiday by the time we booked to go to Poland.  After scrolling through, what felt like, pages and pages of summer holiday pics on Instagram, Ewan and I decided to look for somewhere to go for an October break.

Ignorantly, I had never heard of Wroclaw, but saw cheap fares from Glasgow.  We considered Prague and Budapest as well, both of which I’d still love to go to, but after doing some research on Wroclaw, and because the dates worked in best, we decided on Poland.  The flights were crazy cheap too, which is always a bonus.

Our flight was in the late afternoon and after double checking my pronunciation of dziękuję (thank you) with our taxi driver, we got into our beautiful airbnb apartment!  I don’t have very good photos of it but you can see better ones on airbnb here.


Once we were settled in, we went to explore the city in the rain, but not for long, as it was getting dark and we were hungry!  What we did see, was lots of street art and pretty coloured buildings.  Then it was time for a Mexican feast, and then some cocktails at Whiskey in the Jar.

The next morning, the sun was out for us and we started the day with a walk along the river and a trip to the cathedral.  The lanes surrounding the cathedral were beautiful and from there we could follow the river into town.


On the way into town for our lunch, we passed the National museum.  This building was absolutely beautiful from the outside and we decided to go in for a small fee… would not recommend.  We felt very unwelcome and awkward and the art wasn’t to my taste at all.  We left shortly after going in and continued on our search for food.


When we got into the city centre we picked up a map of the Wroclaw dwarfs – they are so fun!  There are around 350 little dwarves all round the city and you can get a map, or an app, to try to spot as many as you can.  Such a fun way to explore.


Following the map on a leaflet we’d picked up in our apartment, about the best cafes and restaurants in the city (best to base everything on food!) we found a nice cafe for lunch, then went for a walk through the park, round the main square and to Wroclaw’s market hall – an indoor market of fruit, veg, cheese, flowers and more.  Next stop was crepes for pudding from FC Naleśniki.

After truly stuffing ourselves for the afternoon, we walked it off by heading for the Sky Tower for fantastic views of the city as the sun set.


We had dinner, at a traditional Polish restaurant, then went back to the apartment quite early that evening to watch Netflix and eat chocolate, as we were up early the next morning for a World War II tour.

We went on a tour called Secrets of World War II with Wroclaw Sightseeing Tours which was so interesting.  The first stop was a village called Krzyzowa and a centre of reconciliation between the Poles and the Germans.  There were some really moving quotes there and our tour guide was really good at explaining things that were not available in English.  It was only us and one other couple from Sardinia on the tour.  We had a cup of tea at the cafe and discussed Brexit and the Scottish independence referendum, in relation to friendships between countries etc.  It was very interesting to hear people from other countries views, and our tour guide discussed how he had spent some time living in Scotland.

The next stop was Project Riese, a secret Nazi military facility at the foot of the Sowie mountains.  It was a network of underground tunnels built by prisoners of war, most of whom died during labour due to the conditions.  The project was never finished and because of lack of documentation the purpose of it is uncertain.  Some believe it was for Hitler’s headquarters, other believe it was for residence.


We then went to Ksiaz castle for a lunch stop.  The castle was recently made famous by the rumours of a Nazi gold train.


The final stop on the tour was Gross Rosen Memorial and Concentration Camp.  We were the only people visiting the concentration camp at the time which made it particularly eerie and emotive.


When we went got back to our apartment, we relaxed with some music and some cava and got ready to go out for Thai food and drinks.

The final full day of the trip was sort of awful at the time but funny looking back!  We had planned to go to the Japanese Botanical gardens and Centennial hall.  We set off without breakfast, planning to get a coffee and a bite to eat on the way.  It was around a 40 minute walk there and half way there it started pouring… like really, really pouring.  We didn’t pass a single cafe en route, so between being soaked and starving, we were both in a pretty bad mood by the time we reached the Centennial hall.  There was some sort of car show on that didn’t interest us at all but we went in for a while to seek shelter.  We then decided to brave the gardens and then rush back to a Starbucks we’d seen at the other side of the road on our way there.  They were absolutely beautiful but I wish we could have seen them in the sunshine!  There was also a fountain and light show  which would have been beautiful in the dark.

Then as we were leaving the gardens, to add to the fab day, I realised I was hypo (low blood sugar) and didn’t have any treatments on me.  I felt as if I couldn’t walk a step further but we managed to find a news stall and bought me some sweets.  We finally made it to Starbucks, which I would usually avoid, especially on holiday, but we were desperate!  However when we got there, they didn’t seem to do any hot food which Ewan was after so we headed across to a big shopping mall.  We thought we were sheltered from the rain and things were looking up, we’d get some food and do some shopping… but the cherry on top was waiting for over an hour to be served while I felt like absolute shit!  And when the food arrived it was average at best.  We headed home and had a lie down until I felt better.

Our last night in Wroclaw involved more food and drink of course 🙂  The meals had been ridiculously cheap all week.  It was about £20 in most restaurants for the two of us for two courses and drinks.  The restaurant we went to on our last night was more expensive than the others but it was well worth it – the best sushi I’ve ever had.  It was at a place called Sakana Sushi.  We pretty much had our own personal chef who asked us what flavours and foods we liked then made things up for us.  It was delicious and Ewan even tried octopus!


I would definitely recommend Wroclaw for a short break – flights, food, drink and accommodation were all ridiculously cheap, and there’s plenty to see and do!








Photo Diary: Norway, May 2016 – Oslo and Kragerø

In May last year, Ewan and I, went to Norway to visit my new nephew, Liam, for the first time.  He was born the 29th March, little brother to Lukas.

We booked flights to Oslo from Edinburgh with Norwegian air.  After getting the bus through to Edinburgh our flight ended up getting cancelled, until the next morning.  We were put up in a lovely hotel in Edinburgh and ended up getting flight compensation (which paid for our next flights to Poland!) but we missed out on some of our time in Oslo.

The plan was two nights in Oslo and cramming a full itinerary in, before getting the bus to Kragerø, where my brother stays.  When we finally made it to Oslo, we stayed in this lovely studio apartment which we found on airbnb.  You can find it here.     We were meant to stay for 2 nights, but ended up being one due to the flight cancellation.  The apartment was beautiful and really handy for town.  I would love to stay again and definitely recommend it.

Because we lost most of our time in Oslo, we didn’t do a huge amount while we were there.  It was a sunny day though so we walked a lot, took some pictures and explored the beautiful city.  Definitely a city I’d love to go back to…  We then did some shopping – I was delighted to find a Monki store there – and then went for dinner and cocktails.  It was quite early when we headed back to the apartment to watch Netflix and drink countless Nespresso coffees, before getting an early night for our bus journey to Kragerø.



The next morning, we went for a coffee near our apartment and a walk down by the harbour then headed to the bus station.  My brother, Kevin, warned us of two things about the bus journey – 1. the doors in the bus station won’t open to let you on the bus, but don’t panic, the driver will come and open them.  2. If you get off the bus on the toilet/refreshment stop and you’re not back at the exact time you were told to be, the driver will leave you stranded.  We saw it happen to a girl, in the middle of nowhere, with over an hour until the next bus and her belongings on the bus that left you!


We arrived in Kragerø and saw Kevin and Annika’s beautiful home, which they’ve built, for the first time, and most importantly, met Liam!  He is perfect.  It was so good to see him and Lukas and I saw such a difference on Lukas since the last time I saw them.


Our time in Kragerø included lots of walks, lots of nice food cooked by Kevin & Annika and LOTS of bouncing on the trampoline with Lukas. 🙂  We were really lucky with the weather while we were there and Kevin & Annika’s house and garden is such a nice space, so we spent a lot of time outside reading books, playing with Lukas and taking Liam for walks.  The sea view from their house is incredible as well, perfect to watch the sunset with a beer.


Kevin and Annika don’t actually live in the town of Kragerø, but in the pennisula of Stabbestad, a 10 minute ferry journey from Kragerø.  It is very small and has beautiful views of Kragerø, a popular golf course, a spa and hotel resort.  A short drive away is Portør, where we went for a walk on one of our warmest days and played and paddled in the rock pools with Lukas.


It was Norway’s national day during our trip which great to see.  It celebrates Norway becoming an independent country, from Sweden, on May 17th, 1814.  There are parades all over the country, people wear national dress and there is lots of food and drink (it was on this trip I realised how many hotdogs, or “Pølse” they eat in Norway!).  We went to a parade in Kragerø which Annika and Lukas took part in, followed by going to Lukas’ school where they had another mini parade for the children.


It was so nice to see Kevin, Annika, Lukas and Liam and such a great trip.  It’s great to know we can go back anytime and flights are relatively cheap.  Next time I’d love to go in the height of summer when there are more seasonal things open in Kragerø.  I’d also love to visit Oslo for a bit longer, and see some other parts of Norway.