Wroclaw was originally founded on the island of Ostrow Tumski on the Odra River but after 1000 expanded rapidly beyond the island to the river bank and became a prosperous trading and cultural centre of Lower Silesia, Silesia as a region being the entire south-western part of Poland. The city was devastated in 1241 during the Mongol invasion of Europe. The rebuilding included expansion of the Main Market Square (Rynek) and all surrounding areas. At the end of World War II fierce fighting resulted in 70% of the city being destroyed.
Today, Wroclaw offers a beatifully restored market square and is lively cultural centre with theatres, museums, centres of higher education and several annual festivals.
Its also turning into a centre for stag parties to ruin the atmosphere of this lively and cultured city.
17 May 2008 - Wroclaw, PolandThe second day of the stag trip began with a very quick tour of the town to see a few sights but then recommenced the liquid intake in the early afternoon. The intention was to watch the FA Cup final between Portsmouth and Cardiff but by the time the game started no body was interested any more and we were all quite happy making our entertainment. Or to be more precise, making Carl our entertainment.
The day was spent being gradually more offensive and loud with regular doses of Jagermeister punishment for the stag. We eventually degenerated to jeering at passers by and at people attempting to park their cars in the space in front of the pub which only served to put them off and lose the ability to park. It must be said that it was all done in a light hearted way - we weren't too badly behaved but there was a definite construction worker mentality about us which is attested to by the number of pictures of random females.
The afternoon got pretty heavy and we eventually made it back to our hostel where I fell into a deep slumber and woke up with a grafitied face and wet bed, though not because of any bladder weakness though I did have doubts at first. I was still pretty out of it by the time we made our way back into town for the evening round of drinking but I and a few of us didn't last long and I eventually returned back to the hostel for 2AM.
The stag impressed with the round the clock drinking and approached the whole weekend with gusto. I'm a one session a day a man when it comes to the drink. Day and night is just too much.
Wroclaw - Fairy tale facades
The old town centred around the Main Market Square (Rynek) is mix of the old and the new made to look old. As much of Wroclaw was devastated by the Russians at the end of World War II, reconstruction efforts attempted to replicate the old buildings.
Its just as well that the Poles did this otherwise Wroclaw would have ended up looking like Coventry.
Wroclaw - Communist glory
A reminder of Poland's communist past. In fact, reminders are all over the place, particularly in the form of little bronze gnomes.
The Orange Alternative movement flourished in Wroclaw during the 1980s as the Communist era stuttered to a close. It was founded by a student at the University who wanted to voice his opposition to the stifling political climate of the era while avoiding getting his neck stretched. The problem with voicing opposition to dictatorships is that you tend to go missing.
Wroclaw - The gnomes of Wroclaw I
The student, Waldemar Fydrych, hit upon the brilliant ruse of making the authorities look like complete idiots without actually doing anything that would warrant a bullet in the brain. On one occasion he organized a march through the streets of the city demanding the release of Father Christmas. The authorities had banned Father Christmas as a corrupt capitalist institution and replaced him with the rigidly socialist figure of Father Frost. He did this dressed as a gnome. The police felt unable to arrest a man for taking part in an illegal procession of gnomes.
Wroclaw - The gnomes of Wroclaw II
Fydrych and his gnome-like cohorts also braved the wrath of heavily armed ZOMO units by freely distributing sanitary towels to women, items that were almost impossible to get hold of by legal means. For this he was arrested and sentenced to several months in jail, but again the authorities had to let him go when it became clear that the general population thought they were being very silly.
Wroclaw - Jas i Malgosia (Hansel and Gretel)
In the north-western corner of Rynek square are two small houses call Hansel and Gretel, linked by a gate and arch. Behind is 14th century St Elizabeth's Church with its 83m high tower.
Wroclaw - Rynek square from St Elizabeth's Church tower
Aerial view of Rynek square.
Wroclaw - People watching
After viewing the gnomes and ascending the church tower it was time to return to the serious business of drinking. The theme today was 1980's tennis gear and we all took over a pub and sat in the sun drinking and lapping up the atmosphere which usually meant to ogle the scores of lovely Polish ladies sat nearby or walking past - such as this one.
Wroclaw - 1980's and 90's tennis stars
I don't know if look like we are from any particular era but we do look like a bunch of tw*ts.
Wroclaw - Golf ball victim I
The idea behind the 'Golf ball' game is to drop a golf ball into someone's drink - prefarably a full pint. The person who receives the ball must then down their drink and then drop the ball into the glass of the next victim.
Wroclaw - Golf ball victim II
Dastardly Dan, upon buying a round of drinks handed me my pint but then immediately dropped the golf ball into my pint. I got him back again shortly after.
Wroclaw - Splendidly scrumptious young totty
It must be said that a fair few people did not seem to be impressed by the stag party's antics but then again it would also be true to say that a number were and recorded us. This lovely young thing even smiled for the camera.
Wroclaw - Unamused totty
The stag was ordered to buy some flowers from a nearby stall and present them to this table of totty in the bar next to us. They were distinctly unamused.
Wroclaw - Not a fat bird in sight
What a great place! I do love the former Eastern Bloc countries after their decades of Soviet austerity. It will be a shame when they adopt more western eating patterns as fillies like this will become a lot scarcer.
Wroclaw - Another task for the stag
We came across another fellow on his stag do so we eventually offered a race between the stags around the block. Here is Carl being assisted because at this point he was coming to the point of vomiting. Carl won the race though (after a few blocks were put on the opposing stag).
16 May 2008 - Wroclaw, Poland
My last stag do was in Iceland back in 2005 but this one, with 19 'staggers' promised to be a much more raucous affair. Unlike what I usually do when abroad, I knew that this weekend would have very little time for exploring the city and would focus on hard drinking, games and tasks for the stag. I wasn't wrong. Whilst the drinking in Iceland was kept to the evening, Travel Blogs from Reykjavik, 6th Mar 2005
, Wroclaw saw round the clock self abuse.
We stayed at 'The Stranger Hostel', a cheap and cheerful hostel (with two bathrooms for about 30 people) about 15 minutes from the centre of Wroclaw and Rynek Square which this and it's environs is where it all tends to happen. As soon as we checked in we all head to the square (with the Stag in the outrageous outfit he was made to wear on arrival in Poland) and at 2pm, began our drinkathon.
Wroclaw - Wrocław historic City Hall
Wroclaw's Main Market Square (Rynek) is the main attraction for tourists and locals with some of the nearby surrounding areas, centres of buzzing nightlife. The historic City Hall is typical example of 14th century Brick Gothic.
This was built 1327-1504 and is now a museum that shows off its splendid period interiors.
Wroclaw - Main Market Square (Rynek)
Some of the older buildings in and around the square are examples of Brick Gothic, a reduced style of Gothic architecture common in Northern Europe, especially in Northern Germany and around the Baltic Sea without natural rock resources. It is characterised by the lack of figural architectural sculpture, widespread in other styles of Gothic architecture, but impossible to achieve on the basis of brick, and on the subdivision of walls, using the colour contrast between red bricks, glazed bricks and white lime plaster.
Wroclaw - The Stag
No prizes for guessing which of these characters is soon to be married.
Wroclaw - Shuffling alcoholic
Wroclaw has a fair number of shuffling alcoholics on the lookout for a free drink or a bit of change. Being a noisy bunch, we soon attracted the attention of the locals. The wrong locals that is. We soon learned that the woman in Poland are beautiful and it seems that all the fat ones have either been killed off or kept away from the centres of tourism - neither of which is a bad idea.
Wroclaw - The roaming gypsy menace
The next dubious characters we attracted were these musicians who then came around with a cup to take our drinking tokens. Although it didn't happen on this occasion, the local bar owners are aware of this annoyance and promptly send such beggars on their way.
Wroclaw - Stinking down and outs
Next came this pair of drunks who absolutely reeked and could be smelled meters away. Put these old boys in a suite and they would still look like (and smell) a pile of shi*.
Oh and by now the rules are: no swearing, no pointing and no right hand drinking.
Wroclaw - George Michael in Poland
A picture of Dan before he went wandering to the pub toilets.
Wroclaw - A silly Stag task in action
I don't know what is happening at this point but what ever it is, it looks like some kind of silly task which although is meant to be embarrassing and daring, alcohol has ensured that very little is now embarrassing.
Wroclaw - Away from the scenic centre
Wroclaw's wartime devastation and post war communist past has resulted in lots of drab structures such as this. It reminds me of my first trip to Bulgaria which also being a former Eastern Bloc member is probably no coincidence - Travel Blogs from Bulgaria, 13th March 1999. This picture was taken on the way back to the hostel to get ready for the night.
Wroclaw - 'The Dance Club' I
The evening saw part of the group split. Some went for a quick MacDonalds whilst others including myself went for a steak and for me, to try and work through the hang over caused from the earlier drinking. We eventually met up again and a few dodgy establishments later most of us headed to this club which if Carling did night clubs, this would probably be the one.
Wroclaw - 'The Dance Club' II
After this we took a wander back into the centre and found a another large area full of bars and people. I don't know what time it was but it was well into the early hours. The night ended in typical fashion with some fast food but fast food, Polish style. The Poles have decided that non whites aren't needed in Poland and so do their own version of a kebab which really are quite gross. At least allow a few in to provide hungry revellers with a decent 'bab!