I’ve come to the age where I’m not as afraid to bend a rule or two when it makes sense. When visiting Wroclaw, Poland recently, I was supposed to head to the ‘burbs to see some site when my taxi driver went past the city’s most famous indoor market, Hala Targowa (or Wroclaw Market Hall). He said it was the best in the city. The taxi chugged along a couple of blocks past in heavy traffic and stopped at a light. On the spur of the moment, I had him take the taxi back to the market! I’m very glad I did.
The building was completed in 1908 with reinforced concrete trusses, making it look a little like a post-modern church inside. The solid construction made it withstand bombing in WWII.
Once inside, you encounter a cornucopia of gorgeous looking produce — and it’s winter in Poland! They’ve got things coming from around the world and probably some hothouses. The exchange rate to USD is very favorable, but of course, I couldn’t bring fresh produce back through customs (and 3 other countries). I could tell, however, that the prices were probably high for the average citizen.
The ground floor has the fresh and prepared foods, grand flowers and floral arrangements.
You can find a wide variety of baklava and pierogies, naturally!
There was also an incredible coffee bar about the size of my closet. There must be hundreds of varieties stacked to the ceiling, with a precious little Baroque-looking tasting area in back. I tried to buy some coffee beans named “Love Story,” but I was informed that the retail part of the establishment was in the basement and I didn’t get to the basement.
Upstairs are a bunch of curious and interesting shops. Some have a flea market vibe. There was a fine leather goods store, a place selling traditional Polish crockery and even a lingerie store. What you may not have known — but I sure did! — that Poland is world-famous for exquisitely constructed lingerie in a quality and in sizes that you would never see at that dumb mall “Secret” chain. Did I buy? You bet! I know my European size — you should, too.
Heading back downstairs, in the corner, are a couple of related little hot food stands. They are popular and you’d better arrange to grab a seat and piece of table! You can see that it’s beloved by locals: the prices are right. You order a huge portion of your selected entree and get a side, like cole slaw. With the exchange rate, this massive chicken cutlet and cole slaw were about $2.75! And even if you’re super hungry, you’ll probably want to share. It’s all served on stoneware dishes that you return to a dishwasher.
Outside the building, but stepping down some stairs, is a super cool looking bar-restaurant.