It’s a new year which means time to line up new travel adventures, which is my favourite thing to do by the way! While building my list for 2017, I started thinking of the places I’ve already been, in particular…Kraków.
Please excuse me, I couldn’t resist making bird noises in naming this album even though it is correctly pronounced “kra-kuf”. Nontheless, it’s always important to be able to be silly and laugh at one’s self right, so HAHA.
Last June my travel buddy and I flew to Poland for a day trip. We exchanged the rain storms and cold weather in Frankfurt at the time, for sunshine and summer breezes in Kraków and were pleasantly surprised. The city is one of the oldest in Poland and has so much history and brokenness from being part of the world war, yet there is beauty in that.
There are areas of the city with narrow streets and dilapidation, in contrast to the exquisite and expansive Old Town Square, the largest market square in Europe. There are beautiful and mysterious, gothic style churches to see, complete at the time with what looked like bats encircling, and the entire Old Town is listed as part of UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
We visited a food market…which is always a win on our trips and sampled the local delights. My favourite was the pierogi: essentially boiled or deep-fried dumplings with a sweet or savoury filling, typically potatoes, cabbage & cheese or meats and vegetables – a national dish!
We stopped in at a very interesting local bar to catch some of the day’s Euro cup game but truth be told, also to escape the heat of the day. Pijalnia Wódki i Piwa in Kazimerz, the Jewish area, is a communist-themed bar, i.e. cheap, uncomplicated alcohol & drinks options, simple soviet inspired snacks and the walls covered in communism-era newspaper clippings and other memorabilia.
One of my favourite things to do in a new place is to be still and “people-watch”. Kraków has a lovely, spacious area along the Vistula River or a river cruise for slowing down and doing just that. Alternatively, the inner city Planty Park is wonderful time-out in the shade. Also to see is the Wawel Castle and the Renaissance-era style trading place, the Cloth Hall.
There are many transport options in and around the city – train, street car, taxi’s, bicycles, horse&cart or ‘bike chauffeurs’, but we found it just as easy to walk. With over 30 000 steps counted for the day, we were happy with our decision. Also available are plenty options for tour guides, all ready to share their city with all those willing to listen.
Kraków is interesting and beautiful: it’s an affordable city where solo travelers or groups can enjoy meals with a view (various views). Or why not take advantage of the city as a backdrop to your wedding…
“take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints…”