Krakow

I don’t know how I ended up wanting to go to Krakow but I got it in my head I needed to go and let me tell you – I was not disappointed. Quite the opposite- It’s one of my favourite places. I did a bit of research before I went but to be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. Poland is not a place I’d ever considered a place that I’d visit. Here are my top reasons for visiting Krakow.

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  • The History.
    • From Medieval times to the Holocaust to the Soviet Occupation Krakow history is one of the most interesting of any place I had ever been.
  • Visit in winter for a very festive trip!
  • It’s safe for solo female travellers! (Me!)
  • It’s extremely affordable
    • Transport, food, gifts, accommodation – it’s all very affordable!
  • The Food.
    • Krakow has a regionally specific pastry called Obwarzanek
      • “it is a braided ring-shaped bread that is boiled and sprinkled with saltpoppy seedssesame seeds, etc., before being baked. It has a white, sweetish, moist and chewy crumb underneath a crunchy golden-brown crust. Traditionally sold from street carts, it is a popular snack in the Polish city of Kraków, where it has the status of a regional food with protected geographical indication. It is closely related to, but distinct from, bagels and bubliks.”
      • They’re sold by lovely people in the blue carts (seen in the photo) for a very low price of like 70 Groschen (0.70 złoty); roughly about 15 p (GBP) or 29 cents (USD)
    • Pierogi
      • Traditionally filled dumplings of pork, cottage cheese and other types. Both savoury and sweet! Often they’re slathered in pork fat which is making my mouth water just thinking about it!
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    • Sausage – Kielbasa My fave!
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    • Zapiekanka
      • “is an open-face sandwich made of half of a baguette or other long roll of bread, topped with sautéedwhite mushroomscheeseand sometimes other ingredients, and toasted until the cheese melts. Served hot with ketchup, it is a popular street food in Poland. With its origin dating back to the 1970s, the zapiekanka is associated with the austere times of Poland’s Communist regime, but it has enjoyed renewed demand in the 21st century, which has also brought a wider range of varieties and quality.”
      • (This photo is the one I had. It was okay – I went to the wrong shop apparently – see my post about the Jewish Quarter for more information.)
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  • The People
    • People in Krakow are very kind. They are traditional, and don’t always speak english but they are full of genuine kindness.
  • Craft Beer
    • Yes !
  • The Christmas Market
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  • Getting away from digital demands
    • Krakow is what I would call… analog. I haven’t been anywhere else in Poland so I don’t know if this is specific to Krakow or not. There’s something really nice about using their Polish money, the Zlotky, rather than your debit card everywhere. There aren’t digital tickets for transport. For an overnight train, I pre-purchased a ticket which was mailed to a post office in Krakow that I had to sign for and pick up. It was printed with what looked like ‘ditto’ purple ink. It was kind of amazing and I loved it.

The traditional folk crafts of Poland usually involve wool or wood. Poland is full of forests and they make many fine woodcrafts. Sheep are plentiful as well and they have a very specific sheep cheese that you can easily spot due to its decorative football shape. It’s called Oscypek

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There’s just something a bit magical about Krakow. It is a lovely faceted jewel that deserves a proper exploration. 

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