Everyone told me I would love Krakow, but there was just no way I could be prepared for this! The charm is everywhere! Throughout the city you walk from one square (or Plac – “plahtz”) to another and each one is lined with ridiculously charming cafes, with centuries old churches, and glorious art in the center of these squares.
While it helps that we are here on the weekend, it’s obvious that the whole world loves Krakow. There are a lot of people and as you walk through the crowds you can hear many languages being spoken. At night the streets are packed with young people dressed for a night in the clubs and bars.
The first night were were there my mom and sisters turned in after a late dinner so Radek and I went searching for a fun bar. There are hundreds of bars and they all look pretty fun but I saw one that was a little basement cave of a pub and just had a feeling about it. We went in and there were 6 or 8 young Polish guys, maybe late 20’s. They made room at the tiny bar and immediately befriended us.
They were completely fascinated in my wanting to visit Poland and retrace my heritage. They wanted to know where I had been and freely offered commentary on the places I visited, “Czestochowa?!?! Why the hell would you go there????” said one. As soon as Radek said that he was from Czestochowa the guy backed right down and said, “It can be very nice in summer!”
When I told them I had kids their ages, they wanted to know what my kids did for jobs and living arrangements. They wanted to know what the life of someone their age was like in the states. When I told them I was from DC they wanted to know if life was like it is in the tv show House of Cards!
Of course this could only happen because all of these guys spoke excellent English. We had a great time with these guys and definitely too much to drink!
I commented to our friend and guide, Radek that Warsaw felt quainter and more “Polish” while Krakow felt more like an international destination, almost like New Orleans. Radek quickly agreed and shared, a saying that one “works in Warsaw and parties in Krakow”!
And party we have! It is the liveliest, most accessible night life scene I’ve experienced in a long time. The restaurants are outstanding, the people are fun and passionate, and the daytime sightseeing is world class!
Apparently Krakow has always been a popular spot! It was the center of Poland’s trade route and once the capital. The city is over 1,000 years old!
As an American, Poland in general is pretty easy on the wallet too! There are approximately three Polish Zlotys to the dollar, and a dinner for 5 that might run $250 in the States costs the equivalent of about $120 here in Poland.
Look for more postings about Krakow, as well as one from dinner with Radek’s family! I could do a week of posting just on the food alone!