A map of the Stare Miasto on the floor of Galeria Krakowska.
My time in Krakow was pleasantly spent. The Christmas decorations were not yet put away, and the cold nippy air made one feel more alive. Arriving in the afternoon, I was treated to the few hours of daylight before darkness fell. The onset of evening is when they turn on the Christmas decorations, which are actually far better than the ones in Warsaw.
Cake and coffee in one of Krakow's many delightful cafes" title=">Cake and coffee in one of Krakow's many delightful cafes" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5297681539897832178">
Cake and coffee in one of Krakow's many delightful cafes.
While I was in Krakow, there was a huge stage being set up in the Rynek. Last year, we had seen Czerwone Gitary perform at New Years, so I had assumed it was for some concert for Sylwester. I was wrong. Every year there is a charity event called Wielka Okiestra Swiatecznej Pomocy, which takes place in cities all around Poland. Polish bands play open air concerts while hordes of volunteers ask for donations of any size. After each donation they give you a heart sticker, and it's not uncommon to see people walking down the street plastered with big red hearts. We only got to see one act, and that was enough (although, we did donate some of our zloty.) The band played a song called "Polska, Kocham Cie" (Poland, I love you.) The music really isn't up my alley, but it was free so I can't really complain.
This guy really loves Poland.
I've seen most of the Old City in Kraków; I can't really think of much more that I could see. I've been on every tour in the Wawel, seen every museum of note and have probably gone down every street. Speaking of which, the oldest street in Krakow is actually quite beautiful and quite quiet. There is no traffic, pedestrian or otherwise.
The oldest street in Kraków.
There's a great, small restaurant there that serves Ukrainian food called, Restauracja Smak Ukrainski. The sign outside would make you think that it's on the street. Don't be fooled: the restaurant is actually quite a ways underground in some cellar. The dining room is… intimate and the food is really good with reasonable prices.
Dishes from Smak Ukrainski.
Note: I have noticed how I post a lot of pictures of my food in Poland. I fear that I'm turning into one of those things I've hated most: tourists who take pictures even of their food. When I used to work in restaurants, I saved an extra portion of spite and venom for those customers who used to take pictures of their food, their kids' food and the people in the next booth's food while oohing and ahhhing over it like a bunch idiots. It was enough to make me want to grab their cameras and smash them on the tabletop yelling, "It's a fucking lobster, not exactly a work of art, asshole!!!"