. . . Intro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . This small former East Bloc city was up until a few years ago a quaint & quite forgotten \ ignored 'Old town' lost somewhere in central Europe. Then it seems someone 'discovered' it & Krakow is exploded ! There is so much energy, so much change & so many ideas pouring over the town (just like the vodka) these days. For example there are approximately 750 bars \ cafes \ restaurants just around the old town Market square (E3), most of which belong to the Dodo bucket. . . So just to cut through a lot of shite… The places below are what our local contacts & we would recommend 2u2 do you (more-or-less B to Z). Enjoy & if you never leave, you will not be alone… It does however take 300 years or so for a person to become a true 'Krakownian' so you have lot's of time ! . . PS.: If u do happen to be reading this on the night train from Prague... then don't go asleep !!! or you could just stick your valuables in a private place & then try sleep . .
. . . Regarding the City Watch men (they are the short haired fellows going around in golf carts & ....you are the ball) so I tell you already it is not such a good idea to fuck with them & in some cases one would wonder, what it is exactly they are guarding & exactly for whom they are guarding it for . .
. . . A short bike/walk away from the
. . . Seems that the best afternoon trip is to go out to the Wieliczka Salt Mines. It's an hour from the center. These are underground mine complexes of tasty white stuff, bring your chips… Those of you who would like to be put off your food, u can visit the Nazi
. . . Schindler's Factory . . . located on ul. Lipowa 4 (J6), it is possible to look inside, there is an exhibition. Before this residence, Schindler lived at ul. Straszewskiego 7. (F3) It is a regular looking building of which he lived in one of the upstairs apartments . . . . . . . .
. . . Now some advice from a man who has been there & done time for it.........No smoking\talking\dreaming \buying\selling\inventing weed joints here! You can get your-self in deep shit for a simple puff, & prolong your stay by long enough to learn a lot of Polish words !! & if you are looking for trouble then it is easy, just go & do something naughty beside one of the city watch men… he will gladly teach you some hard 'Polski' stick dances . .
. . . Inside the 'Planty' (which the name for the green belt around old town center) really a walkers paradise, although you really have to watch your step as the cobble stoned pathways were set when vodka was even cheaper than it is today & one worker I met told me that "it seemed straight at the time". Although this area is not so big… you will put your coordinated feet to the test with each step taken! Not many cars & an abundance of fully pedestrianized ways. If you like me don't have time to walk, then biking here is great. Not just around town but there are beautiful cycle paths & many lovely trips within a 10 km radius of the Planty… & even if you do meet a car, the driver will probably offer you the right of way & that's very unusual in central Europe… . . . probably drunk ! . . .
. . . If you have been in the
. . . If you are here on a Sunday then you could spend all day & night going to churches & doing your hails & Mary's. Or join in the local pass time of strolling the 'Rynek' & the passage ways to & from the 'Wawel' Castle on a hill (H3). The grassy River Wisla banks at Wawel are most popular with the space seeking students (of which they estimate is over half the people in the city) & Zloty seeking vodka experts (that makes up the rest of the population) . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . If/when you are still out & about at 6am on Sunday morning then best is to go over to the Kazimierz 'ghetto' flea market (F5). Not only could you pick up bargains you won't remember buying but there is also the market sellers big fat smoked sausage …breakfast stand (available till they run out..) set u up for at least the day . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . Marketing . . . . . If you've eaten one too many 'perogi' or looking to save some coinage on food then go to the outdoor market at Rynek Kleparski (C4). Here you find seasonal selections of fruits, veggies, dairy & piggy products the local farmers produce. Even more fun is trying to haggle with the 'Babcias (granny's). . You will definitely have to employ the international language of point & nod plus some finger abacus - but its worth it as you'll save a bundle & discover what Poland actually uses its land for . . . . .
. . . Festivals . . The locals will celebrate anything.. Of course there is X-mass & New Year but what then? Well about 50 religious holidays & days off. February they have a day called fat Tuesday where all the people go around various doughnut bakeries & stuff themselves with jam filled delights. That day is
. . . Nowa Huta . . . One of the most interesting districts in the city is Nowa Huta (a little too far a field to fit onto the Spy map) … This was actually a separate city built in the late 1940's as a "workers" paradise & gifted to Krakow by Stalin himself. The city was centrally planned around a huge steel production plant & conveniently enough everyone that lived in Huta worked at said factory. So convenient, no? Anyways, The Commies flooded the Western world with propaganda about the glories of Nowa Huta & for decades it was the 'go to' example whenever the terms socialist economic progress & communist efficiency were tossed around by apartcheeks in Poland & Moscow. . . . . Well, when the old curtain fell in 89' the propaganda (as well as actual) machines broke down & Nowa Huta took a bit of a down turn. Crime exploded & crazy bald hooligans in track suites started gangs & took to the streets with chain saws... These days however things have settled a bit & the area is safe to explore. Not only can you see some of the best examples of Soviet era architecture in all its bombastic metallic & concrete glory, but it is quickly becoming a hotspot for nightlife. There are numerous new bars, clubs, theatres & the like that are
. . . Milk Bars … Want to check out where normal people, students, & arting starvists go for their grub? Duck into one of the milk bars (bar mleczny) around town… These are cafeterias that serve no frills but hearty Polish food on the super cheap… but the food aside, these
. . . If you happen to meet A LOT of ladies dressed up, as penguins then be nice.... They are nuns, devoted to God & in no mood to put up with your shit !! & it is best when visiting the churches, that u think about how you are dressed & try look passable.. its a no shorts,
. . . There is an occasional element of civil unrest & that is which of the local soccer teams is going to kill each other both on & off the pitch, before & after or in-between the match so.. B careful this is not a game ! . . . . . . . .
. . . 5 years ago Pope & former bishop of Krakow, John Paul 2nd. Went on to meet his mate\maker. During those days more hot candle wax & wailing went on than at the annual Christmas orgy in 'Satan’s' bedroom, so tread lightly when it comes to talk about religion around here & don’t tell them I said that! .
. . . Whatever you do even if it looks soooooo inviting (after a few vodkas) don't go swimming in the Wisla River… it is said that, so rich is she in unnatural minerals that one could walk across it (that there is probably the reason the former Pope got his job) & the 'water' has been known to self-ignite on hot days . . .
. . . Vodka . . . Polish Vodka is world renowned & not just for the clear variety. Some of the best vodkas in Poland are actually herb, fruit, or honey vodkas. There are many to try so here is
. . . Editors note… NB: Although I often joke here in the text about the drunk thing.. Well it may be true but …. I also tell you that the best way to get around town is by bike… so here is the downer!! U can be arrested being over the limit on a bike & it is the same as if u were driving a car! U will pay a fine of several hundred euros.. be imprisoned until u do pay & then you will also loose your driving license for minimum 1 year period … so all jokes aside.. why drink & ride when u can smoke'n'fly…!. . i was that soilder . .
. . . Undergroundlings [very last] So if you still want more after all we've served up for you on this years map then we suggest you go to the heart of Krakow's Polish alternative nightlife strongholds which are the Piekny Pies [beautiful dog], Jazz Rock cafe, Prozak, Carpe Diem II in the old town & Alchemia or Singer in Kazimierz.. These places are legendary in their own right & are your best bet to lock horns with real Krakowian.. uh… liquer enthusiasts. If you find these haunts then you are in like Flynn . . . .