I can’t believe how much Poland has surprised me after already having a wonderful journey this Summer to so many different magical places around Europe.
I think I shouldn’t tell you too much about how Poland took the cake and ran with it. The Polish are kind, classic, educated, and it is affordable. The Polish currency, złoty, is a breath of fresh air when compared to traveling and paying with the Euro.
I wish I could tell you more about my diplomatic-business friends that invited me as a musical guest and put me up in a luxurious hotel suite in front of the Wawel Royal Castle in Krakow.
It was a very mellow setting with fine-dining, and they wanted some “Western Music” as late-night entertainment during the cigar tasting. The Polish are very welcoming and intrigued by Californian culture – young and old.
After a tour in the tunneled wine cellar at the host’s magical home, I was brought to the humidifying room for the “divine taste” gathering where I would perform during the ritual ceremony of cigar-philandering. Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring my camera as no photos were allowed at the event and it’s prestigious guests in tuxedos, including myself. I enjoyed many days relaxing in the hotel suite and going for long walks in old town Krakow. At times I felt I was living in a dream and am still scratching my head over the magical opportunity here that fell out of the sky and me along with it.
If only this was the truth then you would not believe that I caught a fish “this big” – if you are following my adventures then you will know that the truth is always bent when light shines in your eyes and I am often blind to what opportunities have come through chasing the unknown. So I will embellish a bit on this adventure I want to re-live, even if it was by myself. Nevertheless, long hot baths in grand hotel rooms in foreign countries is needed after being on the move for so long.
I was hung over after the posh event (hence long hot bath) – I blame it on the drinking with diplomats and these wild, Russian business-men who convinced me to stay at Hotel Moscow in Belgrade – that’s another upcoming story. I had to wake up and nurse myself with my usual delightful, naughty breakfast at Alchemia – raspberry pancakes and eggs Florentine with fresh squeezed orange juice.
I spent probably too much time at this bar, but I loved the décor and it was located in the Old Jewish District at Kazimierz Square.
Kazimierz is a classic neighborhood with stylish bars that surround the open square that often has markets during the day with food and goods. Propaganda Bar and Havana Bar are located around the corner.
I had to drop some propaganda in Propaganda bar – some Punami music hidden here and there under old records and books. There were some stylized bars in Krakow, including the Singer, another stylized bar in Kazimierz. You sit and drink on sewing tables.
Krakow is easy to get around by bike and find very excellent food quickly by searching online. The architecture design in the main town is magnificent which makes for peaceful, dreamy bike rides.
I ate at Klimaty Poludnia restaurant a few times because it was amazing.
This gem was tucked in a quaint, peaceful alleyway. I ordered the baked pear with blue cheese, rucula and walnuts a few times. Also, a spinach and walnut quiche served with green salad and rucula.
They also served Pierogi – which is a traditional Polish food, filled with Sherpa cheese, meat, buckwheat, cabbage, mushrooms, served with bacon lardoons. Not a very vegetarian dish like most of Polish food, but there were some excellent, tasty vegetarian options.
The Main Square in Old Town Krakow dates back to the 13th Century and is the largest medieval town square in Europe. Broad streets are easy to walk on along the classic setting of the dreamy buildings. No cars are allowed to drive in the middle of the town with the exception of residents and taxi drivers.
I have to say Krakow is amazing and Poland proved to be a gem with the cost of living relative to the quality and happiness of the people. Life is sufficient, classic, friendly, and not overly complicated.
At least in my short stay there – although it seems young locals are ready to hit the high road out of town even though the economy is picking up. The local currency has not been ruined by the euro and you can still find wonderful opportunities here. The Polish are rad. The city is getting quite a bit of tourism in the Summer, so you will see street performers, which include some quality live music.
Two local sisters, Asia and Monika Mikurda, would often stir up quite a crowd with lovely violins. A quartet was quite wonderful as well. Here is a link to a video of Poland with the quartet playing: