Let me tell you how we got from Budapest to Krakow – not by plane, train, or bus. No, we booked a ride through BlaBla car (google it), and ended up in a big Hutterite van with a bunch of Serbians and one Hungarian for a good 6 hours. It was actually alright. Not my first choice, but we got there! Is it terrible that my favorite moment was when we stopped at a gas station in Slovakia and they had real espresso machines!!?? They make proper coffee at most of their gas stations! Wha? How come Canada doesn’t adopt this!? I was so excited.
We checked into our adorable AirBnB for a mere $30. Seriously – why stay in a hostel for $15 and share amenities with teenage tourists, or pay $100 for a hotel, when you can do this?We walked around the Old Town, sniffing it out for a good, traditional Polish-cuisine restaurant. It wasn’t too hard!We started off with these dumplings which are actually not Polish (apparently). They’re Georgian (not the U.S. state Georgia, the country Georgia). First you pick it up by the top. Then you take a nibble, suck out the broth, and savor each delicious bite.That furrowed brow :)I had a Polish pie – which actually turned out to be a lot like pizza. The beet salad on the side was aahhmazin’ though.Dane went for a beef goulash(ish) dish that was served in a crispy bread bowl.By the time we were done, we could hardly move (and even took a doggy bag home). We waddled back to our apartment and did some research into our next adventure – Auschwitz (which I will post separately).
This shot below is right outside our door at the AirBnB. Yep, those are train tracks. Good thing we are accustomed to train sounds :) Slept like a log.After Auschwitz, we … took a power nap. We were up super-early to beat the tour rushes, so we had just a few hours of zzz’s. After our snooze, we decided it was time to put on some serious miles. We walked up and down and up and down almost every street in the Old Town. Eventually we stopped for a little break and some sustenance (juuice!! etc) at this cute cafe. And soon we were rarin’ to go again. I spotted these two ladies having a chin-wag and I thought it was such a classic scene so I did an el-creepo shot.The Old Town Square has a market smack-dab in the center of it. If only we were not so bent on traveling light – I would have suited our future house with several $50, high-qual, thick, luscious sheep rugs.So sleepy…Soon it was my favorite time of day… dusk.The Old Town was looking especially beautiful. This acoustic musician filled the square up with his dreamy, marvelous picking. I could have listened all night.We kept on walking and walking, exploring and racking up our steps for the day.Finally, we stopped for some supper. I order borscht. It was oozing with flavor – however, it was sheer broth. No chunky substance to it. I thought things would be fine because we were also sharing a plate of perogies. But at 11pm the tummy started growling up a storm and I was kicking myself for not getting a burger ;)Dane, loving the bread bowls, ordered a mushroom-based soup that was quite good.The perogies were super disappointing :(But the joint, as a whole, was well-branded…And the atmosphere was quite lovely.Next morning, I was ready for a feast.But ordered poorly and ended up with an omelette that was all egg and had icing sugar on the top (what the heck?!). This goes to show that ya win some ya lose some! I had some bites of Dane’s burger and immediately wished (once again) that I had went with the burg.Then, we went to the Wawel Castle grounds. We started by touring the Cathedral – ick. There were actually coffins/graves/memorials to old popes and kings/queens all throughout the building. Interesting, yes. Eerie? Yeah. Kinda gross? Yep! I couldn’t get through there fast enough. The cool part of it though, was the Bell Tower. Amazingly constructed, especially for it’s time (1500’s).One. Massive. Bell.Views of the rainy city…This is an outside view of the Cathedral. You can see how the styles of the chapels are all different than one another. Each little add-on is dedicated to a specific pope/monarch/etc. We super-badly wanted to tour the Royal Apartments (the only thing that really interested me), but it was booked up. So we visited the Staterooms. No photos allowed. It was actually pretty cool to look at all of the artwork in the Staterooms. So much of it was huge, huge tapestry (like carpet rugs, except hanging on the massive walls) that told a story. There was lots of referencing to the bible story of Noah and the Ark. Eventually there were more and more paintings incorporated, along with some beautiful wallpapers. Nonetheless, not the kind of castle that makes you want to become a monarch. After we were castled out, we went for a light lunch at La Grande Mamma. This place had the most romantic, cozy ambiance.And it felt especially cozy watching the rain pour non-stop. We ourselves were quite soaked cuz we were too cheap to buy a high, tourist-priced umbrella.We shared some deelish calamari.
And then shared a fig ricotta/cheesecakey dessert (I’m so technical 😁). All I know is it was pretty darn good.
And it went well with our coffees!
After that, we went home, packed up our jazz, and parked ourselves in a cafe at the mall (conveniently attached to the train/bus station) so I could do a little work. We killed a few hours before taking a night bus to Ukraine 😁 … so, to be continued…