Cracow

Let me tell you about my adventure in Cracow. Since my aunt lives there, I decided to take advantage of this situation and pay a visit to her. I really wanted to discover the former capital of my country - Poland. In this post, I will show you how to make the best out of one day in this beautiful city. 11am. Start your day with a Street Food of Cracow ? fresh bagel from any corner of the Old Town. Those chewy dough rings sprinkled with salt, poppy or sesame seeds, are also known as obwarzanki. Their history dates back to 1496 when the King of Poland lifted the ban on baked goods. The Jews living in Cracow, in order to celebrate this event, started baking the Obwarzanek bagel. 11.30am. Walk around the cobbled streets of Main Market Square, Europe?s largest in the Middle Ages and fall in love with its atmospheric courtyards and majestic architectural monuments. Check out Sukiennice ? the most famous cloth hall building. Beneath you can find the museum of Rynek Underground ? the archaeological-architectural preserve site. The place hosts exhibitions of settlements from nomadic times and relics of medieval construction. 12am Make your way to St. Mary?s Church. Pause here for a moment and listen to the solemn song of the trumpeter of Krakow, paying tribute to the 13th-century watchman. The hejnal (because this is how we call it in polish) is hauntingly cut in the middle of the note. There is a story behind that. More than 700 years ago, the city was attacked by Tartar invaders. The watchman, not thinking much, raised an alarm to warn the people against the danger. And managed to do so, because people, alarmed, started defending themselves. His melody was interrupted, though. At one point an arrow of Tartar?s horseman pierced his throat before he could finish the call. Want to get to know the perspective of the watchman? The view?s perspective, not the horrible death one. Climb up 271 stairs and enjoy the view from the tower of St. Mary?s Church ? the highest viewpoint in Cracow. The church is also particularly famous for its wooden altarpiece carved by Veit Stoss. And another peculiar legend about the different heights of its towers. In the XIII century (they were pretty creative with making stories then, right?) people decided to add two towers to the body of the St. Mary?s Church. Two brothers decided to embark on the task. When the younger one realised that the tower of his brother was higher, he, guided by the envy, murdered his brother. When the day of the consecration of the church came, he was wracked with remorse. After climbing to the top of the tower, he pierced his heart with the same knife he killed his brother and dropped dead to the ground below. Lovely story, huh? Well, the Old Town isn?t only famous for its stories, but also as a function of social gravitation point filled with people as well as pigeons. Especially during summer, you will be able to experience many festivals, concerts, parades or just marvel at the amazing fire eaters or other street performers. 1pm. Fancy having a lunch? Drop by Bar Mleczny ?Pod Temida?. Not so fancy, but the most heartfelt place to taste traditional polish cuisine. Go for pierogi. You won?t regret it. The history of Milk Bars ? Bar Mleczny ? dates back to the early postwar times as a centralized solution of the Communist authorities to feed the masses of workers. The concept is simple: homemade, dairy-based and hearty food that is affordable for everyone. Right now it is a place to be (or rather eat!) for most of the students who can satisfy their hunger and the longing for their mums? cuisine. Everything on a shoestring! 2pm. Leave the Main Market Square and head to Wawel. The castle being one of the largest in Poland, represents nearly all European architectural styles of medieval, renaissance and baroque periods. The Wawel Royal Castle and the Wawel Hill constitute the most historically and culturally significant site in the country. In 1978 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the Historic Centre of Cracow. You can enjoy the free entrance to Wawel either on Sunday (December 1-March 31) or Monday (April 1-October 31). There is a very famous statue of a dragon near the castle and another intriguing legend of Cracow. Once upon a time, many centuries ago, in a cave near the Vistula River lived a giant fire-breathing dragon. He had very special deviancy ? he was beloved in eating young ladies. The news of the dragon`s nasty habits spread all over the country and King Krak, who ruled in Cracow decided to blow the whistle on this outrageousness. He promised to reward the dragon slayer with his daughter`s hand and half of the kingdom. Many tried, nobody prevailed, until the one day when a poor shoemaker Skuba appeared before the king and volunteered to kill the horrible creature. Skuba knew that he did not have any chances in a one-on-one battle. Instead, he came up with an idea to poison the beast with a special dish consisting of a sheep stuffed with tar and sulphur. The dragon greedily devoured the sheep for his breakfast and soon the fiery feeling in his stomach was so intense that the dragon stood on the bank of the river and started to drink water. Nothing seemed to help, the dragon kept on drinking more and more. His belly grew bigger and bigger until he blew up in a powerful explosion. Residents of Cracow rejoiced seeing the happy end of their troubles. The brave and smart shoemaker married the beautiful princess and after King Krak?s death became a ruler of Cracow. This story has at least happy ending. 2am. Stroll around the streets of Cracow up to Kazimierz ? the Jewish district. The site has been a centre of a Jewish community in Krakow for over 400 years before having been destroyed during the World War II. Currently, with its bohemian, bustling atmosphere created by many cafes and art galleries, it?s the so-called ?hipster neighbourhood?. 3pm. Feeling like an afternoon snack? Go for the most famous Krakow?s zapiekanki from Okraglak ? the rounded building in the middle of the district. Another legend of Cracow says that the best ones are from the place called ?Bar na Maxa? (Plac Nowy 4B). 4pm. It is also a place where you can find the best ice cream in the city. Goodlood (plac Wolnica 11) offers you a wide variety of tastes to choose from. Depending on the day, you may find dairy cream, polish strawberry or caramel with pink Himalayan salt. 5pm. What would it be like if you sit for a moment, relax and enjoy your coffee (or freshly squeezed orange juice)? Whenever I?m in Cracow, I always get back to this place. Come in through the wardrobe doors of Alchemia Cafe (Estery 5) and fall in love with its quaint atmosphere and delishiously creative dishes. If you?re lucky enough, you may even come across a concert happening there. 6pm. Dinner time! Get back to the Main Square and head to Kogel Mogel ? a restaurant of a pleasurable name which translates into an egg-based homemade dessert popular in Poland. The place is fancier than budget-friendly, but some say that the exceptional Polish dish of duck is worth it. 8pm. Krakow is known for its vibrant nightlife. It is also is lucky enough to be situated on the river bank of the biggest river in the country ? the Vistula. The bank is the perfect spot for having a late afternoon beer. Or a pre-party beer. A couple of them, just to be sure. 11pm. Feeling in the mood already? Finish off the perfect day in Cracow at Teatro Cubano at Jagiellonska 10 and experience a pinch of Rio de Janeiro in Eastern Europe. What about you? What are you favourite places in Cracow? Let me know! Your Teamer, Weronika Check out my other stories on my Polish Globetrotters travelling blog: https://polishglobetrotters.wordpress.com/