Poland – Krakow’s mystique soul

3334Krakow is JP2! What’s that? Maybe the name of a Vodka? Not quite yet… He was Karol Wojtyła, archbishop of the city, who became Pope John Paul II in 1978!

Yes, everywhere you move around in the city, you fee the presence of the first non Italian Pope in history, who left his important footprint to the city (as well as to the world, IMHO).

Krakow is a big city, although the Old Town is pretty small, definitely walkable. The Free Walking Tour can give you an idea of what are its best sights: you will discover all the places JP2 loved and why the recent history of the city is so much connected with the personal history of Wojtyła; Krakow’s historic centre is so rich of history and full of beautiful places that the UNESCO included it in the list of the World Heritage Sites.

Do not forget to explore the city outside the old town: Kazimierz (the Jewish quarter) and Podgorze (the former Jewish ghetto) are very interesting areas full of buildings and churches to visit. if you are interested in the art scene, a must visit is the MOCAK (Museum of Contemporary Art Krakow), which features both Polish and International artists.

The best view of the city from the top? You must walk a bit out of the city center, cross the Vistula river and head to the Podgorze district. You will find a nice and quiet neighbourhood, hosting the very nice Bednarski Park: from there it’s a nice hike up to Krak Mound. The day I visited the sky was crystal clear, as you can see in the pic, so I could enjoy a stunning view of Wawel Castle and of St. Mary’s Church in the Market Square.

In this last post about Poland, I could not forget to mention Polish food: amazing! I am a foody (how could I not be, given my very Italian soul): I like to taste local delicacies so I am always keen to test traditional places. If you fancy traditional inexpensive Polish food in Krakow, then head to the Kompania Kuflowa, in the old town. My suggestion is to start with a soup (all are dedelicious), my favourite one is the Zupa grzybowa, a traditional forest mushrooms soup; as a main course you should definitely try Pierogi, dumplings similar to Italian ravioli which come with different fillings.

After dinner, you can walk down to the Jewish Quarter: start with a nice (big) pint of beer in a very well known brewery, Stara Zajezdnia, located in an old tram depot. After, you can enjoy a few gay friendly bars in the area: my favourite one was Kraina Szeptów.

If you have time, escape from the city: the Wieliczka Salt Mine and the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum (concentration camps during World War 2) are natural choices, close to the beautiful Krakow!

Date of Last Visit: July 2015


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