International Getaways · Poland

Polski Time

The friend I’m traveling with, Alex, is Polish, so it was really important to her that we incorporate Poland into our European endeavors this summer! I obligingly agreed to do so, if only because I love adding countries to my “have seen” list. We took a flight from Paris to Warsaw, and then took Polskibus from Warsaw to Krakow. It was BEAUTIFUL! I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was so quaint, the locals were friendly, and Krakow totally has a college-town vibe.

Traditional zurek (sour bread) soup, served with kielbasa (sausage). Yum!
Traditional zurek (sour bread) soup, served with kielbasa (sausage). Yum!
Warsaw Old Town city center.
Warsaw Old Town city center.
Ice-cream cones as big as your head!
Ice-cream cones as big as your head!
Polish pottery- beautifully hand-crafted!
Polish pottery- beautifully hand-crafted!

Warsaw and Krakow have distinctly different vibes. Warsaw is more modern, as it was nearly completely (95%) destroyed during the war. Ironically, though Hitler’s invasion of Poland left Warsaw in ruins, Krakow remained nearly completely intact. Krakow is a medieval town, with small streets, close proximity to everything, and a college-town vibe that stems from the fact that there are clubs and bars on every corner! I wasn’t expecting that at all. I preferred Krakow to Warsaw, as we found that many do.

Traditional Polish donuts as a mid-day snack!
Traditional Polish donuts as a mid-day snack!
Throughout Krakow are memorials to JPII, who went to university here and always had a soft spot for the town.
Throughout Krakow are memorials to JPII, who went to university here and always had a soft spot for the town.
Polish pierogi (dumplings), and more kielbasa (sausage)!
Polish pierogi (dumplings), and more kielbasa (sausage)!
Art walls in Krakow. A very hip place!
Art walls in Krakow. A very hip place!
After we spent the day at Auschwitz, we had a taste of home to make ourselves feel better.
After we spent the day at Auschwitz, we had a taste of home to make ourselves feel better.

Eastern Europe doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, which is such a shame because it has so much to offer the world! Some of my favorite cities have been in eastern Europe (like Budapest), and they are so inexpensive, it’s worth a side trip to these places while en-route to more well-known places, such as Berlin. And Polish food is amazing! If someone had told me before this trip, “Ay, gurl. Wanna go try the new Polish restaurant in town?” I probably would’ve given them a cray look. But knowing and tasting what I have in Poland, I’d choose it in a heartbeat! In fact, there’s a huge Polish population in Dublin right now, so much so that there are specialty Polish shops setting up camp throughout town. I wouldn’t have ventured into one before, but now I think I may stop in! There were also ice-cream (lody) shops on every corner in both Warsaw and Krakow, which I adored.

The churches are magnificent.
The churches are magnificent.
Where the saint Maximillian Kolbe studied in Krakow.
Where the saint Maximillian Kolbe studied in Krakow.
You can go into vodka shops and order a shot (or seven).
You can go into vodka shops and order a shot (or seven).

While in Warsaw, we just explored the Old Town and sampled Polish cuisine. In Krakow, we took a day trip to Auschwitz, explored their medieval city center, and also ate a lot of ice-cream. What’s great about these smaller cities is that there are less tourists, and they carry a more relaxed feel. After being go go go in Paris and London, it was a relief to get to explore leisurely and binge on cheap eats. My favorite eatery while in Krakow was filled with nothing but Polish people, was down in the basement of an unmarked building, and served a whole meal for $5! Dumplings stuffed with cabbage and mushrooms, sausage, and mashed potatoes. YUM. I even went back for sweet strawberry dumplings topped with cream before our Polskibus took off for Berlin in the dead of night. Great trip, can’t wait to come back!

Cheers,

Monique

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One thought on “Polski Time

  1. Poland sounds absolutely grand! And it being the native land of St. PJPII is an added bonus! I love the pottery, and the churches absolutely look glorious! I think I’ll try to track down a polish restaurant in H-Town. You’ve inspired me to give it a try! Your journey continues to amaze me!

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