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The First Week – Exploring Krakow’s Historic Charm

Krakow’s Old Town Exploration

My first week in Krakow was full of history, culture, and fun drunken nights. During the day, I wandered through the streets of the Old Town, starting with the Main Square. As the largest medieval town square in the northern hemisphere, surrounded by historic buildings this area of krakow is very busy, full of life. The beauty of the architecture and vibrancy of the square is something I haven’t seen in many other places. 

One of my first stops was St. Mary’s Basilica, a stunning Gothic church with two towering spires. The basilica is steeped in history, including the legend of the brave trumpeter who saved the city from invasion by sounding the alarm. Today, firefighters honor this hero by playing the Hejnał mariacki every hour from the taller tower, a haunting melody that stops abruptly in memory of the trumpeter's fate. It’s a bit of a local concert, and I always find myself humming along, albeit off-key.

Next, I ventured to Wawel Castle, perched on a hill overlooking the Vistula River. The castle is a symbol of Polish pride and history, and its grounds include the fire-breathing Wawel Dragon statue. Yep, you read that right – a dragon that breathes actual fire! And you don't have to worry about missing it. She or He shoots his or her  shot every few minutes. The view of the Vistula River from the castle is simply stunning, especially at sunset, when the sky turns into a canvas of orange and pink.

 

Krakow Cultural  Immersion

My cultural immersion continued with visits to the Rynek Underground Museum, where I explored the medieval history buried beneath the square, and the Schindler’s Factory, a poignant reminder of Krakow’s wartime past, having just watched the movie there were many similarities to see but also some part that were how can I say misinterpreted. Both museums are well worth a look! 

 

Local Cuisine

Of course, no trip would be complete without getting stuck into the  local cuisine. I gorged myself on many traditional Polish dishes at various local restaurants, my favorite being Restauracja Cechowa located on Jagiellonska street very close to the main square! From pierogi (dumplings) to zapiekanka (Polish-style pizza). Each meal was a delicious adventure in itself. Bigos being my favorite! A hearty stew of meat, filling, manly and delicious. I'm not even going to get into the sheer variety of pierogi fillings, could dedicate an entire blog to them alone! 

 

Redeeming Myself 

Despite my busy days, I made it a point to join the Party Animals pub crawl every night. The energy of the crawl was infectious, and it was the perfect way to meet people and experience Krakow’s nightlife, each time making new friends to explore the city with. Each night was a new adventure, and I managed to stick to Polish vodka to avoid mixing my alcohol. This tactic, combined with my trusty hangover cure, allowed me to fully enjoy each night out.

At Let’s Sing, I found my karaoke song and each night belted out "Make A Man Out Of You" from Mulan. I can NOT sing but as its a well known song with a catchy tune people seemed to enjoy it! The energy in the room was contagious, and we all danced and sang our hearts out. After an hour of karaoke, we moved on to my favorite clubs: La Bodega Del Ron, Prozak 2.0, and Four Music Club. Each club had its unique vibe.

 

Mistakes Made So far

Adjusting to a new culture came with its own set of challenges. On my first visit to Żabka, a local convenience store, I mistakenly greeted an older lady with “Cześć” instead of “Dzień dobry” and didn’t address her as “Pani.” Her harsh look taught me a valuable lesson about Polish customs and respect for elders. Note to self: always use “Pan” or “Pani” for those older than you – unless you enjoy withering glares from Polish grandmothers.

And mistake number two, probably a little bit more embarrassing: don’t get lured into any strip clubs in Krakow. They definitely aren’t on the level. There are a lot of promoters, and they tend to prey on drunk individuals like myself. I'll tell you the story in a later blog, don’t worry, but for now, I would rather keep my dignity.

 

Basic Polish Words

Throughout my first week, I learned a few key phrases that helped me feel more like a local:

  • Dzień dobry - Good morning

  • Proszę - Please

  • Dziękuję - Thank you

  • Przepraszam - Sorry

 

Hangover Cure

Balancing my daytime explorations with nightly pub crawls was no easy feat, but I developed a somewhat  foolproof hangover cure. First drink a liter of water right before before bed. Second you must get at least six hours of sleep. Third run for 30-minutes when you wake up.. This routine helped me stay energized and ready for new adventures each day. The morning run, in particular, became my secret weapon, exactly what you need to flush out of alcohol from the night before. 

 

Anticipation for What’s Next

With my first week behind me, I looked forward to the days ahead. My plans to explore Krakow, immerse myself in its culture, and continue experiencing its vibrant nightlife filled me with anticipation. Stay tuned for Blog 3, where I continue my adventures in Krakow, delve deeper into its history, and of course i'll find new and exciting ways to continue the party while for sure avoiding those pesky strip clubs!





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