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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Love Krakow By Day, Wish I Could Sleep at Night

This will mostly be pictorial since it shows where we were and what we did yesterday. We met with Monica from Urban Adventures at 10 and spent the next 4 hours learning about the history of Krakow and going to hidden-away gems to eat and drink. We went to several markets which are through-out the the town because it was once many separate towns and the markets remained even after it was connected as one.

Many kinds of mushrooms in season


Best cheese lady of many there. We tried one very salty smoked sheep cheese and another that was cow's milk.



The barbikan--a fort that was built in the 13th C.

Our favorite sculpture of Poland's painter Jan Matejko where the giant frame changes with the season.  I loved this!



Monica told us great stories to understand the architecture.
  These two towers were each built by 2 brothers who were rivals and wanted their tower to be the highest and best. The municipal tower on the left became more celebrated than the church tower on the right, so the brother who built the religious side killed his brother, then later committed suicide by jumping from his tower.   Main square (we're staying just off this square):

The interior crafts market
 The next few shots are of a shop where all these containers have infused vodka with many flavors. I tried the cherry one, which was sweet and quite good; Matthew had the walnut, stronger and about 72 proof.



Lunch started with soup, which is typical and we had the most common which we wolfed down so fast, we missed photoing it. It was sour rye which has a hard boiled egg in it.  
  Then since we'd already had pierogis the night before, she ordered stuffed cabbage rolls for us, also good.

Proof I'm not eating every single bite.

A design in the floor of a shop we visited that has great local products like jams and beers. Loved the decor with traditional prints.

  This walking bridge was built only 2 years ago. Walking across we could see people have been placing locks along the bridge as they've done in Paris, but this is now ruining the sides which weren't built to withstand the extra weight..plus people are stealing them by cutting them off to sell the metal. It started drizzling while we were on the bridge...

  Monica says the local art institute exchanges pieces of art periodically, so these were just added recently and will be left for awhile.  They were a very cool addition!

  Before they had street names or numbers, other things were used. We saw one building with a peacock statue above the door, so people would recognize the person's home. This marks a street, but is newer than those other markers.
  There are 200 Catholic churches in Krakow! I guess there was no way out of going if one was within a short distance of where you lived. They do make the town even more beautiful having these ornate buildings in all the neighborhoods.
  Monica left us off the tram near our apartment, so we rested a bit before venturing out again. We decided to check out the main square and made reservations for massages for tomorrow. The bed in our apartment is extremely uncomfortable and wearing on our backs, so we're ready. Then we checked out the craft market and shops off the square.

  I had to ask about this artist's jewelry, which I recognized as resin with beads. I had seen them in passing our first night and wanted to see them up close. Turns out it's an Israeli artist, not local.

  Wow...the pottery made here is amazingly beautiful. We already asked about shipping it home. Not sure what we'll buy, but it's pretty definite something will land in El Granada in a few weeks.
 




  We couldn't decide where to have dinner, so stopped to ponder and look at a menu. The waiter actually talked us into eating here (Miod i Vino--Honey and Wine) and we were NOT disappointed. This was our best meal yet. Sorry if you're getting tired of food pictures, but this was well worth it. The first pic shows what I looked at, just inside the doorway. Antlers, an old painting, a suit of armor, and a chest of drawers with CocaCola stamped on it.


Silverware is not on the table, but brought in a basket after you order.

Because our meal didn't come for awhile, our waiter brought us bread and schmaltz to tide us over. I'm not sure I ever had schmaltz before, but it was decadently good. Not decadent as in elegant...more like my cholesterol suffered for its goodness. 

I ordered pumpkin soup for the first course, but they were out of it, so had this salad instead. It was the best decision! OMG so good! Those roll-ups are cantaloupe with pomegranate seeds, creamy goat cheese, and the freshest greens, lightly dressed. It was delicious. We just haven't seen many green salads on menus since leaving home, so this was more of a treat than anything else I've eaten.

Matthew's borscht was very light red beet broth with ravioli

I had lamb chops with potatoes au gratin and fresh spinach....all very good. 

My art shot for the day

Matthew had wild boar over potato pancakes with a mushroom cream sauce and fried beets that were more like braised on the side. He hates beets and had a whole dinner of them .... and loved it all. His potato pancakes were so fabulous and so much better than what we'd had the night before, my faith was re-established in trying them again here.

Chocolate soufflĂ©, though more like a lava cake, very dark chocolatey.  

Lemon sorbet with vodka

This was happening at the next table...It's a huge shish kebab on a saber. They ring a bell before bringing it out, then the lights go out and they present the food at the table and cook it there. They also brought out large platters called Knight's Feast of meats and side dishes for 10 with the same fanfare that was going into a huge room off the side
We might return here on our last night because it was so good.

 I began today by looking for hotels nearby we might move to. I know I'd lose the money from the remaining nights, but sleeping is uncomfortable here. Matthew tried sleeping on the cot in the bedroom because it's up against a wall and he thought it would be darker, but it was so uncomfortable, he moved into the second bedroom. That bed is smaller and the room is even lighter in the morning, but the bed is better. We're going to both try sleeping in there tonight, but if we have another sleepless night and more back pain tomorrow, I'm finding another place.
 I'm loving being in this city, but hating sleeping here!


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