KRAKÓW: Old Town, Zapiekanka, Beer Tasting & More

Continuing with my Poland adventure with my International Weeks friends, Kraków was the next city after Warsaw. Unlike Warsaw jam-packed with modernity and historic site restorations, Kraków had a unique ancient ambiance, the soulful vibe I expected to have upon visiting the old capital of Poland.

Rain Over The Old Town

St. Mary's Basilica is a Brick Gothic church re-built in the 14th century (originally built in the early 13th century),
St. Mary’s Basilica is a Brick Gothic church re-built in the 14th century (originally built in the early 13th century),

When we first arrived, the main square of Old Town, Kraków, was cloudy yet it’s still dry for a day out. But as soon as the first droplets came down then poured, it wasn’t a nice day in Poland.

The Cloth Square
Inside the Cloth Square

Still, we managed to capture photos of the main square medieval buildings: St. Mary’s Basilica (in the photo), Cloth Square (a medieval bazaar now sell all kind of Kraków merchandise), and other notable architectures.

Rain walking in style.
Rain walking in style.

When the rain started, everything looked ugly, besides our shiny colorful rain coats. Couldn’t agree more that these rain coats made us the most stylish group in Kraków.

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Some hit the pub while waiting for the rain to be over, we sought for a cup of cappuccino. It could not be any better.

The main square after the rain.
The main square after the rain.

Wonderful Wendel

You’ve never been to Poland if you haven’t tried Wendel chocolate. They are sold in the supermarket. But my friend Szymon introduced us to whole new way of chocolate tasting: “chocolate shots.” This activity you could enjoy in Warsaw as well, but this was the only chance we tried Wendel’s cafe.

3 shots of rich chocolate. Wanna try?
3 shots of rich chocolate. Wanna try?

Three chocolate shots take more than one gulp to finish. I specifically loved the dark chocolate, while the milk was favored by other, and lastly, the white one was overly sweet for all of us.

Our group having fun at Wendel's chocolate shop.
Our group having fun at Wendel’s chocolate shop.

The chocolate shop is a cafe and a chocolate boutique where you could chill with friends or shop for Wendel’s finest creations.

My friend's choice, not that
My friend’s choice, not that “chocolitious” but strawberry much

Beer Tasting

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This activity didn’t enlighten me on different kind of beer, but the process of tasting and criticizing it was amusing.

My group didn’t like most of the beer tastes, because they had too eccentric taste or not-a-beer kind of taste. They had corn, honey, rice and so forth served on the wooden stack. I was really amused by the honey. I bet it doesn’t have a single drop of alcohol in it and it was so sweet.

Our International Week participants were quite into beers and any kind of alcohol but this one. So the boys started ordering Kasztelan instead.

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Zapiekanka

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I found my lover in Kraków: Zapiekanka.

Zapiekanka doesn’t look like it but she was delicious. Crispy oven baked bread, a wide range of toppings and mouthwatering sauce. I called it the “bread pizza” (I had a tendency of naming every Polish food in English for better memorization, but I decided to note them down in my note so I would be able to use them again in some cases like writing blog now. I’m glad that I did.)

It can be found anywhere, my Polish friends told us that it could be bought anywhere in Warsaw but it was my first touch on this yummy beauty, so I thought Kraków had it best.

Zapiekanka was also my favorite Polish food. On that fateful day meeting Zapiekanka baby, I chose a plum with ham and ketchup topping. It was tasty. The mild taste of the plum and the savory taste of the ham were spiced up by the ketchup and the crispiness of the bread made a perfect combination.

I will come back for you Zapiekanka baby. It’s a promise.

Other Food

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Trust me, I hate potato on the first week I landed to Europe, because European eat them on a daily basis. For an Asian who indulge different types of “carb” everyday, from noodles, which have a few dozen of types, to rice to bread, I never get more bored than this. For one simple reason, I was served potato everyday. So the photo above was my typical Polish dish I had everyday: puree, a big chop of protein, and mixed salad. It was ironically creative. But well, it was something I also had in Kraków.

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International Week Warsaw had another partner in Kraków, Cupcake Corner Bakery. So we were lucky to try out their famous cupcake with our IW logo on it.

In general, Kraków, in my perspective, a less modern city with vibrant architecture and representing cuisine of Poland. It was quite an experience because after 6 days in Warsaw, we were tired down and this old city was something all the participants needed. I am looking forward to coming back, the big reason is for my Zapiekanka baby.

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