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My Eastern Europe Adventure: Krakow Food & Drink (Vodka)

After an extremely hot and emotional day at the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps, the whole Busabout group was ready for a much-needed mood-lift. The hour journey to Krakow was quiet and somber…understandable really, but it did give us chance to take in what we’d seen throughout the day and to rest for the night ahead. There was only one thing that could bring this group back to life…food and vodka! Guess what we got upto that night? ☺

After checking in at the Deco Hostel, a beautiful art deco hotel close to the heart of Krakow’s centre, we freshened up and headed out to explore this magical Polish city. Led by our guide to the Main Market Square in the Old Town, we saw first hand why this city is amongst the most visited in Eastern Europe.

main-square-Krakow
Main Square Krakow with St Mary’s Basilica and the Cloth Hall

Dating back to the 13th century, the medieval square is one of the largest in Europe and home to stunning historic palaces, churches and townhouses. Arriving early evening, we were greeted with a buzz of excitement as the locals and tourists hurried about their business before the night fell upon us. There was even some beautiful spotted horses – Dalmatian Horses I liked to call them – trotting up and down the square offering leisurely rides to passers-by. The whole square looked incredibly beautiful as the sun began to set. The impressive St Mary’s Basilica loomed over the crowds, the Town Hall Tower stood tall and proud, and the fascinating Cloth Hall took centre stage with its beautiful architecture. A lot to take in I think you’ll agree, but the exploring would have to wait until the following day. First task in Krakow…feeding our bellies.

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Dalmatian Horses!

Taking a side road off the square we found ourselves at the folkloristic Chlopskie Jadto Restaurant. Serving traditional Polish cuisine, this popular little establishment showcases 10th century Poland…peasant style. I realise that the word ‘peasant’ might not sound very appealing, but truthfully the place is great. Decorated with warming colours and rustic furniture, Chlopskie Jadto conveys the traditional folk themes Poland’s history is so famous for.

chlopskie-jadto-restaurant
The rustic (peasant-esk) decor at Chlopskie Jadto

With the help of the restaurant staff, we navigated the menu looking for a Polish delicacy to try. My final choice was Perogy, delicious little dumplings filled with meat – I loved it! Also on the table was fresh bread to tuck into and a super tasty dip we were all coating the bread with. To our surprise this dip turned out to be lard. Yep that’s right…LARD. Apparently this lard spread, known as Smalec is another Polish delicacy. Did it put us off eating it I hear you ask? Hell no. We loved the lard. The Poles have been eating the stuff for generations, so after a quick debate, our table decided that the lard was acceptable to eat. What I wouldn’t give for a bit of bread and lard right now…ah Poland your food is GREAT!

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Delicious perogy, plenty of Polish vodka & a Krakow pub crawl 🙂

To finish off a super meal with great company, we delved into the Vodka…Polish style. With a strong history in the white spirit, Poland’s finest vodkas are a must try when visiting Krakow. Three of my favourites from the night included Żubrówka (Bison grass vodka complete with an actual blade of grass), Soplica (hazelnut flavoured vodka goodness) and finally, Wyborowa (a well known popular Polish Vodka brand). When the vodka sampling was done and the good vibes were flowing, we hit the square for an outstanding pub-crawl! Visiting many bars and clubs surrounding the area, we got to see greatness that is Krakow’s nightlife. We drank, we danced, we drank some more and we danced again! The night was amazing and we met SO many different people from all over the world! Like-minded travellers, all out for a good night in the city of Krakow. Excellent!

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This clubs interior…WOW

Of course, no night out (no matter where you are in the world) is complete without a late night snack before bed. Stumbling across a small takeaway near one of the clubs we’d just fallen out of, we tried another Polish treat…Zapiekanki. Essentially just a halved giant baguette topped with cheese; it was however, the best post-drink feast we could of asked for! Well done Poland. I repeat…your food is GREAT.

After a top night out with tonnes of food and drink, there was only one thing left for us to do…sleep.

The next day we would be venturing out to explore the sights of Krakow on a leisurely bike tour. Find out if I handled this tour like a hangover pro or crumbled under the Polish sun in my next post!

Have you ever visited Poland? What foodie delights (or frights) did you discover?

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2 thoughts on “My Eastern Europe Adventure: Krakow Food & Drink (Vodka)

  1. Hi, I read with much interest your posts on your Eastern Europe trip. I am looking at doing the same trip in June, but I have only 2 weeks leave to travel due to work commitments, so there is only one of the travel periods which I can make. So I need to decide fast if I am still considering this trip. Reading your reviews, it has certainly recommended the trip much, but I still look forward to reading the rest of your trip details. For now, if you don’t mind, could I ask a few questions?
    1) Firstly, the trip is priced around a thousand US dollars if I purchase it now, with 15% Summer discount. However, I heard that if I waited, I could get a discount up to about 700 USD even. Should I take that risk?
    2) Secondly, I would like to ask whether you recall what time the bike tour around Krakow begins at? I attend Catholic Mass service, and hopefully I am able to attend either on Saturday evening or Sunday morning.
    3) Also, Is the bike tour of Krakow, tour to the Salt Mines, Kutna Hora Human Bones church, Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camps and such included in the tour price, or would you have to fork out more cash?
    4) Moreover, could I just change my cash to Euros, and change the money (to Polish, Hungarian, Croatian etc.) as I go along, as my ATM card has given me trouble withdrawing in about 3 countries I’ve travelled to (South Africa, Vietnam, New Zealand). With so many currencies in one trip, having enough cash of the right currency can truly be a headache.
    5) Lastly, are the lunch/dinners group meals, or do we pay for them individually? Would we be able to pay for them using VISA? Sadly, I do not drink beer, so I just hope I don’t end up chugging too much vodka and wine. That can really ring up a bill.
    Looking forward to your updates on the rest of the trip, and I hope to hear from you soon. Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi there! I’m so glad you’re finding my posts helpful and interesting 🙂 I will do my very best to answer all your questions too!

      1. As with most companies, I’m sure the prices and discounts will change fairly often. However, what we found when booking is that specific dates booked up quickly. So if there’s a certain time you’d like to go, I wouldn’t advise hanging around too long. Alternatively, you could contact Busbout direct (they responded fairly quickly to us) and enquire about any up coming offers.
      2. If I remember rightly, there were 2 groups on the Krakow bike tour; one in the morning and one in the afternoon. We had the choice of what we’d prefer.
      3. Some of the trips were included and some were not. It’s completely your choice if you want to pay extra for more trips and honestly, I thought they were all reasonably priced. The Busabout website (http://www.busabout.com/eastern-europe/classic-rhapsody-tour) will tell you what’s included and what the optional extras are.
      4. I was over prepared with currency and took a bit of everything in cash…this was totally unnecessary! Our guide was extremely helpful in directing us to places we could exchange our money. I would advise to take Euros and exchange as and when needed.
      5. Again, the Busabout website will give more details about what’s included. Some meals were included and some weren’t. The group does eat together quite often which is great for getting to know everyone!

      I hope these answers are helpful and I really hope you decide to go ahead and book this trip, you won’t regret it! Also, holidays are meant for chugging vodka and wine 😉

      Good luck with your planning!
      Hayley x

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