Krazy Krakow

Trip Start Apr 28, 2009
Trip End Jun 01, 2009

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Where I stayed

Flag of Poland  , Southern Poland,
Saturday, May 9, 2009

Went exploring the Old Town this morning. The weather has been beautiful the last few days and has been really warm and sunny. There is alot of interesting buskers around ranging from Polish Folk dancers to people dressed up and posing as statues. Went up to the top of the watchtower that is attached to St Mary's Basilica. There is a trumpet player who plays a song (hejnal) every hour up top. Legend has it that a trumpet player was in the middle of this song and was pierced in the  throat by invaders. To this day he plays half the song. The guy also stays up in the tower for 24 hour long shifts and doesn't leave. I thought I had it bad with my 12 hour long ones!

Went inside the St Marys Basilica and it was a very unusually decorated church, but in a good way. Instead of most churches that are grey stone with some statues and paintings here and there, this had all it's stone painted. All the walls were covered in dark blues, greens, gold and reds. It was very nice inside, but you had to pay extra for photos. As it was pretty dark in there I chose not to as you probably would need a high end camera to get any good pictures. I just bought a few postcards.

There was a big stage set up behind the church and there were a bunch of little kids dressed up in traditional Polish costumes and were singing and dancing. It was very cute. Have no idea what the stage and booths were set up for. After that I checked out a Milk Bar. They are these super cheap cafeteria style places from the Communist times that were subsidized by the government and used by workers. The food is really good and amazingly cheap. For perogies, soup and an orange juice it was under 4 dollars.

Walked around and stumbled across the church where the Pope John Paul preached and lived. Not much of a Pope person, but it was interesting to watch a lot of people make their tributes to the guy. I am still amazed on how many nuns and priests are walking around this town. They are everywhere.

Walked to the Wawel Castle grounds for a bit, then walked briefly to Kazmierez, an old Jewish area of the city. There wasn't much going on there as it was Saturday, but there was a really neat market on. Apparently this market changes every so often, today people were primarily selling war memorabilia. It was weird seeing Polish medals next to a lot of Nazi memorabilia. They had Hitler statues, plaques, SS ashtrays and lighters. It was so strange that this was also sold in the Jewish area.

Went back to the hostel and they had on a free Polish dinner. It was good and couldn't complain about the price! Got ready to go out to a Vodka Tasting Tour. When I went to the meeting place I was the only one there so I left. I was looking forward to this, but I wasn't going to have a Polish vodka tasting by myself. Went back to the hostel to see what the others were doing. A bunch of us sat around the kitchen table and did these Mad Dog shots. It is raspberry syrup, vodka and tabasco sauce. Didn't think I would like it but it was great!!!! Even the desk clerk participated. There was another Canadian guy, 2 Portuguese, one Australian, one Scottish and 2 Ukrainians. We gave each other nick names such as Crocodile Dundee, William Wallace, Terrance and Philip (the Canadians who fart alot on South Park), Ivan and Ivanka, and Pablo. We headed out to this bar called Kitsch around 1130 pm. We arrived at this place that was in this huge old warehouse building that had a few floors of bars. We were waiting on the staircase when the bouncer started punching one of the patrons over and over again the face. It seriously sounded like thunderclaps. Then he tried to throw him down the stairs, but there was so many us that it buffered his fall. Then a couple of the girls that he was with went up the stairs to plead with the bouncer and he backhanded one of them! She didn't have enough of a beating I guess and went back for more. The bouncer grabbed her by the shoulders and kicked her down the stairs. Thank god we made it in all right! It was an okay club, but I think I was a little old for the place. Left there very drunk on vodka around 3 am and the party was still going strong. A few of the others stayed longer and they came back around 5 am.

Interesting observations: Guys in Czech Republic and Poland seem to cut their hair in a fashion that is a mix of mullet and mohawk. Looks like a really wide mohawk. Looks ridiculous, but a lot of them have it this way. Polish people laugh at North Americans who drink Smirnoff and Absolute. They say its like toilet water...Hartley you were on to something! When I told the guys from my hostel who were from Europe, they laughed when I said there is a North American idea that Europe is a dangerous place. They said that Europe is way safer than North America. They kept joking at me when we were at the club to watch out for those pickpockets!!
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