Wednesday 19th July AND Thursday 20th July!
After driving the length of Poland, being eaten alive by mosquitoes and exploring the horrors of Auschwitz, we decided to spend two days recharging our batteries in the beautiful old town of Krakow. I love old town city breaks. Peaceful days filled with sipping coffee in open air cafes, people watching and generally enjoying how historical and pretty every single building is. It was also fun to spend time pretending that we’re civilised human beings who don’t live in their car. Oh wait, it’s not even our car.
We stayed in a cosy Airbnb studio apartment in Krakow, which was perfect except that it was in a new build apartment block, made from those new building materials which have zero sound-proofing qualities. And it was right next to a train track. It literally sounded like the train was inside the apartment every time one went past. It had running water and electricity though, so it far surpassed our usual accommodation standards.
Our first day in Krakow was so good that we actually repeated large chunks of it the following day.
“It’s not that we’re old, or unimaginative…” we told each other as we walked into town on the second day. “It’s just that we completely nailed everything we did yesterday… so why mess with perfection?”
It’s true that both days in Krakow were exceptionally fun; I absolutely loved the energy and history of the old town, despite the heavy crowds of summer tourists.
Some cool things about Krakow:
– It has the largest central square of any old town in Europe: 200m squared!
– It’s a pretty cheap city, meaning that unlike Venice, for example, it’s actually very affordable to sit in one of the ten zillion fancy cafes around the main square and people-watch with a delicious iced coffee (for me) and ice cream (for Morgan).
– There are 3 ancient and important clock towers overlooking the city. I climbed to the top of the town hall clock tower, for awesome views over the town and a lesson on the history of horology in Krakow. Morgan felt 30 degrees was far too hot for such needless exertion, and made the sensible decision to have another ice cream instead.
– It seems that all touristy towns need to have some silly gimmick; Krakow’s response to mass tourism is to dress horses in flamboyant outfits and make them pull holiday makers around town in carriages.
– Krakow castle is beautiful. Although, even the surrounding grounds are not dog-friendly, which seems mildly ridiculous. So we took it in turns to explore the castle while the other sat on the pavement next to the “No dogs” sign, with Lex keeping up a constant vigil for his missing pack member.
– We found a bar that made us custom cocktails based on our descriptions of the kind of drinks we like. They were delicious. And like, £3 each. Total win.
All these things were pretty great, but our very favourite thing in Krakow was an ice cream joint called Good Lood. We stumbled across it on our first afternoon, rounding a corner to find a huge queue coming out of a tiny ice cream store.
We asked a pair of queuers what was so special about the place.
“Dunno really,” they responded. “We just saw the queue and were curious…”
Wondering what percentage of the queue could be accounted for by idle curiosity and tendencies to join queues for no reason, we went to get dinner, grabbing some delicious burgers nearby. But we just couldn’t stop thinking about the ice cream so good that people were queuing for half an hour to get it.
Even by 9:30pm, streams of people were still wondering past us carrying this fabled Good Lood ice cream and gleeful looks on their faces. So of course, we joined the long queue and waited in line for our own fix. We were not disappointed; the ice cream was so creamy, rich and delicious that we made the hour-long pilgrimage back to this far end of town the following day, and queued all over again!
Good Lood only sell 6 flavours at a time, and each one was magnificent. I went for chocolate with salted caramel both times, because when you find the perfect combo on the first try, you don’t mess with that. It’s just too important. Morgan had salted caramel with strawberry sorbet, because he ignores compatible combos and just picks whichever two flavours he wants, the maverick.*
In the spirit of “ground hog day” we even ended up having the exact same burgers for dinner again on the second day… because yes, they were that good and we strongly felt that any other food would fall short. And maybe because we’ve become boring and unimaginative.
After our third night in Krakow, it was time to hit the road again!
* Other interesting combos Morgan has created so far on this trip:
Pear with Crème Brûlée
Mango with Rum & Raisin (He insists this is a sensible combo – United by a Caribbean theme. I disagree.)
Kiwi with Cookie (What the hell, man!)
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