I sit in an internet cafe in the Old Jewish Quarter of Krakow, Poland as I wish everyone back in the states a happy 4th of July. One of the few holidays I enjoy between being a young pyromanic and wanting to set everything on fire, to being a current day Beer and BBQ person, the 4th of July has it all. Hope the weather is great where you are to have a great BBQ and drink some beers. You know I am drinking some beers in toast of the USA today. Its polish beer, Tyskie, so far is my favorite, its tasty and most of all CHEAP. Man as much as I enjoyed Germany, getting out of there is good for the budget. While I thought a half liter of beer for 3.5euros was a steal, here it can be had as cheaply as 5 Zloty(current exchange rate 3 Zln for every dollar), so less than 2 bucks and this was at a bar/boat on the Wisla River overlooking the Wawel Castle.
Initally Krakow was tough, as the bus from the airport, I missed the stop for the Main Rail station, probably due to the fact everything is under construction. Then after taking the bus back, it was a LONG hike to the hostel with the bag, and typically one of those hikes without proper street signs or a Map, thankfully I am staying in a great area right on the Rynek Glowny(Market Square), so I just followed the masses of people and found my way. Hostel is great so far, free laundry with a washing machine, so I will be washing some dirty draws later today. Plus a great kitchen and enough bathrooms, all for about 16USD per night, my first time paying for accomidation in about a week but a great deal.
Ok the bars, very cool, all of them, in fact seems like right around the Market Square there are hundreds of them. The hostel gives out a nightlife sheet and that alone lists 22 bars, way too much for a few night bar crawl, but you can easily spent a week here and party till dawn.. Literally, most places dont have a closing time, its when the last patron is dragged out and thrown into the street, thankfully that was not me last night, nor do I hope it is me. I have stayed away from the Vodka as while I hear its good, its also strong, something about Bison Grass that is used to make it, that is illegal in the good ole USA. I will have to try it, but in moderation for sure. Another cool thing about the bars is they are all underground or in alleyways, so its like a challenge finding them, the basement bars are cool as the look like caverns, the only bad thing is the smoke, the one thing I do miss about NYC is not smelling like smoke after a night out and not even being a smoker. Imagine a basement cavern with 90% of the people smoking, yeah outdoor cafes seem like the best move.
History.. yes Krakow has alot of it, from the Wawel Castle built i think in 1200. To the fact the first Bagel ever was supposedly made here in the Jewish Quarter. In fact there is a place that I will find that sells US style bagels with cream cheese, something while not craving for sounds like a damn good idea. Also in recent history Pope John Paul II was the archbishop of Krakow before getting the call to come to the Vatican. So lots of history here, in fact more than I can cram into my short stay. I wanted to extend another day, but the bus schedule to Budapest is not in my favor. Either Wednesday or Friday, I am going to take the bus on Wednesday as I need to be in Budapest to meet my follow NYC'er and Nikka Costa fan, Kissy. Her and her husband are doing a quick 8 day trip to Prague, Vienna and Budapest. I dont see Kissy enough in NYC, so I guess if I have to goto Budapest to catch up, so be it. Other things to see in Krakow are one of the oldest Salt mines in Europe the Wieliczka Mine, located a cool 100meter underground, and sadly the Auschwitz Birkenbau Concentration camp is only 70km away from Krakow. I thought of going to Auschwitz, but not sure I am ready for that kind of horrors on what is the beginning of the fun part of my trip. I hope to return to Krakow in the future for a longer stay, so possibly then.
In spirit of 4th of July I think I am going to risk my stomach and eat a Hamburger, all the Kebab places are selling them, at around a buck I figure if it sucks, I just leave it. I will have the burger, but you can hold the Miller Lite and Bud, no american beer for me, this polish stuff is working out just fine. Be careful, dont blow yourself up today!!!