Polish flavors- my visit in Krakow and Zakopane

My visit in Poland was exciting, snowy and aromatic. Is it crazy to visit Poland in the middle of Winter? A bit yes, indeed.  I decided to see Zakopane first, to try skiing, sleigh- ride, hiking and admiring the nature. Local specials, their memories still make my mouth water!

Visiting Zakopane- winter capital of Poland

My apartment in Zakopane
Wooden room in Zakopane.

My memories are full of magic. I was sleeping in wooden apartment with a fireplace. When wind was howling outside, and snow was falling, I was sitting with a ,,goralska herbata” which is highlanders’ tea with alcohol. Believe me, it warms you up. Fortunately, Polish people have a sweet tooth.  I decided to try hot apple pie ( szarlotka or jablecznik)  with an ice-cream. Poland is  the biggest apple exporter in the world. I also tried delicious apple juice, amazing! Isn’t the combination of apple and cinnamon simply perfect?

Winter activities-Horse-sleigh in ZakopaneWe had really nice trip, the whole day  sleigh- ride, feast and dances. We were served Kwasnica – sauerkraut and potato soup to warm up. Of course, second dish was grilled sausages and bread. We were trying local’s vodka and we had live folk band performing for us. What a night is was! We also ate delicious oscypek – smoked sheep milk cheese, cucumbers in brine and hunter’s stew. I must admit those highlanders are impossible to get drunk. How do they do that?

Polish food in the mountains

Of course, I had to walk down Krupowki- the longest, crowded, noisy street with many souvenirs and bars. So I did. I stopped to try grilled mutton, buckwheat cereal with chopped, fried lard and onions and delicious dessert. This time I choose donut filled with rose marmalade and some Polish fudge, soft milk toffee candies. Can you imagine getting to know Polish culture by any way better than its food?

Tasting Polish food.
Tasting Polish food.

Before my visit in Krakow, I had one more day in Zakopane- the heart of Mountains. I decided to see Hala Gasienicowa – Czarny Staw Gasienicowy. It was half day excursion, medium difficult, with wonderful views. The area is decorated with a dozen mountain lakes, the largest of which is the Black Tailed Pond-  Czarny Staw Gasienicowy. The beauty of the nature was astonishing. And after day like this hot tea seems to be a blessing. Not mentioning a mulled wine. I guess Zakopane is one of the biggest attractions of Poland, both during summer and winter.

Krakow attractions

Now it’s time to share my memories from my trip to Krakow. It’s a real magnet for tourists, and I’m one one of those enchanted by the city of kings.  Beautiful, historic city belongs to the most important historical sites in Europe.  Shaped throughout centuries, not destroyed by the 2WW, it’s an amazing place to discover. It is the second largest city and the country’s ancient capital.

Krakow Main Square during the winter
Krakow Main Square during the winter

I started sightseeing Krakow from the Main Square, which is an entertainment itself. So many things are happening there! Horse carriages, musicians, actors, performers, little stalls, children feeding pigeons… You should try ,,obwarzanek” which you can buy in every corner of the Main Square. The cost is less than 50 cents. This bagel is something typical in here, like ,,oscypek” in Zakopane. So I grab it and my journey keeps going!

I decided to buy an electronic car trip around Krakow old city. I was given a blanket and audio guide. I also saw Kazimierz, Jewish City, once a separate town. I had to stop there to buy kosher wine and some delicious snacks from Jewish kitchen. I also decided to book an Auchwitz tour, as it’s something you must see while visit in Poland, especially lesser Poland.

Auschtiz tour

Auschwitz- Brikenau Concentration Camp view from the wall
Auschwitz trip was very moving and educational for me.

Oswiecim is a city around one hour from Krakow. It became a place of massive executions, Holocaust, tortures and fear. Actually I was shocked when I entered those walls. Walked through a gate  with the plate ,,Arbeit macht frei”. Looked through the windows to the barracks, where people were crowded, dying every day from hunger, cold, fear,  tortures. I saw the gas chambers and places where bodies were burned into ashes. I booked a tour to Auschwitz with Krakow Direct transfer company and I was really satisfied with the quality of the trip they offer. I dare to say it’s a ,,must visit” place in Poland. If you happen to be near Krakow, you should really see the museum.