I’ve finally got round to posting a few more pictures taken on my recent trip to beautiful, snow covered Krakow.
Much of our time here was spent wandering around the cobbled streets of the Old Town, dressed like snowmen (with layers upon layers of clothing – seems odd to imagine it now as I sit here in shorts and a T-shirt) and wondering if it’s too early to stop for a vodka.
It was minus 9 on the last night we were there (early December), with a predicted minus 21 for the following evening. Biting cold does not begin to describe it. Bottles of vodka are cheaper than a fur coat and sold at any of the rather wonderful sounding ‘Alcohole’ shops (makes me smile and instantly conjures up Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey whose character would no doubt pronounce it similarly) dotted all over town.
Alternatively, they sell shots of the best stuff (Chopin, Żubrówka or Belvedere) at almost every cafe on almost every street corner. Sitting down at a table with crisp, starched linen and a stem shot glass makes it feel very legit to drink, even if it is only 11am.
Beautiful butter-soft leather gloves keep out the glacial cold, sold in many a doorway for around S$15/£7 (guess what a lot of people got for Christmas this year).
Horse drawn carriages ride around the Old Town and despite their total Narnia Snow Queen fabulous-ness, I couldn’t quite bring myself to take one (they scream ‘looser tourist’ rather loudly).
Surrounded by all this exquisite architecture, it’s very easy to forget that Poland has been oppressed the icy grip of communism ever since World War II ended.
We took a tour with the self appointed Crazy Guides who’ve been featured by almost everyone, from the BBC to the New York Times, and who bill themselves as the alternative tour guides to the city of Krakow. They’ll whizz you round town in one of their vintage Trabbies (the communist car of choice which was probably last serviced around that time too) and take you back to a time where communism reigned supreme (scarily not that long ago).
Bicycles are pretty popular here, presumably used by anyone who’s spent too long inside a Trabbie (I think they might just be the singularly most uncomfortable car ever made):
But the best mode of transport I saw has to be this one:
It was ten years since I was last in Krakow and I do hope it won’t be another ten before I’m back…but as there are a million new places I so want to visit, I fear it might be.