Woke up to a break in the rain which meant I could explore a bit during the day.
My friend had pierogi he bought from a small shop nearby and encouraged me to eat them soon as they are fresh, no preservatives.
To heat them, drop in boiling water for a minute.
It was my first encounter with sweet pierogi, too. These had blueberries inside a wonderful doughy shell. Delicious!
Plus, these were much larger than I had seen before, probably close to fist sized dumplings so 2 was enough to get the day started.
He had also picked up gołąbki or cabbage rolls filled with minced pork and rice. All hand-made in a small store a short walk away. I was going to eat like a local!
Once I was outside the apartment, I crossed the Vistula River via bridge which lead to a small business district that had food options as well as a tailor shop.
There was definitely a lot older professions like cobblers, tailors, woodworkers in this country than the US.
EU and UK seem much more attached to repairing worn out or older items vs US.
I soon entered a large forest, park area as I began to walk uphill.
Park was very lush, green and welcoming. It was very close to downtown too.
I wound my way through a residential area next to the park and heard car noises. A highway blocked my path.
I followed a very cool spray-painted wall until I arrived to the pedestrian bridge over the busy highway below.
Off in the distance, I saw tall smokestacks next to what I presumed were nuclear power coolers. Both billowed white smoke, I hoped it was steam.
Further research revealed this was the Krakow CHP Coal Power Plant. It was disarmingly close to the city, I felt.
Such a juxtaposition: to the south, a beautiful park. To the east: a coal-burning plant.
After the pedestrian bridge, I passed through a gravel road that surely homeless and teenagers drank at due to all the empties littering the ground. Very sad to see what could be a nice area destroyed by people.
I began to encounter a lot of other people so I knew the mound was near. After passing through a canopy of trees, the path opened up and I saw the tall, looming mound directly ahead of me.
The way up to the top of the mound was via a dirt path that wrapped around the mound slowly ascending up.
Once ascended to the top, there was a wonderful view of Krakow.
To the south was an abandoned salt mine.
I made my way back to the area around my friend’s apartment. It was Tuesday and to my surprise, Taco Tuesday is very much a thing in Poland!
My friend’s co-workers went out for tacos every week to a Mexican style restaurant a few blocks away in the Kazimierz district.
A short walk through shops and restaurants I arrived at the place. I knew it would be a good meal based on the large tequila selection behind the bar.
The table was full of people who made room for me across from my friend Chris. Beer, tacos and margaritas were soon ordered and conversation began.
I was seated next to a Spanish guy and Polish girl. We took turns asking about Spain, Poland and EU from each other, trying to learn about things to do and see.
My pastor tacos arrived and I was pleasantly surprised, they were very good. This coming from eating tacos since I was a kid.
The main difference is that these were fancy tacos, not street tacos, so they had large chunks of avocado and sour cream.
Talk soon turned to a venue change. There was a Spanish match on so we followed our friends to a small pub that had wall sized screen.
My friend had to duck out early as he had an early flight to Paris, which is really the best excuse.
Friendly bets were made between co-workers over beers as the match began.
I chatted up a guy from the Netherlands as well as continuing to talk to the quiet Polish girl with short hair.
She slowly came out of her shell after each beer. I thought she was intriguing, meaning she may not be the first girl you’d notice in a place, but she was pretty and most importantly, interesting to talk to.
Soon cheers rang out and shots arrived. The loser wound up buying shots for everyone.
We continued our evening at a diner bar, Pijalnia Wódki i Piwa. I was convinced I’d see the Fonz or a couple slurping a milkshake with 2 straws here it was fairly authentic.
This place is more a shot bar, cheap too, maybe a dollar per shot.
Our group order a tray and then another. I opted for their only draft beer.
During the evening I found myself at the center of attention as my Dutch friend and Polish girl were on either side of me slowly stroking my beard.
Just ask if you can do that, don’t just put your fingers in someone’s beard or hair without permission, I was taken aback by the attention.
I soon realized that I’d have to find my way home and by the jolliness of my companions, they weren’t leaving anytime soon.
I bade goodbye to my new friends and began walking in the direction I thought my apartment would be in.
Luck was on my side as I found the road I knew just as it began to sprinkle rain.
It was full on rain as I turned the corner to my apartment after about a 20 minute walk.
Glad I decided to not have 1 more beer for many reasons.
Great night out in Krakow!
Song: Chopin Nocturne in E-flat major, Op. 9, No. 2