Dream trip day 80 Krakus Mound, taco Tuesday, late night

Woke up to a break in the rain which meant I could explore a bit during the day.

My friend had fresh 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 more 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.

 

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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. 20160813_152714.jpg

 

To the south was an abandoned salt mine.

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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 the other person I knew there.

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!

Beer: Warka

Song: Chopin  Nocturne in E-flat major, Op. 9, No. 2

 

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Dream trip day 42   churches, mercado, tacos

At our apartment I find we have instant coffee, plus a fast water boiler. I decide to give it a go.

It’s not bad, not good either, I find adding a bit of sugar helps. Instant coffee definitely has a kick to it and I’m buzzing, ready to go.

Near Arc de Triumph we stumble on a taco joint and decide to try it.


Spanish food is very different than Mexican food. Tacos are not a thing here just as all rice, main dishes aren’t prevalent in Mexico like here.

This place cranks out an amazing amount of tacos quickly and all were very tasty too, made by one dude in the back.

They have 5 sauces bottles from mild to very hot on the tables, plus #6 which you must ask for as its supposed to be insane hot.

It’s a bit spicy but not bad, maybe a bit of habanero, just not an eye watering amount like you’re lead to believe as its behind the counter.

We are in search of a gothic cathedral Jeremy wants to tour so we walk through narrow streets in the Gothic part of Barcelona and soon locate it.

There are always buskers playing guitar or accordion out front of these cathedral, also bubble men: guys with ropes and dish soap creating large bubbles to pop to the delight of children and annoyance of adults.

Si and I wait out front and eventually grab a beer whilst Jeremy tours.

We are near a main walking route and are hounded by beggars. please, por favor, American! un poco?’

So many beggers you just don’t know what to do or say. The hardest to deal with are older ladies who just stick out their hand and wait or walk into you so you have to stop and then they wait, saying nothing, hand outstretched.

We find Jeremy out front and head over to a Picasso museum close by.

On the way we spy another mercardo, this is where Si and I will check out whilst Jeremy views art.

It’s a small mercardo, nothing comparable to the huge Valencia one or the packed Madrid mercardo.

We get a fresh juice, I chose strawberry, and it’s sweet and satisfying.

After walking a bit we sit down at a small tapas place.

Couple beers, couple snacks, nice breeze.

An argument occurs near us between a couple buskers, very loud, to the point I feel a fight will happen. They take their music turf seriously over here, certain restaurants are moneymakers it seems.

Jeremy joins us and we have another beer and plot the evening.

I spy a table full of Asians, one has a bag and is distributing individually wrapped chicken wings to her friends. The package is clearly from an Asian market and it makes me wonder how is the chicken not spoiled? What sort of Asian magic makes long ago cooked, room temp wings edible?

We decide to head back to the apt, I feel an instant coffee is needed for the evening.

It’s time to visit La Rambla street, a long road that leads to the port.

Out host warned us upon check in to watch our pockets and front, it’s full of hookers and pickpockets.

A short metro and we soon find a big road that opens up and splits, one way traffic on each side and large walkway in the middle with restaurants

We are starving at this point as Bfest was hours ago and only coffee and croissant.

It’s close to game time, only 1 night game now that opening round is over. We have to pick something quick.

A diner is chosen as its the only one with a TV and table open.

Tapas for me, pizza for Jeremy as its an Italian joint.

Rather expensive meatballs, but pretty tasty.

Now the games are less interesting as teams, defense are better so usually 1 goal or shootout is decider.

We stroll down La Rambla in search of a pub, but only find whores, very aggressive ones at that who grab at you but clearly are in search of your wallet.

The road turns into a port so we have found the ocean again.

A lighthouse is shining towards the sea, even after all these years, that’s the best way to alert ships of land.

An Irish pub is found and pints are procured.

Another singer guitarist is playing multi song medleys to the delight of the crowd while we have pints.

The metro stops running at midnight but our host told us that taxis are cheap and they do not charge extra per person thus making a ride cost about as much as the metro.

It’s late and there are all sorts of loud, wasted people all over the street, it begins to feel dangerous.

There is a long queue of people at a busy intersection so we get in line as taxis swoop in taking people away.

Sure enough it works out to €2 per person, a bit less than a ride on metro.

Another groc store is found and supplies are procured, ham flavored chips only sound like a good idea, I can attest. Just buy real ham, especially if you’re in Spain, ham country.

The night ends watching porn previews whilst eating, staying classy…

Beer: Murphy’s Irish Red
Song: Hitabaldääs Towards the Black Hole (Sau Poler remix)