The last time I went to Cracow for a weekend break was Easter two years ago. The City has changed a lot over the two years, not only the shops and restaurants I fell for closed down but at the same time Hipster cafes and new exciting corners opened up.
Although we arrived on Friday late in Cracow, it didn’t stop us from heading to the city for dinner and to check out some of the new buzzing food places.
First and the best spot where we always start our exploration is the Rynek Glowny, the main square and heart of Cracow’s city. Each time I get to this magical place, I notice the same scents and sequence: a crowd of tourists standing around a guide who talks about the St. Mary’s Basilica and the air being filled with a light chocolate and Fromage scent from the Easter Market. The ladder makes me go hungry, which is why we had to instantly grab a coffee-to-go from Nowa Prowincja. Going on a food place hunt on an empty stomach has been so far always a bad idea in Poland.
How has the city changed?
The bad news first: the old bookstore at the main square closed down, a Zara branch took over (because you know you gotta keep up the historic flair); the chocolate manufactory relocated and the flavourful pralines somehow ended up tasting gross and last but not least our ‘Good Friday’ Kebab place closed down, but hey you’ve got a McDonalds instead. That said it makes me sad to see how many chain stores have taken over to disrupt the character of this charming and beautiful city. Talking of good news there were some localities that we fell for during our short stay. Pics and reviews on them will follow in Part 2.
Besides the food disappointments, we were happy to see that the Cloth Hall was in full action and still very well visited. We took our usual every-time-we-come-here gallery stroll and checked out the wooden stalls; From amber jewellery to Polish accessories including thick gloves, scarfs and hats for cold winters, Polish fashion hasn’t changed at all and remained the same. I was actually planning to make a last-minute buy since I was prepared for the weather that was a mixture of ‘cold breeze’ and rain coming down in buckets. Although I’ve been frustrated on Day 1, after a mug of heartwarming hot chocolate and a slice of mouthwatering traditional Sernik I felt recharged and all was good.
Whether I browse along the stalls, talk a long walk up to the Wawel, or go for a mug of hot chocolate and Sernik: I am fascinated by this little charming and characterful city over and over again. Cracow might be part of Lesser Poland and not as big as Warsaw, but for me, it feels like a second home. I have locked this home into my heart, with all its odds and sods, solid and filling cuisine and cosy coffee corners. I hope you might one day too.