Aside from the touristy things I did in Poland which I covered in my part 1 post there was also an awful lot more to write about. Mainly music and food! I knew I wanted to go and check out some of the musical offerings of Krakow so I did some research before I travelled. Opera I had actually never been to an opera but had always wanted to. I called the Opera Krakowska ahead of time to book a ticket before I went. Tickets cannot be booked directly online. On the telephone the lady told me she only had one ticket left and it was the highest priced ticket. It was 120 PLN which when converted to pounds makes the ticket £25.50, I couldn't believe how affordable it was an quickly sent over the booking form.
The opera house is a little too far to walk to from the main square so I jumped in a taxi (also very cheap in Krakow)
The opera I saw was Countess Maritza by Emmerich Kálmána. So many people asked me what language the performance was in, unsurprisingly it was in Polish but it really wouldn't matter as I only speak English. It was still easy to follow the love stories twists and turns and not understanding the language didn't distract from enjoying the music and costumes (which were fantastically well done) I loved every moment of it and wore my fanciest dress which I had taken specifically for this occasion.
Chopin Piano Recital Similarly to the Opera I have never found the occasion to go to a piano recital but Chopin, originating from Poland but living much of his short life in Paris, is celebrated in these events which are organised by Cracow Concerts The recital is held in the beautiful Chopin gallery and you are given a glass of wine on arrival. The price for this event is 60PLN which equates approximately to £12.70.
The gallery is like an escape from the outside world and for a while you can just drift off with the music, there is little to distract you there. I think this was my favourite musical event in Krakow, it was smaller and more intimate than the opera and there is no story to follow it's pure enjoyment. There is also no assumption that you will know anything about classical music so anyone could enjoy the event. Jazz Bars Like all things in life not all Jazz bars are created equal but I visited two in Krakow which each have their own merits. Harris Jazz Bar One night I went to the Harris Jazz Bar which is on the main square, the place was packed and to sit in the music area was 20PLN for the show and table service.
The music in here was fine, enjoyable to listen to and although I didn't eat my friend did, the food looked great and they served till late. I would say this venue is more of a tourist spot though as it seems to be really popular online. Jazz Club u Muniaka I found another Jazz bar and decided to give that a go one evening. It's underground (just like the Harris bar) and the cost is about the same. This place was quieter when I arrived but soon picked up. The tables are less squashed together and there are two large booths at the back for bigger parties. The atmosphere here is just a bit friendlier and you also get table service. It took some getting used to that you are only expected to pay for your drinks when you are leaving and not round for round.
The music here was better I would say, the musicians varied night to night (I went more than once) and they had more of a range of style. I am not a jazz snob by any means but I found this variation more enjoyable. The drinks here are slightly more expensive than a normal Polish bar but that's to be expected and it's still cheap by UK standards. If you can only make it to one then this venue is the one I would recommend. Food There is tonnes of food to try in Krakow and restaurants of every cuisine can be found in the main square but there were a couple of typically Polish things that I wanted to try. I'd read some travel blogs which all spoke about traditional polish dishes and they sounded right up my street. Dumplings - called Pierogi are a traditional Polish food. These ones were stuffed with mushroom. You can get them boiled or fried but I preferred boiled. You get them just on their own and it's a good thing as they are so filling.
If you go to Krakow be sure to visit a milk bar for cheap and hearty food as above. I found Milkbar Tomasza near the main square and likes it so much I went there at least three times. They play really good music there and the food is gorgeous!
Groats - Dobra Kasza Nasza
Groats is a very traditional Polish dish made from pearl barley, millet or buckwheat, combined with tasty ingredients and cooked in the oven. We don't have a dish to compare it to in England but all I can say is it was so scrummy and really filling.
This restaurant has a beautiful atmosphere, very attentive waiting staff and is reasonably priced. When I go back to Krakow I would definitely come back here.
Weasel I read about this place online and it was pitched as traditional Polish food in a romantic setting. Since I was travelling alone I decided that no one loves me more than me so I was going in for a table for one! Stuffed cabbage leaves - I had read about these online and really wanted to try them, cabbage being one of my faves. What I noticed about polish food is that is doesn't come with loads of sides it is filling just as it is. This dish came with a rich tomato sauce and was stunning, definitely try cabbage leaves in Krakow!
Cheese - Another polish delicacy is sheeps cheese which is griddled, sheeps cheese is quite strong and rich so a little goes a long way. This starter was cooked to perfection!
So there you have it, my entertainment/foodie round up of Krakow. I hope you enjoyed reading this post and I am already planning more trips for 2018! Until next time Love Lucy xx