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Friday, 27 March 2015

TARG Śniadaniowy w Krakowie - Food Fair In Krakow

Dearest hearts,

Did you know that there is a Food Fair organised in Krakow between 21 March - 28 June? TARG Śniadaniowy w Krakowie - Krakow's Food Fair (or Breakfast Fair, if you please!) - is located very close to the Main Square. As the old train station has moved offices underneath the Galeria Krakowska, the old beautiful building has been left alone and not used for almost a year now. What better way to use it than having gatherings as such? Located right next to the Galeria Krakowska it can host hundreds of people - even when the weather is not perfect and it rains cats and dogs ;)
Here is what the team has to say upon this event: "Market Breakfast is a cyclical event, which takes place every weekend in Krakow. We want our breakfasts provide products of the highest quality and together with you to create a warm and relaxing atmosphere of this event. We focus primarily on the quality of products, and the shortest way from the producer to the breakfast table. Our aim is to popularize the idea of ​​a common breakfast."
 "At the breakfast fair:- We will make the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and dairy products, as well as traditional and regional products from local producers. You will also find a lot of goods from around the world!
- Create conditions for the common meal with friends - with the possibility of eating breakfast at the tables in the dining room inside and outside
- We will present organizations with a conscious and healthy lifestyle, we will develop children's creativity through activities workshop
- We want to create a neighborhood meeting place that will cement the local community."
Pictures from inside the fair, where the waiting room was transformed into a place where people can have breakfast
 “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” 
― J.R.R. Tolkien
 “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
 “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” ― George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman
 “Humor keeps us alive. Humor and food. Don't forget food. You can go a week without laughing.
― Joss Whedon
 “There are three possible parts to a date, of which at least two must be offered: entertainment, food, and affection. It is customary to begin a series of dates with a great deal of entertainment, a moderate amount of food, and the merest suggestion of affection. As the amount of affection increases, the entertainment can be reduced proportionately. When the affection IS the entertainment, we no longer call it dating. Under no circumstances can the food be omitted.” ― Judith Martin
You can find at the Food Fair ingredients for food - including fresh dried condiments - but also food already prepared. Several types of juices and mostly organic food that smells and tastes heavenly. The food range is amazing so you can have both breakfast, lunch and dinner there! Outside there are even grills where you can buy both vegetables and sausages/steaks - medium, rare... you name it, they got it! It is a great idea to spend the weekend out and eat there and later on have maybe a lovely walk in the old town. Just have a look at those French macaroons in the pictures above - heavenly! and 4 zloty a piece or 3,5 if you will buy the pack of 10 - you choose how to mix and combine them ;) and did I mention the entrance, of course, is for free? :)

P.S. For more information you can check their Facebook Page, Facebook event page and the regular Website - the events are not only in Krakow but also in Poznan, Warsaw and the 3 cities by the sea (Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot) :) Make sure you come between 9 AM and 4 PM as those are the opening hours for the fair ;)

** This post was made out of love for the food. I was not repayed in any way by the people that organised the event and all the opinions are my very own, straight from the heart! **

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Market Fairs & French Macaroons
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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

EatAway - A Brand New Krakow Project

Dear hearts,

On the lovely 1st of March 2015, a new project started in Kraków: EatAway was created by the founder of the website Local-Life Krakow - Marta and her husband Mark. They have always enjoyed sharing the knowledge of Marta's beautiful home town - Kraków - hence they started the Local-Life website - that is running wonderfully for quite a long while! - and the EatAway project. Marta and Mark are travellers and adventurers at their core and they also enjoy meeting other travellers in person. Marta also loves to cook and she is amazing in preparing traditional Polish dishes - though she hardly ever sticks to the recipe.  But what good cook does not alter once in a while the rules?
Here is what Marta says in her introduction in the article about EatAway on Local-Life: "I've often thought when travelling myself how great it would be to have a meal with a local person. Restaurants are great, but sometimes it seems it would be better to enjoy a home-cooked meal with someone who can also tell me a bit more about their experiences, their lives and their cities. So, I've decided to do exactly that. From 1st March 2015, I will be cooking for up to 8 people at my home in Krakow every Wednesday from around 7pm. And you're invited."
Marta - The Lovely Host
Let us answer now to the basic questions that you may have:
  • When: every Wednesday and ocasionally Monday at 7 PM Polish Time
  • Where: Marta's apartment in the Salwator area of Krakow - I will tell you how to get there a bit later on ;) 
  • What would it cost me: the price, per person, is 50 zloty and you need to pay cash
  • What would I get in that price: 3 course dinner + refreshments (water, lemonade, tea, coffee or wine) + a whole lot of fun with travellers like yourself + information about the city from a local person
  • How long does it usually last: somewhere around 2 hours
  • What happens if it's late at night and I don't remember how to get home from there: Marta or Mark will surely give you a helping hand and call a cab for you ;) 
  • How can I sign in?!  Fill in the Local-Life booking or contact them on the Facebook page
Marta and Mark's flat in Salwator, Krakow
Getting to Mart and Mark's apartment in Salwator is quite easy - especially if you have a GPS on your phone. It's an 8 minute ride by tram or taxi from the Market Square, and in the Spring or Summer, the perfect place for a walk up to the Kopiec Kosciuszki before or after a meal. For example if you take tram number 1 it is very easy: you just get out at the last stop, named Salwator, where the tran turns and you just go straight up the hill. At a certain point you will need to make a right and you will see the house. Marta and Mark live on the last floor and you need to ring for them to open the main entrance.
The first course was the traditional soup that my husband simply adores: Beetroot soup with dumplings. In Polish language it is called Barszcz - generic Polish term for any sour soup. Common ones are beet barszcz and white barszcz made with "kielbasa" - cooking water and sour cream. Russians call this borscht and other Eastern Europeans refer to it as borsch or barsch. This was a barszcz czerwony - red barszcz - and it was finger-licking-delicious! The dumplings were dome made with a filling called "ruskie" - russian.
First course: Barszcz czerwony and pierogi
Red Wine for everyone!
The second course was potatoe pancakes with goulash and pickled cucumbers. The pancakes were done with finely grated potatoes, garlic and egg yolk - they were crispy on the outside yet smooth on the inside. They were combined very well with the goulash made out of beef. That was one hearty warming dish that just melted into ones mouth. Breaking the potatoe pancakes and dipping them in the sauce from the goulash = Heaven! + the extra pickled cucumbers, homemade, by their side were a treat! It reminded me of my Grandma's cooking.
The third course was fresh salad with dressing, but I admit that by that time I was feeling full - I have a saying: I was feeling as if I were pregnant! I thought I could not eat even one tiny morsel... I was so wrong! Marta proved me that when she bakes sweets and she puts them in your front you simply cannot say no!
The Heavenly Apple Pie & Icecream
The last piece of the puzzle was the dessert - and it was sublime! The icecream - 2 scoops of vanilla - and the apple pie were a huge temptation for me, and even now - as I write this post - my mouth waters at the very rememberance of that treat! If I were not that full, I would have probably asked for more... I have to admit it! The apple pie was one of the best ones I have tasted - the sweets that my Granny makes are still on first place, I am sorry Marta :( but you are a close second! ;) The apples felt very fresh and they were sweet and well flavoured. The inside was moist and soft, and the crust and lower side was as crunchy as it should! A perfect 10! :)
If anyone would ask me I would say - hand to my heart - that the Monday night I spent with Marta & Mark and the other travellers was worth the time/money/bother, I would say YES! without even leaving room for doubt. Marta and Mark are friendly and up-beat-positive. They have been through a lot in their life and their love story deserves a book :) and yet they have remained true at heart and willing to help others. I admire their passion and their involvment and I am happy I caught this project since the very beginning. Now I can say I am proud that I was part of Dinner @ Marta's EatAway Session 2 :) May there be many more!

P.S. If you are now in Krakow or plan to come here soon, do contact them on the Local-Life booking or via the Facebook page - Marta will surely answer to you in the very same day ;)

** Sponsored post but written from the heart, without any external influences**

Yours truly, 
A LadyBug That Approves Of Such Wonderful Ideas Like EatAway Krakow
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Saturday, 21 March 2015

Balkanica 303 - First Balkan Restaurant In Krakow

Dearest friends,

Did you know that 'Balkan' is actually a Turkish word, meaning 'wooded mountain' or 'black mountain'. The Turkish word originates from the Central Asian term 'barkhan', which denotes a crescent-shaped sand dune. The Balkan Peninsula is an almost entirely mountainous region. The average altitude varies from 470 m (Bulgaria) to 850 m (FYR of Macedonia). The entire peninsula has an area of around 550,000 km² and has roughly 55 million inhabitants.
Along our quest on finding the perfect restaurant, my friends decided we should try a Balkan restaurant as well. There are less than a handful of those in Krakow, so we decided to go to the one that was the most known: Balkanica 303, on ulica Czysta #3. The place is quite easy to find, especially coming from the city center. You need to get to Bagatela Theater and go straight on Krupnicza, up to Dolnych Młynów, where you need to make a left to the Czysta street - and you are there! (less than 10 minutes walk from the Main Square).
The restaurant is the first Balkan restaurant open in Krakow and it is rated by Tripadvisor as #112 of 925 Restaurants in Krakow - with a medium of 4,5 out of 5 stars. I read the reviews and all of them are positive - all people who went there seem happy of the service and the food. Hence we gave it a go! HINT! If you are planning on going there during the weekend it is better to make a reservation as the place gets crowded pretty fast during the lunch/dinner time! We did a reservation for 5 and it was perfect, the table was already waiting for us - we arrived there around 2:30 PM Saturday and it was not too crowded, but with time - while we were there - the place was full. So be careful about that ;)
All the waiters have great command of English language and they are extremely helpful, including when you are making the choices. For example, both me and my friend wanted still water with lemons on the side, so the waiter proposed to us a flagon of water with lemon - which was a nice choice. The food and drinks were brought quick and they smelled heavenly!
I had the Pljeskavica, which is a Balkan delicacy of beef with baked inside kaskaval cheese, served with potato salad and two sauces Ajvar and tzatziki. In case you did not know, tzatziki is a typical Greek sauce made from greek jogurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt, black pepper and the most important ingredient: fresh cucumber! :) I just loved the sauce and the fresh fries were the best I have yet tasted - the condiments used on them were brilliant! The potatoe salad I could live without - but that may be also because I am not a huge fan of potatoes - but the meat was also really nicely done and the inside cheese was lovely melty in ones mouth :) Price 28 zloty - 480 gr/230 gr.
It was funny to see in the menu a special section dedicated to the Balkan Burgers - when I say burgers I always think of the good "old" USA. Well, Balkanica 303 has 4 types of burgers from which one can choose from: Sofia, Ateny, Zagreb and Sarajewo - good choice of names ;) Each of the burgers comes with french fries and salad on the side. The burgers price range is between 22 and 26 zloty each.
You can find them online on their Facebook page or on their very own Internet page - though unfortunately it does not have an English version. It is open from Monday to Thursday from 12:00 to 21:00, Friday to Saturday from 12:00 to 23:00 and Sunday again from 12:00 to 21:00. You can pay with Visa, Mastercard and Cash - and when the bill is done you are asked which method you would like. I recommend the place as it is very nice and cozy and has lovely music. I would definitely go there again, just to try the burgers or the Greek mousaka :)

** This post was made out of love for great food. I was not repayed in any way and all the opinions are my very own, straight from the heart! ** 

Yours truly,
A LadyBug That Loves Balkan Food - Especially Greek!
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Wednesday, 18 March 2015

FREE walking SPECIAL Her Story

Dearest hearts,

It is said that behind every great man there is a woman in the shadow, leading him. Also, there is a saying that if the men is considered to be the head of the family, than the heart belongs to the woman. Each year the wonderfully talented lads & lasses from Free Walking Tour Krakow host Free Walking Specials - like the Free Walking Tour Krakow - StreetArt. Each year, around the beginning of March, they ladies (and gents, of course, if they wish!) are invited for a very special tour called FREE walking SPECIAL Her Story. Unfortunately I could not join them until now, but this year - on the 28th of February - I had the chance to do it, and - as usual! - I did not regret it! :)
The tour started at 1:30pm in front of Saint Mary's Church and took up to 2 hours. There were only 5 of us - including myself - and the lovely guide, Alicja. I have had the chance of touring with her on multiple times and I like the way she is open to questions. She has great command of English language and manages to hold even larger groups from falling apart + she knows a lot of things about Krakow and places you get to visit. What I like about Free Walking Tour Krakow is that they consider the feedback from their clients and they also come with new tours each year. 
For example, Alicja's "new baby" for this year is a tour named "Where is Nowosielski?" - he was well known for his religious compositions (wall paintings, iconostases, polychromies) in the Orthodox Churches in Kraków, Białystok and Jelenia Góra, the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Cross at Wesoła, the Franciscan Church in the Azory district of Kraków, and the Greek Catholic Church in Lourdes, France. Nowosielski designed and erected the Church of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Biały Bór. He also painted portraits, landscapes, still life, and abstract pictures. His works are found in Polish museums and also in private collections in Canada, the USA, and Germany. In 1993 he was awarded a prize by the Polish cultural foundation Wielka Fundacja Kultury and received an honorary doctorate from the Jagiellonian University in 2000.
I will not tell you all the stories about all the lovely women of Krakow, but I will tell you a bit of it - just to make you come next year to the same tour or even select one of the new Free Walking Specials just out on the market :) The tour started with the story of Danuta Wesołowska - this wonderful lady did a research on the language used by people coming from the extermination camps (after they were released). Her topic was about the slang used on the concentration camp. She also did a dictionary based on that, that is used in further researches nowdays.
Also, did you know that the Krakow Planty - the green park-ring around the city - is one of the oldest public parks in Europe? That's true ;)  But Planty was not for the people that were not high born. Planty was for young ladies and gents to have a stroll and be fashionable. Park Jordana was created with the purpose of relaxation as at the time Planty was created people were not allowed to practice any sports there. At that time also Park Krakowski was created and there were located the tennis courts. That is where Jadwiga ("Jed") Jędrzejowska - who was born out of a poor family - started her ascension. Tennis - at that time - was also a game only for high born people, but she became the best tennis player of the time. According to Wallis Myers and John Olliff of The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Mail, Jędrzejowska was ranked in the world top ten from 1936 through 1939 (no rankings issued from 1940 through 1945), reaching a career high of World No. 3 in those rankings in 1937. Sadly, she died in 1980 in Katowice.
In 1894 the first women started her studies in Krakow Collegium Major - farmacy. Slowly, one by one, the Universities in Krakow gave rights also to women to come and join in and learn. Of course, law was the last one who joined in 1919 due to the Polish Constitution that stated that women are equal to men.
Helena Modjeska (October 12, 1840 – April 8, 1909), whose actual Polish surname was Modrzejewska (Polish pronunciation: [mɔdʐɛˈjɛfska], was a renowned actress who specialized in Shakespearean and tragic roles. She was also very popular in Holywood movies as  well.
On August 20, 1877 Modjeska debuted at the California Theatre in San Francisco in an English version of Ernest Legouvé's Adrienne Lecouvreur and also made her New York debut. She then spent three years abroad (1879–82), mainly in London, attempting to improve her English, before returning to the stage in America. Despite her accent and imperfect command of English, she achieved great success. During her career she played nine Shakespearean heroines, Marguerite Gautier in Camille, and Schiller's Maria Stuart. In 1883, the year she obtained American citizenship, she produced Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House in Louisville, Kentucky, the first Ibsen play staged in the United States. In the 1880s and 1890s she had a reputation as the leading female interpreter of Shakespeare on the American stage.
In 1893 Modjeska was invited to speak to a women's conference at the Chicago World's Fair, and described the situation of Polish women in the Russian and Prussian-ruled parts of dismembered Poland. This led to a Tsarist ban on her traveling in Russian territory. Modjeska suffered a stroke and was partially paralyzed in 1897, but recovered and soon returned to the stage, continuing to perform for several additional years. During her last stay in Poland, from October 31, 1902 to April 28, 1903, she appeared on the stage in Lwów, Poznań and her native Kraków.
On May 2, 1905, she gave a jubilee performance in New York City. Then she toured for two years and ended her acting career, afterward only appearing sporadically in support of charitable causes. Modjeska died at Newport Beach, California on April 8, 1909, aged 68, from Bright's disease. Her remains were sent to Kraków to be buried in the family plot at the Rakowicki Cemetery. Her autobiography, Memories and Impressions of Helena Modjeska, was published posthumously in 1910. A Polish translation ran that same year in the Kraków newspaper, Czas (Time). The last Polish edition of the book appeared in 1957. Modrzejewska's son, Rudolf Modrzejewski (Ralph Modjeski), was a civil engineer who gained fame as a designer of bridges. 
!!! FACT:  When she visited Poland she was so lovely that the painters wanted to immortalise her. And they did! If you will go to the museum above Sukiennice you can find her there - the lady in a beautiful white dress and with a black dog ;)
Maria Wisława Anna Szymborska (2 July 1923 – 1 February 2012) was a Polish poet, essayist, translator and recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature. Born in Prowent, which has since become part of Kórnik, she later resided in Kraków until the end of her life. She is described as a "Mozart of Poetry". In Poland, Szymborska's books have reached sales rivaling prominent prose authors: although she once remarked in a poem, "Some Like Poetry" ("Niektórzy lubią poezję"), that no more than two out of a thousand people care for the art.
Szymborska was awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature "for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality".She became better known internationally as a result of this. Her work has been translated into English and many European languages, as well as into Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese and Chinese. 
!!! FACT: When she was not yet well know, living in Krakow in a small flat, her house was named by her friends "Szymborska's drawers" as she was so very much fond of them. When she managed to get a bigger flat, at the time of her death they counted over 600 drawers!
In 2012 Krakow National Museum helped open the exhibition hold now in Plac Szcepanski. It was supposed to stay only for a year but due to its large number of participants it was prolongued until this end of the year - December 2015. It is totally worth visiting and I must admit we spent a large part of the tour there. She had a large collection of knick-knacks... she was indeed a big collector. She also liked postcards - a lot! And she used to create her own :) - you can see some in the pictures above, with the translation from Polish over them.
Helena Modrzejewska & The Paiting that can be found in the museum above Sukienicce
Jadwiga (1373/4 – 17 July 1399) was the very first female king of Poland from 1384 to her death. She was a member of the Capetian House of Anjou, the daughter of king Louis I of Hungary and Elizabeth of Bosnia. Queens regnant being relatively uncommon in Europe at the time, Jadwiga was officially crowned a "king" (rex) rather than "queen" (regina).
!!! FACT: Jadwiga was over 180 cm tall and had small hips - at a time when the average height of a girl would be around 160 + due to the small hips she was not able to have children, hence died in childbirth... Unfortunately there was not even talk of c-section back then...
I knew some stories along the way and I heard about some of the women that Alicja presented us, but I never knew about the bravery and the heart of them until I heard some of the facts from Alicja's mouth. It was indeed a lovely and educational tour for me, and I knew that I would pass this info further on to you :) and to everyone who will come to Krakow and meet me. Some stories should be kept alive, through word of mouth - these ladies deserve it!

** This post was made out of love for all the awesome unknown ladies out there. I was not repayed in any way and all the opinions are my very own, straight from the heart! ** 

Yours truly,
The LadyBug That Recommends With All Her Heart The Free Walking Tours Krakow :)
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Sunday, 15 March 2015

The Most Important Residence Of Polish Kings

Dearest friends,

Here is a bit of History: On the high hill on the bank of the Vistula River, originally a medieval castle called Wawel had been built. As in 1138, Kraków became the capital of Poland and the Wawel’s Cathedral became the coronation place of the Polish kings, the castle became their most important residence. Three dynasties made their home at Wawel. First the dynasty of Piast. The last of the Piast – Casimir III the Great (1310-1370),who built tens of defensive castles throughout Poland, developed Wawel into the biggest Polish castle. Then the Angevins and the Jagiellons, who made the castle to the center of their powerful state.
The fire of 1499 destroyed Wawel, but as the reconstruction had been necessary Sigismundus I The Old invited Italian architects, Polish, Italian, German and Dutch artists to build Wawel as we see it today – a splendid Renaissance royal residence, with its impressive volume placed high on the hill, beautiful courtyard. As the works continued (1502-1536), the Royal apartements were refurbished in the early Baroque style, received marble fireplaces and painted celings. When King Sigismund III of the Vasa dynasty moved the capital of Poland from Cracow to Warsaw in 1609, trying to stay closer to Sweden, Wawel lost its importance. Nevertheless, the castle remained the coronation place and the Royal Treasury seat. It is said that only on one of the chapels - part of the Wawel's Cathedral - they used 50 kilograms of pure gold (found that out during one of the Free Walking Tours ;) ).
As the neighbors of Poland – Russia, Austria and Prussia grew in power, they began to divide the weak Polish Kingdom among themselves. Following the third and the final partition of Poland in 1795, the city of Kraków was within the teritories adjusted to the Austrian Empire. The Wawel castle became Austrian army caserne and served as such until 1905. Several years later, already in the independent Poland, the National Museum has been established on the Wawel hill (1930). At the same time, the castle served as as an official residence of the Polish president.
During the German occupation of the WWII Wawel was the residence of the Nazi Governor Hans Frank, whose offices were located in the new building built on the hill. He was a great fan of art and he loved Krakow so the fact that Krakow & Wawel Castle and Cathedral are still standing comes all from himself. He had the order to plant bombs inside the Castle and the city and detonate them in case he should have to leave - which he did not, and we are thankful for that! During the years after the war, the castle has been reconstructed, its collection enriched and the castle's treasures which were given into the deposit for the time of the WWII to the Bank of Canada returned (1959). 
The 50 kilo gold chapel :)
Here are some short facts about the Castle & Cathedral:
  • The Castle is approximately 500 years old and was designed by an Italian.  
  • There are no interior hallways in the Castle.  All of the rooms are connected by exterior walkways (in the Italian style). 
  • The current Wawel Cathedral was constructed in the 14th century with two previous churches occupying the site in the 11th and 12th century.
  • The Wawel Cathedral is the burial site for Polish monarchs. You can visit the crypts and see the tombs of the Polish monarchs as far back as the 14th century. The crypt also holds the tombs of generals, national heroes, poets, revolutionaries, and other important leaders.
  • The Bell Towers - There are actually two towers with 8 bells, the most famous is the Sigismund Bell at the top, and there is a clock tower as well. The bells were all made at different times but dates range from the 12th to the 17th centuries. Each bell has a plaque next to it which tells you the technical data such as the weight and dimensions of the bells.
Also, the Castle & Cathedral and the hill upon which they are located have a lot of myths and legends connected to it. Here is one of them :)
The legend says that thousands of years ago, before man became the master of the earth it had been inhabited by a race of giants. It cannot be said today what they looked like, but one can suppose that they led lives similarly to us, trying to understand the mystery of existence and seeking love and happiness. They also got very much used to their dwelling places and if circumstances forced them to leave and go far away they would always come back to their native land at the end of their lives. One such giant was buried near Wawel Hill.
For centuries the bones of these large creatures lay decomposing in the ground and therefore only very few of them were later able to be dug out by people. But whenever some of them were found they were treasured as precious amulets which would protect their owners from all sorts of evil. Thus the inhabitants of Kraków were overjoyed when three mighty and well preserved bones of a giant were dug out by chance near Wawel Castle.
One wise astrologer read in the stars that it was a very good omen. That's why the bones was suspended near the entrance to the cathedral.
Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Long Walks In The Wawel Gardens :)
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