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Tuesday, 9 February 2016

I Love Trains In Poland

Dearest friends,

I live in Kraków for almost 5 years now and I must admit I can see huge changes in public transport, and especially in the railway system, since I first came here in 2011. I remember how I always wanted to go more often to Warsaw but that was always an issue as by bus the ride would take more than 5 hours - less than the train ride, back in 2011! Now (even in 2015!) I would rather take the train to Warsaw - the direct line from Krakow Glowny (Kraków Central Station) to Warsawa Centralna (smack downtown, next to the Palace of Culture and Science) takes you there in less than 2:30 minutes! Take another example, when I first came to Poland, the connection between the International Balice Airport and the city centre were quite... a pain! There was a shuttle bus taking you from the 2 terminals, to the train platform that was quite a bit further away. There you would wait for the train to Krakow Glowny - at least 15 min. The train ticket back then was over 20 zloty and the ride was about 30 min. Now, the terminal has a passage way leading to the tracks where trains come and the ride is 18 minutes for 8 zloty. Changes! I love when they look like that! Did I mention about the free WiFi or how brand new the trains are?! ;) now you know!
Photo from external soure - sorry, all the time it's too crowded to take a decent photo :(
The railway system in Kraków and the whole Malopolskie voivodship is under a huge revolution, and I quite enjoy having a look on how Poland moves forward, roughing standard like in Germany and even Austria. I think, if you came here before 2011 and you would come to the Kraków Glowny now, you would be surprised (pleasantly!) about the changes. The most important and obvious change you will see is the way the Main Train Station looks like. It has moved from its former old building - now used for fairs and expos - to the underground of Galeria Krakowska - making the life easier for thousands of railway users. It is one of the mot's modern transportation hubs in Poland! Also, the last years there has been a lot of modenization work on the Balice Station (airport) but also Kraków Lobzow. The business plan for the next year shows a growing concern into how they can make the user's life better, by brining them good connections for Wieliczka, Tarnow and for the thousand of people working in Tymbark and needing daily transport at all hours. I, for one, wish only one more thing - and that's related to the Kraków Glowny - Kraków Business Park track: more frequent trains :) Right now the station has 2 platforms, an underground walkway and 48 regional trains + 12 long distance per day. Sad part is that after 5 pm there is only one train per hour and if you don't have a car KBP is quite an issue to get out of...
Photo from external soure - sorry, all the time it's too crowded to take a decent photo :(
How about you? Do you love your train system back home or where you live now? Have you ever been in Poland - if you have, have you ever experienced the brand new fleet of trains that Poland bought? What was your customer experience? Would love to hear your stories - I shared mine ;)

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves Polish trains
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Saturday, 6 February 2016

How Many Donuts Did You Eat For Fat Thursday?

Dearest hearts,

How many donuts have you ate thus past Thursday? Be fair and give us the number and the details ;) if you are Polish, or an expat living in Poland, for sure you know all about Fat Thursday (in Polish language: Tlusty Czwartek). This celebration signifies the end of the Carnival period, it marks the last day when people can eat and drink and be merry, before the Easter Holy Lent starts. The period of fasting is already up on us now, so I hope you ate all the donuts you could get your hands on ;) In Poland, the traditional thing is to eat at least one donut (in Polish language: ponczek) for good luck. If you did not have any... well... that's too bad!
I was reading an article this week about it, and as everyday we learn something new... so did I learn that in the beginning,  medieval ages, the donuts were not actually sweet but rather salty... the sweet filling came later on, somewhere in the 19th century. Thank God! :) The typical Polish donut also does not resemble the ones made in USA - those are round, flat and with a whole in the middle. Polish ponzcki are oval, maybe round, not flat at all! and without any whole but with different filling - usually rose jam, "advocat" (type of alcohol - light), chocolate. They are also usually powered with sugar or glazed (sticky fingers...). By the way, did you know that the USA in 1926 opened up its first Doughnut Making Machine Feb. 6th, 1926: In Dubuque, Iowa the first doughnut-making machine was launched by a company called Trausch Bakery. See! You learn something new everyday! :) I ate 1,5 donuts as I was not that much into sweets... how about you? ;)

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug
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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Don't Be Afraid!

Dearest hearts,

A few days ago I felt the need to share with you the growing concern about Artificial Intelligence. Now the least thing I wish for you to do is worry and be afraid.  That was not my purpose.  The purpose was to get you thinking about the world we live in and how progress has changed us so much that we don't know where to stop. Now you may have several attitudes after reading that article: you might think that this is a whole lot of bollocking and that technology in our day to day life is necessary; you might think that having robots take over is a "cool thing"; you may get so scared that you might just wish to leave your home and live on a deserted island... there are so many "you may" versions ans none are very appealing to me... I must admit that sometimes, thinking about the world nowdays, with all the violence and the conflicts, gets me very much scared/frightened. Is this the kind of world you wish to live in? Is this the kind of world you would like your kids to know? I surely wish that everyone would have, at least, a lovely childhood... yet that is not available for everyone...
A few days ago, I was just absent mindedly checking up Facebook to see what my friends were up to, when I bumped into a picture that got me thinking... The pictures was saying that 365 times, in the Bible, the wording "Don't be afraid" appears. 365 times... one time for each day of the year! I love "coincidences" like this in the Bible. It's as if God would like us to know that being afraid, although it is a part of whom we are and although it's an inevitable thing that will happen to us, should not scare us and we should drop it as soon as we can. Being afraid is a human reaction, and even Jesus was afraid in the Gethsemane garden, yet God gave him strength. Just like he gives us strength on a daily basis, to get through the worst. Being afraid is something that will happen, but we must not let it become an integrating part of us. We must not stay afraid. I have seen people afraid... their constant focus was on the scareness in them, and they could not break free. It is as if they were bound by heavy chains... "Be not afraid" is the line we should keep with us, in our lives, in our hearts.  
What do you do in order not to be afraid? It's a hard exercise but I believe everyone has their own way of breaking free and finding a way out, or coping with the situation in hand. I remember being a wee lass, afraid of the Dark... my sister would be able to parade though the whole house with the lights off, yet I could not move a muscle. The way I coped with it, at the beginning, was lighting one by one all the lights in the house, in order to get to the bathroom... when I grew older I told myself there was nothing to fear, so going to the bathroom was a "run for your life" kind of "chase" to get to the loo... I have moments even nowdays when I don't feel comfortable in the dark, especially in new places... it's as if the corners would hide the creepiest monsters... of course I know they are not real. Tell that to my subconscious though :) how about you? How do you cope with fear?! Did you also have a childhood fear, that in time became easier to bare? 

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug
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Sunday, 31 January 2016

How Do You Feel About Artificial Intelligence?

My dearest friends, 

I was thinking lately about this topic more and more.... to be more precise, I am thinking about Artificial Intelligence quite intensively since the end of last autumn, when a dear friend from work told me about Jibo - the first homeworking robot, that "makes your life easier" by even thinking a step ahead of yourself and choosing  what you need (based on your favourite products). When I first saw it, the presentation video, I had goosebumps all over and I had 2 contradicting feelings at the same time. At first I was like "Wow! This is amazing! Technology helping human life. It even looks like Eve from Wall-E! This is the next step into having my very own R2-D2!" and then... I felt as though I would have deflated a baloon... "Great! Now they think one step ahead, minus the emotions, so does that mean... we'll expect a Terminator moment soon?" -  the thoughts are so mixed up between the Yay! and the Ney! that I am not sure to which group I should apply: pro-AI or against AI?
Just a couple or days ago  (not more than 3, I believe!) I was reading a BBC article about how "finally" a computer beat up the European Go Champion. We all know that beating up champions at chess happened a while back, but Go was standing it's ground - being harder to predict than chess. Well... almost a week ago I was reading that they are still trying to get the computer to win and now they done it. And it seems that the computer - artificial intelligence - managed to figure out patterns and win by continuous try & fail exercises. Of course that makes sense, considering that they have their "whole life" unlimited in front of them, just to focus on one game, until they master it! Master it and then remember the logic and apply it - save the knowledge and experience and pass it to the newer products. At this point they have "The Brain" and all they need is "The Body" - and for sure humanity will provide them that as well...
Take for example the great Facebook genius: Mark Zuckerberg. He loves setting himself New Year's Resolutions - which I personally began to disapprove of; have a Bucket List and cross items out, think big and long term! In 2010 he was boasting that he will learn Mandarin (which he did), 2011 he promised to eat meat that only himself hunt or catch (that was pretty cheeky!), 2015 was the year of 2 books per month (quite an avid reader!) and to top things up 2016 is the year where he wishes to program his very own Jarvis for home use (did he watch to much Iron Man? Or did he see Jibo and wanted to get ahead?). The plan is ambitious but totally doable when you look at today's technology. What frightens me the most is the possibilities that AI offers. I keep remembering the movie AI - Artificial Intelligence (Stanley Kubricks unfinished movie) and how Earth could possibly end up... Now don't get me wrong, even I am conflicted about the possibilities it offers... who would want an R2-D2?! But somehow it feel just terribly wrong...
What if we leave it all to the control of robots until we become couch potatoes and we can't even defend ourselves (see Wall-E)? What if they develop thinking outside of the box, outside of the codes that humans program, and turn against us (see Terminator)? Somehow having emotions is not yet possible... oh, wait! Is it?! Have a look at Jibo (and the "shame" emotion shown) and let's talk again! I can't yet say I am pro yet I cannot say 100% I am against... who knows what the future will bring us?! Do you think it will go all bad? I would love to hear your opinions/thoughts on this subject. Am I the only one asking herself these questions? Did you see these news as well?...

Yours truly, 
The Twisted Red LadyBug
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Thursday, 28 January 2016

Krakow - Magia Cafe - A Magical Place To Have A Break

Dearest sweethearts,

The weather outside is frightful - one day is nice and cozy ans you think that spring is around the corner - and the next is as if December would be here again... just waiting for the "Winter is coming!" memes to flood the social media + pictures of snow... the usual... it's hard even to get out of the bed, never mind getting out of the house! Winter in Poland is a time when you layer up until you are like an onion. Great time to have a date as well... rosy checks (and nose) at no cost at all!
But if you do manage to build up a momentum and get out of the house, make sure you have a plan in mind where you need to go and what you need to do. Keep out of the house to a minimum - especially due to the air condition in Kraków, during winter - and try to have some indoor breaks - maybe for a cup of tea, hot chocolate or a fine mulled wine. A dear Romanian expat friend of mine introduced me a year or two ago to this lovely magical place, located in the Old Town area - Main Market Square - right next to the St. Mary Church (or as Polish people call it Mariacki Kosciol). This magical place is located right below a part of the National Museum in Kraków (Muzeum Narodowe) - Hippolitow Museum - and it is called Magia Cafe
To get to the Magia Cafe you need to open up a huge wooden gate that would lead you to a hallway. Walk straight and you will see next to the stairs the main entrance. Magia Cafe is usually quite full, especially after 4-5 pm when students finish their courses and "grownups" get out from work. You have to check for a place or you can ask one of the ladies that serve if there is something free. In the summertime and when the weather is fine, they also have a couple of tables outdoors, in front of the wooden gate :) but now, on this weather, it would be madness! Magia Cafe has a room separated, as you enter the hallway, to your right - but it is better to let the waitress know you are there ;) the main Magia Cafe has a couple or rooms/nooks to choose from. There is the main long room, with different seating opportunities for couples or large groups; there is to the left, the uncovered garden, that is used even in wintertime (use your jacket and the blankets provided by the company); there is a cozy nook at the end of the main room, to the right, perfect for snuggling, and there is the cellar room downstairs (no signal for your phone there, though!).
We usually like to get here, during wintertime, mulled wine. Don't worry, it's not in the regular menu, but as soon as the temperature drops below 0 degrees Celsius they start preparing it ;) but last time we tried it we were disappointed. They may have changed the recipe or someone new was doing it... who knows... but it was just not the same anymore :( so instead, the next time, we tried the hot chocolate with raspberry jam. That is also not on the menu but it's a winter special and the price did not change since last year - 9 zloty. It comes in layers: the bottom layer is the raspberry jam (it tastes as if it were homemade by my Granny... fingerlicking great!), then you have the smooth hot chocolate (not the "soft like Nesquick" one, but the strong and flavoured one, as if you would melt an entire chocolate and pour it in the glass...) and on top the traditional whipped cream (that was not homemade but at the same time it did not have the "out of the tube" taste). We were very happy and content with our choice. It was indeed a caloric bomb and it was very sweet but it was perfect nonetheless. I did not feel the need to eat anything else after :) and that's always a good thing. 

How about you lovely people? Have you ever been in Kraków at Magia Cafe? Are you planning to visit Kraków soon? Make sure this place is on your list ;) for a short caloric bomb break. Where is your place to escape when "the weather outside is frightful"? Would love to hear it from you :)

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

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug
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Monday, 25 January 2016

Krakow - Sukiennice Kompania Kuflowa - take 2

My dearest sweethearts,

You have heard me mentioning this place countless times: Kompania Kuflowa - with it's two central locations in Kraków - one on the Main Market Square, on the side of Sukiennice, and the second one at the foot of the hill where Wawel Castle is located, in the Planty area. You know them as Pod Sukiennice or Pod Wawelem. These 2 lovely home - like restaurants specialise in traditional Polish homemade food, traditional Polish atmosphere (they always have a band playing) and traditional Polish beer tasting. Kompania Kuflowa is one of those magical places where beer is served even in 1 litre capacity tall glasses - where you can truly exercise your arm muscles through the continuous lifting of the beer ;)) but as it is traditionally Polish, be prepared for all meat products - not recommended for vegetarians!
The Kompania Kuflowa - Pod Sukienicce - is located on the side of the Main Market Square with the Ratusz Tower, and holds a half of the Sukiennice in that part of the square. In the spring, summertime and autumn (while the weather is lovely) there are tables also outside, on the square, and inside the columns of the Sukiennice. If the weather is bad, you can always go inside, where you can pick between ground floor - where you can watch the square and the passer-by's - or the cellar - where it gets very quiet but it is very close to the toilet facilities - or the upper area - that can get quite hot... but it's very cozy as well :) Kompania Kuflowa also takes reservations so if you are a frequent customer and you have a preference, you can always have your own table ;) The waiters are very nice and accommodating (especially if you speak Polish, and I always try my best!) and they usually greet you at the door and ask a table for how many you wish for. According to that and what they have empty, they will show you the options and you can choose ;)
Boiled Pork Knuckle
I really recommend you to trust the waiters at Kompania Kuflowa - Pod Sukiennice. When we went for my birthday and we had the "sword on fire" we were told that one would be enough for 2 people. We did not believe it and went for one each... big mistake! The portions in Kompania Kuflowa are always so big, that you can always mix and share with your partner! And in that case we were talking about 400 gr of meat per portion! Anyway, we really like Pod Sukiennice more as it is less crowded and more spacious - I can actually feel the air moving! In Pod Wawelem it always is extremely crowded and we almost never get a place there without reservation :( Pod Sukiennice is a life saviour when it comes to friends visiting and wanting to try typical Polish food - good price, big portions, nice space, good view of the Market Square ;) You can check online, as they always have one product per day that they love to advertise and sell at a lower price. My favourite is the Saturday one: roasted pork knuckle ;) I'm a meat fan, yes sir!
Fried meatball with mustard
The roasted pork knuckle is always served with traditionally baked potatoes with spices (deliciously yummy) and sauerkraut (marinated cabbage cooked with spices). You also get mustard and horseradish, to spice things up even a bit more. I have ate there pork knuckle numerous times and each time it was mouthwatering marvelous - very well done, warm and tender, it always melts in your mouth. For entre we usually have something to go with the beer, and that is the traditional meatball, sliced and with mustard on the side. It is served as a cold dish. Always in Kompania Kuflowa, if you order beer, you will get the extra bite for it - usually it is sauerkraut (pickled cabbage) and a pickled cucumber per person. I always loved the picked cucumbers at Kompania Kuflowa :) they are always crunchy and not very soft. Just perfect!

The prices:
- Saturday's special: boiled pork knuckle with bavarian sauerkraut potatoes and horseradish = 29 zloty
- Goes well with beer: fried meatball with mustard = 7 zloty

Tips and tricks:
#1 If it is your bday that day and you have the ID with you, and you tell them that from the start, they will come sing happy birthday to you and bring you the complimentary piece of chocolate cake - free of charge! :) (last year I tasted it and it was delicious and very sweet!)
#2 Wait for them to bring the check. Don't go to the counter and pay - it is not customary and you will lose the sour cherry vodka shot. You get that one for free ;) just be patient!

My dearest hearts, have you ever tried one of Kompania Kuflowa 's locations? If so, I would love to hear your opinion on it. I never had a bad experience with the waiters or the food and unless you are a vegetarian, I suggest you try this place out :) it's  central location, wonderful view, good food and nice serving people really recommends itself!

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

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves Kompania Kuflowa
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Friday, 22 January 2016

Movie Time: Midnight In Paris - Or How I Wish I Could Go Back In Time

Dear friends,

**WARNING!!! This post contains a review of Midnight in Paris. It may turn out to be an extensive post so please grab yourself a cup of tea and a warm blanket and Enjoy! Be careful and read not this post if you did not see the movie, it is a huge spoiler ;)**

I am sure that you heard about Woody Allen before and that you have watched at least one of his movies. He is very particular and his style is singular so you can't have missed it. One of the first movies I have watched on the big screen, when I moved to Kraków,  was Midnight in Paris - released in 2011, the year I moved here :) it was also very close to the trip I have been (with a dear friend) to Paris, so I remember even now how much I loved this movie. The opening of the movie is a series of "postcards" - short moving images - of Paris. We watch the most important and iconic destinations: Notre Dame de Paris, Tour Eiffel, Louvre, small streets with small coffee shops, people rushing in a delicate pace, Paris under rain... Paris in all its glory with a soundtrack fitting, great to get you in the mood to love Paris even more.
I was lucky to see Paris more than 6 years ago, without any Charlie Hebdo issues or terrorist attacks or problems on the streets due to the immigrants... I was lucky to see Paris quietly and even romantic, under rain... I have friends that told me they would not go again to Paris, that Paris is now dirty and they even saw rats. I have to admit when I was there we saw no such thing and that we had a good time. We even had an impromptu picnic under the Eiffel Tour - cheese, grapes and baguette included! But that was a while back... and I did hear (sadly) that Paris has changed. But you will see nothing of that in this movie. Midnight in Paris focuses on all the bright and beautiful things that made Paris popular, that made Paris "the city of lights". I have told you once, that this is one of the movies that inspired/inspires me to travel more and more.
Midnight in Paris is the story of an American writer Gil Pender  (played adorably by Owen Wilson) that hopes to write his very first novel. Until then - as his fiancee informs us - he was one of the best Holywood  (re)writers when it comes to the movie scripts. Everyone loves him! I think this is what attracts his fiance Inez (Rachel McAdams) to him - his fame! You can constantly hear her nagging about his book and about his style and she has no issue leaving him on the Paris streets at midnight while she goes back to the hotel for a spa treatment and a good sleep... their relationship is so superficial that I ask myslef how they even ended up engaged! Do they even have something remotely in common?! That's why when they split, at the end of the movie, I just feel relieved that they went their own separate ways... they say opposites attract but there was no chemistry there!
There us though chemistry between him and the record shop (memorabilia shop) lady ;) but I'll leave you to enjoy that on your own :) I love the idea that the Midnight in Paris comes with: we will never be content with the present, no matter from what tine we come from. As Gil wishes he would have lived in the 1920s in Paris and meet Hemingway, the Fitzgerald's,  Pablo Picasso and many more... so does Adriana (played beautifully by the talented Marion Cotillard) wish she would have lived in the Belle Epoque, with Toulouse Lautrec and Rodin by her side... That made me think that loving period movies and books, as I do, makes me feel their pain. We all wish we would have been a part of some other time frame, that we idealise... we are never content with what we have now. Somehow though, I think Inez never asked herself this question... I think she is happy with the "here and now" American way of living... is that very awful for me to say? (Sorry...)
The whole cast of Midnight in Paris is fabulous and well selected, plus the way they interact with eachother is just brilliant! When Gil meets Hemingway and he asks of his opinion for his book, Hemingway refuses point blank saying that he would hate it either way - if it is good because it was better than his work & if it is bad because he is merciless when it comes to reviews. Yet, he does say what he thinks to Gertrude Stein, and she tells Gil. All this being in touch with the great writers and thinkers of that age, changes the way Gil thinks and makes him act more strongly based upon his beliefs. It makes him take huge steps forward to writing the novel of his life. It also makes him understand that living in the past, being nostalgic, will also drag you down and get you lost and pining forever, if you do not take the reins and build up your life the way you wish it to be. I believe that gives him the strength to let go of his time - travels and meet the love of his life, starting a new journey to the future :)
The Fitzgerald's :)
Midnight in Paris is Woody Allen's 41st film - he writes them, directs them and makes marvels out of each and every one of them. They are all like pearls on a string. The problem is that not everybody likes them (read: understands them). The ones who know nothing of the 1920s or the Belle Epoque will probably turn their noses... will not understand the humor or the situations that are so well played - eg. I have NEVER seen a more convincing Dali then Adrien Brody... take for example the scene below:
Man Ray: A man in love with a woman from a different era. I see a photograph!
Luis Bunuel: I see a film!
Gil: I see insurmountable problem!
Salvador Dali: I see rhinoceros!
Even Carla Bruni is delightful in her short role as a tour guide. And Hemingway is a revelation:
Ernest Hemingway:  I believe that love that is true and real, creates a respite from death. All cowardice comes from not loving or not loving well, which is the same thing. And then the man who is brave and true looks death squarely in the face, like some rhino-hunters I know or Belmonte, who is truly brave... It is because they make love with sufficient passion, to push death out of their minds... until it returns, as it does, to all men... and then you must make really good love again.
How about you? Have you seen Midnight in Paris before, or any of Woody Allen's movies? How did you like it - what did you feel in regards to its subject? I would love to hear your opinions on this, and see if you feel as I do, for Paris :)

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves movies (especially on the big screen)
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Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Cafe Szal - Frenzy of Exultations - take 2

My dearest sweethearts,

How are you handling the freezing cold outside? In December we did not have any snow and now... in January, it's as if Winter finally decided to come and stay for a while. Probably the weather will be very much like last year,  when we had snow for Easter... fun time making snow - Easter bunnies! It is as if the weather migrated... the season have switched between them. I can hardly recognize the winters of my childhood with the Winters now... but enough now about Winter and snow. Let us think of cozy and pleasant things...
I was having a look in our 2015 folder of pictures/memories and I realized that there were many things, many lovely places that we have been to, yet I did not manage to share with you. Need to sort up this mess a bit... We also revisited places we liked and we tried there new things - one of this places, that I will share with you today, is the lovely Cafe Szal on the 1st floor of the Sukienicce. You may have heard the story of the name of the place from me before - Cafe Szal gets its name after a painting located on the 2nd floor of the Sukienicce (the 19th century Polish Art Museum). 
The thing that always attracted me the most, to this particular cafe place, was the location (main market square) and the amazing view that it offers (unlike any other location in Kraków, it gets you the best view of half of the main square, comprising 3 of its most important landmarks: the St. Mary Church - Kosciol Mariacki, the Adam Mickiewicz statue and the oldest church in Kraków - St. Adalbert + view of the Florianska street and Grodzka, part of the Royal Road reaching toward the Wawel Castle). The thing that always turns Marek off, in regards to the coffee shop, is the fact that Cafe Szal is a non - smoking place. I belive that is a rule due to that fact that it is a historical building and the vicinity to the Museum of 19th century Polish Art (where precious paintings are stored). Nonetheless is you are a smoker, take a deep breath and handle the fact that you will have some non - smoking time. But fret not! The view is totally worth it!
Getting to the Cafe Szal is easy. Just make sure you reach Sukienicce on the side with St. Mary Church / Adam Mickiewicz statue and somewhere at the middle you will find the entrance to the National Museum - the Gallery of 19th century Polish Art. You will use the same entrance only instead of reaching for the 2nd floor for the museum, you will stop at the first floor. The entrance is enabled also for people with handicap. You can choose from using the stairs or the elevator. As soon as you will get to the 1st floor you will see that there is seating inside and outside, on the terrace. We always choose the terrace, especially if it's lovely weather outside. The view is priceless!

The pictures you see here are from the end of August 2015 but nothing has changed since then, I can quarantee ;) the place is as lovely as always, same view, same prices (even with the zloty dropping recently!) and same lovely atmosphere. We had lemon tart and apple pie - I was there with my dear sweet mum and we shared both as we both wanted a bit of each. Trust me, the portion is perfect for 2 to share. The lemon pie is the best one I have ate in Kraków - soft lemon cream, smooth and easy to take it; lower layer of raspberry jam and small crumbly bottom. Not to mention the merengue on top - heavenly taste! We both agreed that it was the best we had ;) ever! The apple pie was served with a soon of vanilla icecream (regular taste, nothing fancy) and whipped cream (not home made). The apple pie itself was not bad at all - it had quite a lot of cinnamon, just as I like it, and the upper and lower layer was crumbly in a nice, not raw and dry, way. The apple filling was nice but I would have liked a bit more apples in it :) I know, I am picky, but the best apple pie that I had was in Grycan - I will tell you soon about it ;)

Tips and tricks:
- you can pay both cash or by card but it is customary, if you liked the place and the service - not to mention food and drinks, to pay at least 10% tip from the amount on the bill (tips are never included in the bill)
- downstairs the ladies from the museum might ask where you are going and ask you to pay a fee for even getting to the 1st floor. If you go there just to take pictures pay the fee, if you go there - like we do - to have something sweet, drink something and enjoy the view, then tell then so. You should not pay it in that case ;) 

**I didn't receive anything for this review, just wanted to share the love! **

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Beautiful Views Provided By Coffee Shops
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Saturday, 16 January 2016

Open letter to Alan Rickman

My dearest Alan,

I know it may be a bit late, me writing to you, but I guess better late than never. Also, we do not know when paths may cross - I believe in afterlife and in God and Heaven, and somehow I feel that you believed in that too. Why do I think that, you might ask, and I will say that by the way that you lived you were an amazing kind and forgiving person. You were an altruist and you gave yourself 100% (time and attention) to the people you were with at a certain point in time. Some may argue that you must have had a evil/dark side as you chose so many negative characters to play... I say you always played them with a twist, you always managed to get us to like (or even love) them. You made them more human and attractive than anyone else could.
I remember watching you in Die Hard at first; watching you at the TV for Christmas... I believe that right now there is a tradition in many houses where there is no Christmas without the first part of the Die Hard installment and that is mainly because of you amazing acting skills - not to mention that deep voice that makes you stop and listen, whereever you are! Then I discovered you on the big screen, when I went to see Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; that is when I started asking myself if it is truly ok to love a negative character that much (maybe even more than Robin Hood!). I tried to tell myself at first that all this is happening due to the fact that you were British, purely because of that... but as I got on with age and watching more and more of your movies I realised it was not just that...
The way you talk, slow and deep, demands to be listened. Somehow it is both soft and authoritative. When you would stop talking I would always want more, and wait for the next line your character would deliver. You would immerse yourself in that character and be 100%  until the shooting would be done (all the fellow actors say that you were dedicated to your work, and you can certainly see that in your movies). You were an old-class, old-school gentleman and they don't make people like you anymore... when God made you he poured a lot of talent and love and patience in you... not to mention brilliancy! Whom else except you would stuck in a note to the director, in one of the first major parts you played (Die Hard - Hans Gruber), to let them know that the villain should use a suit? And guess what? I don't believe we can imagine the soft dark villain Hans, with his amazing accent, wearing anything else than a suit! You somehow always knew what your characters needed... The same you went above and beyond in Harry Potter, when you got so in touch with Severus Snape's style that you asked for the costume you wore to be even more rigid/tight, buttoned up and extra buttons on the sleeves... Snape is the character that everybody loves to hate! :) yet the one character that made us cry out loud when he dies...
Probably the character that stays with me, since I was a wee lass, more than any other character that you have helped come alive, is the one of Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility. He was one of the loves of my childhood (as Snape was one of my adolescent one). I could not believe that Marianne would rather fall for Willoughby than for the dashing, silent and brooding Colonel Brandon. Alright, you were older and you did not talk much, but when you did... you stole the scene! What do I speak! You stole the scene even if you did not speak, even by your mere presence. Few can rock a period costume (especially a cravat!) like you did. It was as if you were born for any age, but especially the gentleman-like age, were men took care of their ladies and they would open up the door for them and take them for tea and a stroll in the park...
I always loved the way you were both on and offscreen. A big heart with a beautiful smile. A person who managed to get his life straight and not be influenced by Hollywood and the craziness of the world. You have met the love your life when you were 19 and she was 18. You stayed together, as a team, as a family, as one, until your very last breath - for over 50 years! You married Rima Horton and you were faithfull to her - just like a true gentleman. I imagine how lovely would be to wake up and have that instantly recognizable voice to tell you "Good morning!" or recite you poetry... You will be sorely missed - as actor, as director but beside everything... as an amazing human being!

We will love you. ALWAYS!

With lots of love,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that will miss seeing you and hearing your lovely deep voice :(
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