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Friday, 17 April 2015

Naturalny Sklepik - Or Where To Buy Natural & Organic Products in Krakow

Dearest hearts,

What is better for us than to live healthy and natural, as close to Mother Nature as we can be? We are so tied up in our day to day life on things that harm us - driving cars that pollute the air we breathe, drinking juices filled with aditives instead of drinking fresh water, eating sweets on a daily basis as snacks... We hurt ourselfs continuously; sometimes without even knowing or caring. I love the idea that the TARG Śniadaniowy brings - the way it encourages people to go back to their roots and eat more healthy products.
I have lived in Krakow, in Poland, for almost 4 full years now and I did not manage to find a good eco-store where they would sell all sorts of natural products and ingredients, until almost a month ago! Of course there are the ocasional fairs where you can buy products from the local manufacturers and also certain small shops where you can buy vegetables and fruits produced localy. But if I wanted something bigger or more specific, like different types of herbs and spices that usually you would not find at the store... well that was an issue for me! I never knew where to go and from where to buy it except from the huge supermarkets - which, not all the time, had everything I needed.
The Entrance to Naturalny Sklepik
I was lucky to bump into Naturalny Sklepik - located on Krupnicza 8, Krakow, very close to Teatr Bagatela. If you pass by the street you may miss it but I urge you - from the bottom of my heart - to go inside even for a moment. You need first to pass through the building and get to the inner courtyard - where in the spring/summertime/autumn you can buy juices or even a piece of homemade cake and stay outside on the bench and listen to the fine French music playing :)
The Naturalny Sklepik was opened almost 15 years ago - in the summer of 2001. The couple that started the business and hold it under a firm hand are fans of food and they see food as art. They have started the business with spices - at the time when good food was hard to come by, due to the lack of ingredients, they needed something more than what the market had to offer. They loved good food and good food could not be prepared only with salt and pepper... This is how they started bringing the spices from their indian friends from Germany. The spices that you can find now on the rack are mostly indian but there are also european mixes of herbs + local products as well.
The clients always asked for more and since the store opened its gates in 2001, more and more products entered the Polish market through Naturalny Sklepik. To be stated out that the shop never left its original location and it stands on the very same spot it opened up back then. There was a 2nd small shop opened - for cosmetics - approximately 1 year ago on Starowiślna but it closed out - there are many cosmetical eco products out there that can be bought online and people were not used to the concept.
As I was sitting in the inner courtyard, drinking a fine aromatic tea with Piotr - one of the owners of the Naturalny Sklepik - I could see that there was a constant bustle of clients coming in and always buying something (never just looking!). Each time they would come and go they would greet Piotr and smile. The clients know Piotr, they know the owners, they became friends... just think about it, if you would shop in the same place for 15 years, would you not befriend the one you talk to on a daily basis? I know, in a supermarket it is hard to do such thing, but Naturalny Sklepik seemed such a cozy place to me - very inviting!
The clients that the shop has is quite a mix - you have typical Krakowians, students coming from around the country/world and also you have quite a large number of expats. Naturalny Sklepik has quite a lot of indian clients. Did you know that the owner of the biggest factory in Nowa Huta is from India as well? and guess what? they are clients to the Naturalny Sklepik.
But why India, you may ask? Why bring indian products on a traditional Polish market? Well, my dearests, India has one of the richest kitchen ingredients. So if you want something original and tasty and spicy, you need to try out their mixes. That was what the owners did and they fell in love with the taste. Piotr gets enthusiastic when he explains Indian culture and their specific food, like Chapati Ata - made out of wheat flour, resembling a bit with the bread. You can eat that with rice, vegetables and there is always a touch of curry :) The indian products come from Germany - as they did from day one.
When you think and talk about eco products, about eating organic, about being close to nature, people may smile... They may think this is a trend and this is what hipsters would do, this is what hipsters would eat... Well there is a trend dating 2-3 years back, that is true, but if we look even more into the past we will see that the mindset has changed earlier than that. People go abroad now more often. "Europe is a big village" as Piotr also quotes. "People want to eat good and interesting food".
People become also more and more aware when they have kids, and they realise that they cannot feed their offsprings with the products that are now on the market. They want their kids to grow healthy and have strenght, and that is a goal still hard to reach in a city like Krakow - where the pollution is the highest in Poland.
I could say that in Warsaw it is more of a trend, than a way of living & in Krakow the other way around - but don't throw stones at me! think about it, analyse it and let me know what you think ;) Everyone seems on the run there, racing, wanting more money - more power - more technology. Sometimes - even though I like Warsaw - I feel like the city has its own pace, faster than the usual, faster than it should be...
They are in the proces now of opening up a new brand, that specialises in fishes, but I will tell you more about that on a later post ;) but in case you wish to find them, search for Sztuka Śledzia on Facebook ;) and as Piotr says: "For good things you have to wait!"
The best selling products for Naturalny Sklepik are the cheeses + spices + fresh products (both vegetables and the fruits, that come always fresh from the local providers/producers - they always buy the products first hand and they do not like going through re-sellers). When it comes to the least selling product, it is hard to tell! as the product range always changes, in accordance to what the clients need. It is a fluent process where they order precisely what they know will be bought.
You can find Naturalny Sklepik open each day between 9 AM and 7 PM, Saturday between 9 AM and 3 PM and Sundays it is always closed + the legal holidays in Poland (the official holidays, like Easter and so on.). The outside area is perfect for meetings between friends and you can have some tea/coffee/juice or even wine - of course everything is self-service so you need to come inside, buy the products and then enjoy them outside :)
You can also have some homemade cookies - like the brownie with fruits, in the pictures above. The producers for the sweets and the bread are small initiatives inside the local market - and I love that! the care about the local products and keeping the small initiatives alive as well. I recommend Naturalny Sklepik from all my heart and I am happy that such a place exists in Krakow and that I finally managed to find it! :)

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

Yours truly,
The LadyBug That Will Visit Soon The Naturalny Sklepik & Buy Some Homemade Sweets
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Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Muzeum Kata „Kacianora” - Executioner Museum

Dearest hearts,

The subject I am going to approach today may be quite tabu for some - today I shall be telling you the story about Executioners Museum in Krakow. People in the world - as far as my humble experience of life taught me - are split between people who approve and those who look with disgust and do not agree upon the presence of torture in the world. I would like to say that I am without flaw and that I do not agree with torture, yet in some cases I have felt it necessary... What would you do if you knew that the life of many would depend on torturing a single person? I would like to believe that I would not harm anyone but one cannot tell until time and circumstance has pushed one into real action where you have to take this decision... I pray that none of us would ever be in such a circumstance to take such decision. We are not Gods and we should learn by the mistakes that other have made. We all know that the History is one big turining wheel that repeats itslef. Maybe we should just sit back and think things through...
But why so much fascination over torture? And why do people - when they think of methods of torture - believe that it was invented in the middle ages? Most certainly it is easier to make the connection with that time, when it somes to the pagan faiths and believes and on the hunt for witches of the time, but the torture is as old as - at least - the Ancient Greece. Greek and Romans alike used it for interrogation purposes. Until the 2nd century AD, torture was used only on slaves (with a few exceptions). After this point it began to be extended to all members of the lower classes. Since the days when Roman law prevailed throughout Europe, torture has been regarded as subtending three classes or degrees of suffering.
First-degree torture typically took the forms of whipping and beating but did not mutilate the body. The most prevalent modern example is bastinado, a technique of beating or whipping the soles of the bare feet. Second-degree torture consisted almost entirely of crushing devices and procedures, including exceptionally clever screw presses or "bone vises" that crushed thumbs, toes, knees, feet, even teeth and skulls in a wide variety of ways. A wide array of "boots"—machines variously, ingeniously designed to slowly squeeze feet until their bones shattered—are quite representative.
Finally, third-degree tortures savagely mutilated the body in numerous dreadful ways, incorporating spikes, blades, boiling oil, and extremely carefully controlled fire. The serrated iron tongue shredder; the red-hot copper basin for destroying eyesight; and the stocks that forcibly held the prisoner's naked feet, glistening with lard, directly over red-hot coals (foot roasting) until the skin and foot muscles were burnt black and the bones fell to ashes are examples of torture in the third degree.
Modern scholars find the concept of torture to be compatible with society's concept of Justice during the time of the Roman Empire. Romans, Jews, Egyptians and many other cultures during that time included torture as part of their justice system. Romans had crucifixion, Jews had stoning (that is even mentioned in the Bible) and Egyptians had desert sun death. All these acts of torture were considered necessary (to deter others) or good (to punish the immoral).
Now almost every big city in Europe has some kind of Museum of Torture with a wide display of original and replica instruments of torture used in history. I have to admit I was living in Krakow for almost 4 years and going to the Main Market Square - Rynek Glowny - a couple of times, on a weekly basis, yet I never bumped into this museum before - to my shame! But now I have to make up for it! :) The Muzeum Kata „Kacianora” - Executioner Museum - is a lovely, tiny hidden gem of Krakow. Located on Rynek Główny 29, in a 15th century cellar, it holds over 100 items. Some complain - when there - that is just one single room. Well I say that is nonsense! I have spent there 2 full hours and 40 minutes and I did not feel time passing by! 
That is also because of the wonderful tour guided that spoke perfect English and told me stories I did not knew before, connected with the instruments of torture. I must admit I know quite a few stories and legens myself, like the fact that the Iron Lady/Iron Maiden is just a myth and it was more of a isolation chamber, but without the inner spikes ;) The price of the ticket - March 2015 - was 9 zloty per person + the extra 30 zloty for the tour. But I can say, hand to my heart, that is worth every penny! I would not recommend the museum to kids, but for history buffs it is a must :) It is not part of the National Museum, it is a private one, but well taken care of - though it does lack the publicity it deserves!
The overall impression of Kacianora Museum, for me, was 100% positive and I will surely recommend it to my friends. As I have said, it is located in the basement of the fifteenth century house; 6 meters deep, inside of which was built a wooden structure - beams and mezzanines. Construction, architectural details at every step a surprise to the viewer. Unique solutions have been used to connect wood, stone and light give power to the  experience. 
Also from the guide I found out that there was a previous collaboration with the Free Walking Tour Krakow and the Macabre Tour. I truly believe that must have been a precious and enchanting collaboration as I have seen Jacek - the guide from the Macabre Tour in action - and his enthusiasm in sharing information about the dark side of the city. He would have brought the histories and the magic and Kacianora would have brought the real life examples and the athmosphere :) To be mentioned that the over 100 items are all replicas! 
If you are in Krakow and you like history and this particular subject I believe that this museum deserves a chance and should be rated even higher than #54 of 228 things to do in Krakow - on TripAdvisor, my good friend ;))) It is open on a daily basis, from 10:00 to 19:00, but I believe it also closes during National Holidays. You can also find more info on Facebook and on their own site, though in both cases all is in Polish. One thing to mention: No Photos allowed inside & No Touching of the expos!

** This post was made out of love for the Unknown Museums of Krakow - that I have yet to discover. I was not repayed in any way and all the opinions are my very own, straight from the heart! Also with this ocasion I would like to thank one more time the most adorable & knowledgeable guide I have ever had in a Museum :) **

Yours truly,
A Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves To Discover Hidden Gems
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Saturday, 11 April 2015

I Love GREEN - 100% Natural, Organic and Polish

Dearest hearts,

Not long ago I was telling you about TARG Śniadaniowy w Krakowie - Krakow Food/Breakfast Fair. I was sharing with you that these types of fairs are a great source of information for the people who wish to live a healthy life and consume organic products. At the Targ Sniadaniowy I also met Magda - one of the owners of I Love GREEN company, that I will tell you about today.
As we all know, the market everywhere is oversaturated by products that taste good but have hundred of calories and are actually not good for our bodies, as they are full with chemicals. Fresh juices and smoothies are coming more and more in fashion, due to their high count of vitamins and nutrients. The juices from I Love GREEN are obtained from seasonal vegetables and fruits that give the consumer power - vitamins, enzymes and minerals that miraculously stimulate the body to action.
The technique used by I Love Green to obtain the juice is mechanical (ie. COLD PRESS) and it  allows to squeeze as closely as possible the vegetables and fruits, in order to get everything that is best within them. Thus, the fibers are crushed and cell structures and nutrients stored within them end up in the bottle, for you to enjoy :)
Marta and Dorota - located in Krakow, Poland - are the lovely and ingenious ladies that came with this idea and they are the proud owners of I Love GREEN. They came with this idea due to their active and healthy lifestyle and also because they thought the market was missing this type of product - and they were right! In November 2014 I Love GREEN open its virtual doors and the company began its journey down the yellow brick road to the Emerald City of Nature.
The Menu, on the 2nd weekend of the Food Fair was in English ;)
The company is very much focused on a small and specific niche of customers. It produces only cold press juices - the main product of the company and its bestseller - and smoothies. The products are with no artificial adds and they are made from 100% fresh products - vegetables and fruits bought by the ladies from special local markets. Also in the smoothies the milk used is 100% natural as well and both Magda and Dorota always test the product before it reaches the market. Due to its fresh ingredients the shelf life of the product is max 2-3 days.
One of the most famous local markets where people from the village come and sell their dairies and vegetables is Nowy Kleparz. That is also from where the owners of I Love GREEN select their ingredients.  They use different producers from farms near Krakow - in case you did not know this, Malopolska region is quite famous for the eco villages (take from example the apple farms right outside Krakow). Why different producers, you may ask?! - well the girls want to get the best products so they will always be flexible when it comes to the contact with the producers.
Magda - I Love GREEN
As I mentioned, Magda and Dorota started this company and they modified the receipes by testing on themselves and their family and friends. They see the products as a source of health and life. At this stage they are at the point when they are building their network - ETA next 3 months. They are present in one shop that really growed on me lately: Sklepik Naturalny on ul. Krupnicza 8 - I may write about it soon, so stay tuned! but also in several others, listed here.
Soon you will also be able to admire the English part of their site, as right now it is all in Polsih - both the Internet Site and their Facebook Page. The nice thing about I Love GREEN site is that you can actually order the products online - I have not tried that yet so I am not sure how that goes, but Magda and Dorota deliver in Krakow the products so you can always contact them via the Contact Form on the site.
As Spring is here and the temperature goes higher and higher, the requirements also grow exponentially for I Love GREEN. For example, in the first weekend of the Krakow Food/Breakfast Fair, the ladies from I Love GREEN sold over 300 cold press juices and smoothies in 2 days! To be mentioned also that I Love GREEN is the only company that sells cold press juice in a bottle in Krakow.
The products were approved by the local authorities as a regional product and the users can enjoy responsibly the juices and smoothies in 2 days since they are bought. I Love GREEN has big plans for development and I eagerly await for them. As the season of skirts and bikes is coming rapidly, they also thought about selling the products by bike and also small stands, but until then you can find them at the Krakow Food/Breakfast   ;)

* Products cost the same, be it cold press juices or smoothies - 10 zloty per 300 ml of 100% organic and yummy product (I tested the cold press juice & the grepfruit smoothie and both were delicious and quite energy giving!)

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

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves To Discover New Things :)
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Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Where To Hang Out While In Nowy Sacz - Kawiarnia Prowincjonalna

Dearest hearts,

If ever you will be near Nowy Sacz you need to have a short - few hour breakfast/lunch/dinner - break and have some traditional mouth-watering pierogi and some sweet and delicious hot chocolate with whipped cream ;) It's a MUST!  The pierogi you can find at the restaurant at the back of the Town Hall Tower and about the best hot choco in Nowy Sacz I will tell you about today.
You need to find Piastowska 3 (róg Pijarskiej), Nowy Sacz - this street is quite easy to find as it is near the Main Square - second biggest Main Square in Poland, if I may add ;) Once at the Tower Hall, in the West side - in its back, you will see a small street: go straight and then you will get to the Cafe house, which will be visible on your left hand-side.
Though it is not listed on Tripadvisor you can find it on Facebook - where it has over 3,700 likes and 400 reviews, grading 4,6 out of the 5 stars. The Facebook Page is quite active and displays the latest information about discounts in the menu but also events that the local hosts. The place is just magical and I love how not one table and not one chair are the same. It has this antique / old fashioned feeling about it, that makes one feel quite at home and at peace :)
The methods of payment are various - from cash to card, be it Visa / Maestro / Mastercard. You can even pay using blik - a new method using the phone instead of the card. Even if the place has a 1800s feeling about it, they do keep in contact with the latest technology.
The Cafe house is self service so you need to check the menu - which can also be downloaded online here - and choose your treat. Unfortunately the menu is just in Polish so that may be a minus for non-polish speakers. But don't worry, the place is filled with young people so you can always ask for help.
The walls are covered with old photos and replicas of posters that I love :)
 “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.” ― Charles M. Schulz
The prices are very nice and you can have some awesome hot choco with fresh whipped cream for under 10 zloty - 6 zloty the hot chocolatte + 1 zloty for the whipped cream + 1,5 zloty for the syrup in the hot choco (I like mine with cinnamon or mint!). Tea can be between 4 and 11 zloty - 11 zloty for a huge one of 1 litre. The sweets/cakes - homemade - are around 5 zloty a piece. But I recommend you the hot choco that is very dense and sweet - may cause toothaches ;p - but I think you need to give it a go at least once in your life! I know I would like to have it again - though I may ask for a glass of water as well ;)))

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

Yours truly,
A LadyBug That Enjoyed Nowy Sacz & its awesome #hotchoco
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Sunday, 5 April 2015

The Pierogi House - Nowy Sacz

Dearest friends,

Nowy Sącz (known also by other names) is a town in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship (also known as Malopolska) in southern Poland. It is the district capital of Nowy Sącz County, but is not included within the powiat. Founded on the 8 November 1292, Nowy Sącz is one of the oldest towns in Lesser Poland. We were always passing by it on our way home - either to Romania or to my awesome husband's family, in Limanowa - but we never got a chance to visit it properly.
With the coming of Spring we have more and more energy, and as the days get longer it is lovely go get out of the house, even if just for a walk. But on the 7th of March we - me and my adorable husband, who setup the meeting and bought the tickets - took the bus to one of the oldest towns in Malopolska: Nowy Sacz :) We went for the weekend, to visit some dear friends that live there. The drive from Krakow to Nowy Sacz is fast and there are not a lot of bumps or curves - in total, by the regular bus, it takes about 2 hours to get there. The city is not extremely big and if you are a fast walker you can visit it in one day ;)
The Restaurant from the Tower Hall
We walked straight to the Main City Center to see the Main Square, which is the 2nd biggest Main Square in Poland - right after the one in Krakow, that is also the biggest Main Square in Europe ;) In the Main Square you can see the Town Hall with its tower, but if you will circle it and get to its back you will discover one of the hidden gems of Nowy Sacz - The Restauracja Ratuszowa / Dom Pierogow - the entrance is on the West side. The locals and people from around Poland that have visited this city will always tell you that this is the best place to eat homemade pierogi that taste Heavenly! ;)
The Restauracja Ratuszowa / Dom Pierogow is located down under the Town Hall Tower and it has several seating options. As soon as we arrived and seated on a table for four, we were greeted with the menu and a huge smile - to be noted that they do understand English so no need to fret! The menu's are quite easy to understand and they have numbers from 1 to 100 for the dishes, so it is easy to order - or you can just point at the number. Also the restaurant is very kids friendly - it has a bunch of toys and you can always order something sweet for them, like pierogi with strawberries and whipped cream.
Our lovely friends :)
This restaurant is an absolute must in Nowy Sacz! The food is amazing and there are over 20 types of pierogi from which you can choose. You can find also more reviews on them on Tripadvisor ;) The prices on the portion of pierogi - 12 pierogi per plate - varies between 12 and 22 zloty (at the time of the article: 27/03/2015). I had the Pierogi z soczewicą i boczkiem - the pierogi with lentils and bacon - and I must admit I loved them! Even if they were boiled, not fried. I always order the pierogi fried as I do not like the taste of the dough when boiled, but these ones were mouth-watering!
No filter and yum yummy!
We wanted to see how others tasted like so all 4 of us took something different and we shared one or two - the ones with chicken liver was delicous as well ;) Of course you can order regular traditional Polish dishes as well, but we sticked to the basics: pierogi! We payed cash but I do believe there is a payment by card option available as well. You can also take out the food so if you wish to have a snack at home you can buy some pierogi for home - frozen or done. Sincerly speaking, I can hardly wait to go again and have some more of those finger-licking pierogi! They were the most perfect boiled pierogi I have ever ate! Twisted Red LadyBug & The Happy Moose recommends ;)

P.S.S. This one goes to all my Polish friends out there: Happy Easter everyone! May your hearts be filled with joy! May the light of this celebration fill your heart :*

** This post was made out of love for awesome pierogi. 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 Loved The Pierogi From Restauracja Ratuszowa / Dom Pierogow
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Thursday, 2 April 2015

Krakowski Festiwal Komiksu - Krakow's Comics Festival

Good day lovely people!

You may not know this, but Krakow held this year - between 13th and 15th of March 2015 - the Krakowski Festiwal Komiksu - Krakow's Festival of Comic Books. The event was traditionally held in Arteteca Provincial Public Library in Krakow - this year it was the 4th edition. Until now I did not manage to go - each year due to various reasons - but this year I managed to break around 30 minutes to have a look about the place. I was sad immediately I did not have much more time and that I did not bring the regular camera with me - all pictures from here are taken with my dear Samsung Galaxy S4.
On March 13-15 the people that came to the fair could meet fans playing cosplay, cartoonists, writers, editors, reviewers, and theorists of this medium. Among the attractions there were: meetings with authors, lectures devoted to various topics, films, exhibitions, exchange comic, cosplay and more. The youngest participants of the festival also had a special workshop.
The guests of the KFK included: Uli Oesterle ("Hector Umbra"), Stephen Collins ("The gigantic beard that was evil"), Krzysztof Gawronkiewicz ("uprising. In a day, for two"), Jacek Świdziński ("Event. 1908" ), Sebastian Skrobol ("Quiet Little Melody"), Saul Płóciennik ("Pinki"), Tomasz Samojlik ("Shrew Destiny"), Dominik Szczęśniak, Daniel Grzeszkiewicz, Catherine Babis, James Syty, Marcin Surma Surma Przemysław, James "Dem "Dębski, Rafal Szłapa and many other guests.
Paintings live of comic book heroes - right at the entrance to the Public Library
The entrance was for free and you could visit all the floors of the library, where different events were hosted - inside the Krakowski Festiwal Komiksu - Krakow's Comics Festival schedule. Krakow Comic Association was founded in 2012. The main objective of the operation is to popularize comics and related fields, Babysitting Malopolska Comics Studio (internal department Regional Public Library in Cracow), education of children, youth and adults in the knowledge of the comic and the organization of the annual Krakowski Comics Festival.
The Association brings together artists, collectors and enthusiasts interested in the comic book medium of all ages and is open to people who like comics, manga, graphic novels, and would like to activate a socially and culturally. I love these type of events and I must admit I put it to the list for next year to come again, for more than 30 minutes, and take more pictures! :) And if you wish to know more about the organisation, feel free to read more on their Web Page and Facebook Page - unfortunately not in English but they are quick to answer ;) 
P.S. You know you are having a #perfectday - even if it's raining cats and dogs! - when a Starship Trooper shows you the peace sign when you are preparing to take a picture of him #krakow #alwayssurprising #komicskrakow #cosplay

** This post was made out of love for comic books. 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 Star Wars / Starship Troopers / Yoda / Catwoman & Sailor Moon alike :)
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