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Thursday, 27 March 2014

Free Walking Tour Krakow - StreetArt

Dear friends,

Last Saturday I had one of the nicest Walking Tours in my life! It was organised by the young and awesome team from Free Walking Tour Krakow - you can find them on Facebook or on their website or you can just call them at +48 513 875 814. They generally provide city tours in Polish, English & Spanish. Here are the main offers for Krakow:
  • Old Town - everyday APR-OCT 10:00am and 3:30pm (10:30 am in Spanish), NOV-MAR 10:00 am;
  • Jewish Kraków - everyday APR-OCT 11:00am and 3:00 pm (3:00 pm in Spanish), NOV-MAR: 1:30 pm.
The starting point is always the same: Saint Mary Church - the biggest church on the main market square so it is easy to spot and hard to miss. Just ask for Mariacki and people will show you the way. They also provide special tours like: Krakow Macabre (Monday, Saturday 6:00 PM) or the Free Walking Specials (changing themes each Saturday at 13:00). Last Saturday it was the Krakow StreetArt Tour in English and this week, if you wanna join in, you can have the Pope John 2nd Free Walking Tour In English :)
I was always interested in StreetArt and as you know I have done a couple of posts with the streetart in Krakow & Warsaw - let us recap: 1st post, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th post and it is the first on Warsaw art, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th with more Warsaw and lucky number 13th with some hussars ;) When I saw their event post on FB I noted it down as "Maybe" but it transformed into YES! last Saturday morning when I saw the lovely weather outside. We had over 24 degrees Celsius that day! Clear sky, loads of sun brining natural vitamin C, birds sining on the trees, flowers blooming and children laughing... It was actually my first day this year when I could not stand it any longer and had to use sunglasses! :o
I met Liudka in front of the Mariacki church at 12:45 just to make sure we are there in time, and guess what? Our guide was there just a few moments later. Her name was Alicja and she is a tour guide for the Free Walking Tour Krakow for more than 2 years. She made us all present ourselves - what country we are from, if we are tourists / Erasmus students or if we are working in Krakow. She tried somehow to put us together so we would also communicate with others - even if you come alone or you come with someone you end up making new friends and that is always fun! The tour started after the buglar call from Mariacki, telling us it is straight 1 PM. We made our way through the first piece of StreetArt and the only one from the City Center - the Trololo situated on the back of the church, in the entrance of the Szpitalna street. It is hard to miss it and it is quite famous through the youngsters ;)
Next we went to take the tram from the station in front of the Main Postal Office. For this tour you need to be ready and have with you a 20 minutes ticket as the tram will take you for 3 stations and after that you will need to jump off. Once you get to Kazimierz if is basically walk by foot until the end. The distances are so close to eachother and you can get to see so many things along the way that is very pleasant! Even if - per total - I knew about more than half of the StreetArt presented it was very nice to hear their story and secrets. For example I found out that the first streetart mural was done in Poland, in Warsaw, when a boy - a highschool boy - started painting shadows on the wall. It was a rudimentary line drawing of the shadows of people on walls. That was done somewhere during Second World War and people said that those shadows were the shadows of the people that lived there...
In case you did not know, each year Krakow has a StreetArt festival. Each year street artists fight for sponsors in order to get their masterpieces shown to the large audience, to the public. Each piece of art has a story to tell and each piece of art is done so it would complement the place where it is positioned. It can be a container with 10 m2 of the air of Krakow in Winter - the time when it is most poluted, it can be a pig floating on a small island on the Vistula river, it can be a bunch of crazy rabbits in all colours and in all possible face expressions all over the city, it can be a scrabble table on the wall... people here get creative and want to leave a imprint on the city :)
Taken from the awesome FB page of the Free Walking Tour Krakow
We were a large group, I must admit, I think around 30 people. We passed through various locations from the city center and ending up next to Krakow Mound. By the way, Krakus Mound (or Kopiec Krakusa) is one of two prehistoric monumental mounds in the city and is also its highest point, providing incredible panoramic views from its worn summit. It is the oldest one ;)
Sixteen metres high, sixty metres wide at the base and eight metres wide at the top, Kopiec Krakusa stands in scruffy contrast to the manicured modern mounds elsewhere in the city, with a muddy path winding around to a bald peak. The site of pagan ritual for centuries, the mound retains an ancient, evocative atmosphere amplified by the surroundings of the cliffs of Krzemionki, the green rolling fields of Płaszów, the grim Liban quarry and the Podgórze cemetery. With incredible views of the city, Krakus Mound lies at the centre of one of Kraków's least explored and most captivating areas and should be visited by anyone looking to take a rewarding detour from the beaten path.
It can be approached most easily from the major intersection of Al. Powstańców Wielopolskich and ul. Wielicka via ul. Robotnicza to the steps of al. Pod Kopcem (K-5), or by following ul. Dembowskiego (J-5) to the pedestrian bridge over al. Powstańców Wielopolskich to the base of the mound.
It was my first time seeing it up close and personal and I loved it! I did not get to go on the top so I have to visit it one more time but we had a rest at its base. You could see whole Krakow from there. People were relaxing, enjoying the sun, kids were flying kites, everything was so relaxing and zen :) But thinking of the human effort put into building this mound I remembered the movie "The Englishman that went up a hill and came down a mountain
I have to say a big thank you for our awesome kick arse guide Alicja who did her best in the rough weather and the loud noises in some of the places we have been. I hope her voice was ok after :) She deserves a huge THANK YOU! and I hope she will be my guide in the next tour I am planning to attend. She is funny and she came with a lot of interesting information. Even though she would not tell me who was the one who placed the bunnies all around town I learned from her may other new data :) Don't forget at the end of the tour to leave something for the guide, to show your appreciation. Of course the guide is free and you can go without paying a penny but I think the nice thing to do is at least show you appreciation by giving the guide at least money for a beer so she/he could relax later on ;)
Another THANK YOU! goes to my lovely friend, Liudka, who was brave enough to join me in the quest for StreetArt. She was also kind enough to carry my LadyBug. The LadyBug was jumping all over the place in the morning, saying that the weather is too nice and that she wants to go for a walk as well... so... I had to take her ;)))  By the way, during my walk to the City Center I had a LadyBug crawling on my sleeve. When I tried to take a picture for you lads/lasses it flew away so you have to believe my honest word ;)
At this Walking Tour I bumped into 2 Romanian people :) The world is indeed small. One of them is an Erasmus student and he is here for 1 year to study history and archeology. The lady is here for a year as well but she is working in one of the corporations here. We had a bit of fun and relaxing after the tour. We stayed on the grass at the Krakow Mound and talked a bit about Polish people/ Polish cities and what we know of Poland. We moved the conversation after a while to the pub named Propaganda (you can see our fuzzy picture taken in the dirty/rusty window somewhere above ;) ) and we agreed that we should all go for some more tours together :) It's a deal! ;)

** I made this post out of love! I was not payed in any way and I really enjoyed the StreetArt Tour made by Alicja from the Free Walking Tour Krakow. I reccommend it from all my heart! You will walk a bit but you will see many interesting things! **

Yours truly,
The LadyBug Who Very Much Enjoyed The StreetArt Tour :)

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