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Sunday, 29 October 2017

Krakow - Kazimierz - Jajownia

Dearest hearts,

I don't know about You, but I feel breakfasts are always made better by the appearance of a dish served hot: scrambled eggs, if possible with bacon and onion tails included! That's how I was growing up, that's what makes me smile when starting the day. I hate the feeling of an empty stomach rumbling away and churning, making a riot. I prefer my breakfasts warm, settled down and with a cup of tea. In Krakow there are a lot of places where one can have a very decent, filling and not very pricy breakfast - my favourite breakfast locations are in the Old Town, as I'm much more intimate with that area. I've also been living there for half a year so I had plenty of time to explore. It's true that Kazimierz and Podgorze area, when it comes to the breakfast options, are not that familiar to me. That is why, I have decided that in time, I wish to discover such places inside the Jewish District. It will take some time to sum up and create a lost of my favourite breakfast places in Kazimierz but... I'm working on it ;) One such place that will probably make the top is the Jajownia on Dajwor 23.
Dajwor is a street with a couple of nice places for fast food - including a couple of fast food trucks. Also on Dajwor street you can find the Galicia Museum. It's hard to miss the Jajownia as it's just in front of the museum. It has 2 tables outside, each with 2 chairs, but I rather prefer the inside. The interior is much more cosy and home like, with wooden tables and benches and all in white. The sign outside is black and white, italic as if written by someone's hand. There is a board with a part of the menu, in English, outside and another one with the opening hours - chalkboard written, very friendly. You have to go up a few steps, a inconvenience if you have a wheelchair or a pram with your baby - there is no ramp to help you up. But let's just say that the food and the service more than makes up for it! There is the menu in Polish but you can also ask for the one in English. When it comes to the menu it's perfect: straightforward and only a page long A4! Brilliant! Not 100000 options so you have no clue what to choose!
This lovely place does serve a large assortment of Lipton teas, to which you can add sugar or lemon, as you wish. I had a chamomile tea with honey flavour so no sugar needed, but it went well with a slice of lemon. I love how they split the options for the scrambled eggs: 1, 2 or 3 eggs - different prices. 3 scrambled eggs costs 10 zloty and when you order if you would like it done medium or hard and what toppings you would like - I chose the medium option (not scrambled hard, but rather soft) and with bacon and onion tails included. It came with the typical Krakowski Obwarzanek (Krakow's pretzel), the salty version. The it thing that I didn't enjoy was the seasoning - I thought it had a bit too much pepper to my fast, forcing me to drink the tea quick to loosen up. But overall the eggs were nicely done, the bacon was not very fatty, onion tails were fresh and I did not feel the need to add any salt. The Obwarzanek was soft and went very well with the soft eggs. 
The interior design of Jajownia is minimalistic and used the space nicely. The mini- restaurant, fast food place in a way..., has 2 rooms. As you enter you have the counter and a small table to your right. To the left there is the second room with 2 small tables for 2-4 people and a larger table for about 6. There are power sockets visible that you can use to recharge your phone. You need to place the order at the counter, the cook will bring you the food and when you are done you should take your plate to the small table in the corner of the second room. It's mostly self-service. There are a few paintings depicting eggs, white chicken decorations, white egg like salt and pepper boxes, the plates and cups are all white. The person who serves is most probably one of the owners and the cook is the wife - or so I could gather. I had a feeling that everyone coming there was a regular and there were even people who were not even asked what they wanted, just served. It felt like a very homely and friendly place, a place for the locals but designed so with the travellers in mind. The owner speaks polish and a bit of English so don't feel frightened. He is a kind and lovely person. Actually everyone and everything there will make you come again ;)
The prices:
- tea (a wide range of Lipton teas) - 6 zloty (lemon included, if you ask)
- 3 scrambled eggs (with bacon and onion tails included) - 10 zloty

Yours sincerely,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Breakfast
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Thursday, 26 October 2017

A Letter To My 21 Year Old Self, On My 31 Year Of Life

Dearest Evening Star,

Happy happy glorious sunshined birthday lady! I wish I could have told you then what I know now. I wish you could read this letter and see that indeed world is such a wonderfully big place, but somehow we can all fit in it. Of course, you knew it then and you know it now as well that it's cool being a rockstar but that's not the life for You. Family will always come first and your home is always where your heart is. The trouble, you will find, is that your heart is like a puzzle and a piece of it might stay with each person you love or with every place that you fall in love with. That will cause you to feel like home in many places throughout the world. Dearest heart, fret not, don't stop writing (it will help you relax and unload your soul), don't stop reading (you'll find that books are stable good friends that never let you down), don't stop dreaming big (don't stop daydreaming as well! It's good for your soul).
When I was just a little girl, smaller than kindergarden even, I had a thought that people who were 30 years old are old... Now you're not yet 30, you're on your roaring 20's, having fun and learning and making friends that you think will last forever (some do last that long, so don't be too sad!). I'm in my 30's and even as I say it out loud I can't seem to believe it. I have no clue where the last 10 years went away. I'm not sad but thinking in retrospective it seems as if time flies faster and faster as we grow older. More things cover up our time and the endless pace of the day sometimes is maddening. I've fulfilled a lot of items on our #bucketlist - some new ones were added and some that you never thought you would do have been crossed out. If you could read this, I would love you to know that:
1. You're going to travel, quite a lot, mainly by plane, and you will love It! You will love flying, you love the sentiment when you are soaring high above the clouds. You love napping in planes - you'll even nap during a storm! 
2. You are brave! It's true, you get scared and you may tremble but what you start you will always finish and go through: tandem parachute jumping, zorbing down the hill... You can do It! 
3. You will, in time, settle down with the birthday parties - you'll still love having people near you, you'll love getting presents, but you'll just want to stay home, play a game, read a book, and not party all night. That is fun in your 20s but not as hip in your 30s. Plus, you'll wanna spend it with a close circle - with the ones who truly matter, family and very close friends.
4. You don't believe It, but you're gonna actually get married! 3 times! Of course with the same amazing Polish lad, but each time in a different year: first civil wedding + party, next year church wedding + party in Poland, next year party in Romania. I know! It sounds crazy, but you'll do It, and you're gonna have so much fun!
Church Wedding in Krakow
5. You're gonna move to Poland! That's right! And you're gonna visit Auschwitz as well, of course... You're gonna say that you'll stay in Krakow just 6 months to build up international experience on your CV. 6 years counting and you're still here, still very much in love! :)))
The TV crew from TVN
6. You're gonna stop blogging and then start blogging again. This time it's gonna stick! And you're gonna love writing again and getting creative. You're gonna get featured in the regional newspaper Dziennik Polski and spear on the local TV station Dzien Dobry TVN!
My true love 馃挆
7. You're going to have a baby by the time you're 30 years old!  You know how you've always wanted a little bundle of joy, well... You're gonna have your wish come true! A lovely Ladybug Baby Girl 馃悶 stubborn and proud and brave and... curly! She doesn't have blue eyes as you would have imagined but she's perfect nonetheless! 
8. You will realise that you would have needed extra language skills - if you can, learn Polish! It would save you the trouble of the first 2 years until I've opened my mouth and said "Dzien Dobry" (Polish: Good morning) properly. I'm not saying it's a must... but it would be helpful ;)
9. Not everyone who enters your life is here to stay, nor will they treat you fair or act with good manners - everyone learns this the hard way, by failing, but I wish you would know this. Not every friend you make is a true friend, not everyone that you will help or invest your heart in will do the same. People are not always what they seem to be. There is this dark side to them - some keep it well hidden. Be careful, remember you are a good person - it is not your fault!
Me and my amazing big sister 馃挆
10. Spend as much time as you can with Buni and Bunu, Mama and Dana. Tell them daily how much you love them - they know, but that's not the point... We are not eternal in this human body. This is flesh.  It rots away, we get sick, people die... Tell Bunu you love him to the moon and back again.  Everyday.  He knows. You won't learn that he has passed away until it's too late... they'll keep it away so you can go on with the civil wedding. You won't get a chance to be at the funeral. You'll be heartbroken. But you'll be back again - you have Buni and Mum and Dana and Marek. He's going to be with you. Always. In your heart. 

And don't forget: always listen to your heart!

Yours lovingly,
31 Year Old You (Me)
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Sunday, 22 October 2017

Romanian Minister of Defence in Krakow

Dear friends,

Being part of the expat community means also that sometimes you will miss dearly speaking your own language, meeting with people from your country, reading books in your native language and tasting the yummy treats, sweets and traditional food of your homeland. Being part of the expat community means also that you will try to make bonds with people from your country, living in the same country/city you live at that moment. If means being a part of the larger community of people who followed similar paths as yours. The Romanian community in Poland is not as big as the Ukrainean or the Russian one, yet it's still quite significant and visible. The Embassy of Romania can be found in Warsaw and I'm dearly wishing for a consulate in Krakow. Somehow I feel the community of expats in Warsaw is stronger. Here, in Krakow, we do have ocasional meetings and events - on important dates like Easter or Mother's Day (8th of March) - but somehow it feels as if everyone is in for themselves, not looking at the bigger picture of life, not looking forward to sharing. 
Maybe it's the Latin blood, boiling in us, unable to let us rest and maintain regular like behaviour. Maybe we've developed trust issues, or maybe it's just the mentality of the grass being greener on the other side and the cow/sheep of the neighbour does look better and produces more milk and we are too upset about that and we just wish to kill it. Or... Maybe it's just something personal some people have... don't make connections with fellow countrymen - you never know what you get yourself into! Yet I prefer to keep an open mind and an open heart - even after many broken pieces fell off. Everyone is entitled to the benefit of the doubt, until they are proven otherwise. 
***
A few days back, on Thursday 19th of October (2017, of course), I went to one such Romanian meeting in Krakow. The event took place at 7 pm at the Public Library on Rajska 1. The special guests were the Ambasador of Romania in Poland and the Minister of Defence (Mihai Fifor). The Minister of Defence came to Krakow to be part of the opening of the NATO Excellency Centre for Military Counterinformation. The visit was part of a series of bilateral meetings between the Ministry of Defence in Romania and the one in Poland and Slovakia - Antoni Macierewicz and Peter Gajdo.  The next day after our meeting, Friday the 20th of October, Mihai Fifor was scheduled for a ceremony (bringing flowers and paying his respects) to the Memorial Complex at Lambinowice, where 2602 Romanian heroes from the First World War lay to rest.
Also part of his visit was a tour of Auschwitz and Birkenau where he also payed his respects, light up a candle at the death wall in Auschwitz and wrote in the first book - Mihai Fifor posted some of the pictures from his trip to Auschwitz and shared his thoughts upon the subject. We must always remember, never forget, lest we will do this again... The meeting on Thursday evening, 19th of October, was quite intimate and warm. It was at the Public Library on Rajska 1, close to the city centre. There were Romanian expats living in Krakow, there were Romanian students from the Jagiellonian University, Polish students from the Jagiellonian University that study Romanian language, but also regular Polish people in love with the Romanian language and it's culture. The meeting with Mihai Fifor was presided by Ignat Timar, the President of the Romanian Community in Krakow. The Ambasador of Romania (from Warsaw) was also present and the Minister came along with several army staff. There was of course the secret service and dogs sniffing around for bombs and other threats but hey! It's Poland! The coast is clear and all is safe  :) There was a very nice free glow of conversation  between Mihai Fifor and the other participants and the meeting lasted about an hour before the Ministerhad to dash away. 
Mihai Fifor was not the first time in Krakow, he had studied a semester in his first year at the Jagiellonian University! And he feels a strong connection to the city and Poland. He believes that Romania has much to learn from Poland in terms of continuity, accessing European funds and developing economically. Truer words have never been said... 

Yours very much truly,
The Twisted Red Ladybug 馃悶
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Thursday, 19 October 2017

Iasi: Trumpets - Good food & Great Time

My dearest hearts,

I've been meaning to tell you about a place in my hometown for a very long while now, I just didn't have a chance to sit down and write about it. The Trumpets is a very British pub in the heart of the city, in Palas Mall Iasi. It's a very friendly place, extremely upbeat and positive, with very good customer care. It's a place where mamy of my (corporate) friends spend their time after work, or even come there for their lunch break. The "5 o'clock" options that they have are amazingly yummy and at a decent price, less than 5 euros - including drinks.
The pub has places both indoor and outdoor, and considering the weather in Romania (unlike the one in Poland) you can enjoy sitting on the terrace until late November. The seating options outside are more comfortable and nice - and if you come with a friend that smokes you'll prefer that, as smoking indoors is prohibited by law in Romania. The indoor seating has many tall chairs, pub experience to the max. I've always loved how the indoor was decorated - it actually gives you the British feel and look. I love even the cute little bathrooms, with the ladies sign for "Iron Ladies". 
The Trumpets in Iasi is open from 9 am to 2:30 am but Fridays and Saturdays they stay open a bit longer, until 4:30 am.  They host lovely live concerts of local/national bands and when there is a gig night it always gets extra crowded. Besides their well established British theme, along with a red phonebooth and all, there is a wider selection than usual when it comes to beers. I dare you to find another pub in Iasi that has a similar selection! You will also get a kick out of reading their menu - it's priceless! The names of the products sold are names of British bands and artists. You can enjoy a breakfast with Egg Sheeran ;) how cute is that?!
The prices:
- hot beverages (tea) - 250 ml - 7,99 RON
- lemonades - between 9,99 and 10,99 RON
If ever you travel to Romania and find yourself in Iasi, make sure you get to the Palas Mall. Take a short break and have a fresh pint of Kilkenny / Guinness + some fish and chips on the side (the chips are delicious! And you should ask for them either way, they go nice with the beer). Don't forget to let me know what you think of the place!

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Enjoyed The Trumpets
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Monday, 16 October 2017

Growing Up - Polish Style

My dearest pumpkins,

In case you were wondering how Polish childhood feels like and what common traits are in growing up in Poland or growing up abroad but in a Polish family, I thought I might share with you my findings on this subject. I have many friends who told me stories of their childhood, I've seen a lot of movies, but also had first hand experience from my husband's family stories and pictures (priceless, every single one of them!). So without any further ado, let me share you some facts about growing up - Polish Style ;)
1. #GrowingUpPolish abroad can be of an issue when teachers read out loud the names of the students. Either you will get your name misspelled or you'll only get your first name. 
2. Short names completely different than your regular name. Let's say someone's name is Aleksandra Nowak. How would you call her shorter, Alex? Well no... that would be: Ola = Aleksandra :/ 
3. Everyone is your Aunt and Uncle (Ciocia I Wujek). That's  not a title only for family members. That's also for friends, close relatives, sometimes even for people you might meet only once in your life... It gets confusing :/
4. Pantofle (kapcia) were a must! No carpets? Slippers! Visitors came in? Bring out the slippers. They come in all shapes and sizes - some are comfy... But sometimes you might not get one your size... :(
5. Granny (Babcia) will always have loads of pictures with The Pope (that's John Paul the 2nd, the Polish Pope) and the saints. 
6. Granny will also have the best food ever, the best sweets ever and she will make you eat an extra portion, just in case you're extra hungry and you're not telling ;)
7. Eating hot chicken broth (rosol) with pasta every Sunday lunch. No matter how hot/cold it may be outside. Also, drinking hot tea all year round is the thing in Polish families. And they do it in glasses! Not mugs!
Lolek I Bolek 
8. Watching TV for kids: Pszczolka Maja (Maja the bee), The Smurfs, Reksio, Lolek I Bolek.
9. Opening presents on Christmas Eve, not the day after.  Oh the Christmas dinner stories I heard are one of the best. Christmas traditions are at their finest!
10. There are always treats around the house, just in case someone comes unexpected. There is always a safety stash ;) that kids enjoy immensely when they don't get caught!

Yours very much truly,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Childhood
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Friday, 13 October 2017

Bucket List: Sting Concert in Krakow

My dearest hearts,

Everyone has its own Bucket list of wishes and dreams. Some you may cross out faster then others, some - sadly - may remain unmarked. Last night one of my items from my list got crossed out thanks to my amazing better half. This month is my birthday and a few months ago I've received one of the best gifts: a ticket to Sting! That's right ;) Sting had an amazing concert last night in Krakow, Poland, in the Tauron Arena.  I've been dreaming to hear him live ever since I was a wee lass.  Besides my eternal love for Freddie Mercury and Queen I had a huge love for the trio: Sting, Brian Adams and Rod Stewart - I still do! Their voices did not change throughout time and their style is eternal. When they sing the music makes you soar and your heart flutters, so listening to them live surely provides goosebumps and trips down the memory lane. Sting in Krakow was a pleasure and a privilege to all the people gathered there last night.
Sting in Krakow, 12th October 2017
Sting presented his new album "57th & 9th" along with his band and his son, who did the intro for his famous dad. He is the "most popular pop artist" from abroad that played in Poland, this not being the first time he is in this fine land - he's been here more than a dozen times, and keeps coming back. His tickets are the the most expensive ones in terms of the concerts from artists coming from abroad, yet they always sell out fast. Sting is very popular here for his soft nostalgical pieces, but also for his progressive rock and symphonic arrangements. The prices on last night tickets ranged between 229 zloty to 399 zloty - the VIP pack between 593 and 723 zloty. 
Around 6:30 pm - crowds start to gather
The Arena was open for the crowd at 6:30 pm but even before that the people were swarming like bees around the area. People were hard to come, knowing that these kind of concerts usually take time and run late but the area in front of the stage - no seating - had people coming and staying on their feet for 2 hours (not moving, not to lose their place) until they caught the first glimpse of Sting. The first song that was played started around 20:10 and it was a piece that Sting sang together with his son. Then there was about 25 min of his son, playing the guitar and singing his own pieces - I must admit that when I closed my eyes I could feel that he had a similar voice as his father. Then there was a bit of break and at 20:55 the Show started. Sting is immortal in its own rights, he never changes, he never fades away and his voice is as amazing as always! He had a team of 5 behind him, his son included doing the backing vocals and singing from time to time a piece with him (great in "Shape of my heart"!). 

Sting has an energy that is marvelous to watch. Even before he started, my position allowed me to see after the stage as well, I would see him pace and run around - lights turned off and his son performing - and dancing to the music. It's a privilege to see a legend unwind before it's turn. It was amazing as well to see the love he has for his son and the positive vibes going back and forward with the crowd, who were supportive in every song. He played over one hour before he said "Daddy needs a break" and he let his son play one piece, after which he came back and rocked our world even more. He played over an hour an 40 min, he had a great encore and the people were thirsty for more! So he came back, rather surprised, played it's amazing "Message in a bottle" and promised to come again. Hopefully sooner rather than later :) here is his story about the last song he played: “I wrote that song almost 40 years ago in a little flat in London, with no one there but a cat who wasn’t interested in what I was doing. And to think 40 years later I’m here, with you, and you seem to know all the words - it means a lot to me.” 

The Concerts playlist - 12th of October 2017, Tauron Arena in Krakow, Poland:
"Synchronicity II"
"If I Ever Lose My Faith In You"
"Spirits in the Material World"
"Englishman In New York"
"Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"
"Mad About You"
"Fields Of Gold"
"Shape of My Heart"
"She's Too Good for Me"
"Petrol Head"
"Message In A Bottle"
"Ashes to Ashes" / "50.000"
"Walking on the Moon"
"So Lonely"
"Desert Rose"
"Roxanne" / "Ain't No Sunshine"
Bis:
"Next To You"
"I Can't Stop Thinking About You"
"Every Breath You Take"
Bis II:
"Fragile"

Yours from the heart,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Sting
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Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Travel Tuesday: Gifts You Should Bring From Poland

Dearest sweethearts,

A trip to Poland, to Krakow, should be inevitable once in Europe. Poland is the centre of Europe, it's own beating heart, staying strong to its beliefs. It's a country of beauty, wonder and it has magical cities you fall in love with at the first sight. It has many UNESCO world heritage sites and it boasts of a rising number of tourists each year. But now, during today's #traveltuesday I wanted to help you a bit - let you know what might be considered as a good present / good gift to have for the ones home, after you've visited Poland:
Wawel Castle, Krakow, Poland 
1. Amber from the Baltic Sea - Poland is renowned for the beautifully clear Amber from the Baltic Sea and has a long tradition  of exporting it as well, by sea, to other cities (like Warsaw and Krakow) but also abroad (reaching even to Rome). The price of Amber is extremely good in Poland and you can find anything - from earrings, bracelets, necklaces to magnets for your fridge, made out of it. It's a must #madeinpoland - make a lovely gift to someone you love.
2. Wooden handcrafted objects - from treasury chests to chess boards. The best place to buy them, in Krakow, is from the Sukiennice (The Cloth Hall) in the Main Market Square.  It's gonna be hard to miss seeing them, even if it's always crowded out there! The colora and the shapes and sizes can get you hypnotized... try not to leave all your money in one place ;) there are plenty things to see / buy!
Wedding wodka - calculate at least 1 litre per person
3. Alcohol - be it pure, crystal clear, wodka or the local delicacies like "Nalewka Babuni". You can also find here local gems like beer with cherries, beer with plums and beer with honey... that one is sweet as Hell and leaves me with an immense headache.
4. Polish marinated cucumbers - pickled gerkins - a cure for the almighty hangover that you will have, after you try out all the wodka.
5. Smalec - lard, to be smeared on fresh bread and eaten before the heavy drinking starts. It acts like a "tampon" layer due to the amount of fat in it, and it's a life saviour!
6. Pierniki (gingerbread) from Torun - don't worry, you don't actually need to physically get to Torun, every large supermarket sells them. Just make sure they are #madeinpoland #madeintorun - check the label carefully ;) they are yummy - fresh they are even yummier, if you manage to get there.
7. The notorious John Lemon Lemonade - made in Poland, the John Lemon trademark was registered by the Polish manufacturers of the lemonade back in 2014. The John Lennon trademark application was filed in 2016. Hey... But you can't stop Ono from making "a honest buck" on John's back, can't you?! :/ anyway, if you manage to grab a John Lemon bottle before they change the name, make sure you do! I love it!
8. Oscypek - traditional highlander / mountain cheese, be it in oval shape or in strings, it's delicious! Especially during winter months, on the grill, with some "zurawina" (red cranberry) sauce. Mmmmmm... heavenly! At the Christmas Markets you can also find a version with dried plum & bacon - do try it!
9. For newly mums: Madame GooGoo Baby Carriers - custom made, #madeinpoland with great love and care, by a mother who was so fond of her children that she wanted to do an ergonomic design yet one of a kind. You want a baby carrier shaped like a unicorn, a Ladybug, an owl, a dragon... they did it before and they fulfil wild dreams! They also ship internationally ;)
10. A trip back to Poland - let's face it! If you ever managed to get to Poland you will want to come back again and again and again. The best present for yourself or for the ones you love, is to come again to Poland and witness more of its wonders. Take a sabbatical and come to Poland! Poland will always welcome you with open arms - filled with pierogi and history ;)

Yours very much truly,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Poland
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Saturday, 7 October 2017

Krakow Fresh Markets: Stary Kleparz

Dearest sweethearts,

I couldn't live in an universe where there is no Autumn and no October months. I was born in October and the best season for me, the season that suits me and the moment that I feel most at peace is when Autumn comes. Not the dark shades or grey November with its rain, but the lovely golden Autumn of October's love. That's also when I found it best to go shopping in the fresh markets for veggies and fruits.  Who doesn't love the Autumn cornucopia: pears, apples, plums, walnuts, you name it! And the endless types of freshly picked mushrooms - you can smell them a mile away. Of course mushrooms are a big thing, here in Poland, so when it starts to rain frequently and sustained, in September, the "Mushroom season" starts!
Krakow boasts of many open markets, fresh local markets where people can forget about the huge chain market stores and buy local products, helping in this way also the local economy. I can tell you for sure that it's worth your while, a trip once a week to the fresh market, to get tasty and juicy tomatoes, home grown, than going to Kaufland / Carrefour / Auchan and buying some tomatoes grown in the green house, tomatoes that never saw the real sun. It's not only good for you or the local economy but also for your growing children ;) they need natural products!
Stary Kleparz is a farmers market, located a stone throw away from the Old Town - maximum 5 min in a straight line from Galeria Krakowska, passing the Jan Matejko square. It is one of the largest market squares for local producers. It's usually open from 6 am to 6 pm - or earlier, if the producers sell all their products faster ;) it's not like anyone is keeping them there. Calculated as an average, the time people spend there shopping is about 20 minutes, but you have to know that when you come here you must know from the start what you want to shop. This ain't no supermarket, the queues are not huge and you have people selling fast, always having change and - of course - you must come with cash (no card!).
In the Stary Kleparz Market Square you can buy fresh veggies, fresh fruits, fresh dairy products (all sorts of cheese, also eggs from real hens), fresh meat but also on the sides, surrounding the main area with tables where people show off their products, you have small shops with really good local products at a very good price - better than in the supermarket. Located on Rynek Kleparzki 20, in the Old Town, it has a tradition of over 800 years! It's totally worth a visit, especially if you are around the Barbakan, and if you are in a mood for some really nice pastries and sweets - there is also a Wawel shop, next to one of the entrances in the market, and they have outrageous prices! The kind that make you wanna buy the whole lot!
Of course the market is sanitary regulated and all products are safe. There are local checkups and all is well, nobody wants to get anyone hurt and lose their customers ;) Also the market is quite clean and toilet stalls are at the end, down the stairs, separated men from women - in case anyone is in a hurry. I've never tried them, but hey! I gotta tell you all the facilities of the market! 
Hope to see you there one day, or you'll go there and let me know what you think of it ;)

Yours very much truly,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves xxx
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Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Autumn in Krakow - Pro's and con's

Dearest pumpkins,

You know how much I love Poland and how deeply I feel for Krakow. The last summer days are gone and the autumn equinox passed, so I thought I might share with you my Pro's and Con's why you should spend Autumn in Krakow - but also in Poland in general. To be quite frank, Autumn is my favourite season - also due to the fact that I was born this very month, in October, but I will try my best not to be prejudiced by that ;) so... let's see the Pro's first:
1. The Sublime Autumn Weather - Astonomically Autumn beings with the Autumn equinox on the 21st of September and it lasts until the 22nd of December.  The temperature range is between 5 and 15 degrees Celsius.  Moderate temperature that slowly decreases daily and makes you layer up like an onion. The Con when it comes to the weather is the high level of precipitation - but more of that on the Con's.
2. The local markets bursting with colours and smells - the fresh veggies and fruits tempt you in every fresh market. My favourite one is the one on Stary Kleparz (Old Kleparz), just a few minutes away from Galeria Krakowska / Plac Jan Matejko. The month of September-October is perfect for going there and buying stuff for winter. There are local farmers bringing "the good stuff" and I highly recommend the mushrooms. They come in all shapes and sizes.
3. The 7XGospel Festival - the 12th one this year (2017) - focuses on Polish American African Gospel music, religious performances, workshops and all in both languages Polish-English. It takes place between the 12 and the 22nd of October. Feel free to register and join In! It's open to people of all ages and backgrounds, as long as you have an open mind and heart in understanding people and the world. Highly recommended for people who search for higher meaning in life.
4. November 1st - We don't have Halloween but we do have All Saints Day! Throughout the day people go to the cemetery to their beloved ones that passed away and pay their respects by bringing flowers and big candles that can burn throughout several dozen of hours. By the time night falls, throughout Poland, throughout Krakow, you will see cemeteries filled with people, filled with light, sometimes as if it was day outside - so bright it can get!
5. The number of tourists seems to drop, you don't get as much crowded streets and there is more room to breathe - the most popular time to visit Krakow is probably summertime and wintertime (for the Christmas Markets - in abundance throughout the city). I am totally fine with that, as it leaves me with clearer streets and much more space to breathe in my beloved Krakow. No more hustle 
The Con's:
The 2010 flood 矛s one of the biggest ones recorded
1. High Level of Precipitation - it is well known by the locals but also by the foreigners that have lived in Krakow for a longer period than one year, that during the month of September there will always be transit issues near the Vistula River.  There are many rivers that join too the Vistula and when it rains heavily and sustained for weeks on end, the level raises so much that people no longer can use the bike paths. It's a constant every year!
2. The smog / The fog / The pollution - once golden Autumn starts fading away and November rains and cold starts settling in, people start their heating systems and... In the process, some use very un-eco friendly products, resulting in air pollution. The fog sometimes is so heavy you can cut it with a knife, you can't see at arms length before you. The smog... well... everyone gets infuriated because there is always on red on the typical applications that show you the quality of the air. Snow and wind does help clear the air up... but it's a constant nightmare to go out - people with masks everywhere! 

Yours very much truly,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Autumn In Krakow
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