I have been in Krakow, Poland for about a week and a half.  I have spent a good deal of that time wandering the city streets and noticing the things that make this city what it is.  So here, in no particular order, is a bullet list of some things I like or have noticed about Krakow.

– Driving on the sidewalk.  At first, I did not like this because as cars came barreling down on me I was quite sure this is how it was going to end for Action Jack.  It turns out that due to how few parking lots there are in Krakow most parking is done on the sidewalks.  So, of course, it necessary for some amount of driving to be done on the sidewalk while securing a spot.

– Big hats.  How can you not be happy when you are walking down the street and everybody is wearing a big, furry hat with ear flaps?

– Pierogies.  In Krakow I can get more pierogies than I can eat (12-15) for the equivalent of about $3 U.S.  Of course, if you get the ones that are made at the deli and cook them yourself you can get even more.  Be careful, though, because if you try to microwave them they might turn out like my dinner last night…

Sad supper is sad

– Royal walks.  There are a number of “routes” here in Krakow that were designed while this was the royal capitol of Poland.  These paths are the width of streets but were created so that the king could walk like… well, like royalty.  But today even us peasants get to enjoy the regal parks and paths.

– Seriously strapped police.  I don’t really know that I like this but I could not help but notice it.  Many of the “policje” in Poland are armed with assault rifles.  I suppose that as long as they are fair and honest cops there is no harm in this practice.  I have heard a few stories that have me wondering whether this should make me more or less comfortable.

– Police peel outs.  While we are on the subject of the Polish patrol I have to mention a pretty common occurrence I have noticed here in Krakow.  It appears that part of their job is somewhat similar to a Hollywood stunt driver.  Especially in the main market square on snowy days, they practice their stunt driving by peeling out around corners, and even once doing a full doughnut as onlookers were simultaneously entertained and terrified.

– Totally rockin’.  Ok, so I don’t know that all of Krakow likes to rock but I had an experience on Tuesday night that must be mentioned.  I was watching a movie in the common room at my hostel when I got invited to a party.  The party was at the home of a girl who works at the hostel.  They called a cab and we headed over to the party.  I met a few really great people who were happy to show off their English (and their American friend) by acting as sort of personal translator for me at the party.  Then I found a way to speak a more universal language.  I admired the electric bass guitar of one of the occupants and then they invited me to play for them.  I started out with the most bass-heavy song I know, Green Day’s “Longview,” and proceeded by singing and playing about a dozen songs I had never played on a bass guitar.  They must have thought it was alright, though, because the next morning, as they picked themselves up off the floor where they passed out the night before, I played another full set of songs for an appreciative audience while we sipped on our cups of tea.  And now, every time I see the girl at the front desk she talks about that night and asks me to sing a song for her.  It has become kind of an inside joke and has made me feel really at home in a faraway place.

– Nestle Lions.  These are pretty much the kings of the candy bar jungle.  They incorporate all the best parts of Kit Kats, Milky Ways, and Nestle Crunch bars.

– Snow capped everything.  I imagine that the sites in Krakow look quite beautiful on a seventy degree day in the glimmering summer sunlight.  But if it’s going to be cold, you might as well have snow, right?  Well, I got snow.  So now when I see statues here they look like this…

Well, I am sure I will continue to add to this list so keep a look out.  I have a couple adventures left before I leave Krakow next week.  Until then…

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