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Posts Tagged ‘Poland’

I have yet to go but I’m just yearning to take off to Poland this summer and explore its forests, old cities, communist architecture and especially Krakow. Everyone I have met that passed through there loved it, so what is this mysterious culture hub all about? Home to artists, musicians, the first bagel, fashion designers… Krakow seems to have it going on!

Krakow at night

I’m not what you would call a typical traveller. That being said, I like to experience places like a local would, and if winter lasts 6 months of the year (or all year) then I want to visit that place in the winter. I’m planning a trip to Siberia next year. In January. People tell me I’m crazy. I went to Finland this winter, froze my butt off, but I loved finding out how the locals handle the cold and spend a relaxing week in a sauna. Now that’s not something you would do so much in the summer!

I think Krakow would be a great place to visit in the winter. Covered in frost and snow! In December the city hosts a Christmas market with stalls selling “bigos,” a thick and meaty stew (mmm) and mulled wine (double mmm). You can’t beat the prices in Poland, which is why it’s such a great place for backpackers and twenty-somethings. Shopping and eating out, no problem. If it’s more than a city jaunt, then summer is definitely the best time to visit. I’m still toying with dates, but I’ve already started my flight comparison homework! Thankfully there are some low cost airlines flying from London and flights are cheap.

As for sights, Wawel Castle and a stroll along the river banks come highly recommended. The city is spotted with churches, almost at every street corner. But if you go inside just one, it should be the Basilica of St. Francis with a really beautiful art nouveau interior. The Nationam Museum also is known for its 20th century collection on the top floor. Modern art? Bunkier Sztuki is the place.

What did I tell you? Bagels.

I heard once that the first bagel was made in Krakow. I loooove bagels. It’s one of the things I miss most about travelling to New York City. Fresh, bakery-style bagels. Jama Michalika is an old pre-war hangout that still serves the same snacks nad drinks! It hasn’t lost it’s edge and the original artwork and art nouveau thing it has going on is very cool.

Have you ever been to Krakow? Would love some tips for my summer trip!

Where are you heading this summer for your holidays?

Images from bazylek and leafer, Flickr creative commons.
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This year Poland is celebrating Chopin’s 200th birthday. Not his actual birthday of course. But there are year long celebrations this year in 2010 to celebrate their romantic composer from the 19th century. He was born to a French-Polish family near Warsaw and so the city will hold concerts, exhibitions and special events in his honour, to celebrate his contribution to classical music and sound.

There are also a few organized itinerarys that follow the composer’s footsteps through Poland. These include also performances in several towns and cities. The complete list of events, news, and happenings are listed here on the official website.

A film society in New York City has also offered its collection of Chopin-inspired films from experimental, fiction, non-fiction, to documentary. These films will be screened between January and May at Walter Rayde Theatre, near the Polish Centre in NYC. Cities around the world are collecting material to contribute to a world-wide appreciation of Chopin. Some even call him the greatest melodist of all time.

The year starts off on the 20th of January at the Polish parliament buildings with a performance with the Polish Philharmonic Orchestra. This is a great set of events for the whole family. It is great that travelling to Poland is easy, anywhere in Europe seems close these days. Cheap flights to Warsaw are around 40£ with Wizz Air. Low-cost airlines are making it really easy to get out and participate in events like this. Now I only have to decide which month is the best one to celebrate Chopin with the Poles!

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