Posts Tagged ‘Krakow’

Ah, the smells of fresh bread in neighborhood bakeries

July 30th, 2009 Comments off

Every city we visited had its own wonderful smells of freshly baked goods, and I remember the ones that tantalized me the morning  Daughter and I were finishing up at an Internet cafe in Krakow, Poland.

We walked out the door, smelled the overpowering aroma of fresh baked bread, and wondered what would be in store for us as we rounded the corner.

And we wouldn’t be disappointed. There it was, in all its familiar glory.

Subway, the American sandwich shop, has franchises all over the place!

Authentic Poland: Pass the lard, please

July 15th, 2009 Comments off

Folks, you may not hear from me for a day or two. We spent Tuesday night in the downtown Krakow parking lot where we had parked Mobi to spend the evening walking around the historic (everything is historic, of course) Krakow Town Square, the largest Medieval square in Europe.

We had dinner at an authentic Polish dinner house, 2 blocks off the beaten path. We’ve come to discover a few things, including that unlike America, if you want a beer, you just order a beer. There is no choice as to the kind of beer, except small and large. There is only one kind, though. It is called “beer.”   There were no sodas on the menu, nor tea, so Jeanne ordered “water preserves.”  It was, well, a glass of spring water with a big dollop of dark (courant?) preserves to sweeten it. It was cold and refreshing and she rather liked it. Our meals were various meats, all accompanied by potato dumplings.

With our bread, we got a cheese spread and something I thought was butter. But it was sort of tasteless. I asked what it was.  “Pork lard,” the man said.  Oh.  I would have died for some crispy bacon, but I had little use for pork lard.

When we returned to Mobi at the parking lot we decided, what the heck, let’s just spend the night right there. We paid the attendant some more money, and after we cooled off (no electricity so no chance to run our fan), we went to bed.

All of this is to say that my batteries are low and it was hard to find an internet cafe this morning.  Later today we will drive into Slovakia, toward Bratislava, the capital, and on Thursday will head into Vienna (or, as the maps say, Wien).

So, until we meet again in a day or two, be safe, and so will we!

Excuse me, do you speak English? I’m lost

July 15th, 2009 Comments off

Somewhere en route to Krakow, Miss GPS sent us down a gloriously smooth road that took us directly into a barricade. We could go no further. When we turned around, she insisted we try again. From up in space, Miss GPS didn’t see what we saw. 

So we pulled into a small market for directions to Krakow.  I walked up to one of the clerks. “Hello, do you speak English? I am lost.”  She shook her head no. The woman she was helping started talking to me, though, and boy did she have a lot to say. It was Polish, and I did not understand a word.

When I expressed to her that I did not understand her, she slowed down but still spoke in Polish, using every muscle in her face to emote, like some Jim Carrey, thinking that would help me better understand her. She was furious, it seemed, at something.  When she paused, I used mime to show that I was driving down the street and bam! there was a barricade and I had to screech to a stop. She nodded yes and went into her Polish tirade again. I think she was sympathetic toward me and angry at the Polish Department of Highways.

About then, a man came forward and asked if he could help. He spoke broken English. I need to get to Krakow, I said. Could he help?   He backed away from me and spoke to the grocery clerk, and by now there were 8 people in line trying to buy groceries who were not being helped. And they were all yelping in Polish — either in anger at me for slowing their day or in giving my new friend their suggestions on how I should get to Krakow. Or at least how I should get out of their store.

The line grew longer. A second grocery line was opened and it filled, but even people in that line were motioning all sorts of ways at my friend, arms flailing about in different directions as if they were all giving him their best suggestions on how I could get to Krakow.  My helper looked flustered.

Finally, he said to me, “Just follow me.”  We walked into the parking lot, he got into his car, he waved for us to follow, and we did, and after about 4 miles, at a roundabout, he waved at the turnoff with the sign for Krakow. I tooted my horn and he waved and I waved and I bet we will never meet again.