Monday, March 18, 2013

Krakow, inside out

Original text by Elizabeth Day | executive summary by darmanjsah

From snowy walks through a fairytale castle to warming hot chocolate and cherry vodka, both embrance and escape the cold on a winter’s break to Poland’s second city.

Warm up at alchemia café, bar and jazz club

Locals wrap up against the winter chill

Around the main market square of Rynek Glowny
 krakow tram

Escape the cold

Sugar dan spice and all things nice

krakow's cafe Camelot (ul Sw Tomasza 17; 00 48 12 421 01 23)offer a retreat from the cold with pipping hot teas and cherry vodka

WITH its higgledy-piggledy streets and cobbled alleyways, Krakow is a city that lends itself to afternoons of contemplation in tucked-away cafes. Hours can tick by sitting at a window, hands warmed by a cup of hot chocolate, watching people in thick fur coats and hats wending their way through the wintry mists of the city.
Walk through Krakow is like following a fairytale trail of breadcrumbs-around every corner a new palce offers something sweet, from gingerbread biscuits to cranberry fritters to  poppyseed cake. ‘In Krakow, we believe sweet things help to keep out the cold,’ says Arek Liskiewics, a university student an a waiter at Pod Aniolami restaurant, where the baked dense apple cake is a speciality.

shelter from the winter inside the 13th-century stone walls of Pod aniomali restaurant (ul Grodzka 35;

Inside a 13th-century building, the restaurant’s thick, some walls are the colour of butterscotch. The tweeting of a caged canary punctuates the evening chatter that fills the warm room. I take my slice of famed apple cake, served with a pool of custard, to a spot by a roaring hearth spitting crackling flames. In times gone by the premises were occupied by local goldsmiths, who used the fireplace to melt precious metallic nuggets before thwacking them into shape on an anvil that now hangs from the cellar ceiling.

The sugar trail takes me next to the Wedel chocolate Lounge (ul Rynek glowny 46; overlooking the city’s grand square – a place seemingly transplanted from a turn-of-the –century novel. Waitresses in starched aprons make their way around a room filled with cushioned banquettes, its white walls rising  to a vaulted ciling that cocoons customers from outside chills. I joins them for a treacly glass of hazelnut hot chocolate before making my way out, passing shelves stuffed with be-ribboned pralines  as athe bittersweet aroma of cocoa dust catches in my throat.

Following the maze of back streets to Café Camelot, its glass panes misted with condensation. I ralise how Hansel and Gretel must have felt when they found their gingerbread house. Walking through the door is like opening the window on an advent calendar: the walls are painted a vivid raspberry, and wintry draughts are kept at bay by thick red curtains across stone doorways. At a snug table next to an old-fashioned black iron stove. I drink a Moulin Rouge tea – a mélange of rooibus, strawberry, raspberry, hibiscus and rosebud, chased by a shot of Wisniowka (cherry vodka): as sweet as something 40 percent proof can be.

St mary's Basilica has a striking Gothic alterpiece, a vaulted ble ceiling, and windows by Wyspianski

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