Friday, November 27, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Well, apparently, it was a Polish man by the name of Jerzy Kulczycki who opened one of the first cafés in Vienna, and apparently one of the first ones in Europe. Kulczycki was gifted coffee beans leftover from the Ottoman Empire during the Battle of Vienna. With these small delicious, highly addicting beans, Kulczycki opened the first café, named Hof zur Blauen Flasche (House under the Blue Bottle.) This little shop became a hot spot in Vienna. He remains a coffee hero, especially to Viennese coffee houses, as well as Polish coffee connoisseurs.
So the next time you are sipping on the delicious cup of coffee (as I am right now), remember, chances are Kulczycki made it possible for you to drink it. Yes, thank Poland for that delicious morning necessity. I know I will.
Also, if you are ever in Krakow, Poland and you happen to be searching for a delicious cup of coffee, under the guidance of my Lit. Professor, go to Pożegnanie z Afryka. This café apparently has the best coffee in all of Krakow, and is reasonably priced. I will surely be venturing there this week and will report back with my thoughts.
Now, with this new found knowledge of Poles and coffee, I want you to picture this. You are sitting at your kitchen table, enjoying that delicious cup of coffee, perhaps in a Kulczycki commemorative mug and what is sitting on the plate next to said mug? Is it a warm, slightly crispy bagel with some cream cheese? Well, if it is you can just call yourself a Polish loving person. Because indeed, Bagels were in fact created by Poles.... in KRAKOW... in the early 17th Century. This carb filled delicacy became a quick staple in Poles diet.
With this new found glory of Polish creations, I hope every morning when are enjoying a wonderful breakfast you raise your mug and bagel to the Poles.
There are bagel stands all over Krakow. My heart belongs to the one right next to my foreign language school. The woman there knows me now and knows what kind of bagel I always choose... z serem (with cheese). Actually, one day it appeared that there were no more bagels with cheese left so I was content with getting a sesame seed bagel, when all of a sudden she looked at me, pulled out a cheese one and said Jeden. Just one left... for me?? She smiled and handed me the bagel. She officially is the best bagel lady in all of Krakow.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Funny story time, the first morning in our hostel was quite an adventure. Petro, Caroline and I were sitting in the kitchen enjoying our “breakfast snack” when another guy staying in the Hostel came in. He threw some toast into the toaster and left. All of sudden, his toast practically caught on fire filling the entire room with smoke which then triggered the fire alarm. The guy came back into the kitchen, clearly embarrassed and awkward, followed by a disgruntled hostel employee who was clearly not happy about the almost smoky fate of Nathan’s Villa Hostel. It was quite a fantastic way to start off our adventures in Wrocław.
Saturday we meandered through the city, weaving in and out of small cobblestoned streets. The Rynek was the first stop, where we admired the beautiful architecture and clock. After taking several photos we made our way to St. Elizabeth’s. A beautiful church with quite an interesting history. It is the first church I've seen where there were no stain glass windows. The church was bright and beautiful, and the feel is completely different from any other church because of the windows behind the altar. They reach from floor to ceiling. After spending some time in that church, we walked to the Cathedral, another beautiful edifice.
The weather was cold, but we beat it with the help of Chococoffe. A local café, serving delicious chocolate treats. We all chose the same Chococoffee, a scrumptious combination of espresso and melted chocolate. It hit the spot perfectly.
Daily boosts of entertainment of our trip came from the little, almost completely hidden gnomes. Yes, gnomes. A simple word that when uttered results in nothing but laughter. There are 50 hidden all around the city, creating quite the scavenger hunt. Unfortunately we did not find all 50 but relished in the search all the same.
One of the most interesting parts of the trip was visiting the cemetery on All Saints Day. Poland is full of traditions, especially those related to religion. On this day family and friends light candles on the graves of loved ones. No grave is without a candle. While this day may not be as vibrant as the celebration in Mexico, it is beautiful and fascinating all the same. We went at night allowing the full effect of the holiday to hit us. While I’m sure it is beautiful during the day, at night the cemetery is glowing. It is eerie and luminous. The surrounding mood ranges from those enjoying some drinks to those deep in prayer. Everyone visits the cemeteries. The whole country practically shuts down on this holiday.
I enjoyed Wrocław, and will hopefully return again someday, preferably when it is warmer.