Classic Krakow – Exploring Kazimierz

When I visited Krakow in 2019, I avoided one particular area for a reason my furry blue brain cannot explain. I think it is because of the close links to Auschwitz-Birkenau, Dachau and Kraków-Płaszów concentration camps. A visit to the ghetto area within Krakow affected me in a way which is incomprehensible. Maybe it is because of the modern-day buildings which are beginning to remove the effects of the second world war on the city. I was filled with an emptiness because it felt like an important act of history is slowly being erased. My photographer and I have been lucky enough to meet survivors of the holocaust which is an incredible experience. Subconsciously I think I avoided the Jewish district because it would bring their stories to life. I will admit I briefly made a visit to Kazimierz in 2019 to eat at some very delicious restaurants. Since then, I wished I had spent more time exploring.

Kazimierz is a really big area in central Krakow, known for its abundance of eateries. Though there is a small sign announcing where you are. The district gives off a cool eclectic vibe like nowhere else in Krakow. Once the bustling heart of Krakow’s Jewish population, it is slowly reclaiming its identity. I decided to spend the morning in the Botanic Garden of the Jagiellonian University before exploring the streets.

This botanical gardens has to be one of my favourite places in Europe. I could spend days here wandering around the palm houses getting lost in the small paths. The newest glasshouse has opened and I felt tiny wandering among the palm trees. Though my favourite area was the tropical fruit trees outside. Greenery is my favourite as is walking through the peaceful glasshouses. I divided my time with the indoor and outdoor plants. I had timed it perfectly for the flowers, my last visit was later in the year and some of the flowers had finished.

After the busy days I had previously had, a morning of relaxation was very welcome. I even made friends with a few fishes, dragonflies and even found a pumpkin for Halloween. There is a great oak tree near the centre of the botanical gardens. The tree is one of Poland’s last remnants of the primeval forests. I always like to visit the tree because I like to think it was a young tree while the dinosaurs were alive.

I made one last trip through the hibiscus into the glass house filled with interestingly shaped flowers. Realising it was lunchtime and there was nowhere for lunch in the botanical gardens, I decided to visit Kazimierz. It is a really short walk but we can all guess who went the wrong way and ended up taking the scenic route. I headed along grzegórzecka under the train line and down a back road into the Jewish Quarter.

My lack of planning turned out to be a great thing because I went around many streets I would have overlooked on the map. I passed several delicious looking restaurants before settling on Pierwszy Stopieǹ. The decor of the restaurant is green and it is filled with plants. I cannot fault the food or drinks here, the menu is small but incredible. I spent a long time trying to decide which of the delicious veggie options to choose. The tempura battered oyster mushrooms and a baked sweet potato with green pea and mint sauce was like a fancy vegan fish and chips. Homemade mint lemonade paired perfectly. It was so good I returned to the restaurant a second time (not on the same day).

I had to roll out of the restaurant because I ate my lunch and half of my photographer’s salad (I have no regrets). This resulted in me having a post lunch snooze in the handbag of doom whilst my photographer relaxed by the Vistula river. Krakow’s September sunshine was the perfect background for a snooze.

Heading back to Kazimierz, I spent a while simply letting myself get lost. By doing this I found a beautiful old square with a really great feel to it. I loved reading the small plaques which told the story of the area. This led on to Szeroka street which has some ancient and beautiful buildings. I loved seeing all of the quirky antiques in the windows.

Exploring is thirsty work so I allowed my photographer to choose a coffee shop. Cytat cafe was just around the corner and I’m pleased I let my photographer choose. It is a library and oh so instagramable. I enjoyed a slightly more expensive iced coffee with an inspirational message, I only wish I had taken my book.

My final stop was a very famous staircase, well I took another wrong turn and found a beautiful mural behind a synagogue. Shindler’s List passage is hidden through a doorway off Jozefa Street, not far from Starka restaurant. It is a sight worth seeing but I found it underwhelming. There is a cafe in the area which took away from the story of the street.

Prior to hearing back along the river I popped into the beautiful Corpus Christi Basilica. A very ornate church set in grounds which are filled with an air of grace. After this I headed back along the riverside to my hotel as it was time to pack up my suitcase and get ready for my flight home.

Sauropod on Microsoft Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

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