Poland: Dragons, Cafes + Haul

    I spent the last two weeks in Poland, and wanted to share my adventures with you.
   I adore Krakow and am so glad I have family there. Krakow has oodles of charm and character, and I could just spend time wandering down it's pretty streets.

   For the weary there are horse-drawn carriages, driven by chic ladies:

   What I love in Krakow is how the city lives. Everyone seems to be spending
There are people sitting up on top of the huge statues, and kids splash around in the fountains. (In southern Germany the statues and fountains are fenced, pfff spoilsports). Cafés, town squares and parks are filled with people, and no, it's not just tourists.

A fortune teller in a nook of the Cloth Hall:

   Not quite sure what these guys were up to. one of them even wore an anonymous cloak!

   Krakow is chock-full of churches. Most of them are beautifully Gothic, but full of baroque kitsch. Can't remember which one this is any more, but I totally love the blue ceiling:

   Oh, and dragons. There are dragon-themed playground and water park, and dragons on top of everything. You'd like it here, Khaleesi. Here are the original dragon bones hanging at the Wawel hill Cathedral:

   I climbed up the hill to the Wawel Castle even though it was very very hot. There were sprinklers everywhere, even in the royal courtyard, and all the visitors were happily getting soaked. 
    I always visit the royal cathedral. It thrills me to see all the tombs of the kings and queens in one place.

Then up the bell tower to make a wish on Sigismund's bell, before going down the hill through the dragon's cave.

   My favourite part of Krakow is the Kazimierz area. It used to be the Jewish district, and now it's full of everything alternative, hipster and artistic. Everything is a little dilapidated, and chock-full of charm.

   This cafe was called Singer, and totally went with the theme:

   I must totally mention Krakow's cafes. Nowhere else have I see so many amazing cafes, each one more atmospheric, whimsical and delightful than the other. Some of my favourites were (communism-nostalgic) Propaganda, magical Camelot, the kid-friendly yet stylish Rodzinka Cafe, and Cafe Philo.

   It was in Krakow that I met Anwen, my hair care guru. We have talked online and sent each other cosmetics, and this was the first time we met in real life. She is totally charming, the owner of the most stunning pair of blue eyes I have ever seen, and yes, her hair really is that beautiful. She showed me the best ice-cream in Krakow (or in the world? anyway, the wild-strawberry one still haunts me) (if you want to find the place go to Starowislna street and walk till you see the huge queue). We spent a lovely evening discussing blogging, bra fitting and hair care over drinks in the charming Kazimierz district.

    Compared to Krakow, Warsaw is fast-paced, spiffy and big. It reminded me a bit of Munich: everything seems larger than necessary, from sky-scrapers to monuments. The only cosy thing about Warsaw is the Old Town:

   Unlike Krakow, Warsaw's Old town has all been rebuilt after the war, since it had been bombed to bits.

  I spotted this amazing little restaurant off the Barbakan. Everything is drawn on!

Kluska Polska, Krzywe Kolo 30

       I was in the new Chopin museum, which is totally amazing because it lets you submerge yourself into the music, as his pieces are quietly playing in every nook and corner.

   I love the fact that although you have plenty of supermarkets and chain-stores,  small private-owned businesses seem to thrive as well. In Germany most private stores are pretty expensive, whereas in Poland there are plenty of normally-priced ones. 
     Here is a small vegetable store in Krakow:

   I found several nice drugstores, and of course I brought back some cosmetics from Poland, mostly based on Anwen's and Alina's reviews. Here are my spoils: two henna-based hair dyes, two leave-in conditioners, two toners, an amber scalp treatment, a hair and nails supplement, a concealer, and the famous Kallos Latte:

     As you can see I also got some rough amber (ca 10€ from a street dealer), handmade glass earrings, Wysokie Obcasy (an intelligent feminist-ish women's magazine that I love, why isn't there anything like that in Germany?), dragons and caramel sweets. Oh and also Oscypki cheeses (not shown because we had already eaten them) and bras. I also got books as well as amazing vintage clothes from my grandma, and I barely managed to carry my luggage home. This didn't stop me from buying another two cups from the Sukiennice (cloth Halls). I'm obsessed with these hand-painted cups, and bring a few every time I am in Poland. They cost something like 8€ per cup, which is really cheap compared to prices of handmade stuff in Germany:

And of course I paid a visit to this place:

   And I found some great bras that were surprisingly not Ewa Michalak! Stay tuned for reviews.

   Have you ever been to Poland? Or maybe you would like to? Also, what kind of ridiculously fragile / heavy things have you brought back from travels?

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