Pierogi Paradise – Krakow Day 1

After an hour delay at Gatwick Airport and a send off of torrential rain, our plane took off. We landed in Poland, the land of pierogi, at 13:30.

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We’re staying at the Yarden Aparthotel, about a ten minute walk from the centre. It’s a lovely place and the rooms are small but cosy. There were friendly staff to greet us after a short queue to check in, and the porter showed us where breakfast would be served in the morning. Then unpacking commenced.

It did not take long to be reacquainted with the beauty of Krakow. Being the only one of my party to have previously visited, I enjoyed showing them the sights and leading them down to the Main Market Square. Here we were roped into riding in a horse and carriage for 100 PLN (around £17).

The trip lasted half an hour and took us on a quick tour around the city, so if you’re up for some photo opportunities from the comfort of the carriage, go for it. If not, then just snap some pics of the beautifully dressed horses.

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Obligatory souvenir shopping took place, after changing our money at a Kantor on Ulica Sławkowska, one of the roads leading off the Square. This is the Kantor with the most favourable exchange rates for GBP, and can be found opposite the restaurant Fabryka Pizzy.

Once several postcards, a tourist guidebook, and a shot glass had been purchased to add to my collection, food became the main priority.

When in Poland, although there are many traditional Polish dishes, pierogi is a must have. Similar but still completely different to English dumplings, they come in a wide variety of flavours – as in 50+ flavour combinations. The most common are ruskie, which are filled with cheese, potato and onions. There are also plenty of meat types for the non-Vegetarians amongst us.

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See, if you eat these delicacies in England, which I do quite regularly in fact, one meal can cost you £12 per person at a good quality Polish restaurant. In the land itself, however, you’re looking more at £12 for three people eating full portions, with extra toppings such as sour cream, butter, and onions, plus desserts and drinks. This above meal was eaten in Pierogowy Raj, a restaurant found again on Ulica Sławkowska at the top end away from the square. The quality and the value of proper Polish pierogi is simply unbeatable.

The only downside to eating out in Poland (is there really a downside?) is to watch out for tax. Roughly 23% is added to all the food on the bill, plus around 8% for drinks, so you can see the price rise up from what is advertised on the menu. At the end of the day, though, you can find yourself eating all kinds of amazing dishes for a tenner for the whole family. Who can argue with that?

That brings me to the end of our adventures so far. Stay tuned for more updates as we leave bright and early tomorrow for our tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

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