Friday, April 29, 2011
After arriving in Krakow and establishing ourselves in one of the best hostels ever (in my opinion) TJ remembered of a free walking tour of the city. We decided we hop on over there and check it out. I must say that the tour was worth it. First of the guides are from the actually area, they have to take an 8 month course, and pass a state exam in order to be guides. The difference for them is that they do it for free and you decide at the end how much to pay. So they took us through the old town showing the last standing walls of the castle and the guard towers. We walked down the Royal Road to the town square near St. Mary's Church. We then made our way to the Bishop's Palace where John Paul II lived as was the active bishop during his time. We then headed towards the Royal Castle and the Cathedral on top of Wawel Hill. Our final stop was the statue of the Dragon of Krakow where legend says he terrorized the city. The king offered virgin sacrifices for him to eat. Finally the only virgin left was his daughter but he offered her up as a prize for anyone who could defeat the dragon. All brave warriors came but were killed in their attempts. Finally a poor cobbler's apprentice stuffed a lamb with sulphur and fed it to the dragon. The dragon's stomach became so upset that he ran to the river and drank and drank until he exploded. So the cobbler's apprentice married the princess and lived happily ever after. Anyways that concluded our walking tour which if you are ever in Krakow, Poland I highly recommend it. We returned to the old town and stopped to get some pierogis at a recommended restaurant. Hmmm...they were delicious. While there we met a new friend from South Korea named Garam. She was visiting friends before she had to go home which seemed to be what a lot of people were doing. Once their studies were done they wanted to travel before having to return home. I thought that was neat. That night we ate dinner at the hostel (they prepare it every night but they will soon end it). After a salad buffet, some pasta, and sangria TJ and I decided we would join in on the Polish beer and vodka tasting. So we headed over to the junior hostel where the event was held. We were in a secluded room with 10 other people and they had some music playing and our "guide" informed us we'd be having about 10 shots of vodka. It was also here we made new friends from France, Ben and Camille. Now we were expecting straight up vodka made in Poland however here they have lots of flavored vodkas. We had cherry, raspberry, hazelnut, lemon, mint, and one they called the Maddog shot. It's a shot filled with vodka, raspberry syrup, and tabasco. Now most didn't like it but I thought it was quite unique and tasty. It was definitely something different. After the shots we headed to a bar where they served beer in these tall "pipes" and they place them on stands with taps. We amongst the 13 of us we had two pipes. Each pipe held 5 liters of beer. Once those were done we headed to a club where it was just packed on a Wednesday night. Continuing our fun we left and made our way looking for a bar. We stopped in one place had two shots and left since we felt it was time to go. After stopping for a kebab (I got mine wrapped in a tortilla) we headed back to end the evening.