Welcome to aÂ new feature of the TEFL Express blog, TEFL Nomads on the Road. The first Tuesday of every month will include a short pictorial journey from one of our TEFL Nomads on the road. This month’s installment come from Stephanie Fiero in Krakow.
This month we’re in Krakow, a beautiful Eastern European city famous for vodka, pierogi, and fire-breathing dragons. TEFL Express staffer Stephanie explains why you should get to know this Polish paradise.
Is it close?
Krakow is best for teachers in Eastern Europe who love train travel or those with a Ryan Air or Easy Jet hub nearby.
Is it expensive?
Nope. By Eastern standards, it’s normal. By Western standards, it’s cheap. You’re looking at 15 zloty for a meal and 10 zloty for a pint or a shot of vodka. But you’re in Poland, you should be drinking vodka.
What should I do?
Spend time in Rynek (the market square) people watching or wandering through the cloth market – it’s not only for cloth and people have been selling things there for 500 years! After Rynek, have a stroll down the streets of the Old Town. Be sure to check out the art for sale next to the old city gate! Wawel Castle is at its best at night. After looking around the grounds, go down the hill to the river to see the dragon. If you’re a history buff, visit the Kazimierz neighborhood (the old Jewish quarter), Auschwitz is a day trip, and Schindler’s factory is in the city.
Okay, you’ve convinced me. What else should I do?
The Wieliczka salt mines are a nice day trip. You will have to walk down stairs into the mine, but there’s an elevator to bring you back up. If you have a few days, go to Zakopane – a city in the mountains on the boarder with Slovakia.
Any language pointers? Sure! They use the Latin alphabet, which is really helpful. Remember cz = ch, sz = sh, w = v, and Å‚ = w. You will be fine using only English, but if you want to be polite, try some Polish!
Czesc = cheshch = hello & goodbye
Prosze = prosheh = please
Dziekuje = gin-ku-yeh = thank you
Przepraszam = pshe-pra-sham = excuse me & I’m sorry
Krakow is amazing! I find new and exciting things to do every time I visit. You should definitely find time for Babci Maliny. They have good old fashioned Polish food and I make a point to stop in every time I’m in town. Their pierogi menu is huge, but everything is good. Definitely make time to sit by the dragon and watch him scare all of the tourists. My favorite thing to do in Krakow is to spend time by the old city gate, look at the art, and watch the painters. I spent way too much money on one last time I was there, but it’s a prized possession! At night there are usually people in Maly Rynek (the small square) selling grilled oscypek cheese. Buy some. You will not regret it. It’s best with cranberry sauce. And don’t forget to enjoy the vodka. Zoladkowa is a personal favorite. It’s slightly bitter and delicious with Sprite. Every bartender is familiar with a “zoladkowa z spritem.” You should also try Soplica (hazelnut vodka) and Zubrowka (bison grass vodka, best with apple juice). If you’re truly daring, get a Mad Dog shot (wsciekly pies). I won’t tell you what’s in it, but I will tell you that I love them, I don’t know anyone who hates them, and my father special orders ingredients so he can make them at home.