Midsummer in the Nordics is a festival of light. It is the longest day of the year, and in the north, people can even enjoy a midnight sun. Now that it is over days will start becoming shorter again. Contrary to its name, Midsummer is actually just the start of the real summer here in Sweden. July and August are the warmest months of the year, and also when most people take their summer holiday. We will both be working though, so that we can take our holiday during our annual Christmas escape to Asia. *sigh*. But that is still far away. Luckily we got some holiday while spending Midsummer in warm and cozy Krakow. Here are some pictures and highlight from our trip.
When we were choosing a destination, we had three options: Krakow, Prague and Vienna. Later on we also considered Budapest (due to my Tokaj obsession), but Krakow took the title with its promise of beautiful architecture, good food and low prices. All promises were delivered. Krakow, unlike other Polish cities, was not heavily bombed during World War II. Therefore, most of its historical buildings are still intact and in good condition. It was a real treat for a photographer. Our tour started from the Krakow castle, continued around the park surrounding old town, and ended on the main square with St. Mary’s Basilica. In between we took breaks to drink coffee, and have bites to eat. My favorite eats around the historical part of town were: Klimaty Poludnia wine house, Sweet Life American Bakery and Jawa Coffee Company.
Another positive experience during the trip was Krakows booming nature wine scene. I am not sure how this came to me as such a surprise. Many great nature wines I have tasted lately have been from Eastern Europe. Not necessarily from Poland, but countries, like Hungary, Ukrane and Georgia. Krakow seemed to have picked up on this trend as well, with two importers doing a great job gathering goodies from all directions. We visited one of them: Krakow Slow Wines, and sampled the other importers selection at restaurant Karakter. A very funky trip I can say. I will write more about both places in the coming weeks.
The third thing worth mentioning is the overall price level. Looking at flights and hotel costs was one of two main reasons we chose Krakow, and the same great value continued with food and wine. Spontaneously, I could say that it was around half of the price-level of Sweden. If we would have had more luggage with us we would have bought plenty of more wine to take home. Eastern European wines, especially nature wines are poorly available at the monopoly, and twice the price in places were we usually buy then like London and Paris. Now we squeezed in seven bottles into our check-in luggage. That will take us through the summer. Maybe. But I think we need to take a trip back to top up at some point. Anyway, two days in Krakow was too little.