I’m going to begin this article by answering the question people always ask when I say I went to Poland: “Poland? But why did you decide to go exactly to Poland?” Well, I decided that after becoming friends with a Polish guy who was doing an internship in my city. Me and all the Brazilians who knew him were curious about this city, he always said good things about it: everything was cheaper than in Brazil, every place had internet connection and you could depend on the public transportation’s schedule.
In February of this year I was able to see with my own eyes the famous Cracow. Already on the airstrip I started to compulsively take pictures of everything I could see through the window: snow, planes, houses and all other trivial stuff that looks special to travellers. And even during my last days there I would take pictures like a Japanese tourist – for each step, 100 clicks!
The people and the old lady who speaks Polish crazily
The Polish people were, in general, nice and the treatment in bars, restaurants and stores was good. Besides that, the majority of the young people – for my eternal happiness and relief – could speak English. About the Polish Language, from my point of view (or from my lame hearing), the best way to describe it would be to imagine a phone or a television set which are not working and started to sizzle; always a lot of SHHHH, like the sound we do to ask for silence. This is more or less my feeling whenever I heard Polish.
A Brazilian friend and I went to this shop to buy a drink, because she wanted to buy some special vodkas. But the owner of the shop was an old lady who couldn’t speak English. Later on, when telling the situation to some friends, this Brazilian friend of mine said something like: “Oh, we went to buy vodka and it was so funny, the woman was speaking Polish like a crazy person, and we couldn’t understand anything!” The answer of one of our Polish friends was: “She wasn’t speaking Polish like a crazy person. She was simply speaking Polish.”
All our ignorance regarding the language ended up being funny sometimes, because it was impossible not to laugh after hearing the cashier pronounce a simple number that for us seemed like a very long and unintelligible sentence. From time to time the smile was contagious and even the cashier couldn’t manage to avoid smiling back. Another curious thing is that whenever I got lost (yes, it happened more than once!) I had to show the name of the street that was written in my cell phone, because I didn’t know how to pronounce it – not that things are so different here in Germany, but anyway…
Despite sounding pretty different from Portuguese, the Polish language shares with us some common words but with different meanings. Example: drugs in Portuguese are called droga, while in Polish droga means road. I could mention another word, but I’m afraid this one would be inappropriate…
Prices (for Brazilians)
Beautiful. Marvellous. Excellent. I arrived there with two bags and after 15 days I left with three of them, so I could pack everything I bought.
See what I said right above. Oh, and it’s nice to point out that there’s a very nice second hand market in the Jewish district.
On the first day I found the city pretty simple and kind of dirty – not exactly the idea of Europe that is spread in Brazil. However, soon the graffiti and the simplicity of the city became one of the main charms of it. Especially because despite the outworn aspect outside, on the inside almost every place was very well decorated, cosy, extremely cute and lovely. Just so you can have an idea of my amusement (or maybe of my mental issues) regarding the decorations: I almost came back to a restaurant only so I could take a picture of its restroom, which I still intend to do so in case I make a second visit to the city.
The entrance to the clubs is usually free and there’s always a place to sit – something that, for me, who do not dance – is essential. One of the most beautiful places in my opinion was the surrounding of the Wisla river, especially when it was covered by the white snow. I also recommend a visit to the Wieliczka salt mine and to a super cool cinema – where when you look back you can see the movie’s roll running – which I forgot the name (sorry!).
I’m very picky with food. Therefore my opinion about it shouldn’t be taken very seriously. Anyway, I tried the pierogi and at some places they were really good. Another typical food there is the zapiekanka, which I did not try due the presence of mushrooms.
Snow, legends, castles, dragons, etc. Cracow is one of the loveliest and cosiest cities I have ever been to. I’m not surprised that it is often compared to a fairy tale. I hope I can go back someday (and take the picture of the restroom), and maybe visit some other cities like Warsaw, hometown of the great Krzysztof Kieslowski.
Well, by the end of my staying the snow started to melt and turning into mud (I think I left at the right time!) and there I was carrying my 3 huge bags on the way to Hamburg.
Now, how about your opinion? What’s the cutest city you have ever been to? Share it with us!