Monday, December 18, 2006

A Very Krakow Christmas





Although we've deserted charismatic Krakow, we can't help blogging about it. The days before we left the city were filled with eating up all the food in our fridge and packing away our belongings, but they were also filled with as much Polish culture as we could squeeze into those hectic hours.

The Krakow Christmas market is a joy. We realized why Poles seem to love Christmas so much--it's b/c Santa and his real reindeer really do make the trip from up North, and the edible delicacies on display are out of this world. I know I go on and on about the oscipyk--the goat cheese from the mountains--but it really is worth going on about. First of all, there are 4 huts stationed around the rynek (square) that look like oversized barrels. Well, they are oversized barrels. But people sit inside these big barrels and serve you your choice of hot mead or mulled wine. I highly recommend the mulled wine. Why hasn't America caught on to the mulled wine yet?! Get with it America. So you grab a steaming cup of wino gzone (the Polish name for this delicious beverage), and move on to the cheese stand. Here, they will serve up a dripping, hot, roasted nougat of oscipyk from right off the grill and give you a dollup of raspberry jam on top. They're 2 zloty a piece, which is a bit expensive (relatively), but I kept going back...and back...and back. I think my lunch that day consisted of 4 or 5 nougats of cheese and, of course, my wino gzone. Could it get any better? Bhadri says yes. The big log of meat at the end of his fork is real-deal Polish sausage: kielbasa. He was just about as excited about the kielbasa as I was about my oscipyk--and that's saying something. Once you get your food (and you might want to grab a few warm, fresh, honey-roasted pumpkin seeds or almonds from the stand next door), you can make yourself at home on any of the wooden benches set up around the market exterior. It's freezing cold, and you're having a hot picnic lunch in Europe's biggest and grandest square. Seriously, folks, it's something special.

Oh, and how could I forget? The live reindeer. They are the cutest, albeit awkward, animals (Booster=exception) I think I've ever come face to face with. I stood there and stared at them for minutes upon minutes. Bhadri had to drag me away. They have the largest hooves, they just look too big for the rest of their bodies. You know, like big-dog puppies when they're all feet! And they really didn't seem to mind hanging out with Santa and getting their [illegal] photos taken all day. Hence the "no photos" sign. Ok, I know it's unethical or whatever, but they wanted to sell poster sized professional photos in lieu. Come on. Besides, I think one of the reindeer winked at my after I snapped the shot!

1 comment:

kara said...

I'm hungry after reading that post. Say hi to the reindeer for me.