From Nowa Huta to Kazimierz
03.03.2012 - 06.03.2012 -1 °C
Lemon vodka, honey vodka, cherry vodka, peppered vodka, bison-grass vodka and even just vodka - all this and no time, unfortunately, for more. In Krakow they have it down to a fine art and I am the unashamed consumer. When not presented in the form of a simple, but admittedly seductive, shot, I made sure to dress it up in various decadent guises such as a Tatanka, Crème Brulée, and a Bloody Mary - not quite comparable to the mixture back at home, lacking the mix of Worcester sauce and horseradish. From Rynek Glowny to Kazimierz, we occupied dark spaces and drank through indulgent smiles as if bearers of the key to some unspoken secret. Alchemia, AntyCafe, Barfly, Carpe Diem – just welcoming names that flew past on the way to casual drunkenness.
Whispers breezed through the age-darkened walls of the communist city of Nowa Huta, where we tasted the sweetest vodka of all as a palate warmer for cheese pierogi. Restauracja Stylowa housed a passion for the past that the media at home would swear blind had ceased to exist in 1989. The buildings were attractive in their simplicity and one thing you can say of the communists - they certainly understood the appeal of open spaces. Ludowy Theatre is a wonderful example of attractive Socialist Realist architecture, and is a commanding presence sat proudly within the avenues. To see all this we had jumped on a tour of some quality directed by a guide of high charisma, but whose naive quotations of Thatcher, made in support of the still largely misunderstood capitalism, became too much for me to ignore. I headed up a tour-group mutiny and he was left alone with his dog eat dog politics, but it was nothing more than a difference of opinion and we all finished the tour in good humour.
With the group dispersed we rambled in to the cold, cheerful town of Krakow, and in the company of new Italian friends we exchanged second-hand stories under the watch of a changing world.