I woke up after our second night in Budapest feeling a lot better than the day before however I still slept most of the trip to Krakow. Though from what I saw of the drive through Slovakia, it was rather nice. We got in around 4 and had an hour or so to relax in our hotel before we headed into town for a walking tour and dinner. Our tour started with a visit to Wawel Castle where our tour guide entertained us with a story about dragons, virgins and princesses. We then walked through the Old Town to Main Square where we were just in time to see the trumpeter play from the top of St Mary’s Basilica. Dinner was free choice of the many restaurants around the Main Square and we ended up choosing a Georgian restaurant. I had Khinkali, a traditional Georgian dumpling in which the meat uncooked when being assembled so the juices are trapped inside. Not the easiest (or cleanest) thing to eat but they were pretty tasty.
The next day our first stop was the Salt Mines, which had among other things an underground cathedral complete with salt carvings of Pope John Paul II and the Last Supper.
Back into Krakow, we made a visit the Dragon’s Den at Wawel Castle. We then stopped at a stall selling Obwarzanki, Krakow’s famous pretzel/bagel like delicacy which we ate as we took a walk down to the Jewish Quarters. From there we wandered across the river to the site of Schlinder’s factory, which is now a museum chronicling World War 2 in Krakow/Poland. Finished our day with a peaceful walk alongside the river back to Wawel Castle, where we were meeting the bus for a lift back to the hotel.
Back at our hotel we had an couple of hours before dinner so with had the luxury of a TV in our hotel room, we watched that. At the same time we were in Europe, the Blue Mountains bushfires were happening back in Australia and somehow we managed to find an English news channel on our TV. It was rathe
r unbelievable sitting in a hotel room in Poland and seeing the footage of the fires back home, particularly for some of the group who were from that area. After dinner, it was an early bed time as we had an early start to visit Auschwitz in the morning.
While the Georgian dumplings I had while out dinner out in Krakow were nice (plus how often do you get to eat Georgian food), I was still a little bit disappointed I didn’t get to try Pierogi, the Polish version of dumplings, while in Poland. So what better opportunity than to make them now. I used Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe and filled mine with potato, onion, bacon and cheese which was rather tasty. Pierogi are boiled and then fried lighty so they also have a nice combination of being crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.
I had originally wanted to make Obwarzanki but I ran out of time with other commitments (study and work) plus seeing as I’ll probably be making Pretzels in a few days time for Germany, I thought I’d try something sweeter (and quicker to prepare). In my search I stumbled up Kolackzi, which are a cute looking butter cookie filled with jam or other fillings. Several different versions of the recipe but as I had some sour cream left over from my pierogi dough, I used this recipe with sour cream. The pastry itself uses no sugar, but the sweetness of the jam is enough and pairs well with the buttery, shortbread-like biscuit.