We drove another two hours to finally get to Krakow, stopping on the way to eat McDonald’s for lunch, which kind of sucked because I really only eat fries and Oreo McFlurries there and they didn’t have Oreo McFlurries.
I haven’t eaten meat there in over three years and there’s no way that’s changing just because I left the country! (Katie, however, was in heaven, even with Uncle Ray making “horse meat” jokes the whole time).
We were all so relieved to be off the bus when we arrived at our hotel. Our room is much bigger than our last one, bigger than most American hotel rooms, and it has a really deep, long bathtub. I was most excited to see a towel warmer next to the bathtub because I’ve wanted one for a while now, only to find out they only work in the winter.
After getting settled into the hotel, we set out to visit the Krakow main square and eat our traditional Polish meal accompanied by folklore. The main square of Krakow is amazing. I could have stayed there all day and night. Mom and I did some shopping in the market in the middle of the square and bought some things for ourselves as well as people back home.
The dinner we ate will probably be one of my favorite memories from the entire trip, for so many different reasons.
As you may suspect, being a picky eater, I don’t exactly enjoy many traditional Polish dishes. I ended up eating some of the dinner and, of course, dessert, which consisted of gingerbread cake, apple cake, and cheesecake.
The atmosphere of the restaurant is what made it so memorable.
It really didn’t even matter that I didn’t eat much because I just had so much fun! The restaurant itself was actually a 600-year-old place that noblemen lived in during that time. It had arched brick walls and was very authentic.
Then there was the folklore. There were two dancers (a guy and a girl) who also sang and they were with a band made up of a flute player, clarinetist, cello player, and a violinist. They were all dressed in traditional Polish clothing and played old Polish music.
The dancers pulled some of the people from our group to polka with them in front of everyone. Of course, Katie and I were among those chosen to get up and dance and we loved every second of it!
Then came the vodka. If Poland had a national drink, it would definitely be vodka. After dinner, there was a vodka sampling of a Polish vodka and a cherry vodka. Cherry being my favorite flavor, I figured I may as well try it.
Katie and I counted down to three and drank it at the same time. Let’s just say I don’t see me having a future as a vodka drinker. It tasted like extremely potent cherry cough syrup. That’s the last time I do that, and I barely had a small sip!
Everyone at the restaurant was impressed by our entire family singing Sto Lat before we drank our vodka. Sto Lat is the Polish equivalent of Happy Birthday, but literally is translated to “may you live 100 years.” Every time we have a birthday party or a big celebration in our family, we always sing Sto Lat. I don’t even remember learning it as a little kid, it seems like I’ve just always known it!