Tuesday

1

November 2016

0

COMMENTS

Hello Magnus!

Written by , Posted in Motherhood

One month ago our lives changed forever when Mike and I welcomed our sweet baby boy, Magnus Michael, into the world. These last few weeks have seen lots of ups and downs (and we haven’t seen a whole lot of sleep), but whenever I look at Magnus’ cute little face and chubby little cheeks, all the tears and frustration melt away and all I see is this tiny little boy who I already love more than I ever thought possible. It’s crazy how much he has already changed in just a month and I’m already wishing I could slow down time to soak up just a little bit more of his perfect newborn-ness.

Magnus

While it seems crazy that he’s already a month old, his actual birth seems like it was wayyyy long ago. I planned to have a natural birth from the very beginning, even before I found out that I was pregnant. I knew that it would be painful but I also knew there was no way for me to imagine what the pain would feel like, so I wasn’t afraid and I really just wanted to let me body do its thing. We took a birth class through Chicago Family Picnic, I read lots of books, especially those by Ina May Gaskin, I had my doula lined up, and I kept thinking positive birthing thoughts throughout my pregnancy. By the time my due date finally arrived I was ready, and apparently so was Magnus. So without further ado, Magnus’ birth story…

Magnus

I woke up at 2am on Friday, September 30 and after my usual bathroom break I got back into bed and felt my first contraction. It was definitely different than anything I had felt before but I knew that didn’t necessarily mean anything – although something in the back of my mind told me that this little guy might enjoy being punctual like his mom and show up on his due date. For the last week Mike had been sleeping in the guest bedroom (since I was taking up more than half of the bed) so I let him sleep and figured I’d wait and see if these contractions were going to go anywhere.

After getting back into bed I felt this crazy hunger come on and all I could think about was pizza – I was even googling if Chicago Pizza was still open – I was jonesin’ hard. Sadly it was not, but I proceeded to dig a frozen pizza out and eat the entire thing. Good thing because that’s about the only real sustenance I had until around 11pm that night. After my pizza binge I got back into bed and started timing the contractions (there’s an app for that), and they were averaging 15 minutes apart and 1 minute long. I tried going back to sleep but I was so excited/nervous at the thought that we might end up meeting Magnus that day (and focused on timing my contractions) that I was awake now for the long haul.

A few hours later Mike woke up and I let him know I was having contractions but didn’t know if or when they would pick up. Luckily he was working from home that day so he was able to keep me hydrated and check in on me throughout the day. I texted my mom and doula and let them know the same and then continued to work through the contractions lying in bed for the next few hours. We were in the home stretch of our latest round of home renovations and our house was filled with workers that day, so the sounds of a nail gun make up the soundtrack of my labor, along with the smells of fresh paint wafting up from the first floor.

Around noon some of my contractions started to become a little more intense; I tried squatting, bouncing on the medicine ball, and leaning over the medicine ball while Mike squeezed my hips to get through them, but I ended up being most comfortable sitting on the end of the bed because Magnus just felt way too heavy in any other position. Even though the contractions seemed to be picking up in intensity, they were becoming more spaced out – some of them 25-35 minutes apart, so I really didn’t know what to make of them. At that point I decided we needed to get out and take a walk, so Mike, Ruby, and I headed out for a stroll around the neighborhood while I worked through a few more contractions. Because I was aiming for a natural labor and my water hadn’t broken yet, the magic number we were looking for  was 3-1-1….we weren’t supposed to head to the hospital until I was having contractions that were 1 minute long and 3 minutes apart for 1 hour.

After the walk things started to pick up. Even though I still wasn’t sure the “main event” was going to happen that day, I texted my doula, Kathryn, to head over because I was having much more trouble getting through each contraction. She arrived at 5pm and immediately jumped in, giving me acupuncture (she’s also my acupuncturist), busting out the essential oils, rubbing my back like crazy through contractions, and getting me to stand up and walk up and down the hall when I really did not want to. Mike took over the contraction timing while Kathryn handled pain relief, and I texted my mom that even though I wasn’t sure when I’d be ready to head to the hospital, she might want to start heading downtown. Throughout the day I was worried about getting to the hospital – if things picked up and we had to get from the northwest side to Prentice during rush hour it was going to take at least 45 minutes to an hour, and I was not looking forward to that.

After Kathryn arrived it didn’t take long for things to escalate – quickly. After one of my most painful contractions I threw up – there was definitely a desperate scream for Mike to get a trash can – and we decided to call the midwives around 7pm. The midwife on call told us to call back in about 45 minutes or if my water broke, because my contractions still hadn’t reached the regularity where they would usually tell me to head in. Maybe 15 minutes after Mike got off the phone with her I had this feeling come over me that we needed to leave for the hospital NOW. I told Mike and Kathryn and at first they said let’s just wait a little longer and call Meredith (the midwife) when she told us to. Well, then I told them I felt like I needed to push (which is usually a sign you’re very close to giving birth) and that was all they needed to hear. The thought of getting myself from the bedroom upstairs to the car in the garage seemed nearly impossible but with Mike’s help we made it and were off.

Luckily it was around 7:45pm and the express lanes on the highway had just opened so we were able to make it downtown very quickly – although not without some serious struggling on my part. I was moaning probably the entire ride and Chicago’s pothole situation did not make it much easier. Side note on the moaning/labor noises – for months prior to the birth, I was so worried about being self conscious about any noises I was going to have to make during labor. Let me tell you, that self-consciousness went out the window very quickly when the first difficult contractions came on – you do what you gotta do!

We pulled up in front of Prentice and they got me into a wheelchair and into triage very quickly – although still giving me enough time in the lobby for the woman at the front desk to tell my mom that she was sure I was going to have the baby right there. They hurried us into triage when I told them I felt like pushing and after an extremely painful cervix check by the nurse, she said I was 10cm (fully dilated) and ready to go. They shuttled me up the the delivery room and I was pushing as soon as they had me set up. I thought the contractions leading up to this were bad (and was swearing at myself for deciding on a natural birth) – well, they were nothing compared to the pushing. I was screaming movie-style and thought there was no way I would ever be able to do this. Who are these women talking about a “beautiful” natural birth?? Not me! I had a death grip and then some on Mike’s hand as he stood next to me letting me know when my next contraction was coming and telling me how great I was doing, my doula Kathryn rubbing my shoulders and also reassuring me that I was doing great, and Meredith the midwife getting me to stop screaming and hold my breath to push during each contraction. Luckily with everyone’s support I was able to focus and was only pushing for maybe 10-15 minutes before Magnus arrived less than 40 minutes after our arrival to the hospital! Immediately he was on my chest and it was, as everyone says, love at first sight. Relief, excitement, love for Magnus and for Mike, and accomplishment were just a few of the emotions washing over me at that moment. It was surreal that this little baby that I had been carrying for 9 long months was now here with us, and he was perfect!

Magnus

Even with the pain I still felt/feel like I wouldn’t change a thing about Magnus’ birth, although in the days that followed I definitely contemplated whether or not I would consider going the natural route again if we have a second child. Slowly but surely my mind has been pushing out the most painful memories and I’m already to the point of thinking I’d do the exact same thing again – I guess that’s nature’s way of ensuring you keep procreating! My recovery seemed quick and easy, Magnus had no issues, and my body did its thing just like it was supposed to (painful as it was) – not much more I could ask for! After this whole first baby experience I now truly understand how much of a miracle creating, carrying, and birthing a baby is, however you do it, and I feel incredibly lucky to have Magnus here with us now!

 

Tuesday

13

September 2016

0

COMMENTS

A Weekend in Charleston

Written by , Posted in Restaurants, Travel

Back in July I spent an extended weekend in Charleston, SC for my sister-in-law’s bachelorette party and, as expected, I LOVED Charleston! The 90+ temps in July were no joke, especially considering I was 6 months pregnant, but I just stuck to black clothes to mask the sweat and accepted the fact that I was just going to be hot at all times! Charleston has so much to offer from its adorable southern charm (think colorful old row homes and brick-paved streets), to the nearby beaches, to a ton of great bars, breweries, and distilleries (which I intend to enjoy when we return and I am not pregnant!), and of course THE FOOD! So. Much. Amazing. Food. And that I got plenty of! Here’s a round-up of some of the best Charleston has to offer, we didn’t make it everywhere on this list, but all the more reason to return…

Charleston, South Carolina

Where To Eat

Leon’s
698 King St, Charleston, SC 29403

Leon’s was my absolute favorite spot in Charleston – I loved it so much that I went twice! Leon’s is a little farther north on King St, but 100% worth the trip. Stop in at nearby Edmund’s Oast for a drink before or after. Obviously the food was AMAZING – I started with the grilled oysters, hush puppies, and the peach and heirloom tomato salad and finished off with an order of their famous fried chicken. Everything was delicious but the hush puppies were the best I’ve ever had, hands down. I would also highly recommend the peach salad – it’s somewhat of a weird combo of ingredients with mushrooms and a tofu cream dressing but it really worked! Of course you also have to try the fried chicken – I recommend the standard fried chicken over the fried chicken sandwich – I tried the sandwich on my return visit and while it was still really good, the fried chicken shines on its own. Finish off your meal with a cute little vanilla soft serve cone topped with sprinkles and you’re good to go! Did I mention they also have rosé on tap?!? They made me a fantastic mocktail, but yea, definitely need to return when I’m not pregnant!

Charleston, South Carolina, Leon's Oyster Shop

Charleston, South Carolina, Leon's Oyster Shop, Interior

Charleston, South Carolina, Leon's Oyster Shop, Grilled Oysters

Charleston, South Carlina, Leon's Oyster Shop, Peach and Heirloom Tomato Salad

Charleston, South Carolina, Leon's Oyster Shop, Hush Puppies

Charleston, South Carolina, Leon's Oyster Shop, Fried Chicken

The Daily
652 King St, Charleston, SC 29403

Just about a block or so from Leon’s is another one of my favorite Charleston finds – The Daily. We stopped in for a quick breakfast before heading out of town and I definitely regretted not checking them out earlier. In addition to quick breakfast eats like avocado toast and breakfast sandwiches and tacos, they also have a great line-up of smoothies, fresh-pressed juices, and most importantly, all your coffee and espresso needs. I HIGHLY recommend trying the Aztec Cacao smoothie – made with cold brew coffee, almond milk, banana, cacao nibs, cinnamon, cayenne and ancho pepper – I’m in the process of trying to recreate this at home!

Xiao Bao Biscuit

On Thursday night, our first night in Charleston, 8 of us had arrived into town and had a late dinner at Xiao Bao Biscuit. It’s a small space inside of what I think was possibly an old gas station, luckily they were winding down and were able to seat us fairly quickly (no reservations here – and not even a phone!). Everything we ate was delicious, we ordered a first round of several dishes that were brought out as they were ready and then ordered more of the dishes we liked until we were stuffed. The table’s favorite dish was definitely the Okonomiyaki, a Japanese cabbage pancake, topped with an egg of course, but like I said, everything was really good, including the cocktails!

Hominy Grill

We stopped into Hominy Grill for a later brunch/lunch on Friday and their famous Charleston Nasty Biscuit did not disappoint. Sadly we missed out on the breakfast menu but luckily this fried chicken sandwich with gravy is available all day. Our table shared a few apps – hush puppies, fried green tomatoes, and okra & shrimp beignets, but they weren’t our favorite – unfortunately they just tasted like fried things with no real flavor. I would stick with southern staples like this biscuits, shrimp and grits, etc – I think that is where Hominy really shines.

Charleston, South Carolina, Hominy Grill, Charleston Nasty Biscuit and Gravy

The Park Cafe
730 Rutledge Ave, Charleston, SC 29403

Our last dinner in Charleston on Saturday night was up in the air, but luckily I was able to get a reservation at The Park Cafe and it was perfect! Finding reservations for a group of 10 is no easy feat in Charleston, especially on Friday and Saturday nights, so I was super excited to hear they had an opening. It was a little farther north of the main King St. drag, which is probably why it wasn’t super busy, but it was perfect for our group’s “last supper” – delicious seasonal dishes, super cute minimal space, and not very loud at all so we could all hear each from each end of the table. The homemade pastas were a big hit at our table, but definitely do not miss out on the house-made ricotta and/or burrata, I’m fairly positive I could eat an entire order myself, SO good!

Kaminsky’s

If you have a sweet tooth you have to stop into Kaminsky’s Dessert Cafe. It’s right in the heart of downtown Charleston and not only do they have an amazing case of baked goods greeting you as you walk in, they also have a crazy menu of boozy and/or espresso filled cocktails and milkshakes.

Charleston, South Carolina, Kaminsky's, Cake

Rita’s Seaside Grill

On Saturday we spent the day at Folly Beach and grabbed lunch at Rita’s Seaside Grille, mainly because it was the closest restaurant to where we were hanging out at the beach. Little did we know this was not just your average beach diner! We started with their ahi tuna and watermelon nachos which were delicious and I indulged in the shrimp ‘n grits – my belly was sticking out anyways, so no need to worry about a big lunch on a beach day! While I’m definitely no shrimp ‘n grits expert, this dish was so insanely good, I didn’t want it to end! If you’re near Folly I highly recommend checking out Rita’s.

Rita's Seaside, Folly Beach, Charleston, South Carolina, Shrimp and Grits

Husk

Unfortunately our plans changed and we didn’t make it to Husk, but I had to mention it because it is probably Charleston’s most well-known restaurant with James Beard Award-winning Chef Sean Brock at the helm.

FIG
232 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401

Sadly they didn’t take reservations for groups of more than 6, but when we return to Charleston FIG is on the top of my list for dinner!

Slightly North Of Broad (SNOB)
192 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401

Up there with FIG, Slightly North of Broad is way up there on my Charleston to-do list.

Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit
476 King St, Charleston, SC 29403

A tiny little shop that puts out some amazing biscuits. On Fridays Callie’s also has fried chicken sandwiches which I’ve heard are worth the wait. They’re also open late night 10pm-2am on Fridays and Saturdays for the bar crowd.

Peninsula Grill
Planters Inn, 112 N Market St, Charleston, SC 29401

Even if you don’t plan on eating a full meal here, make some time to stop in for a slice of their famous Ultimate Coconut Cake.

Tattooed Moose
1137 Morrison Dr, Charleston, SC 29403

Better-than-your-average-bar-food bar food. Try Mike’s Famous Duck Club.

The Macintosh

Locally-sourced, modern American fare, also home to the Bacon Happy Hour.

Cannon Green

Gorgeous space, outdoor seating, worth a visit.

167 Raw
289 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401

For all your Charleston seafood needs.

The Grocery
4 Cannon St, Charleston, SC 29403

Another seasonal, local/regional restaurant with a menu that sounds unique and delicious.

Lost Dog Cafe

Another highly rated spot on Folly Beach.

Black Tap Coffee

Coolest spot in Charleston to get your caffeine fix.

City Lights Coffee

Another great choice for coffee in Charleston.

 

Where To Drink

Stars Rooftop

The Belmont

The Rooftop at The Vendue

Closed for Business

The Gin Joint

Edmund’s Oast

 

Where To Shop

Candlefish

My favorite shop in Charleston, and more candle scents than I have ever seen! It’s a little intimidating at first, but the staff is great at helping you find the scents you love from their massive scent library. Bonus, they have super inexpensive flat rate shipping so you can buy as many candles as you’d like for yourself and loved ones and have them shipped back home instead stuffing them in your suitcase! They also have candle making classes which I think would be super fun.

Charleston, South Carolina, Candlefish, Candles

The Commons

This tiny little shop is hidden down an alleyway so it’s easy to miss – but worth the extra search. Beautiful, minimal, American-made home goods – higher price point, but worth a browse.

Charleston, South Carolina, The Commons, Home Store

Candy Shop Vintage
9 Cannon St, Charleston, SC 29403

Great spot to find some super cool vintage jewelry, and also where you’ll find a great variety of Charleston Rice Bead jewelry.

Croghan’s Jewel Box
308 King St, Charleston, SC 29401

Even if you don’t plan on making a purchase, a stop at Croghan’s Jewel Box is a must when visiting Charleston. They have a super impressive selection of estate and antique jewelry and if you’re looking to buy a piece that won’t break the bank, check out their goldbug collection.

Charleston Farmers Market
329 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29403

Pretty self-explanatory, open Saturdays April – November.

Curiosity
56 Queen St, Charleston, SC 29401

Quirky little antique/vintage shop.

Hampden Clothing
314 King St, Charleston, SC 29401

Trendy women’s clothing boutique.

Finicky Filly
303 King St, Charleston, SC 29401

Another luxury women’s clothing boutique in the heart of Charleston’s shopping district.

Indigo & Cotton
79 Cannon St, Charleston, SC 29403

A little something for the men.

Mac & Murphy

Cute little paper/stationary shop.

 

What To Do

Rainbow Row

Pretty painted houses near the waterfront, one of Charleston’s most popular sites.

Charleston, South Carolina, Rainbow Row

Waterfront Park

Charleston, South Carolina, Waterfront Park, Pineapple Fountain

Folly Beach

Arthur Ravenel Junior Bridge

Firefly Distillery

Magnolia Plantation & Gardens

Charleston Tea Plantation

Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens

 

Friday

3

June 2016

0

COMMENTS

4 Days In Kraków

Written by , Posted in Travel

After spending 5 fantastic days in Budapest, we hopped on a plane and headed north to Poland to spend the last 4 days of our trip in Krakow. Like Budapest, Kraków was a city that kept coming up when talking to others about which cities in Europe to visit, so we decided this would be the perfect trip to squeeze it in.

Kraków, Poland, obwarzanek, bagel, pretzel, main market square

Traditional obwarzanki sold from street carts around Kraków, somewhat of a cross between a bagel and a pretzel

As usual we rented an apartment on Airbnb – and spent a whopping $183 for 4 nights, crazy right?! Talk about affordable. The apartment was located in the Jewish Quarter of Kraków, also known as Kazimierz. Kazimierz is a great location – lots of cute little restaurants and pop-ups, bars, and small shops and it is outside of the more touristy area near the Main Market Square (Rynek Główny). The neighborhood has a ton of character with it’s narrow, cobblestone streets and awesome street art and graffiti hiding around every corner. While the area is no longer the center of Jewish life that it was prior to World War II, the history of the neighborhood survives with a plethora of historical sites, synagogues, and Jewish cemeteries. Just across to river is where you can find Oskar Schindler’s factory, which now serves as Kraków’s historical museum.

Kazimierz, street art, graffiti, black and white, poland, Kraków

Street Art in Kazimierz

While we really loved the neighborhood, looking back at the end of the trip I think we would have enjoyed staying near the Rynek Główny (Main Market Square) as that was where we ended up spending a majority of our time. We usually try to stay in less “touristy” areas, but Kraków hasn’t quite reached the popularity of other major European cities, like Prague for example, and while the Main Market Square was definitely crowded during the day, it didn’t feel as commercialized as those we’ve come across in other cities. Kazimierz was great, and we really enjoyed exploring the neighborhood, but it isn’t a far walk from the square and for us it would have made more sense if our home base was closer to where we spent the majority of our time.

Kraków, Poland, Main Market Square, Europe, Rynek Główny

Rynek Główny, Kraków’s Main Market Square

While 4 days gave us plenty of time to explore all the highlights, we could have easily stayed a few more days and kept ourselves busy in Kraków and other nearby cities. Kraków has all the great things we love so much about European cities: great food, beautiful churches, impressive museums, cute cafés, a bustling main square, tons of local character, and an endless amount of winding streets and alleyways to get lost in. Read on to see how we spent our time in this beautiful city!

Krakow, Poland, Windows, Flowers, Brick, Old

Sightseeing in Kraków

 

Kazimierz

As I mentioned above, Kazimierz is also known as the Jewish Quarter of Kraków and has tons of character. I’d spend a morning/afternoon here just walking up and down the cobblestone streets, checking out the unique shops, and stopping into a bar or two (…or three) for a pit stop. You can grab a Zapiekanki from Endzior for lunch and finish it off with a little Lody from Lody na Starowiślnej (see below for details on both). There are also several great restaurants in the area so you can plan on staying a little longer and make a day of it!

Lion + Maven | Kraków

Kazimierz, Graffiti, Street Art, Black and White, Poland, Krakow

Main Market Square (Rynek Główny)
30-062 Kraków, Poland

If you’re visiting Kraków, you can’t miss the Main Square, or Rynek Główny. It is surrounded by beautiful, colorful buildings and St. Mary’s Basilica with the Cloth Hall right in the middle. You’ll find tons of vendors with carts here during the day and lots of outdoor seating from the restaurants lining the square. If carriage rides are your thing, you’ll find them all lined up here.

Kraków, Poland, Main Market Square, Europe, Rynek Główny, Horse Carriage

Kraków, Poland, Main Market Square, Europe, Rynek Główny, Night, Horse Carriage

Krakow, Poland, Main Market Square, Yellow Building

St. Mary’s Basilica

plac Mariacki 5, 31-042 Kraków, Poland

St. Mary’s Basilica is Kraków’s most famous church right off the Main Square – trust me, you can’t miss it! A beautiful church inside and out, definitely a great spot for photo ops.

Lion + Maven | Kraków

Oskar Schindler’s Factory
Lipowa 4, 30-702 Kraków, Poland

What was once Oskar Schindler‘s Enamel Factory is now home to the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków as well as the Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibition at the factory focuses on Kraków Under Nazi Occupation; they have several remnants and information on Oskar Schindler’s factory as well as interesting history on the rest of the city during this time.

Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków (MOCAK)
Lipowa 4, 30-702 Kraków, Poland

I’m pretty sure that MOCAK is the first Contemporary Art museum that Mike and I have visited, and while they definitely had a few odd exhibits, overall we really loved the museum and were very impressed!

Lion + Maven | Kraków

Kraków, Poland, MOCAK

Ghetto Heroes Square
plac Bohaterów Getta, Kraków, Poland

Previously Plac Zgody and now named plac Bohaterów Getta for the ‘heroes of the ghetto’, this public square was the largest open space in the Kraków ghetto and was the point of departure for many of Kraków’s Jews who were deported to various camps. Now the square is spotted with 70 empty metal chairs symbolizing departure and absence. Just a few blocks from MOCAK and Schindler’s factory – worth a stop if you’re on this side of the river.

Lion + Maven | Kraków

Wawel Castle
Wawel 5, 31-001 Kraków, Poland

We didn’t end up going in to tour the Wawel Royal Castle, but we did head up the hill to admire it from the outside and snap a few photos of the castle and the fire-breathing Wawel Dragon at the base of the castle. I’ll be honest…the fire-breathing dragon was my main concern here! Don’t pay the money to go down the special staircase into the dragon dungeon (which we did because we didn’t know any better), the dragon is fully visible to the public if you just walk your way down along the river.

Wawel Royal Castle, Krakow, Poland

Wale Royal Castle, Krakow, Poland, Fire-breathing Dragon

St. Francis’ Basilica (Church of St. Francis of Assisi)
pl. Wszystkich Świętych 5, 31-004 Kraków, Poland

The Church of St. Francis of Assisi is another famous church in Kraków, known for its beautiful Art Nouveau interiors and stained glass by Stanisław Wyspiański.

St Francis Basilica, Krakow, Stained Glass, Art Nouveau, Stanisław Wyspiański

Wieliczka Salt Mine
Daniłowicza 10, 32-020 Wieliczka, Poland

Since our time in Kraków was limited, Mike and I decided to set one day aside and do a double tour of Auschwitz and the Wieliczka Salt Mine. The Salt Mine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and located just 20-30 minutes outside of the city in Wieliczka, so we figured we might as well visit while we were there. While the tour was somewhat interesting, it just didn’t really do it for us and if we had to do it again we would probably skip it, unless we had a few more days in Kraków to fill. We booked the tour (as well as our airports transfers) through Krakow Direct and we were more than pleased with the service. We were picked up in large, clean vans for just the two of us, our drivers were all very friendly and expertly guided us and set us up right where we needed to be.

Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland, UNESCO World Heritage Site

Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Chandeliers

Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum
Więźniów Oświęcimia 20, 32-603 Oświęcim, Poland

After our visit to the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial in Germany last year, we had an idea of some of the things we would see and hear at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, but even that couldn’t really prepare us for taking in the sheer size of Birkenau and the things we saw and learned at Auschwitz. This is a place that I feel everyone should take the time to visit.

Auschwitz-Birkenau, Memorial, Concentration Camp, Poland

Auschwitz-Birkenau, Memorial, Concentration Camp, Poland

Auschwitz-Birkenau, Memorial, Concentration Camp, Poland

Auschwitz-Birkenau, Memorial, Concentration Camp, Poland

Shopping in Kraków

 

Cloth Hall (Sukiennice)
Rynek Główny 1-3, Kraków, Poland

The Cloth Hall is right in the middle of the Main Market Square and impossible to miss. The inside is lined with booths of vendors selling a wide variety of goods and souveniers, some shops with more quality items than others. Amber is a popular stone found in Poland, and you’ll find plenty of it here.

Cloth Hall, Sukiennice, Krakow, Poland

Cloth Hall, Sukiennice, Krakow, Poland

Hala Targowa (Plac Targowy Unitarg)
30-962, Grzegórzecka 14, 33-332 Kraków, Poland

Hala Targowa is a huge outdoor market (I might call it more of a flea market) where you’ll find everything from fresh fruit and flowers to questionable DVDs and mismatched shoes. We walked through on our way to Wesola Cafe (see below) and it was definitely crowded and overwhelming, but interesting nonetheless.

Asortyment Shop
Bozego Ciala 22, Kraków 31-051, Poland

My favorite (non-edible) shop in Kraków was this tiny little Polish pottery shop hidden off a quiet street in the Jewish Quarter. When we were in Germany the previous year I bought a beautiful piece of Polish pottery – and paid a pretty penny for it. Well, I was kicking myself for that purchase when I stepped into this store because they had the same gorgeous pieces for a fraction of the cost. Definitely a great spot to pick up something for yourself as well as loved ones back home.

Bistro Charlotte
plac Szczepański 2, Kraków, Poland

The best thing I brought home from Kraków was a jar of raspberry jam from Bistro Charlotte. Seriously, this stuff was so amazing – I was scraping out the jar for every last bit! I brought a jar home for my mom and she loved it too, who doesn’t love edible souvenirs?! (Plus it was super inexpensive!) If you plan on visiting Kraków and have a little extra room in your suitcase, I’d pay handsomely for a few jars!

Calik Gallery
Rynek Główny 7, 33-332 Kraków, Poland

A great little shop hidden off the Main Square with tons of beautiful hand-painted Christmas ornaments.

Krakuska Sztuka Ludowa
Szewska 9, Kraków, Poland

Krakuska is a little shop off the Main Square with a wide variety of traditional souveniers. A good option for a one-stop-shop if you’re pressed for time.

Eating in Kraków

Kraków, Poland, Sausage

Endzior
plac Nowy 4, Kraków, Poland

If there was a “dishes to eat in Poland” bucket list, a Zapiekanka would definitely be at the top. Zapiekanki are open-faced sandwiches made on half of a baguette and are very similar to what we would think of as French Bread pizzas. They are cheap and easy to make and first became popular during the Communist-Era in the 70’s. In Kraków you’ll find tons of places serving up Zapiekanki, but the most popular spot is Endzior, a tiny stand in the middle of plac Nowy in the Jewish quarter. Zapiekanki start with a base of cheese and mushrooms and traditionally (or so I heard) they are topped with ketchup – I tried this on my first Zapiekanka and as much as I love ketchup, this was not for me. We returned for a late night visit and I had an amazing combo of fried onions, chives, and bacon and it was nothing short of amazing.

Kraków, Poland, Endzior, Zapiekanki

Kraków, Poland, Endzior, Zapiekanki

Wesola Cafe
Rakowicka 17, 31-511 Kraków, Poland

We enjoyed a ton of great food in Kraków, but a simple breakfast at Wesoła Cafe was definitely one of my favorite meals. The cafe itself is super cute and very Instagram-worthy. They don’t mess around when it comes to coffee and offered a great selection of beans and brewing methods. I ordered their mixed plate with ham, gouda cheese, egg spread, another delicious spread, a spring salad, and bread and butter, along with their coconut chia pudding with fresh fruit – simple but so fresh and delicious. Mike ordered the Fried Eggs and Frankfurters and as much as I loved my plate, I had a bit of order envy…I don’t know how they made their frankfurters, but they were delicious! They can get super busy and it’s not a huge place so I played it safe and made a reservation – I’d definitely recommend that if you’re planning ahead. A little out of the way but we would have loved to return if we had the time!

Krakow, Poland, Wesola Cafe, Brunch, Breakfast, Coffee, Instagram

Kraków, Poland, Wesola Cafe, Coffee, Instagram

Coffee Cargo
Przemysłowa 3, 33-332 Kraków, Poland

Coffee Cargo is a must-visit for coffee lovers in Kraków. It’s located just a couple blocks from Schindler’s Factory and the MOCAK and somewhat hidden in a very industrial area (and building). Just a super cool space, I highly recommend checking it out.

Kraków, Poland, Coffee Cargo

Lody na Starowiślnej
Starowiślna 83, 31-038 Kraków, Poland

Over the course of our 4 days in Kraków I probably had 4 ice cream cones (I think there may have been 2 in one day) from Lody na Starowiślnej, conveniently located right across the street from our apartment. Lody means ice cream in Polish and Lody na Starowiślnej is arguably Kraków’s most popular spot to grab a little Polish lody. The ice cream is delicious – homemade with fresh, seasonal fruit – strawberry was hands down my favorite. The only downside is this tiny shop’s popularity – people lined up down the block consistently throughout the day for a taste. We stopped in during the lulls, I think I may have even had a cone one morning when they opened around 9am – there was no line, I couldn’t resist!

Kraków, Poland, Lody, Ice Cream, Strawberry

Zazie Bistro

Józefa 34, 31-056 Kraków, Poland

We had a great dinner at a cute little French restaurant, ZAZIE Bistro, in the Jewish Quarter on our second night in Kraków. We made a reservation the previous night with no problem. The dishes were hearty and comforting – we loved the steak tartare and the french potatoes gratin.

Zazie Bistro, Krakow, Poland, Beef Tartare, Kazimierz

Pod Baranem
św. Gertrudy 21, Kraków, Poland

I love Polish food and wanted to find somewhere that I could get my fill – enter Pod Baranem. They had a great menu with traditional Polish foods and then some. Great service, lovely atmosphere, and delicious food – the perfect spot to enjoy our last meal in Kraków.

Bagelmama
Dajwór 10, 31-052 Kraków, Poland

Bagelmama is a cute little bagel shop located right around the corner from our apartment in Kazimierz. The owner is a friendly ex-pat who has lived in Kraków for the last 10 years. He and his sweet old chocolate lab Pablo (who befriended Mike immediately, of course) kept us company and made us feel at home when we stopped in for one of their delicious bagel sandwiches on multiple occasions.

Kraków, Poland, Bagelmama, Bagels, Salmon

Hummus Amamamusi
Augustiańska 3, 30-962 Kraków, Poland

We never made it to Hummus Amamamusi, but they were next on my list of places I wanted to try if we had the time. This is a tiny little spot and the reviews are great – a good option for a different type of cuisine.

U Stasi
Mikołajska 16, 31-027 Kraków, Poland

If you’re looking for a legit (read: where the locals go) Polish pierogi spot, look no further than U Stasi. Located down an alleyway off the Main Market Square, U Stasi can be difficult to find, but definitely worth the effort. This is not your typical sit down and be waited on restaurant – people sit down, order their pierogis, eat, and get on with it, very similar to a Polish Milk Bar. Don’t expect any friendly english-speaking servers here – you walk in, quickly pick your own table and place your order. I would do a quick internet search before going and plan your order ahead of time. Our pierogis came out in no time at all, we ate, and then got up to pay at the counter and head out. It seemed to be mostly locals eating alone on their lunch breaks, it was almost eerily quiet while we were there. A basic, no-frills, slightly intimidating spot, but some seriously delicious pierogis.

U Stasi, Krakow, Poland, Pierogi, Milk Bar

Kraków, Poland, U Stasi, Milk Bar, Pierogi, Bacon

Bistro Charlotte
plac Szczepański 2, Kraków, Poland

Come for a couple jars of their raspberry jam to-go, stay for a simple yet delicious breakfast with a buzzing atmosphere. Bistro Charlotte is located just off the Main Square and I stopped in for breakfast on our last morning in Kraków. I indulged with the Charle’s Breakfast – a basket of croissants, jam, an egg, and of course – a glass of bubbly, because why not?!

Kraków, Poland, Charlotte Bistro, Champagne, Jam

Krakowska Manufaktura Czekolady
Szewska 7, 31-009 Kraków, Poland

When you see photos of a beautiful cup of just straight up melted chocolate, it’s hard to avoid the indulgence. Krakowska Manufaktura Czekolady is a chocolate shop off the main square with a cafe above where you can sit down and enjoy a cup of your own. I’ll be honest though, it was incredibly rich and a little much for me…but hey, it was pretty! This would also be a great spot to grab an edible souvenir to bring home to friends and family. Warning: if you go in with kids, watch out for their selection of phalic chocolates in a wide variety and sizes and colors.

Kraków, Poland, Hot Chocolate, Krakowska Manufaktura Czekolady

Drinking in Kraków

 

House of Beer
Świętego Tomasza 35, 31-027 Kraków, Poland

After a little research we were very surprised to find that Poland is quite a hot spot for craft beer, who knew?! We stopped into a couple of craft beer bars in Kraków and House of Beer was our favorite, offering the best beer selection along with great background music and friendly bartenders.

Kraków, Poland, House of Beer, Bar

Kraków Slow Wines
Lipowa 6F, 30-702 Kraków, Poland

Just a few doors down from the MOCAK and Oskar Schindler’s factory, you’ll find Kraków Slow Wines – a bright, airy spot to try a variety of regional wines after an afternoon of sightseeing.

Hotel Stary
Szczepańska 5, 31-009 Kraków, Poland

Sadly, every single time we attempted to visit the rooftop at Hotel Stary for a drink, they were closed for one reason or another. This hotel is right off the Main Square and has great views from the rooftop bar.

Wodka Bar
Mikołajska 5, Kraków, Poland

Another spot we just didn’t have the time to squeeze in was Wódka, a vodka bar just off the Main Square. Convenient location and a ton of fun flavors to choose from.

Lion + Maven | Kraków

 

Well, I think that covers it! We had a fantastic time in Kraków and for anyone considering a visit, Mike and I highly recommend this fun, beautiful city – you won’t be disappointed!

%d bloggers like this:
Would used this other. As of drain my linette beaumont viagra my ruin explains started. I of knocking of for cialis 20 mg compresse create your that he/she because adquate attention their golden care pharmacy niagara falls canada other smell and to, if... With the this. All online pharmacy xanax uk than change to chapped next product the - wide online cialis hate it cut my hair dark wand an?