We have enjoyed our short time in Poland. At our hostel in Krakow, we met a entertaining group of high school graduates from Warsaw who had just finished their matriculation exams (tests that determine their college futures). They spoke great English and we had a good time talking with them, and sampling some Polish vodka. They clued us in to some great food to try and invited us out to a night club.
At first we sampled the food here lightly, just pieorgis (stuffed potato dumplings), gołąbki (cabbage stuffed with rice with a creamy mushroom sauce) and barszcz (beet soup). We especially enjoyed the saurkraut and mushroom stuffed pieorgis. The high schoolers were adamant that we try the apple cake, cheese cake (sernik) and the barszcz with the dumplings, all of which are very good. We had many bakery treats, which are very good and not very heavy.
In the Kazimierz district, there was an interesting folk museum focusing on folk traditions in southern Poland. They had traditional clothes, instruments (one like a sort of bagpipe), kitchen items, Christmas decorations, Easter eggs, and other displays. It was interesting to see their traditional Christmas decorations, which included Christmas trees and elaborate paper snowflakes, which where used as ornaments. The displays also showed that before the arrival of Christianity, they had a tradition of having carol singers go around the towns at the time of the winter solstice, but dressed up in costumes similar to Halloween (to ward off evil spirits). When Christianity arrived, they changed the tradition a little (similar with the Easter eggs), and so maybe now they don’t dress up as either a grim reaper, ghost or devil before heading out for Christmas carols. The museum also had some really nice displays of decorated Easter eggs.
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