Sunday, April 5, 2015

Snow

This year's Easter is being a snowy one. It feels unnatural like these flamingos and the peacock standing in the snow.

Have a good Easter, everybody!
 
Hanover Zoo

Hanover Zoo

Easter in Brussels, 2013

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

From Dawn Till Dusk



Cracow is a city of restaurants, pubs, clubs and cafes. One of my favorite things in life is spending all day in Cracow moving from one place to another.

Let's start in the morning. Breakfast? O.k., I would go to the First Pub in Stolarska Street on the Left when You Are Coming from Little Rynek. It is actually the name of the cafe.

I like this place especially during the warm season: the spacious interior is abandoned and customers occupy the tiny tables on the narrow pavement and decorate so the wall behind them.
People from Cracow just sit in cafes and do what they need to do: make business calls, read books, study for their classes.

High noon might be a bit hot though.
After 5 p.m. the building on the other side of the Stolarska street throws a relieving shadow towards the First Pub in Stolarska Street on the Left when You Are Coming from Little Rynek. You can spend there all day. Is the breakfast something specially tasty there? I guess, average. The atmosphere counts.


After breakfast, you need a second coffee. That is for sure. I guess you should go from Stolarska straight towards the Jewish district Kazimierz, walk next to Wawel castle, leave the royal residence to your right, walk all the time straight till you reach Wolnica square. Go to Cafe Mlynek: Cafe Coffee Mill. It is small, atmospheric. Believe me, when you get there, you just want to sit there and have a coffee. On your own. Cracow is a place to go to cafes with friends but even better to go there on your own. Nobody gives you a look, if you are just killing your time having a coffee on your own.



You have no color magazine with you and you just need to watch people? Then go to Nowy Square in Kazimierz, it is lively, populated by students and tourists. Just sit down, for example in Cafe Singer. You will most probably find this place in your city guide. The woman on this picture below watches the flea market in front of her.


Cafe Singer is named by the old Singer sewing machines which serve as tables.


Now. It is lunch time already. So let us move somewhere to get a portion of pierogi. With me in Cracow you will always get Pierogi for lunch. It is because I miss this food so much while living abroad.

Cafe Hamlet in Miodowa Street (we are still in Kazimierz) will provide you with Grandma's living room atmosphere. I remember someone in a grandma robe serving me a straightforward portion of pierogi there. Thank you!

Cafe Hamlet
Should you need a lesson of history while eating pierogi, there are options. You will find in Cracow some portraits of Kaiser Franz Josef placed in public places. It is a matter of style, to quote the Austro-Hungarian times. These days stand for a certain fashion, good taste, good old Galicja, even though back then not everything was so good. Today, the Galicja style is a quality claim. For old style dishes on the menu, or simply for a portion of good old pierogi, head to Bracka street to CK Dezerter (Translation: Imperial-royal deserter, the name is based on a title of a popular Polish movie). You will find there adequate furniture, Franz-Josef will be watching you while you are eating and the food and service are very good.


And you can also take a picture next to an imperial-royal uniform.

It is me.

You want to have lunch in a place that quotes Polish folklore? Nothing easier than that - for example at Szczepanski Square in Morskie Oko ("Eye of the Sea" - the name of the most famous high Tatra lakes, over 1.300 meters above the sea level).
It is not me. It is folklore. 
You might as well go to any restaurant claiming Polish traditional cuisine close to Rynek and have a portion of pierogi there. From cheap to expensive. And if you visit Cracow in August you might get the chance to taste pierogi at the annual Pierogi Festival at Rynek. On the picture above, Restaurant Polish Tastes photographed out of the Restaurant W Starej Kuchni - In the Old Kitchen (Ul. Sw. Tomasza).
If you visit Cracow with a pierogi yearning like I do, you might as well go in full gallop to "Chlopskie Jadlo" ("Farmhouse Food"). It is a chain and it is to be found in every tourist guide, so it is a shortcut. But it is reliable therefore recommendable: just do not make the mistake and eat all they serve you as a starter - you need some space in your stomach.

Chlopskie Jadlo: A coffee to start.



They give you thick bread slices with two buckets of different spreads, ver tasty - but watch out for this trap!



Leave the bread aside and eat...


PIEROGI!!!

It is early afternoon, you need your first beer. You can get it everywhere. I'd recommend:
It does not necessarily need to be an Irish Pub - pick any pub underneath the surface of the old city - in ancient  basements.  When the temperature brings you to melt, the sunshine burns your eyes, go underground. You will lose sense of time in a good way.


You do not want to hide away from sunshine? One of the chichi passages will provide you with a number of pubs, bars, cafes - you order a beer, cocktail or a shot. They do not care what time it is. They do not judge you.
You will find this passage between Stolarska street and Rynek.
Szoty za dwa zloty: Shots for two Zloty (4 Zloty = approx. 1 Euro)
Want to keep a cultivated bohemian appearance? Visit "Nowa Prowincja" at Bracka Street. It is founded by one of the most famous chanson singers of Cracow, Grzegrz Turnau.


You may argue that it is not always hot and sunny in Cracow. Indeed. For winterly times I suggest tea with an "electric kick" as a Pole would say. You mix into your tea a shot of rum, vodka, any kind of hard liquor. 


Enjoy it in Cafe Camelot at Tomasza Street. 
There are also plenty of tasty desserts, coffees and nonalcoholic teas on the menu.
But if you can, get yourself this tea with a shot.

And then you will feel hot and cosy...
Ready to leave into the cold?

I need you to go to Kazimierz right now. It is getting dark, you might be hungry, so maybe a dinner in a Jewish place?


Kosher kitchen is being served in many places in the district of Kazimierz. Just in case you would like to have pierogi again, you will find these on the menu in Kazimierz's restaurants too.


It will get darker now - not only outside. Also inside, as you are entering the world of Kazimierz's bars. In Kazimierz, you do not open a bar to make it modern and transparent, you open a bar for the sake of ancient bohemian romanticism, candle light, gray zones, dark side of the soul and anything that may happen when light is out.
Let me start in Eszeweria: the place in the Jozefa Street is dark enough during the day already, you drop by for a beer or for a coffee or tea with a portion of "electricity shock"...
...or normal coffee too.

Eszeweria by night:

There will be just as much light at night. In some corners, you can hardly see your friends.
They have a niche with a bed in Eszeweria where up to three people fit into. As a substitute for a table. It is not the only cafe in Cracow that offers this option. Always kind of awkward to photograph those who sit there. That is why I have no picture for you of the bed. Just another corner of Eszeweria.


If you think Eszeweria offers you too much light, go to La Habana. A bar that pays homage to Cuba, Cuban memorabilia and to people who enjoy beer and shots at Miodowa street. There are corners there you could sit naked, nobody would realize.
La Habana, upstairs. No service at tables of course.
Finishing your day and night in Cracow - there are plenty of options.

My today's choice is Piwnica pod Baranami (Cellar under the Rams) at Rynek. 
It is a place for Cracow's Jazz and Cabaret culture. It hosts celebrities and underdogs. Despite being a famous place it remains a down to earth bar in a medieval basement. Stay there on a concert night, you might be drinking with strangers till dawn.

By the way:
In near future, I would like to recommend to you on February 12th, 2015, a concert in Piwnica pod Baranami of my school friend Magda Bozyk who just released her Album "Yearning". Go and check the music on www.magdabozyk.com


This post is dedicated to all of my friends that I have been hanging out with and wasting time in Cracow over the years.





Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My favorite propaganda 2014

People write things and send their message to the world by putting them in public places. I can't but take pictures of these messages. Here is a selection of best of 2014.

Amsterdam: a warning

Amsterdam: how to sell condoms

Cracow: Elutka, you are great!

L├╝beck: encouraging questions

Hanover: a poster for a party inviting those who need an alternative to watching soccer during the world championship. "Schland" is the common abbreviation for Deutschland: Punk instead of Schland.

Hanover: the lower sentence says let our cross be colorful! 


Monday, January 12, 2015

Museum's watch

One of my favorite photography themes are guardians in museums. For many reasons. They have a strange job. They are in representative places where thousands go to watch and they yet remain unseen. They feel unwatched. I can take pictures of them from shortest distance and they don't mind as they think it is all about the exhibits.

Palace of Ludwigsburg, Porcelain Museum

Some are proud of what they do. They naturally adapt to the weird artifacts surrounding them - they correspond with them. And they mostly do it unknowingly.

This guy in the ceremonial room of Austrian National Library in Hofburg, Vienna, was walking in circle around the statue. Over and over again.

Mirroring: A guardian pictured through Damien Hirst's artwork in Hamburger Kunsthalle

Becoming a part of artwork: a guardian of Guernica, Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid

To the left: a guardian in Saint Petersburg's Eremitage, strict watch: Russian museum guardians must be trained by the military, museum in Russia is no place of fun. However, Eremitage's staff was far not that strict as Peterhof's "crew from gulag".

Feeling small? Stuttgart State Museum of Natural History


Once a splendid residence of Polish aristocracy, is Lancut in South East Poland apart of the palace an its  immense coach collection, quite dozy and provincial. Guardians on a cigarette break.

Berlin's museum Hamburger Bahnhof: Becoming alike.

Berlin's museum Hamburger Bahnhof: Who is watching over who?

Berlin's museum Hamburger Bahnhof: coming out of the jar.

Berlin's museum Hamburger Bahnhof: out of balance.

Berlin's museum Hamburger Bahnhof: in a stand by modus.