Wednesday, July 17, 2013

New Kraków Discoveries

Let's see...This week so far has led to some new discoveries about Kraków.

Monday Andy tasked me with a challenge: find "American" celery somewhere in Kraków.  Since he has been sharing parts of American culture (i.e. snacks) with his coworkers, they have become more and more interested in unique American food innovations.  For example, last week he introduced the staff to s'mores.  Another idea for a snack he had was ants on a log.  (You know, celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins on top.)  We had brought peanut butter to share from home, and raisins are easy to find, so we were looking for the celery last week.  Although the Polish word for celery is similar to English (seler), Poland's version of celery that we found was not what we needed:
With the help of Łukasz, one of Andy's coworkers, we discovered that there are two types of celery: the one shown above, which is more of a celery-root vegetable, and seler naciowy, which is the kind we're used to. 

So, I was on a quest to find seler naciowy.  After some initially fruitless Google searching, I stumbled across a possible location to find the elusive vegetable: a market within walking distance of the Old Town called Stary Kleparz.  Sure enough, soon after I started shopping, I found what I was looking for!

We plan to have the snack for the staff on Friday.

Yesterday, I also made new discoveries about Kraków, because I went on one of the free walking tours available for tourists.  This tour was specifically about the areas of Kazimierz (the old Jewish Quarter) and Podgórze (the Jewish Ghetto during the Nazi occupation).  The tour guide was very knowledgeable and funny, and I loved it because it was an opportunity to learn more things about my surroundings.  One thing I learned was that at one time, starting back around the 15th century, Poland was home to 70% of the world's Jews!  I also got to see more of the remnants of the ghetto and hear more of the true story of Oskar Schindler.  

 The Jewish cemetery in Kazimierz.

A remaining portion of the ghetto wall in Podgórz.

Perhaps the most valuable part of the tour was the map and information about other tours that the guide gave us at the end.  I will definitely be checking those out for things to do!


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