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Today we drove from Vienna (departing around 8:30am) to Krakow (arriving around 4:30pm). The route took us across the eastern side (Moravia) of the Czech Republic. Originally, we’d intended to stop in Moravsky Krumlov the long-standing home of Alfons Mucha’s Slavic Epic series of paintings. However, they’ve been moved to Prague, which is probably a better home and an excuse for us to return there too. :-) Instead, we stopped in Olomouc—pretty well off of the tourist path and known for the socialist clock (actually an astronomical clock in a Socialist Realist style) that adorns its town hall—for a brief visit and lunch. The visit was especially brief—about an hour—as we were (I think) parked illegally due to my inability to figure out where/how to pay for my parking spot.

Olomouc's Socialist Realist astronomical clock

Olomouc's Socialist Realist astronomical clock

The onward drive to Poland was slowed down by road work and at one point a sudden and inexplicable closing of the highway near Ostrava just before reaching Poland. This caused much confusion to the GPS unit, which wanted to keep routing me back to the aforementioned closed section of highway. For a while, I tried just ‘driving toward Poland’ hoping this would cause the recalculation to ‘catch on.’ No such luck. So, I eventually just stopped the car and added a waypoint inside of Poland and away from the non-existent highway. All told, I think the detour added 30 or so minutes to our travel time. This was only the second time that the GPS (briefly) failed us on the trip, and it’s really made the journey virtually stress free (especially as I’d pre-programmed all of the key destinations in the “favorites” list before our departure from home).

We’re staying at another Radisson Blu in the heart of Krakow. It’s a fine hotel choice in a great city. While we didn’t have a chance to explore too much of the town yet, what we’ve seen we really like! And, we don’t regret for a single moment the decision to come here (though it involves two fairly lengthy driving days for us). It’s full of character and very beautiful. We did manage to make it to the swoon-worthy Main Market Square.

Libby and Emerson in Krakow...

Libby and Emerson in Krakow...

We also had what might just be the single best meal I’ve ever eaten in Europe… and for an amazingly low price. We happened upon a place called Miod Malina (“Honey Raspberry”) that’s seemingly recommended in all of the guidebooks and generally requires reservations. We lucked out and grabbed a table for four (the advantages of eating early on toddler time) before the crush of patrons really started. The restaurant does both Polish and Italian dishes (sometimes as a fusion) remarkably well. I won’t belabor with details but highlights included: gorgonzola, pear, and cranberry crostini, tomato soup w/ dumplings (out of this world good—Emerson shared this with me), potato pancakes with meat stew, meat stuffed dumplings with caramelized onions, and a warm Krakow-style cheesecake (somewhat akin to New York-style with a more assertive/tangy cheese flavor). Amazingly, we had all of this food (plus the stuff I didn’t mention)… basically starters, mains, and desserts for everyone plus drinks for about $55 (with tip). That’s $55 total, not per person… for one of the best and more expensive restaurants in town. Clearly, Scandinavia this is not… :-)

Raspberry Panna Cotta at Miod Malina ("Honey Raspberry")... excellent food and service!

Raspberry Panna Cotta at Miod Malina... excellent food and service!

We’re looking forward to tomorrow!

Today’s box score: +1 country (Poland); +2 for Emerson!

One Response to “Day #14: Krakow, Poland – Via the Czech Republic”

  1. Dick says:

    I have a friend who lived in Ostrava until moving to Slovenia for work. I’ll see if he can get the road reopened. (jk). Enjoying the posts – always interesting and informative. Keep them coming.

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