By Barb Fraze
St. Leonard’s Crypt below Wawel Cathedral dates to the 11th century. It holds the tombs of Polish royalty and military heroes. Father Karol Wotyla (St. John Paul II) celebrated his first Mass as a priest in the crypt. The city, once the royal capital of Poland, will host the international World Youth Day in July. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
There’s so much to experience in Krakow and its surroundings that it’s difficult to parse a list of helpful tips and favorites. However, while traveling with Poles around Poland last year, CNS contributor Nancy Wiechec was able to come up with a short list to pass on to World Youth Day pilgrims. Print out or save to your phone for quick reference.
Key Polish words
Dzień dobry (Jeyn dob-ry) Hello or good day, formal
Cześć (Chesht-sh) Hello or goodbye, informal
Spoko (S-poko) Cool, no problem
Dobrze (Dob-sheh) Good or well
Dziękuję (Jen-koo-yeah) Thank you
Magiczny Kraków (Ma-geech-nih Krah-koof) Magical Krakow
Obwarzanki for sale in central Krakow. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Foods to try
Pierogi: These Polish dumplings come filled with savory meats, cheese or seasoned cabbage and mushrooms. There are also fruit-filled varieties. They come boiled, fried or baked.
Kabanosy: Thin, dry smoked pork sausages that are a good on-the-go snack. Think jerky. Krakowski Kredens Tradycja Galicyjska in Krakow sells them and other Polish delicacies.
Obwarzanki: These chewy dough rings, sometimes shaped like a pretzel, are sprinkled with salt, poppy and/or sesame seeds. Get them fresh in the morning from street carts across Krakow. At about 1.5 Polish zloty (40 cents), they are a bargain.
Zapiekanka: A toasted half sandwich roll topped with melted cheese, mushrooms and ketchup was a Communist-era omnipresent street food. It’s made a comeback with better quality and a seemingly infinite variety of toppings.
Zurek: Poles love a good soup. This savory broth of soured rye meal and herbs is often made hearty with fresh Polish sausage, hardboiled eggs and bacon.
Kremówki papieskie: A favorite of St. John Paul II from his hometown of Wadowice, papal cream cake is now a sought-after sweet across the country.
This is an interior view taken in early September of St. Mary’s Basilica in Krakow, Poland. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Main Market Square and St. Mary’s Basilica
Wawel Castle and Cathedral
St. Peter and Paul Church
Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy
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