When we met Kaska from Crazy Guides, when she came to collect us from our apartment for the Communist Tour in Kraków, I felt like I’d met her someone else before… Later, on our drive, she mentioned that she had an additional job bartending to put herself through university. Do you work at Dym? I asked. She did!
Dym is our favourite bar in Kraków. A dimly-lit, unpretentious, atmospheric place in the Old Town, we drank there quite a lot on our first visit to Kraków years ago, as it was just around the corner from the apartment we’d been renting. This trip, we returned to Dym our first night back in Kraków.
The bar staff – Kaska and a friend – were both friendly. I asked for some advice on something warming to drink and they made suggestions. Later, I noticed Kaska intently reading stories in a local entertainment newspaper, and made a mental note that she might be a good person to ask for tips on bands to see.
Spooky that she should turn out to be our guide. After spending half a day with her squeezed into that teensy little Trabant, how could we not ask her to share her Local Knowedge on Kraków for this series?
Q. So what do you most love about your work as a guide?
A. I love it because I can meet new people, and get to know new cultures and customs. Thanks to our customers I can travel all around the world. I really love to drive our retro cars: Nysa, Fiat, Lada, and especially the Trabant. The people who live in Nowa Huta also make my work better. They’re very honest and true. Plus the atmosphere at our company is like a family, where everyone is treated equally.
Q. Why should people come to Kraków?
A. People should come here because Kraków is full of history so there are many, many, very interesting places to visit.
Q. 3 words to describe Kraków?
A. Charming, magical and unique.
Q. 3 ways to describe the people of Kraków?
A. Helpful: if you ask anyone for directions you’ll always get an answer, even in sign language.
Friendly: people in Kraków will always smile at you.
Artistic souls: they don’t only follow money, but also try to find some joy in the things they do.
Q. Your top recommendations for visitors?
A. Visit Nowa Huta, Kraków’s communist district, Kazimierz, the Jewish district, and Kosciuszko mound for great panoramic views.
Q. Best souvenir?
A. It depends for whom the souvenir is for… no idea.
Q. Must-do eating experiences?
A. The best place to eat for me is Żłób, one of the hardest words to pronounce in Polish, a canteen on Pędzichów Street (#20) that is non stop busy. It’s impossible to find a table during lunch time. The best meal is kotlet schabowy z ziemniakami i surówką (pork chop with potatoes and salad) – yum! The price is relevant to the quality.
Q. An essential thing to know before coming to Kraków?
A. In Kraków there are almost 200,000 students so that’s why Kraków never sleeps. Kraków’s old town is famous for the largest number of pubs per square meters!
Q. Most important phrase to learn in Polish?
A. Poproszę piwo – can I have a beer, please? You’re going to use it very often!
Q. Any other advice?
A. Be prepared for some heavy drinking.