Krakow, Poland

The first weekend of December I visited Poland for the first time with my friend Anna, who’s friend had kindly allowed us to use her apartment in Krakow for the weekend.  It was freezing cold but somehow that suited this beautiful, ancient city.

15356497_10157948403440220_6188196418494837377_nIt was snowing on the first night as we trudged around looking for somewhere nice to eat.  We picked up a bottle of whiskey and sipped it on the way to keep warm, and eventually found a lovely traditional little place that did the best fried potato pancakes with mushroom sauce and meat skewers, and this super-tasty smoked cheese.  The wine was awful though, for some reason, so we had some vodka to drown out the taste.

Then we went to a  club called Prozak that was playing really good trap and hip-hop.  We danced there all night and enjoyed the considerably cheap drinks.  Even though it was Thursday night there was a great vibe and it went on until 4am, presumably because Krakow is largely a student town and let’s be realistic – who actually goes to class on a Friday?  The music and atmosphere were so good we didn’t even get tired, despite dancing almost non-stop the entire time we were there.  Unfortunatey when leaving we found our bottle of whiskey which we had left with the bouncers had been knocked over and smashed, but we’d had such a good time we didn’t mind.

The next day we spent a while trying to find somewhere for breakfast, because I was fixated on getting eggs and bacon, as usual.  However that took so long that we ended up just having lunch instead.  We found another lovely traditional restaurant and shared a half duck and soup with goose dumplings and goats cheese salad, all of which were great.  There seems to be really good food in Poland, something I didn’t know before.  Also excellent beer and vodka, of course.

15317885_10157948401900220_290906182463744715_nAfter lunch we explored the city a bit and discovered a traditional Italian restaurant called Corleon’s, with some interesting statues of mobsters outside.  We didn’t go inside but took some photos with them.  Then we took a long walk around the walls of the city, burning off our huge lunch on the way home.

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We bought another bottle of whiskey on the way home as we were planning to have a little nap and then a few drinks before going out that night. However the nap never happened and a few drinks became more drinks until the bottle was finished, and we were both very drunk and dancing around the living room.  This continued for a few hours until it got dark and we decided we’d need to venture out and find food to sober us up.

We stumbled about for awhile, exploring an Irish bar and the red light district before finding a nice looking pizza place.  I was severly drunk by this point but I remember the pizza being quite good.  Then we went to a strip club because Anna had never been and we thought it would be a laugh, but it was a tiny rubbish one so we only stayed for one drink and declined their kind offers of a ‘lesbian experience’ private dance?!?

We needed to find a club and although Prozak the night before was amazing, we were keen to try something different.   Unfortunately the elusive Jewish quarter, where apparently the best clubs are, was proving difficult to find in our inebriated state and so we ended up in some awful student cheesefest and made a hasty exit after one drink.  By this point it was too cold to wander any longer, so we went with what we knew would be good and returned to Prozak.

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This turned out to be a good decision, as the music was just as good as the night before.  We danced a bit too long and hard to some crazy drum & bass in the second room until I got a blister on my foot and hurt my neck.  15337516_10157948405445220_3399092186787872654_nWe also found another basement room playing some really good Berlin techno, but unfortunately they closed that floor early.  We didn’t stay quite as long this time as we arrived late, but it was enough to sate our clubbing needs and we stumbled home eventually at about 3am.

The following day after some coffee and croissants we explored the Christmas markets and got some exquisite polish kielbasa sausage and sauerkraut for lunch.  Then we had a coffee indoors to warm up, visited one last traditional local pub for a final drink, and headed off to the airport.  All in all an awesome little weekend getaway!

Clubbing in Berlin

Berlin Summer

Berlin is a pretty awesome place in summer.  Most of the clubs have awesome outdoor areas so you can go clubbing at night and then relax in the sun during the day.  The only problem is the best ones have a prohibitively strict door policy which can make getting in quite difficult, especially in larger groups.

The most successful weekend we had was when there was just four of us, and we all managed to get into Berghain by dressing correctly, splitting into couples and going just before midnight on Saturday when it opens.  I had arrived from London the night before and was meeting my friends at Offside, the most famous whiskey bar in Berlin.  Unfortunately, my flight was delayed and by the time I got there they were closing, so we just went to another bar nearby for a few drinks and then got a relatively early night.

Offside Bar
Offside Bar

Sisyphos

The next day we chilled most of the day and headed off to Berghain around 11 pm. After waiting in the line quite a short time we got in and got our stamps. Then we headed off to Sisyphos, another club we were going to spend the night at before returning to Berghain in the morning.

Sisyphos
Sisyphos

Sisyphos is awesome!  They have an amazing outdoor area with treehouses and a beach-like chilling area with sand and a small pond with a wooden walkway.  They also have a separate upstairs area with a swimming pool and whiskey bar.  Indoors there are two dancefloors with huge, crystal clear sound systems and some of the best techno I’ve ever heard.  We danced for most of the night and then chilled outdoors once the sun started to rise.  I had a short nap for about two hours in the pool/whiskey bar section before we headed off to Berghain at about 11 am.

Sisyphos
Sisyphos

Berghain

Berghain very much lives up to its reputation – hard relentless techno, a huge cavernous interior, a fair amount of nudity, people having sex in the dark rooms and a pretty much anything-goes attitude. They obviously have a very strict ban on photography so I didn’t dare try to snap any pics, but it’s too dark inside anyway.  They also a very nice outdoor area, although not quite as lush as Sisyphos – no swimming pool or treehouses here, more just a concrete backyard with some sun-loungers, platforms to sit on and a few trees for shade.  I found the music at Berghain too hard – it’s really only for extreme, dedicated techno fans and I found it quite difficult to dance to for extended periods.  However, there are many other areas to the club to enjoy and we explored all of them – making use of the dark rooms, the chilled upstairs dancefloor called Panorama bar and, of course, the outdoor area.

Sisyphos
Sisyphos