The slow crawl into spring called for a much needed winter break to Krakow. Not knowing what to expect, the city drew cultural comparisons to Berlin with an abundance of art galleries and veggie/vegan options. From the three day trip here are the highlights:
This charming cafe was first opened by the Jewish Culture Festival Association and is a former prayer house. With a large open space with wooden furnishings, Cheder hosts lectures, film screenings, concerts and other events promoting Judaism; with an in-house library of Jewish-related books. Their menu offers probably the best hummus ever, accompanied by warm pita bread and vegetables for dipping. With a relaxed atmosphere and wifi it also seems a good place to work or study, with many locals on laptops enjoying a delicious cup of Israeli coffee.
Bunkier Sztuki is a self-funded, cultural institution located in the very centre of Krakow. It is a gallery of contemporary art as well as a platform for gathering and expanding knowledge about Polish and foreign culture. Attached is Bunkier Cafe, a quirky terrace of worn wooden tables, mismatched chairs and exposed concrete. Enjoy the continuous flow of dog-walking locals and map-touting tourists outside, this artsy cafe boasts some seriously good people-watching.
Pictured below is the work of Beili Liu, part of the ' Lure Installation Series', it borrows from the ancient Chinese legend of The Red Thread, which tells that when children are born, invisible red threads connect them to their soul mates. Over the years of their lives they come closer and eventually find each other, overcoming great social divides or physical distances. The piece makes use of thousands of hand-coiled disks of red thread, each pierced at the centre by a single sewing needle, enabling its suspension from the ceiling.
Krowarzywa promises that by eating with them you are guaranteed that you are providing your body with the best, fresh and wholesome ingredients. Everything served is 100% plant-based and produced with care for animals and the environment. They only offer: vegan burgers with ingredients from healthy, local and seasonal products, their our own recipe baked buns, homemade sauces, fruit and vegetable smoothies, fair trade tea and coffee and vegan cakes.
MOCAK aims to present the two last decades of post-war avant-garde and conceptual art, highlighting its ethical value and relationship with everyday reality. The institution considers it an important challenge to reduce prejudice against very recent art. Tucked behind Schindler's Factory, the building alone is impressive with its avant-garde styling and ultra-modern layout. The museum branding is comparable to the brand identity for the Whitney Museum of American Art, with the angular icon not only based on the letter form but the architecture of the building.
Pictured left is Stanislaw Drózdz, a poet, an artist who focuses on the word and space, and a creator of concrete poetry. He treats his poetic/graphic artwork as an analysis of the reality of language, especially its visual forms.
Pictured right is Maria Wasilewska's installation titled 'WONderland', although the title suggests a miraculous land the slight linguistic twist accentuates 'won', the Polish imperative for “get out”. The installations questions what happens to the human brain when it is attacked by politics. Staying in there too long may cause your brain to stop working properly, deprived from different stimuli. Wonderland refers to an atmosphere of political oppression and of dangerous ideological intrusiveness.
Vegab is proud of its signature mix made of tofu, legumes and some secret ingredients. But it’s the entire composition that steals the show – the current menu is inspired by the best flavours from all over the world. From hummus and tahini-soaked Beirut to Aloha topped with mango chutney and pineapple, the Vegabs are more than just fast-food – they’re an absolutely delicious concept to experience. All the goodness is tucked in a really small place, located more or less in a place where Kazimierz meets the Old Town.