Warwick & The Mop!

So, I actually think I’m one of the luckiest people, to have been born and bred in such a beautiful place as Warwick!

It’s true what they say, you can take the girl out of Warwick, but you can’t take Warwick out of the girl!

I know I am probably going to be accused of seeing my home town in rose coloured specs, but the thousands of tourists that visit it every year, must prove something !

Now when I say I’m a Warwick girl, I really am!

I was born in my parents bedroom, which looked out onto the Lord Leycester Hospital! My bedroom was on the back, facing the garden! Behind our garden wall was Warwick Castle! It doesn’t get more Warwick than that!

Growing up, I have so many fond memories! I’ve never taken any of it for granted. That’s probably why, I found it so hard to move 8 miles out of town 2.5 years ago!

Yes it has changed a lot over the years. There are a lot more houses for one, but the foundation of Warwick is still there!

So what makes it so so special ? Where do I start?

  • Warwick Castle
  • St Mary’s Church
  • Lord Leycester Hospital
  • Mill Street Garden
  • St Nicholas Park
  • Warwick Racecourse
  • River Avon
  • Great canal walks
  • The town centre
  • The Mop

I used to also love the dolls museum, which is now integrated into the Military museum in St Johns.

My grandfather was the Verger at St Paul’s Church, and my grandmother, and later my uncle the church wardens.  Myself and my 2 brothers were members of the church choir, with my brother making head boy and I head girl.

We attended choir practice twice a week, and 2 Sunday services, plus weddings etc.

7 of my mothers brothers, were also active members of the local St John’s Ambulance, as was I.  We would cover many local events such as the race meetings, fetes and charity events.

My grandfather and father were involved in building the bumper cars and ghost trains, that were used at the mop, as well as the helter skelter and some other ride at St Nicholas Park.

So as you can see, my family were all part of the foundation of Warwick in the past, which is probably why it runs through my veins.

As a child, the most visited places for us were the racecourse and the park!

The racecourse was just a few minutes walk away. As we had a dog, it was the perfect place to go for daily walks. I rode my bike around it, and even learnt to drive a car on some land next to it. Sadly that land is now flats!

On race days, we would go down for the last race, when it was free! We used to collect left over glasses. If you were lucky you might even find the odd £1 note on the grass! Accidentally thrown away by someone along with their betting slip!

We used to do our cross country running around the race track at school too!

St Nicholas park was where we spent most of our 6 weeks holiday during the summer when we weren’t away. I don’t know about you, but I only ever remember hot summers back then!

There was an open air paddling pool in the middle. Mum would pack a picnic and off we would go for the day!

I remember just playing and enjoying the outdoors in beautiful weather.

As we lived so close to the castle, we often would walk through the outside of the grounds ! I’d never actually been into it until I worked there!

I was so over the moon to land my first full time job there! It was in the offices and accounts department. We were based just next to the main ‘apartments’.

It was the foundation to who I am now! In those days, everyone who was senior were known as Mr, Miss or Mrs. There was no way I’d acknowledge them by their first names !

I was also made very aware of the importance of talking ‘properly ‘! Thankfully I think I pronounced most words correctly ! In particular ensuring you put an ‘r’ in words like castle, path, grass etc!

One of my fondest memories is Mop time ! Most people outside of the area have never heard of the Mop!

It’s basically a travelling fair, which comes to Warwick for 2 weekends around 12th October every year!

Where we lived at the top of a hill, I could sit in the bay window, and watch all the lorries moving from their temporary home on the racecourse, up to the town centre to assemble their rides!

I remember shouting excitedly to my parents as I watched the ghost train, bumper cars, waltzers etc go up! I couldn’t wait to go up and see them!

I probably have an even greater passion as both my grandfather, and father built ghost trains and bumper car rides !

The first weekend, the Mop was opened by the Lord Mayor at 12 noon on the Saturday. It would run until 10.30/11.00 pm. There was always a pig roast around by the Globe Hotel!

The second week the Mop was open Friday and Saturday from lunch time until about 10.30/11.00 pm. This was called the ‘Runaway Mop’!

We used to save our pocket money, and I also remember my grandparents giving us extra.

We would go up as a family early evening, with our pennies in our purses! Eyes wide open !

I remember the smells like it was yesterday ! Candy floss, toffee apples, hot dogs and burgers ! Even the diesel smelt good from the generators!

Then there was the noises of the rides, and children’s laughter, adults screening as some of the bigger rides went faster and higher! Multi coloured lights and music filled the air! It was a time of pure joy!

Everyone always seemed happy when you walked around ! It seemed to always dry and crisp too !

We would walk around wondering how to spend our money ? The ‘hook a duck’ was always a good one, as you were always guaranteed a prize! In those days you could win goldfish ! Now I know why we had a pond in our garden !!

There were also amusement arcades! My favourite then, and now is still the machine that forms the t.v programme ‘Tipping Point’. In my day though it was pennies or 2p!

Now a days it’s all changed! The rides are bigger and more expensive ! They still have a few old favourites though, such as ‘hook a duck’. You still get the same smells and noises!

To me it’s still magical. It’s been part of Warwick for so long, I hope it never stops !

The History of the Mop

The tradition of Warwick Mop, goes back as far as King Edward III, when he granted a legal charter that it be held in the town centre! This was a time when even the Castle, as it stands now was still being built, and certainly before Lord Leycester was even a twinkle in his daddies eye!

The date is believed to be linked to when harvesting was done, with Stratford Upon Avon having the Mop on the 12th!

So for those of us who think it’s a modern thing, and to some a nuisance, it is steeped in over 700 years of history!

It is said that the first Mops were set up for hiring labourers, and for employers to meet and have fun!

In those days it was different types of stalls, rather than the big rides you associate with fairs today!

Workers would be hired on a trial basis. The runaway Mop, the second weekend, gets its name from the fact that either the employer, or worker, could back out of the arrangement they had made!

The money they earned during that week was then spent on the stalls, or for some, the pub!

No-one really knows for sure where the word ‘Mop’ came from, however it is thought to be linked to a symbol worn by labourers.

The pig roast, or ox as it also was then, provided food as well as warmth. Whilst we still have this tradition now, the money raised is passed on to charities!

Rides came along later with the industrial revolution, as has continued to evolve. In the early days, it would have been peddle power! Now they are so sophisticated.

I for one think it’s important that we keep these traditions alive for generations to come !

The next Mop in Warwick is 19/20 & 26/27 October!

Go along and support it if you can! Even if you don’t like the ride, (I’m not a fan), walk around, listen to the sounds, smell the air and soak in the atmosphere.  Let it take you back over 700 years to a different time.  Ultimately, the purpose of having fun is still there! So open your mind and enjoy it.

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Menopause

Today at a work away day, myself and other fellow managers attended a session on the subject of the Menopause!

Of all the subjects you would expect to be on the agenda, that certainly wasn’t one of them! It was quite funny seeing some of the men around the rooms expression, when they first saw it!

Being a women who was pre-menopausal from 45, and is now post menopausal, I was quite interested!

What was even more interesting, was the reaction of other ladies in the room! There were those of us in the room who absolutely could tell a few stories, in particular about the hot flushes, and those too young, but who were a little unsure or even nervous about it!

My husband is a manager for the same company, so for me it was a great opportunity to get him to fully understand why I need that fan on at night!

So who will suffer from the menopause?

The simple answer is any women!  Women from the age of 45-55 will start to experience the menopause.  The average age is about 51, but 1 in 100 women will get it before they reach 40.

The menopause is caused by a reduction of oestrogen in the body, and is a natural form of ageing!  Things such as cancer, radiation or chemotherapy, and hysterectomies can bring the symptoms on early.

You may have heard of women being ‘on the change’ in times gone by?  I suppose we are, as our bodies are changing!

Pre-menopausal

This is the first stage!  Its also known as perimenopausal, and is when the body starts producing less eostrogen.

Post Menopausal

You are classed as post menopausal, if you haven’t had a period for 12 months. This includes spotting, however light that may be!

So what are the symptoms?

Every women’s symptoms will vary, but below is a list of what you could expect:

  • Night sweats
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of memory
  • Emotional
  • Anxiety
  • Heavy periods
  • Bloating
  • Hot flushes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Cystitis
  • Low Mood

Symptoms can start months or even years before periods stop, and can last for 4-8 years.  Although it can last many years longer!  I have friends who have had hot flushes for well over 10 years!

Every women will have different degrees of symptoms.  Some of them so extreme, it will impact on their day to day life.

What can you do to help relieve the symptoms?

This will vary, depending on the severity and type of symptom!

For me, it has been the night sweats and hot flushes.   I need to sleep with the fan on! I’ve even been known to stand outside naked in the snow to cool off! Don’t worry I had no neighbours then!

I also wear layers, so I can strip off more easily!

Memory loss has also been a bit of a problem, but that has been in short spurts!  At one time, I thought I was having the start of dementia!  I now make sure I put everything in my diary.  I make lists and keep notes of important things.  Now I have learned to recognise what it is, I’m more relaxed.

I think its important to understand that every women will go through, in some shape or form the same as you, so don’t be afraid to laugh it off, or talk about it!

A good diet and exercise will also help you, but if you are struggling, don’t be afraid to discuss the symptoms with your doctor.  They may be able to prescribe HRT or offer other support.  Unfortunately, as I had breast cancer when I was 42, I am not able to have HRT, as it is believed to increase my chances of getting it again.  Don’t let that put you off talking to your doctor.  Everyone’s symptoms are different.  They will be able to give you lots of advice and tips.

I have even see recipes to help with symptoms.  I’ve never tried them myself, but I do know someone who has and felt that they worked for her.

So why did we have a session on it today at work?

It’s probably not what you would expect on an agenda, but I have to say, I was so pleased it was.  I don’t think I heard anyone (and there were over 100 managers there today) walk out of the session, with anything but praise for it.

It’s important in the work place for managers to recognise and support staff who may be going through the menopause!  If they are not confident to raise it with them, at least know who else could.

You could be a really solid member of staff, but if you are struggling to sleep due to night sweats, your concentration dips, or you are having any of the other symptoms, it could impact on your performance.  By dealing with it openly, reasonable adjustments can be made.

I hadn’t thought about it until today, but most women hit the menopause at the same time as they are at the peak of their careers.  When you have worked so hard to achieve success, it would be a shame to think, it would be impacted by something brought on by mother nature.

So if you know a women who is being different to normal, think about why that might be?  Talk to them and offer them support!  They will really thank you for it!

Let the train take the strain!

 

Does anyone else remember that advert from 1988? It was launched to encourage us to take the train, instead of blocking our roads up with cars!

I was commuting by train back then. Whilst it was 30 years ago, from personal experience, public transport hasn’t improved!

I don’t know whether it’s the demand that has increased, or the fact that the rail companies haven’t kept up with the demand!

Back then, I used to do a 45 minute trip into Birmingham. I always got a seat, and in fact, there was a group of us that used to meet up along the journey, and still be able to sit together.

We had quite a little community going on. We would do crosswords, competitions and in cold days, the guard used to share his tea flask with us!

I may be seeing those days through rose tinted glasses, but I don’t remember it being late or cancelled that often at all! Certainly, not that busy either!

After a 19 year break, where I used to drive to work, I once again in 2012, joined the thousands of others commenting by train!

So why should we all ‘be letting the train take the strain’ still some 30 years later? Well the simple answer is, that the Climate Change Act of 2008, set a long term framework for us to reduce greenhouse gas within the UK.  The Government needs to reduce it by at least 34% by 2020, and 80% in 2050, based on the levels in 1990.

To achieve this, they need more and more of us to ditch our cars, and take public transport.  As a commuter, that is easier said than done!

I for one, cannot get to work without some form of car travel.  Where I live, I would first of all have to walk about 15 minutes to the nearest bus stop.  From there, I would have to catch 2 buses, which takes just under an hour to the train station.  I then would catch a train for a 45 minute journey.  In total, to get to work it would take me over 2 hours, including then the walk to the office from the station.

I currently drive to the station, which reduces my travel time to approximately 1.5 hours each way per day!  To add an extra hour each day on an already 3 hours daily commute, just isn’t practical, or good for a work, home life balance.

Cost is also a factor.  At the moment, we are paying each day to travel by train to work.  It is £7.30 each day.  This is with us driving 14 miles to the station.  Thankfully, the car park is free.  It is not so at other stations!

If we went from our closest station, we would face £1000 a year more in train costs, plus £8.90 per day to park the car!  We would still have to drive there, so there is a petrol and emission cost!

When you get the train, there is certainly no relaxing for us either!  It definately doesn’t take the strain for us!  Wherever we catch the train, the following factors come into play:

  • Is the train on time?
  • Is the train running
  • How busy is it going to be?
  • Will the journey be terminated part way?
  • Who will I have to sit next to, or stand next to?
  • Am I going to pick up any coughs, colds etc from fellow commuters

Sadly, all of the above will come into play more frequently than you would think.

Our morning commute is on a 4 carriage train.  It is packed everyday.  You don’t get a seat, unless you are very lucky to be standing next to someone who is getting off at another stop!

When you are standing, you are being pushed against the next person also standing.  You often don’t have anything to hold onto, so when it hits a point or goes round the corners, you are thrown into the person next to you.

If you have got a seat, you are also not always lucky, as the persons standing will be on top of you, falling on you occasionally, or treading on you!  Then there is the size of the seats.  On the 6 seat section, space is extremely tight for the average size person.  You struggle to move your arms in fear of knocking the person next to you!

Don’t think you can get on, and pull your laptop out and work, or read a book!  Oh no, that would take space and comfort.  The best you can hope for is to play Candy Crush or read the news on your phones!

And don’t get me started on some of the behaviours of some commuters!   My most annoying is the person who walks through the crowded train, looking for an empty seat!  Of course, there must be one free with hundreds of us standing. Not!

What about the person wearing the headphones, whose music is so loud, we can all hear it!

Then there is the person who can see we are all like sardines, but still shouts into the train ‘can you move down please’!  I feel like shouting back ‘would you like us to get into the storage shelf’ as that is usually the only place where you might find a gap!

Even on crowded trains, some people don’t have volume control when talking either on the phone or face to face!  I have over the years heard many conversations, from whether someone should have sex with their boyfriend, or more recently,  a school girls asking her friend how to get him to have sex with her, to someone telling their friend about the guy they were having an affair with them.  Unfortunately for them, the friend of the women he was married to was also on the train!  I’d love to know how that story ended!

Long distance travel is no better!

Last year, I decided to take the train to Darlington for work. It’s about a 4 hour drive for me and takes a tank of petrol, so about £60.  Everyone said to me, I should take the train and relax, rather than the stress of driving!  Never again!

I had a 1.5 hour trip to the station to get the connecting train to Darlington.  Then a 3 hour train trip.   Yes I had a reserved seat, but the table was too small to even contemplate getting my laptop out!  My suitcase was miles away, so anything of value had to be at my feet, as the overhead shelf was too small.

I did a vlog on the experience at the time.  You can see my experience here!

The cost of the fare was about £140.

I had a reserved seat on the way back too.  When I went to my seat, it was taken by a pushchair.  The whole trip home, I had a newborn child crying next to me!

Was I relaxed when I got home – NO!  The next trip there I drove!

If the government wants us to use public transport more, they really need to start working with the transport companies.  Everyone I know who commutes, wherever they live, all have the same issues.

We need more carriages, competitive pricing, more trains and please keep the parking free!  Or if they do need to charge, again at a reasonable price!  Oh and it they could be on time that would be even better!  Maybe then, we may be more likely to let the train take the strain!

 

All wrapped up!

In the last few months I’ve been posting videos on how you can use the good old wrap !

Wraps first became popular in Mexico, Greece, Turkey and the Middle East earlier than the 1900’s.

In Mexico they refer to them as burritos.

America was introduced to them around 1980. It is thought that the flatbreads were invented my the chain Love Juicy, based in California.

They became popular here in the uk, around the 1990’s.

Everyone usually knows the wraps as being alternatives for sandwiches. Served with hot or cold fillings, but they have so much more versatility.

Typically wraps have more calories and carbs than normal bread, but thankfully Weight Watchers do a wrap which, if you are on Slimming World, is your healthy extra B!

If your not watching your weight, there are many different types of wrap on the market, including spinach, sun dried tomato, to name just 2. They can make the humble lunch box, or evening meal, so much more exciting.

So what can you do with it? Here are a few of my own creations of this amazing invention.

Sausage Rolls

 

 

Breakfast Calzone

 

 

Chicken Tikka Pasty

 

 

Pizza

 

 

Wrap Bowls

 

I plan to put more ideas on my channel over the next few weeks!

So next time you are in the supermarket, pick up a pack of wraps and let your imagination take you to new taste sensations!

So much to do, but no time to do it!

Does anyone else feel like this?

I know people who seem to be able to fit so much into their day, and still have time to relax and have fun.  How do they do it?   I have no idea!  I mean, we all have the same 24 hours to our days.  It’s not like you can get an extension on it, although wouldn’t that be a great idea!

I think I am an organised person.  I’m certainly not someone who called be called lazy, but I just struggle every week trying to keep everything going!  Just when I think I have it nailed, something else gets thrown in!  Oh to be superwomen!

Everyday, I wake up and it feels like groundhog day!  I work full time, have a 4 bedroom detached house, 2 very hairy black dogs and a 3 hour commute to work!

So how do I spend my 24 hours each day?

Monday to Friday is certainly like being on a hamster wheel!  The alarm goes off just after 5 am!  My hubby and I get up  – which means putting on our dog walking clothes, I put the kettle on, and off we go to take the dogs for their morning walk!

We return back around 6 am, where I will make the teas, while hubby will deal with any toilet presents left by the dogs the night before!

Hubby will take our drinks upstairs, while I will pack away anything that may have been on the draining board overnight or in the dishwasher.

At 6.15 am, I go for my shower!  I aim to be out by 6.25 am, to give myself 5-10 minutes to drink my tea, catch up on the news and my emails.

At 6.30 am I start to get dressed, put make up on and do my hair!

By 6.50 am, I need to be downstairs in the kitchen, sorting the dogs treats out for their 6 toys, put Fido out for him to do his business (he is a creature of habit and likes to do it around 7 am!), pack my lunch and breakfast and gym kit into my rucksack!

By 7 am, I need to be in the car on on the way to the train station to catch the 7.42 am train to Birmingham!

This is where the stress levels start to rise!  Usually, you can do this journey in around 25-30 minutes, but you can guarantee, the day you leave a minute or 2 late, everything conspires against me!  Take yesterday for example!  Part of our journey takes us down a bypass!  You would expect this part of the journey to be quite quick, however not when there is a tractor on the road, with only 2 lanes and a road feeding into it!

If that hadn’t already delayed me, the next part of the journey, there were road works!  It took 3 changes of the traffic lights before I could get through them!  The annoying thing was, they weren’t there last night, so I couldn’t have factored that into my morning schedule.  Had I have known, I would have left 10 minutes earlier!

I am now watching the time slip away!  Its highly likely that I am going to miss my train!  My only hope was that the train was late!

As I get nearer to the carpark, I can see I am literally minutes from failure!

Getting around Krakow!

The best and easiest way to get around Krakow is on foot.  Its also free of charge, and a great form of exercise!

Krakow is flat so you don’t need to worry about any hills, well in the centre that is!

One of the great things about Krakow, is that the centre is pedestrianised!   You can walk around, relaxed, without worrying about cars.  It makes getting around so much nicer!

It also feels very safe!

There is so much to see around the city, that it would be a shame not to put at least a day aside to just wander!  Whilst the square is pretty in itself, as you explore the streets, you will see so much more on foot.

Don’t forget to look all around you, both in front, side to side, and upwards.  Many of the buildings have beautiful paintings or statues on them.

DSC_0160

You can’t really get lost if you keep to the rule, that all things end up back in the square!

When you visit the castle, take a walk over the river to view it from another perspective!  Its such a unique castle, with different types of architecture, it would be a shame to miss it.  If we hadn’t done this, we may have missed the fire eating dragon!

The parks are small, but again worth a walk.  You will fall upon different sculptures along the way.  Many of them hidden amongst trees, or on benches.

There are many churches in the city.  If the doors are open, pop in and have a look.  I was blown away by some of the decorations inside.  Remember to have your shoulders and thighs covered though!

If walking isn’t your thing, don’t worry.  There are a couple of other options.  How about a tour in an electric car?  Prices will vary depending on where you are going and for how long.  I would say no more than £20 per person.  Ask the driver and agree a price in advance.   We took one of these for the short ride to the Jewish Quarter, for dinner.   It was only £2.50 each for us, as it took probably only about 15 minutes!

Here you will find a square of chairs, dedicated to the Jews who lost their lives.  Its situated just over the river in the Ghetto, and worth a visit around sunset, where the chairs are lit up!

You will also see many horse drawn carriages.   They leave from the square, and take you for an hour ride around the city.  Again agree a price before you start.  They are usually around 400 PLN (£100) and can seat 4 comfortably, but if you negotiate you may get it cheaper!  On a sunny day, it is quite a nice way to explore the city.

Trams are plentiful.  At under 4 PLN (£1) each way, they are a cheap way to get around.  They run from 5 am to 11 pm.

If you want to go further afield, I would certainly recommend the train service.  We used it to go to the Salt Mines.

To go into the Salt Mine, you just have a 5 minute walk up a slight hill.   The cost is 89 PLN each plus 10 PLN if you want to take photos or videos (£25 in total).  Certainly a nice day out and well recommended.

The station is clean and everything is easily signposted.  It cost us around £0.85 each way for a single trip lasting about 20/30 minutes.

The trains were clean and spacious.  They have ticket machines on board if you don’t have time to get one before boarding.  Alternatively, there are ticket machines on platforms, if there isn’t a ticket office.  It is also a nice way to sit back and take in the scenery.  I do love looking at other peoples lives.  The houses, streets and countryside always interest me.

Taxi’s are also plentiful.  A ride from the airport is around 90 PLN or £20.

We also took a private hire to Autschwitz as there were 7 of us.  It was all included in the price for the tours.  The cost was 160 PLN each (£40), but well worth it.

There are so many options to get around the city, there really isn’t any excuse not to explore.

 

 

Eating and drinking in Krakow

You will never go hungry or thirsty in Krakow! There are absolutely loads of options open to you !

The big decision is, do you want food on the go, in a relaxed or formal setting, inside or outside !

When we go away, we like to eat local food. You will find a MacDonalds everywhere in Krakow, but there is no way you would find us eating there. We can have one of those at home!

The weather for us was gorgeous, so it was perfect for sitting outside!

We were staying a few minutes from the main square, so we tended to gravitate there!

There are many restaurants running around the square. Each have their menus on boards outside, so you can check before committing yourself.

Don’t worry if you think the menu is limited in some, they have just put a selection on display! Ask them for a full menu.

Most staff speak very good English, so if you have any specific requirements, they are happy to cater for you.

On every corner you will find a little stall selling ‘Precels’! These are rings of bread, and delicious, perfect for eating on the go. They come in various toppings, cheese, sesame, spicy and salted. At only 1.8 PLN (approximately 45p) they are a bargain! We had them the day we were running for the train to the Salt Mine, for breakfast, as well as to take to airport when we left!

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If you want to sit down, don’t be fooled by the price! Most meals are under £10! That doesn’t mean the portion is small! Oh no! This is one of my dinners ! It was a starter but I had it as my main!

That is a litre of beer next to it! It was filled with a selection of meats including, chicken, pork, Polish sausages and beef, with sauerkraut in a dry sauce! It was very filling so the bread wasn’t eaten!

Other local dishes include Bigos (hunters stew) which is also served in a bread bowl, smoked sausages, Pierogi(dumplings), which are stuffed with a variety of fillings ranging from cheese, minced meat, cabbage and mushrooms.

Don’t forget the good old pork schnitzel too! These are also usually the size of a dinner plate!

And one of my hubby’s favourite, the pork knuckle! Be careful when you choose this option as some are a set price, others are charged per Kilo! This is the one my hubby ordered! It was 1.2 kilo ! Way too much for 1 person!

Every meal is served with bread, but rarely butter. If you want it, ask. I’m sure most restaurants would be happy to provide you with some!

What was lacking for me though was the lack of vegetables. Some dishes came with potatoes but that is all. You will need to order vegetables and salad as an extra!

My tip would be to order your drinks, look at the menu, and then look what others have had ! It will give you an idea of how it’s served, and more importantly, the portion size!

You can share a main, or even ask for a doggy bag!

If you are visiting the Salt Mine, I would recommend the sausage for lunch ! For 15 PLN, you get a large sausage, bread roll and a bottle of Coke, which is less than £4! It’s delicious!

We had most of our meals at the same restaurant. Why? It was sooo good! And the beer was the cheapest we had found ! 17 PLN (£4 ish) got you a litre of their local beer! It was one of the very few without patio heaters, but as we were lucky with the weather it didn’t matter!

So what was that restaurant ? Sukiennice! It’s named after the building it’s located in – Cloth Hall! Sukiennice is its Polish name.

Breakfast was also the most reasonable we saw! Scrambled eggs (3 eggs) wit bread was only 9 PLN (less than £3), you could them add extras such as bacon, mushrooms, cheese etc for only 1 PLN (25p)!

I opted for one of their bagels for breakfast. Beetroot, rocket and walnuts. Oh wow! What a taste delight! At only 9 PLN (just over £2), it was a bargain!

Beetroot is a traditional food item of Poland. Most restaurants will have a delicious beetroot soup on its menu, served hot and cold!

They had a good selection of tea and coffee too!

Because it is on the square, you get to people watch, while eating, which I always enjoy!

They also have a cosy basement for late night tipples!

Another restaurant I’d recommend is Chopin! It’s on the opposite corner of the square!

The head waiter was such a charmer! When I tried to make a joke with my friends that they didn’t serve alcohol, he joined in. He told the group they only sold potato water, grape water and hop water! Aka vodka, wine and beer!

I had one of the very few salads here! Roast beef! It was cooked to perfection and at only 23 PLN (less than £6).

When in Krakow, I would also recommend a walk to the Jewish quarter. There are also some lovely restaurants there too!

I’m sorry but I can’t remember the name of the one we ate in, but wow, it had the best bread I’ve ever eaten!

I had had a big lunch, so wanted something light for dinner! I chose a mushroom soup, served in a bread bowl! The soup was good but the bread, out of this world ! If you had the hunters stew here, it also came in the same bread bowl.

The bread was firm enough to hold the liquid, but light and flaky to eat! I wish now I’d asked how they made it! I can still taste it today, a week later!

On our last day, we had lunch at Max 18 in the square! I had chicken kebab, salad and chips! Again a really large portion of food!

What was exciting though, was behind my shoulder, in the next restaurant, they were filming! I asked our waiter what was happening. It was a scene for a local Soap Opera! I didn’t recognise the main man, but still, it made for an interesting lunch !

I’m usually a wine drinker, however it’s a bit more expensive in Poland, so I stuck to the beer!

Local beers are really easy to drink. Price ranged from 10 PLN for half a litre, to 17 PLN for a litre at Sukiennice Restaurant. So basically £2.50 to £4.00.

The two we mainly drank were Tyskie and Zywiec.

When in Krakow, it would be rude not to try their specialty!  Vodka!  At home, I love toffee vodka, but here, I would strongly recommend the cherry and hazelnut.  If you like Ferrero Rocher, you will love the hazelnut one in particular!  Its like a liquid version of it!  It was so nice, I had to buy some at the airport to bring home!  At only 16 PLN a bottle (£4), it would have been a crime not to!

All restaurants will offer a range of soft drinks too.  The homemade lemonade is also a really good choice, if you don’t want anything alcoholic.  You don’t get tap water on the table, so if you do want water, you will need to pay for it.

When you pay the bill, they will also give you a little shot of cherry liqueur, which is really really nice!  It certainly leaves you wanting a second!

Krakow is definitely a place worth a visit.  Make sure you try eating and drinking local specialties.  You won’t be disappointed!