Party Central In Krakow
Seven euros. It can buy three slices of pizza on the street in Rome. It can buy three macaroons from a bakery in Paris. It can buy soup and a schnitzel from a student pub in Vienna. In Krakow it can buy ten shots of vodka, entry to a brewery, a 5 litre pipe of beer, entry to a popular nightclub, a shot of vodka on arrival and an evening full of fun memories you’ll vaguely recall. There are places known for party, Ibiza, Greece, and Croatia just to name a few. But Poland? Before I’d set off on my travels I hadn’t anticipated finding the party scene in Poland. I expected delicious food, culture, and history, but not necessarily party. I’ve since learned not to make presumptions. Having travelled through and rested my head (barely) in Krakow, I found that this city is just as full of vibrant nightlife and evening entertainment as any other city can boast. In every aspect that a city can flaunt, Krakow has it all. Awe inspiring sites like salt mines that tunnel thousands of kilometres underground from the mining days gone by, Wawel Castle and the many relics the museums display, delicious hearty meat and dumpling dishes at unbelievably low prices, friendly locals and a very active nightlife.
Greg and Tom Juniors Hostel in Krakow is world-renowned for excellence, in fact in 2007 it was ranked the most secure and best small hostel worldwide by hostelworld. This is where my most inexpensive and extravagant night out travelling began. The hostel staff organise this wild night out once a week with willing hostel goers who required very little convincing. We met in the common room with each participant sitting in the lounge chairs facing one another as the shots of vodka made their rounds. They came in all the flavours of the rainbow – mint, hazelnut, orange, apple, raspberry…the list goes on if only I could recall it. From my own experience of drinking vodka straight up, an uncontrollable gag reflex always kicks in. Not this time. This vodka was like lightly flavoured water that warms your body as it makes it’s way down your throat. It didn’t burn and it didn’t elicit looks of discomfort from the willing recipients. No coughs, no gags, only smiles, cheers and hollering for more. It was in all certainty some of the smoothest, most flavoursome vodka I had ever tasted and bare in mind I was not yet completely inebriated so these memories are probably some of the most valid from the entire evening. After ten shots of vodka (and a few extras for some the more eager participants) the nightlife hostel leaders took the loud, obnoxious and noticeably less sober tourists to the C.K Browar brewery.
Long, tall bar tables lined the walls, each with a 5 litre pipe and tap set up ready to go filled with local brew. We served ourselves, made messes, laughed and spoke loudly as we got to know tourists from all corners of the world brought together in a small local pub in Krakow. I’m not much of a beer drinker personally, but back then as a traveller I felt that tasting the local varietals was an obligatory way of getting to know a place and its culture. I can't honestly say whether it was ‘good’ beer or not, I couldn’t stand the taste of any beer myself, but in that place, with those people and all the laughter, beer tasted incredible.
Our tour then stumbled its way down the cobbled streets of Krakow to the ‘most happening’ club in town, filled to the brim with young and excitable locals and tourists alike. Upon arrival, a tray of vodka shots offered by club staff lined the entry, yet another inclusion of our 7 euro night out. I turned mine down. I’d like to think that this act showed a great deal of self control, but I’m sure it more accurately lends itself to my tendency towards self preservation – the quantities of alcohol consumed throughout the entire night were beyond my capacity. The only purchases I made during the entire evening was for one bottle of water and it was well worth the few pennies it cost. The party continued well into the night, long after the hostel staff had departed. Eventually, amazingly, everyone found their way back to the hostel for a much needed rest after the huge gulp we’d taken of Krakow nightlife. I’m not sure how everyone else felt in the morning, but I woke up with a thirst for even more of what Krakow had to offer.