Szaszłyk Stall, Rynek Glowny (From Top to Bottom)
In the flurry of travel - waking up in the wee hours to catch that first train, spending hours after hours planning, staying overnight in the airport because there was no way around it, walking till all our legs were sore just to make sure we've seen everything we needed to see - sometimes I start to forget why I'm travelling in the first place. Even if cash wasn't a factor, places started to look the same, and I started to get this faint realization that many of these "places of interest" I'm spending time and money to witness were really created by enthusiastic Tourism Boards eager to promote anything they discovered had the slightest marketing potential. There were times when I found myself thinking aloud, "Really? Did I come half way across the globe just to see this?"
At times, it got slightly depressing, even, rushing from place to place, half wondering if I could be falling under the clichéd group of people who were travelling just to say that they've been to places. It just wasn't what I had intended. I know it's almost taboo to be speaking this way about travelling. The moment travels are mentioned, images that are conjured up are completely opposite, and there seems to be a silent pledge to uphold all the positiveness about the subject. The fact that travelling is supposed to be amazing becomes almost pressurizing. And I'm pretty sure a lot of people out there mask their travel fatigue in accordance with the silence pledge. I'm definitely guilty. The reason I'm saying all these is because I really don't want everybody to get this false impression that travelling is always amazing, because I know just how disappointing it will be when you find out for yourself that is isn't always a bed of roses. It can be amazing, but only if you know what you want out of it. And even then it isn't enough. You have to be prepared to be disappointed.
Rynek Glowny during the month of Easter, Grilled Kielbasa Sausage with Mustard and Bread (From Top to Bottom)
I knew what I wanted out of this trip - I wanted to try all the different cuisines in each of the different cities I set foot in. I wanted to try all the best that each city offered and share them all with you. But I was too ambitious. And I definitely didn't prepare for disappointment. There were so many instances when I read about something promising, took pains to find it, tried it, and just couldn't believe how mediocre it ended up tasting. It's a lot worse whenever I happen to be travelling with people who didn't care about what went into their mouths because I wind up feeling so bad that I had seemingly wasted their time. (Can't say how blessed I feel to be with a man who loves tracking down good food as much as I do!) I started to wonder if I was seeking a lost cause, or doing some sort of mission impossible here, traversing these culinary territories so new to me with amateur research restrained by time, capacity, budget and language. These were the thoughts going through my head when M and I stumbled upon this Szaszłyk (Shashlik) Stall when we were casually strolling down the Grand Square of Krakow, Rynek Glowny, basked in all the glory of colourful Easter decorations and festivities.
We were first drawn to the rows of food stalls by the amazing aroma of grilled meat. Naturally, we headed to the stall that seemed most popular with the locals. I sometimes think back and realize just how blessed we were to somehow decide on the sausage even though there were so many other interesting dishes vying for our attention. Put simply, it was the best sausage I've ever had in my life. The deliciously smoky and tasty meat of the sausage was enclosed in an insanely snappy and caramelized casing. It looked unassuming but the first bite completely bowled me over. The mustard was unnecessary. All I wanted was to savour every mouthful of the sausage, because every mouthful meant I had less sausage left to savour. If that sounded a little psychotic, just wait till you try these sausages. Then tell me if I exaggerated. At that time, I didn't even know it, but this amazing polish sausage is known as Kielbasa. There are about as many types of Kielbasa as there are cheese, and they come in both smoked and fresh variants. The common ingredients that goes into a Kielbasa are so basic you might not even believe it - just salt, pepper, sugar, garlic and marjoram. The smoking must be the major flavour enhancing factor. The thing is, this whole Kielbasa sausage experience really soothed me. It didn't matter that I had on average five nondescript meals for every amazing meal that stood out. It didn't even matter if the ratio was worse. This meal that stood out was already worth my trip to Krakow. I guess I just operate this way.
What's the thing that makes travelling worth it for you?
Pin It Now!