Ethnological Museum exhibition artifacts.

Ethnological Museum exhibition artifacts.

Inside the Ethnographic Museum.

Inside the Ethnographic Museum.

The Wolnica Plac (Wolnica Square), on one side of which stands the museum, is a very pleasant open space surrounded by beautiful buildings, cafés and restaurants.  Here, on the opposite side of the museum, there is a small ice-cream shop, which is supposed to make the best ice-cream in town.  It is called “GoodLood” (lody means ice-cream in Polish). When I visited there was a long queue in front of the shop with lots of young ice-cream aficionados, so I decided not to wait.  Most probably, the long queues as well as the big numbers of young couples siting around the square slurping on ice-cream cones mean something…but again, we know how these things work: good advertisement, good PR and here comes the best of the best!

Next day, I realized that there is not only one “GoodLood”, but many… actually, GoodLood is the fastest-growing food start up in Kracow, they told me. They produce ice cream, using only local dairy products, fresh fruit, and the best quality herbs and nuts (but, aren’t them all say so?).

GoodLood Logo and a

GoodLood Logo and a "classic flavor": Pistachio.

This beautiful museum founded in 1911 by the teacher and folklore enthusiast Seweryn Udziela and is located inside Kazimierz’s former Town Hall (on Wolnica Square).  This cultural highlight often gets overlooked by tourists, but offers wonderful and charming insight into Polish folk culture and rural traditions, including beautiful recreations of 19th-century peasant interiors, folk costumes and instruments, and extraordinary examples of local nativity cribs ('szopki').

The permanent exhibition is currently being modernised, with new exhibits called 'Od-nowa' (Anew) - focussed on rural rituals of spring in Poland (painted Easter eggs and palms), and 'Unattainable Earth' - which guides visitors through hundreds of works of folk art via the words of Czeslaw Milosz's anthology of poems and thoughts called "Unattainable Earth". With exhibits sufficiently explained in English, those that visit here will be happily rewarded.

Admission fee is PLN 13 (Discounted admission PLN 7). On Sundays, the admission is free.

The Wolnica Square.  People queue outside GoodLood ice-cream shop and then enjoy it outside under the sun.

The Wolnica Square. People queue outside GoodLood ice-cream shop and then enjoy it outside under the sun.

Each day, apart from their classic offer, GoodLood introduces 2 “flavors of the day”. These flavors are announced on their Facebook page each day at 8:00pm of the previous day. So, people know what they will have tomorrow, and usually each new flavor quickly becomes a must-eat, a real blockbuster of the ice cream world.  Now you understand what I said earlier about PR and clever marketing ideas, and also why all the people I saw queuing were of very young age.

Polish people are very fond of ice-cream, so there are hundreds of these kind of shops in the city.

Polish people love ice cream (Lody). There are ice cream shops everywhere.

Polish people love ice cream (Lody). There are ice cream shops everywhere.

The commercial success of the first milk bars encouraged other businessmen to copy this type of restaurant. As Poland regained her independence after World War I, milk bars appeared in most of the country. They offered relatively cheap but nourishing food, and as such achieved even more prominence during the economic depression in the 1930s.

Bar mleczny (milk bar)

A bar mleczny—literally "milk bar" in Polish—is a Polish form of cafeteria. The first typical milk bar "Mleczarnia Nadświdrzańska" was established in 1896 in Warsaw by Stanisław Dłużewski, a member of Polish landed gentry. Although the typical bar mleczny had a menu based on dairy items, these establishments generally also served other, non-dairy traditional Polish dishes as well. 

Inside Tomasza Milkbar.  You place your order here and you take a seat.  When your order is ready, they bring it to you.

Inside Tomasza Milkbar. You place your order here and you take a seat. When your order is ready, they bring it to you.

The role of cheap restaurants carried through World War II. After the fall of German Nazi regime, the majority of the population was poor and expensive restaurants were out of reach. Most restaurants were nationalized and then closed down by the communist authorities. In the mid-1960s milk bars were common as a means of offering cheap meals to people working in companies that had no official canteen. They still served mostly dairy-based and vegetarian meals, especially during the period of martial law in the early 1980s, when meat was rationed.

Yummy Irish breakfast at Tomasza Milkbar.

Yummy Irish breakfast at Tomasza Milkbar.

The prevalent idea at that time was to provide all people with cheap meals at the place of their work. The meals served in the workplace canteens were free, however, there was also a large number of people working in smaller firms that had no canteen at their disposal. Because of this, during the tenure of Władysław Gomułka, the authorities created a network of small self-service eateries. The meals, subsidized by the state, were cheap and easily available to anyone.

Inside Tomasza Milkbar.

Inside Tomasza Milkbar.

Apart from raw or processed dairy products, milk bars also served eggs, cereal or pierogi. After the fall of the communist system and the end of closed economy, the majority of milk bars went bankrupt as they were superseded by regular restaurants. However, some of them were preserved as part of the relics of the welfare state so as to support the poorer members of the Polish society.

Comments

03.11.2019 04:15

Rob

What a great adventure.

15.10.2018 08:50

Jane

The first time I read such an interesting review on Krakow.