As I prepare to move into my new apartment, I've taken a city tour, walked several times around Rynek Główny (Main Market in English), discovered the 270-store, three-floor modern mall and train station, and now feel more settled into living here.
Rynek Główny: The main square of the Old Town of Kraków, Lesser Poland, is the principal urban space located at the center of the city. It dates back to the 13th century and is the largest medieval town square in Europe.
Meanwhile, I've sent out a few resumes, opened a bank account, and figured out my monthly budget. Money goes a lot further here because everything is so much cheaper than in the states. Food, housing, utilities, you name it, it's cheaper. I ordered a 30 cm pizza with 5 toppings delivered for under $7. In the states, that would be $15 to $20 at least. Breakfast or lunch is only $3 and $4. When I go grocery shopping, I can get three bags of groceries for under $10. My one-bedroom apartment comes fully furnished with a 24-hour security guard, AC, W/D, DW, flat-screen TV, and includes all utilities besides Internet/Cable and is less than $700 a month. Internet is $13 a month. With basic cable, it's $23. And a big plus is you don't have to have a car in Krakow, which means no monthly note, no maintenance or upkeep costs, and no insurance.
Paying for things is relatively easy as credit cards are accepted in most places. I have used my Capital One credit card because they don't charge international fees. I have not needed cash but once when I tried to order Chinese food. The small restaurant only accepted cash.
There will be more to do starting next weekend as things start opening up here. Poland has been in lockdown and mask mandates for several months. Hoping this summer, it gets back to normal as Krakow is supposed to have an amazing nightlife. In just walking around, I have spotted several places I'd like to eat dinner or have cocktails in Rynek Główny.
Located on Łobzowska Street, my apartment is less than 10 minutes from Rynek Główny, about a 15-minute walk to the mall and only five minutes to mass transit. The hostel I am currently staying at is one block east of where I rented an apartment and ideally located close to everything, which helped me find an apartment.
Food and food shopping. I don't know about the suburbs, but in the city of Krakow, grocery stores are very small. Smaller than Manhattan grocery stores, which means you don't buy in bulk. You really go several times a week to buy fresh food. And there really isn't a lot of processed foods available here. For example, in the states, there is an entire aisle of cereal. That doesn't exist here. Like I say, I haven't been out to the burbs yet. It may indeed exist there.
Oh, and there's a wine store 2 minutes from my new apartment! That will be especially handy on my way home from a cold winter's night! It's cold here in the Spring, like down to the 30s at night. I will have to prepare myself for those blustery winters here, but I grew up in the Midwest. How bad can it be?
There's so much more to discover. I've not even been here two weeks. Every day is a learning experience. Next week I move into my apartment, adventure out to Ikea for household items, apply for a PESEL number (equivalent to a Social Security number in states) and start learning the transit system. I guess that will come with trial and error. If I end up getting lost, that will just be another adventure I can write about!