Traffic in Krakow is bad enough without hamsters blocking the construction of new roads but that's the situation we have now. This is where we start this week before moving on to more new trams in Krakow, surveys about what Poles are afraid of, where Krakow's hot water (and heating) comes from, PiS writes down all their exciting ideas in a manifesto (sarcasm), American Airlines apologizes for calling Poles alcoholics and Ikea shocks the nation by doubling the price of their hot dogs.
You see their faces all the time but how much do you really know about them? And why are these guys so special anyway? From the questionable color scheme of the 10zl note to the epic beard on the 50zl to the story of the guy on the 500zl (wait, has anyone ever actually seen one?), we go note by note and cover the basics of what you need to know about the people on Polish banknotes.
This week marks the 80th anniversary of the invasion of Poland by the USSR on September 17, 1939. Coming just sixteen days after the Nazis attacked from the West, the Soviet invasion was part of a secret agreement, the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, in which Germany and Russia agreed to split Poland's territory before wiping it off the map of Europe. Listen to learn more about this fascinating but lesser-known chapter of the Second World War.
More huge promises of free money as we get closer to national elections next month is where we start in this week's KrakCast News. After that, we move on to money (but not much) for IVF treatments, trams return to Krakow's west side, the Plaza bar by Hotel Forum is disappearing (and why does Hotel Forum still exist?), an update on the Wisła Kraków-prison connection and "Marzena S", a gruesome crime gets closer to being solved and the parking "strefa" in Krakow gets even bigger.
The President of Poland since 2015, Andrzej Duda spends a lot of time traveling the world, welcoming foreign heads of state to Poland and taking lots and lots of selfies. In this KrakCast Profile, we look at the guy who probably has the best job in Polish politics.
Yes, Krakow's Most Wanted criminal might be ready turn herself in, but she has some conditions. That's our start this week before moving on to new laws about heating your home, an incredible birth at a Krakow hospital, MPK is offering 69 to everyone, a bizarre suicide in the Planty that we thought was a murder, huge bombs from WWII uncovered next to a bridge that we might have to blow up anyway, PO chooses a new and more attractive face, Morawiecki is Man of the Year at an event you've never heard of (and calls for reparations from the Germans?) and Lech Wałęsa (a new and different one but related to THAT one).
We've been critical of electric scooters because there's a lot to be critical of. But today's guest is here to talk about the big picture that we seem to be missing in the conversation about urban transport and "mobility". Marcin Kasz joins us to explain the huge money behind scooter deployments all over the world, the big players on the Krakow market and the incredible number of scooters planned for the very near future on streets all around you.
September 1st was the 80th anniversary of the attack on Polish forces at Westerplatte and the beginning of the Second World War. In this KrakCast Short History, we look at the circumstances surrounding this event and some of the important details of this important chapter in Polish, European and world history.
We've got a guest in the studio for the news this week and we start with the events related to the 80th anniversary of the start of WWII. From there, it's a really awkward transition to bread, too many events in Krakow's main square, higher tram ticket prices in Krakow lead a budget hole (?), more people paying taxes in Krakow leads to a budget surplus, government-funded in vitro treatments, even MORE cash for Krakow's sextuplets and a plan to make Krakow greener.
Few people in Poland will admit to being fans of McD's, so their 420+ locations here must be empty, right? Hardly. In this episode, we try to reconcile the hate for the Golden Arches with the fact that they all seem to be packed, all the time. Join us for this super-sized discussion that covers important issues like why nobody wants "good" food and the mysterious fate of the Big Tasty.
After covering "ZZ" in our previous KrakCast Profile, it's time for "MM", the PM of PL. Mateusz Morawiecki may not have the most exciting public persona but that's not one of the job requirements for Prime Minister (is it?). Listen to our profile of MM and learn about his interesting introduction to the world of Polish politics and how he worked, or maybe survived, his way to the top.
Is it a Tinder profile pic or a police "Wanted" poster? And wouldn't you buy drugs from her? Also, tragic news to talk about this week, with three stories of unfortunate deaths and injuries. After that, it's on to more positive things, like FOUR stories about idiot politicians.
Sweet or salty? Crunchy or chewy? Paprika or extra paprika? In this episode, we share our frustrations at the lack of choices when it comes to the kind of stuff we shouldn't be eating anyway. Is Prince Polo really that good? Is Polish chocolate even a thing? Of the billions of potato chip / crisp flavors out there, why does Poland only have four? From time to time we have to get some things off our collective chest and this is one of them.
If you didn't live in Krakow before 2014, you missed your chance to see the inside of the original train station when it was still, um, a train station. As you know, the building is still there today but the History Land we find there now is only the current chapter in a much longer history. Listen to this episode to learn the story of Kraków Główny railway station.
Yes, a ban on alcohol sales starts next month, but you might not notice it if you don't live next to a 24h store (or unless you're a pathetic drunk). Also in the news, the city government says it WON'T help Wisła Kraków with its money problems but it WILL spend millions on summertime concerts that make John shout "TURN THAT DOWN!" from his window, there might be a new tram line in front of Wawel, Netflix is up and smoking is down, the latest on "Airgate" (a week late), special hours for autistic shoppers and the latest attempt by a Pole to kill himself on a mountain.
He's controversial, has super-cool initials and just might be the Polish Prime Minister one day. Our new KrakCast Profile looks at Krakow's own Zbigniew Ziobro, Minister of Justice and major figure in PiS. Listen and learn about his quick rise in the world of politics, his role in behind-the-scenes drama and his habit of using his office to take action against his enemies, which is why we want to make it clear that WE LOVE HIM AND ARE REALLY BIG FANS!
We're back after a short break to talk about October elections, Swiss Franc loans, yellow boxes on Krakow roads, the bloody carnage caused by electric scooters, the approaching enforcement of the ban on burning solids for home heating and the guy who threatened to blow up the Polish parliament dies in his prison cell (at least he wasn't on a "suicide watch")...
Some people say Polish is really difficult, while others say it's extremely difficult. Alicja Babula-Asaudouska says it's not as hard as you think if you do it the right way. She should know—she teaches foreign students how to mówić po polsku. We had a nice chat with her about what makes Polish so tough, how students can make progress and if there's any hope for our very own Dave (who wasn't there to defend himself).
What kind of horrible person abandons his pet at an animal shelter? One with vacation plans, apparently. That's our weird starting point in this week's news before moving on to a national shortage of medicine, the bizarre but not surprising story behind the new head in the Rynek, this week's major battle over LGBT rights and a controversial sticker, the latest speculation about the end of coal in Poland and how it seems that Platforma Obywatelska doesn't have any friends.
Twenty years ago, Polish cars were everywhere. They're not completely gone yet, but 90% of them have been replaced by Skodas, Kias, Toyotas, Volkswagens, whatever the plural of Lexus is and many more. In this episode, we look back at the roughly 50-year history of the Polish car industry, from early Soviet guidance to terminal South Korean catastrophe. Oh, and Tom Hanks.