It all started on one cold autumn day of the late 1970s when the Communist world heard the first scream of the newly born Michal (Mike) Ostrowski. Our Great Leader was born in a typical workers' district of Krakow and raised by his Beloved Mother and his Wise Father. During the Communist times he lived a regular life of all the boys in the neighbourhood, collecting Western gadgets, posters and music cassettes which lit up the grey reality of Poland. He always was a crazy boy but also a good pupil so he easily passed the entry exams to the Jagiellonian University and became a Law student.
In 2004 he was finishing his law degree at the same time working as a receptionist in one of Krakow’s hotels. A boring job, but one which enabled him to study for his exams and write love poems to his pet dog. He had a lot of contact with foreigners, and quite often chatted with them or shared a beer on his nightshifts. One fine day he got a call saying that an American couple (Mark & Mary), who were visiting Krakow, wanted to take a two hour guided tour of the city. Our Great Leader arrived with his filthy, trashy Fiat 126p (the one he used to impress girls with) and, after realizing that the couple already knew Krakow quite well, he proposed that they skip the tourist traps, jump into his love machine and drive to some of the city’s hidden treasures. He took them to the legendary mounds, with their panoramic views over the city, to the Bohemian bars in the Jewish quarter, and finally he made them dinner in his apartment. The couple loved it so much (and tipped him a lot) so, in the evening, as a bonus he took them to Nowa Huta and explained some of the crazy history of this purpose-built Socialist city. Afterwards, naturally, they went for a beer (or six) and the couple told him that his tour was so great, so cool, that he had to start his own company… We don’t remember who came with the name…Crazy Guides…But what we do remember is that Our Great Leader Mike was broke after spending all of his salary on travelling and partying. Luckily for him, Mark and Mary offered to give him the money to start up…for free! And that’s exactly what they did! He bought a Trabant, made a few Crazy modifications and painted it in a truly funky style. Mark and Mary helped him prepare the uniquely eccentric offer and that’s how it started.
Now, Crazy Guides is undoubtedly the most famous tour company in Krakow, covered by the most prestigious international media in the world, such as the BBC, Lonely Planet, Reuters, CNN Traveller, New York Times, Der Spiegel, La Republica, to name but a few. We also widened the scope of organized activities to more standard tours and full organisation of corporate events in Poland and abroad. Although we started as an ‘alternative’ to typical tourism in Poland, in just a few years we have become one of the essential experiences of any trip to Krakow! From that first East German Trabant we have grown to a fleet of 10-12 crazy vehicles, which include Polish Fiats, Nysa Van and Polonez, and we have recruited an amazing team of young and energetic experts to make sure that our service remains leagues ahead of the competition. Our secret is that we have always done this for the love of it, for the good times, the memories and the smile on our clients’ faces…
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