So last week was spent in Krakow, Poland. After seeing a few blog posts about it and being totally inspired, it was time that I paid this city a visit and took my boy with me.
We stayed in the Jewish quarter of Kazimierz, south of the main city centre. I chose this area as its known to be popular for those wishing to spend evenings in resturants and bars, to which we found we had an abundance to choose from!
The best of which we found was Nova Resto Bar, the food was just delicious. I had the pasta with chicken, cream cheese, white wine sauce and sundried tomatoes. Devine. The best meal I’ve had in ages. To finish I had a banana and chocolate milkshake, made from fresh, which was also just as tasty. The price was so good, we only paid £10 each for main, desert and a drink! Crazy. Poland is so cheap! The atmosphere of the bar was also really nice, very relaxed, hip jazz music, candles on the tables and interesting all around which really gives off some character and the service was unfaultable.
As for hotel, we stayed in David Boutique Hotel and I’ve got to say, it was nice not staying in a hostel for a change. Not that I don’t love hostels, but when travelling with a partner I thought it’d be best we stay somewhere a bit more private!
The hotel itself was pretty good. Good selection of breakfast – it was the same everyday, continental buffet, but we didn’t mind this. Plus it was included in the price of the room so we used this to our advantage to fuel ourselves up for the day. Wifi was also free of charge but found this very temperamental depending on where you were in the hotel. We only really used to the Wifi to research Krakow places anyway, so wasn’t too much of an issue. The beds were super comfy and the pillows huge so found it hard to get out of bed in the mornings, especially after a long day of walking the day before! Overall a pleasant hotel and at just £52 each for a 4 night stay, it was a bargain. Again, Poland is so cheap!
From here to the main square, the walk took around 40 minutes, although we did go along the riverside. May be long for some, but it was a nice scenic walk and kept us warm in the very chilly weather! It was a similar length of time to walk from Kazimierz to the main train station too – to which we took day trips to the Salt Mines and Aushwitz from. If we knew we had a lot of walking to do that day, we just got one of the many trams that run frequently through and around the city centre (for a single ticket under 30 minutes it was 4 Zloty – around 70-80 pence!)
Wawel Castle & Cathedral
Main Market Square
We stopped off at the restaurant outside the main hall for some mulled cider which was oh so yummy, warm yet crisp, and kept us cosy whilst we spent an hour or so just people watching and taking it all in!
Wieliczka Salt Mine
We took a day trip out to the Wieliczka Salt Mine which has been going for 900 years! Inside there are 200 kilometers of passages as well as 2,040 caverns of varied size. Our tour started (after many many steps!) at 64 metres deep and ended at a wooping 135 m below the earth surface, where the world’s biggest museum of mining is located with equipment that is over 900 years old. The mine itself wasn’t as claustrophobic as I had first pictured, was very roomy walking around the different chambers. Our lovely tour guide was very knowledgable and told us what it was like to be a miner down there, how the equipment was used along with a bit of mining history. The tour took around 2.5 hours in total (it can be up to an hour longer in peak times) and not once was I bored, probably because I hadn’t been anywhere quite like it! Our group were all English speaking too (they do separate tours for different languages) so it was nice chatting to some fellow tourists along the way.
Auschwitz Concentration Camp
Another day trip we did (after a loooong two hour train ride as we decided to go it alone after failing to book a tour in time) was to the Auschwitz Birkenau Concentration Camp
I won’t go into too much detail here, other than this place has to be seen to be believed. Walking through the camp there were descriptions describing what life was like for people sent here as prisoners in the second world war. There was pictures of the brutality that insued, people starved beyond being able to stand and the torture process that each of them went through on a daily basis until they were tortured to the point of death. Real eye opening stuff and mentally draining. It was freezing when we went too which just added to the coldness of the place. Certain blocks we were allowed to go inside, namely showing letters, clothes and pictures of those in the camp. We were also allowed entry into one of the furnace blocks and here you can still see the scratch marks on the walls of prisoners trying to escape. Brain stopping stuff. I think because we were allowed into the blocks and furnace, it really got you into a odd mindset which sets you back almost and gives a clearer picture of what it actually felt like to be trapped there.
Our evenings were spent in one of the many bars that Kazimierz had to offer. Our favourite being Mechanoff which was a relatively small bar, with soft music and candlelit tables. A nice place to relax after a day of walking for hours. Pints were £1.22 each and a cocktails set me back a mere £2-3, plus their sex on the beach was luuuush.
And that just about somes up my trip to Krakow!
My next trip will be to Centre Parcs in March, but in the meantime look out for a guest post of mine over at Big World, Small Me in the next two weeks where I have written about my 6 week experience in South East Asia back in 2013.
Till next time!