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Krakow Travel Blog

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Kazimierz

After being in Kraków alone, it was time to share it with my family who have come to visit me during their vacation.  I really put a lot of effort into planning the trip and looked for excursions that would appeal to young and old alike.  I decided on a rafting trip, a visit to a medieval castle and a visit to an enormous salt mine that has been operating for over 700 years.

There were six of us, and I only have seatbelts for five in my car, so I decided that the easiest option would be train travel.  We got a train from Warsaw Central to Cracow's main station at 10.05 am.  We had no problem in finding the platform nor locating the proper train when it arrived.  Everything is pretty clearly marked.  This may be because I've done it before, so I'd recommend arriving early just to avoid any problems.  I'd also recommend buying the tickets a day or so ahead if you can.  The sales office in Warsaw's central station is a really helpful place to take care of these things, and the personnel speaks English.

ul. Szeroka - Kazimierz
  There are special weekend and tourist fares, and you should ask about them when booking.  The savings can be important! 

So, we got on our train with no problems and settled in for a few hours of reading and admiring some of the beautiful countryside that we passed through.  As I wrote the previous time, the landscape is flat with lots of green fields, wooden farm houses, cattle and crops.  We pass through an ocassional village, but this train doesn´s stop along the way. It's another gray day here in Poland. I hope the weather will get better.  Anyway, I need to buy a few umbrellas as soon as we get to Krakow. Just in case...

We arrived in the mid afternoon.  The train station is connected to a new shopping mall - a really nice shopping center, but just like any shopping center anywhere in Europe.  Mostly the same stores, same fast food places, etc.  So, we walk through the shopping center and start to make our way towards Kazimierz, where our hotel is located.

ul. Szeroka - Kazimierz
  Still not raining at this point, and the sky looks bright gray (rather than dark gray!) so, I pass on the umbrellas (why be a pessimist?!?) and we start to walk towards the hotel.  I did this last time I was here and it's about a 20 minute walk.  So, 10 minutes out of the train station, I'm not feeling so confident that I'm headed in the right direction and it starts to pour... and pour... and pour...!  Actually I was headed in the right direction, but we ended up taking cover in the doorway of an old building for about 20 minutes until the rain let up a little and we were able to continue along our way to Kazimierz, the Jewish Ghetto, and the Hotel Dom Casimi which is where I had made reservations for us to stay.

Check-in and getting settled into the hotel wasn't eventful at all.  I've written a review of the hotel, which I wouldn't highly recommend.  As we approached the hotel I noticed that there's an old Jewish synagogue and cemetary across from the hotel on the western side of Szeroka street.

ul. Szeroka - Kazimierz
  I wanted this to be our first stop after having a small lunch by the hotel.  The Remu Synagogue was established in 1553 and is the smallest synagogue in Kazimierz. It is still used for worship today. A Jewish Cemetary is located right next to the synagogue.  An entrance fee is charged for both the synagogue and the cemetary.

After that visit, we strolled along Szeroka Street.  This broad street is pretty and has a number of cafés, restaurants and hotels.  The birthplace of Helena Rubinstein is an imposing house on this street as well.  Eventually we made our way down Dietla Street to Krakowska Street and to the river which we strolled along until reaching Wawel Castle.  We saw "Smok Wawelski" - the Wawel Dragon.  The statue of the dragon spits fire every minute or so, and dozens of people take turns waiting to be photographed with the dragon.

From there we skirted around Wawel until we reached the "Planty" which is the park which surrounds the city where the city walls used to be.

ul. Szeroka - Kazimierz
  Finally we made our way through a beautiful Franciscan church and then to the main market square, Rynek Głowny which is amazing.  We spent  most of the afternoon wandering around the old town of Kraków, visiting it's many monuments and historic churches before another deluge of rain drove us into a doorway in Mały Rynek where we saw a very inviting restaurant where we decided to have dinner.
Wawel Dragon... I recently realized that sending an sms is what makes him breathe fire.
  Mały Rynek is a small market square close to the main market square and is a very beautiful spot in the city.  I've written a review of the Szoberowska restaurant and will add it here when I can.

The atmosphere in the restaurant was extremely pleasant, with rain pouring down (I can't remember ever seeing it rain harder than that evening in Kraków!).  In spite of the slow service at the restaurant, the atmosphere and sound of the rain pouning down on the street outside made the evening a memorable one.  Eventually the rain stopped and we walked to Kazimierz and our hotel.

grandall1 says:
I really enjoyed reading all of your blog. I wish I could visit some day also!
Posted on: Sep 21, 2007
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Kazimierz
Kazimierz
ul. Szeroka - Kazimierz
ul. Szeroka - Kazimierz
ul. Szeroka - Kazimierz
ul. Szeroka - Kazimierz
ul. Szeroka - Kazimierz
ul. Szeroka - Kazimierz
ul. Szeroka - Kazimierz
ul. Szeroka - Kazimierz
Wawel Dragon... I recently realize…
Wawel Dragon... I recently realiz…
Krakow
photo by: EmyG