Back to Kraków!
Krakow Travel Blog› entry 2 of 5 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.