Fun & Games (and missing trains) in Krakow...

Krakow Travel Blog

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So, yeah… I shouldn’t have opened my mouth about delays now, should I??? Don’t know what happened, but with no explanation or anything my train was delayed almost 2 hours… It just stopped on the tracks and sat there forever. Fortunately, I had some company. There were 3 other people in my cabin and 2 of them spoke English… Woohoo!!! They were really lovely Polish women, and we had a great laugh about loads of things. Plus, it was snowing like crazy the whole way, so I entertained myself pressing my face against the window to get closer to the snow…

When I arrived I was in a great mood… My hostel is in a PERFECT location… Right in the centre of the old town. Walking through the main square there were hundreds of guys chanting, yelling, singing… I’m thinking that they were footballs fans judging by their matching scarves that they were all waving around… But it was huge, they were letting off flares and firecrackers, there were riot police there and everything. Riot police have become a common sight for me, it seems like they’re everywhere in Europe. But I have yet to see a riot dammit!

Anyway, after I had ditched my bags at the hostel I went for a walk right around the old town… At night it is so beautiful, all of these really old buildings and Churches lit up, there’s something, I don’t know, romantic about old towns. Although not so much when you’re walking around alone!!! But yeah, enjoyed spending some quiet time alone, have really been craving solitude lately, you know those days when you just want to have peace and quiet, like stay home for the day and don’t talk to anyone or go anywhere? Well, when you’re living in hostels and sharing a room with anywhere between 3 and 11 other people you don’t get to do that, you spend all of your time socializing and partying. So during my walk I resolved to spend the night in at the hostel no matter what. I know, I’ve said it so many times before, but this time I was determined. And do you know what??? I actually did it! I think that’s twice in a week I’ve had an antisocial night in. Which makes twice in 6 months!!! So, it was a chill night until about 2am when a few people got back to the hostel and all of a sudden the lounge was full of Aussies, all from Melbourne. So we all sat around talking trash, didn’t get to bed until almost 5. But at least it was still a quiet night.

After only a few hours sleep I got up really early so I could get out and check out Krakow. Ended up going up to Kosciusko Mound with a few randoms from the hostel and then hanging out with an Aussie for the rest of the time. It’s just a big hill really, but Mt Kosciuszko in Australia got it’s name from this humble little hill, apparently it resembles it…? Then went all around the town checking out (what else!) Churches and stuff. There are so many Churches in Poland, I could amuse myself in them for weeks! All different styles, and lots of them even had English translations inside… Woohoo!!!

The architecture in parts of the town reminded me a little of Prague, it’s so beautiful… Ahhh, I could stay here a while. Especially since it keeps snowing sporadically. It comes down for an hour and then stops for a little while then starts again… It’s great, am absolutely loving it!

Went to Wawel Castle, to the big Cathedral inside, and checked out some amazing views over the city. By this point it was only me and one of the guys from the hostel left, we had managed to lose everyone on the hill. Spent the rest of the day doing the normal stuff, checking out the town, a lot of walking around. It might seem like all I do is walk around sometimes, but it’s the only way to get to know a city… I don’t really know how to explain it.

That night I made up for the previous nights good behaviour! Had promised to catch up with one of the guys we met in Munich since he had arrived that morning with a bunch of randoms that he’s been travelling with, so trudged through the snow to their hostel and sat and had a few beers with them there, took on a couple of them at billiards (and won both games… yay me!) before heading out to a couple of bars. Had such a blast, drinking and dancing… There was, like, 7 guys and as usual I was the only girl… Getting very used to it though, and really, who am I to complain! Don’t really know which bars we went to, but the last place was really cool… Good random music, all sorts. I have no idea what time we all went home, but it was snowing again and I was having a blast playing in the snow after a few drinks… On the way home there were snowballs flying in all directions, unfortunately they all had much better aim than me!!!

Following day was more sightseeing… Went to the Jewish History Museum which is inside an old Synagogue. There’s a huge Jewish Quarter here, just South-East of the Old Town, and there’s still leads of Synagogues there although I think that only one is still in use. There used to be a huge Jewish population here, but now it’s almost non-existent.

Then I went back to my usual routine of hunting down Churches!!! I think that I’ve seen just about all of them now, not bad in 2 days! I also booked a flight to London for the weekend so I could join in some massive celebrations that will be happening there… Booked to fly there on Friday and then back to Krakow on Wednesday… Silly addictive London, I wonder if I’ll ever really be free from it!

There was a massive group of crazy loud partying Spanish people who checked into the hostel that day, there must’ve been 20 of them… So that night we all gathered at the hostel and were drinking, drinking, drinking… It was loads of fun, there were so many bottles of vodka and my glass seemed to be constantly getting mysteriously refilled. I love it when that happens!!!

Once all of the vodka was finally finished we were all going out. Aussie dude Andrew had weaked out (ok, he was actually pretty sick), so there was me, Jean-Francois (from Quebec) and countless crazy Spaniards. Found a really cool club to go to that didn’t want to let us in until we paid a hefty entrance fee (aka “rip off the foreigners” tax) but luckily one of the Spanish girls was relentless in her bargaining with the heartless cow at the door and we got in for 5 zloty each in the end. Once we were inside it was an insanely crazy night… Jean-Francois had attempted to order 2 vodka shots and 2 beers in Polish (not an easy task, especially in a noisy club!) and what we ended up with was 4 of the biggest shots I have ever seen, and 2 beers to top it off. After everything that we had already drank, it was a recipe for, well, drunkedness…! Spent the night talking and dancing, and dancing and talking, and the sun was definitely coming up by the time we were all walking home. Woke up the next morning with vague recollections of the night before, but Polish vodka is really good, so no hangover… Woohoo!

I was going to go to the salt mines the next day, but everyone was going to Auschwitz and I had been putting it off because I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to go alone. Everyone was up ridiculously early because they were leaving that day, so we decided to catch them there a little later, after at least a few coffees. Getting there and back seemed like it was going to be easy enough, but proved to be not so simple… Got the train out there ok, although it took over 2 hours when we were expecting about 40 minutes… Still don’t know why! But when we got off the train we realised that we had no map and no idea which direction to head. Not so bad, figured it out and got the right bus out there. By this time it was almost 4pm, and we had to be back in Krakow in time for Jean-Francois to get his train to Czech republic that night…

So, spent a few hours at Auschwitz, only went to the first camp because we didn’t have time to see them all. It’s devastatingly depressing, I mean, everyone knows what happened there, but actually seeing it for yourself is different. Walking into the buildings that are still standing and seeing the remains of the camp, it’s horrible, but when I was there I felt like I needed to see everything. When we left we figured that we had enough time to get back and for him to get his train with heaps of time to spare. That was until we got to the train station and found that for some reason the next train was not for 2 hours. So there goes the “time to spare” but if we rushed when we got there it would all have still worked out fine.

It was absolutely freezing cold, so we stayed at the train station telling stories and joking about how funny it would be if we got so distracted that we missed our train after waiting 2 hours. Yes, I know, I don’t need to say it… You know what’s coming… We were so busy talking and laughing that we missed the train… Aaaaargh!!! It was actually hilarious… The next one wasn’t coming for another 45 minutes, there was absolutely no way Jean-Francois was going to make his train to Prague so we took the next train and headed back to the hostel so he could check in for another night.

We wanted to try some Polish food (I always want to try at least one traditional meal in each country, even if it means I can’t afford to eat for the rest of my time there… Bless cheese sandwiches for all of those in between meals…) so we went out on a mission. There’s heaps of Polish restaurants around, but it was getting really late at night… First we went on a mission to find a vegetarian restaurant that’s supposed to be really good… It’s a bit of a walk from the centre, and when we got out there we found it was closed, so headed back to the centre only to find that in that time pretty much everything else in the centre was closed too. Ugh. We found one really funky piano bar that was open til the early hours of the morning and still serving food, there was barely a single person inside, but still the owner took one look at us both wearing trainers and told us we didn’t fit the dress code. Moron. I mean, there’s nobody in your restaurant or bar, really, as if you wouldn’t want our money. Our shoes are going to be hidden under the table anyway! Oh well, I’d rather not give my hard earned Zloty to someone like that anyway. So, we found a felafel place that was still opened, grabbed one to go and went back to the hostel for a few beers and fairly quiet night since my flight was leaving early in the morning. We were supposed meet up with the others and go out clubbing, but by the time we had done all this it was getting really late.

Next day I got up early, got my stuff together and went to the train station to get to the airport. Now, you have to know that my Polish is terrible, even with my phrasebook I suck at the pronunciation, but because I was going to London I didn’t even take my phrasebook with me. And of course that’s the day that nobody in the ticket office speaks English. So, after much confusion I missed my train to the airport and had to wait half an hour for the next one. Yes, again, you know what’s coming…

Missed checkin by 4 minutes and the stupid Ryanair desk cow wouldn’t let me check in even though I had no luggage to check or anything. Ugh. And to get on the next flight was going to cost me a fortune, even more than the first flight cost. Ugh! I took this as I sign that maybe I wasn’t supposed to go to London that weekend and got the train back to the hostel to check back in. Everyone thought that the whole fiasco was hilarious, the 2 of us had only been hanging out a couple of days and kept having these disasters. So anyway, since I couldn’t afford to go to London, I decided to head to Prague with Jean-Francois instead. I’ve already been there, but loved it and figured a few more days there would be nice, and then we could try to get to Bratislava and Budapest after that.

So I spent the rest of the day hanging out with Andrew and Jean-Francois, it was such a beautiful day, the sun was out again and the birds were singing, all that jazz… We were still on a mission to find a traditional Polish meal, but being the middle of the day we had much more luck this time. Found a great place and had a random meal from the menu that was served on a big plate made out of bread. Such a waste, the meals are huge, nobody is ever going to eat the bread… They could be serving it on a plate and giving the bread to people who need it. Ugh. Wasteful people. But it was a great meal, well worth the debacle of missing all of our transport out of this place just to finally have a Polish meal!!!

The train was leaving pretty late, we were determined to get there about an hour early after the disasters we’d been having, so we gathered at the hostel with everyone having countless shots of Polish vodka and mixing up some more to take with us to help us sleep.

Then, at night we got on the overnight train to Prague… But more on that next time!

Til then, stop laughing at me, I’m not that funny (ok, yes I am!!!)

Love you all,

See you soon!!!



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photo by: EmyG