The old town, The ghetto and Oscar Schindler

Krakow Travel Blog

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At the skate rink
January 12

Aaaaaahh lazy day, my hosts were pretty cool and its later that food was needed so we joined useful to the pleasant time and made a tour of Wieliczka and ended up to the site of the underground salt mine, which is a 'national polish monument' and well known over the country. But the price for non-polish people was exorbitant... and do I really care about visiting a salt mine for 40 minutes for that price. Nope my priority are not there.

So we ended up at the shop, getting some goods and being back home relaxing having some discussion with Tomek about what is to visit and some plans. There will be a meeting in Krakow organised in the coming days and I will surely take part of it.

It's finally later in the evening that I left Wieliczka to be hosted in Krakow itself by Beata (HC: filon) and Lukasz (HC: gornis) who is a really cute couple living in a student house.
Tomek skating
I pretty much enjoyed their hospitality while being there although I didn't spend extremely long with them. They were intending to go out partying that same night, I took the moment to go for a walk in town but decided not to go to the party for money reason and for having time to myself. So I walked a bit in the old Krakow by night before heading back, using the computer a little and reading some books in bed. I ended up still sleeping late though.
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January 13

I woke up late, Beata and Lukasz were mostly busy with their studies so they had things to do. It took me a while before I finally moved out of the house to go wandering into town in what looked like the first 'mild' winter days (looked like a belgian winter day) with grey weather and slightly more chill.
Tomek in the action


I was simply not motivated anymore and well I might have given that impression to Lukasz as well. But still I did wander in town for a while before looking for the meeting point to go ice skating with the other HC members... tough place to find!
Hopefully, after walking the square 6 times I did manage to find them (and the square is huge!)

Few members showed up and we headed to the local ice ring to do some ice skating. That was cool with me even if it was no amazingly crazy event to happen in my life (I lived next to a frozen lake all my life)... what amazed me is to notice how crazy polish people are about ice skating and how they can pack a little ring with too much people on such a bad ice condition with bad skate and bad skater. So the traffic was so dense that you needed to be careful that nobody run into you while turning in consistent circle.
A view on the Main Square
.. and watching out for the awful hole in the ice. I didn't understand why they didn't pass the zamboni! They only did after we left! gggrrrrrr :|
After the hour of allowed skating period we had, my feet were horribly hurting from the plastic skate they leant us. But in general, it was a nice afternoon... it changed of the routine and gave some activities!

After this rushy skating we ended up in a georgian restaurant having some drinks and meal. The thing is that in Poland, classy restaurant are sooooo cheap (but supermarket are quite expensive... quite a paradox) that it's indeed nice to be in such a place. Although it is usually not the place that you expect to be while backpacking around... but well now I'm going to eat on credits! And food was wonderfully tasty!

After this, most of the people left (I didn't present myself correctly so I did not keep any username of the people except for Tomek) and we went back to my hosts in town as I would already be leaving tonight back to Wieliczka.
View in kasimierz district
Tomek and me would plan to go for a day trip to the Tatras mountains tomorrow.

I was a bit unease with leaving my hosts so suddenly without having spent time with them, but luckely once there we managed to take some time to talk a bit about different things, about Canada and travelling while receiving vodka shot over vodka shot from the friends of their flatmates. After a while though, it was time to leave... as those glassed were getting errrrr too much ;)
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January 14

The plan to go to the Tatra Mountain failed as Tomek was slightly ill last night and maybe even today (although more like a light cold). So then we also woke up later, as otherwise we would have planned to leave in really early morning. Anyhow everything failed, so I took the morning more lazy, then Tomek pushed me a bit to go to Krakow to do something of the day and visit the city.
Me in Jewish Cemetery - Kasimierz District
I finally complied and took the minibus into town.

It was a decent day, I walked most of the town... up to the castle hill, the old town and Kasimierz (The jewish district) and the jewish ghetto and Oskar Schindler Factory until dusk. Then after dark, I was in the historic Ghetto area looking for a place to eat that would be cheap and open on Sunday, It was a hard task, so I ended up in a cheap pizzeria. I ate there relaxing slowly and letting time goes before going back to Wieliczka, so that I wouldn't annoy my host.

Then just usual talk and go to sleep,

I also had some issues with people reading my blog, which made me feel unease. Some people wrote me that they didnt like too much what I wrote about themself... being maybe too direct or harsh or also misunderstood.
Oskar Schindler Factory - Krakow
Anyway, I tried to correct some part of it.
Sorry about that :(
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January 15

Ok, back in Krakow... hostless.
Obviously things turned again not at ease at Tomek, so instead of asking I simply left. Though I ended up being short with hosting. Not being expected in my next destination before tomorrow.

So I walked around town with my bag, and went to a cybercafe to look and send some mail. So I contacted people in Oswiecim hoping maybe something would happen, I was also talking to a member in Krakow who had no availability but was currently working in a Youth Hostel. Which was revealing useful as well since I was expecting to end up there.

So before talking a decision I sat down and let time ticking by... its been payful as I received a phone call later (while I was walking in Kasimierz, where I stopped at the jewish book shop to by 'The Pianist') from Florian (HC: Voggeneder) who would host me in Oswiecim.
Church Crowned Tower
At first my phone was still acting crap (stupid Polish Sim) but hopefully I manage to talk with him on another call and then to walk to the bus station to catch a minibus to Oswiecim Youth Centre where he was volunteering.

I manage to reach the place and finally spend the evening at the Youth Centre with Florian (from Austria) and other germans who were all volunteering either at the camp or at the Youth Centre. Great evening, discussing about the different influence and life of this well... well known area (Auschwitz!)
I learned a lot of different point of view about the local life, about the WWII history and about the soldier who were here.
That was really culturally educating!

Later Marcin (HC: matdem - my host from tomorrow) called to make sure everything was alright.
Fast Sky Cliche in the Main Square


Then the evening went around some Gluehwein before going to sleep.
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At the skate rink
At the skate rink
Tomek skating
Tomek skating
Tomek in the action
Tomek in the action
A view on the Main Square
A view on the Main Square
View in kasimierz district
View in kasimierz district
Me in Jewish Cemetery - Kasimierz …
Me in Jewish Cemetery - Kasimierz…
Oskar Schindler Factory - Krakow
Oskar Schindler Factory - Krakow
Church Crowned Tower
Church Crowned Tower
Fast Sky Cliche in the Main Square
Fast Sky Cliche in the Main Square
Along the Castle
Along the Castle
Castle View in Krakow
Castle View in Krakow
Camera Effect in the Castle Court
Camera Effect in the Castle Court
Street view from the Castle Hill
Street view from the Castle Hill
Cliche in Kasimierz
Cliche in Kasimierz
Streets view in Kasimierz
Streets view in Kasimierz
Thought in the Jewish Cemetery
Thought in the Jewish Cemetery
View over the Jewish Cemetery in K…
View over the Jewish Cemetery in …
Thoughtful, Jewish Cemetery
Thoughtful, Jewish Cemetery
Oskar Schindler Factory - Krakow
Oskar Schindler Factory - Krakow
Krakow
photo by: EmyG