Weekend in Krakow

Krakow Travel Blog

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Burkenau - "Gates of Death"

Our trip to Krakow was my Christmas present from Joe, I chose Krakow because not only did it have some amazing sights to see but also, given the time of year we were going we were pretty much guarenteed snow...or so I thought!

We set off from my house at about 6am feeling groggy but excited. We had packed everything we thought we would need for the freezing temperatures of Poland, themals and all, so our bag was pretty heavy. When we got on the plane I was sat next to a really nice Polish guy who told me all the things to do in Poland and taught me how to say 'Good morning' and 'thank you' in Polish which I though were probably the best things to know.

When we arrived in Krakow our taxi dropped us off on the road which our hostel was on but we couldn't find it.

We walked around for about half an hour following the directions which hostelbookers.com had given us but we just kept walking round. Finally we found our hostel, there was a small sign about the size of an A3 piece of paper saying Greg Tom Hostel and we'd missed it! Never mind. We went into the hostel and the girl on the reception was really helpful she knew everything we needed to know and even told us the best place for a kebab!

After settling into our room we decided to explore Krakow a bit. There was a brilliant mix of old an new with a massive shopping centre right by our hostel and then the brilliant arcitecture of all the old buildings leading up to the main square. We followed the crowds and found ourselves there, we did the touristy thing of taking pictures of the Basilica of the Virgin Mary's church which looked amazing in the twilight and walked through the market where I spotted some gorgeous amber jewelery.

I wanted to take a horse drawn carriage round the centre of Krakow but Joe wasn't interested so we didn't. Then we set off on the trail of the kebab shop which we were told to go to, little did we know there were about 10 on a 100metre strip so we just picked the one that looked nicest. We picked well though, because the kebabs were immense! I don't normally like all the sauces and salads that they put on kebabs but this one was so nice I ate it all. Joe took the piss out of me though because I ate mine with a knife and fork and on a plate (unlike everyone else who were eating them with a fork and holding them in a piece of paper), I also got mine everywhere because I'd picked through it to get to the best bits!

After eating we went and found one of the underground bars and were shocked when we walked into the Greenroom (a little rock music bar in Chesterfield) it even smelt the same with the same heavy metal music.

We went to a few of the bars before deciding we should have an early night because we were going to Auschwitz the next morning.

The next day we set off for Auschwitz and Birkenau. They are unbellieveable. You can't imagine the sheer scale of the place until you see them. Everyone should go here at least once. Auschwitz has been turned into a museum but definately take the short taxi ride to Birkenau because it is just how it was left and the infamous "Gates of death" will still terrify you now.

The next day we messed up (or as Joe will tell you "I"messed up). We decided to go to Zakopane, a ski resort a couple of hours away because we had managed to go to Krakow looking for some snow when it felt like they were having a heat wave and there was no snow!! We thought there must be some snow there.

My parents had told us to take the bus to Zakopane and it only takes about 2 hours tops, but I thought why don't we take the train surely it will be quicker? 4 hours later we are still on the train to Zakopane! Not a good idea as by now it was starting to go dark! Oh well, we arrived anyway, just in time to take a few pictures of the mountains and get something to eat. Sadly...still no snow! I found a little bit which had been pushed to the side so I had to have my photo taken in it just to prove i'd seen some snow! Zakopane was a really nice place though, and really lively, Joe suggested it would be a really good Stag do place, so anybody whos planning one...go to Zakopane!

We decided that we would take the bus back, so not to waste any more time and sure enough, an hour and 30 minutes later we were back in Krakow.

We worked out we had almost scaled Poland on our Train journay instead of going straight there...you live and learn don't you?

Sadly, we had to go home the next day, I would have liked and extra day just to spend wandering around Krakow because it's such a beautiful place. Shame about the snow, and we didn't need our thermals after all, damn Global Warming! I'll definately be going back here at some point though.

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Burkenau - Gates of Death
Burkenau - "Gates of Death"
Warka Strong
Warka Strong
The shooting wall
The shooting wall
Zakopane
Zakopane
Market place in Krakow
Market place in Krakow
Me and Joe
Me and Joe
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Krakow
photo by: EmyG