Krakow - Welcome to Polski

Krakow Travel Blog

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us and the wawel castle

After being back home for two and half weeks we headed off to London for a night before coming to the lovely Krakow. Long story short, we got upgraded to business class Melbourne to LA. They showed us up the stairs on the way onto the plane, a champagne for the both of you? Why yes i think we shall. Fully reclining seats that massage, roast duck for entree, salmon for main and a cheese platter for desert. Can't go back to cattle class after this can we? Apparentlywe can LA to London, not good.

We arrived in Krakow about midday and headed off straight to the old town and 'Nathans Place' where we camped up for 3 nights. We headed off for a first afternoon of sight seeing to 'Wawel Hill' which is Krakows biggest gringo drawcard, the hill is crowned with a castle and cathederal, both very iconic symbols of Krakow we're assured.

down town krakow (old town)- lots of horse rides on offer
The Cathederal is from the 14th century and is amazing and was for centuries the coronation and burial place of Polish royalty, it also has Polands biggest bell at 11 tonnes, ripper. The castle is also pretty impressive, but our favorite was the very unique dragons as the end point of the guttering system, i want some at home, see photo.

Day two we were up early and off to the town of Oswiecim which is more famously known by its German name of Auschwitz. Arriving here was a little different than we were expecting, first passing a couple of coffee shops in the car park before arrivng to the Museum, the start of any visit here. The reality of Auschwitz hit us pretty quickly when we passed through the old entrance gates with the inscription 'Arbeit Macht Frei' - work makes you free.
a view over krakow
We visited several blocks which we all very moving, however the most being the room containing 2 tonnes of hair found the by Red Army when they liberated the camp. They actually found 7 tonnes here, however only 2 tonnes is on display, the amount appears endless. Also the only intact gas chamber and crematorium still exists today.

We moved on from Auschwitz to Birkenau only 3km's away. We didn't previously realise this before visiting, however Birkenau was the real Nazi mass genocide concentration camp where it is estimated over 1.5m people were put to death. Birkenau is much bigger that Auschwitz with 300 barracks holding up to 100,000 people. Unfortunatly for us today the retreating Germans dynamited the gas chambers and crematorias which are now just four masses of rubble. Birkenau is a dfinite for anyone visiting Krakow.
st mary's basilica in the krakow old town, steeped in tradition including a trumpet player at the top of the towers who job is to play 30sec piece four times on the hour very hour 24/7

Took it pretty easy on the third day, just went for a bike tour around the city. We got there and no one else turned up, so we had our own private bike tour with our guide John. The tour was great, we went through the Krakow old town and out to the old Jewish town. The tour was great and made even better by our guide John an American who even referred to himself as a 'seppo', what a ripper!

Didn't get a chance to have Goulash in Krakow before we left, big disappointment.

Fourth morning in Krakow, up early and off south towards the Tatra Mountains.

andrewmarshall says:
Just so you know mate, Goulash is Hungarian
Posted on: Jun 13, 2007
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us and the wawel castle
us and the wawel castle
down town krakow (old town)- lots …
down town krakow (old town)- lots…
a view over krakow
a view over krakow
st marys basilica in the krakow o…
st mary's basilica in the krakow …
our cruiser bikes for the city b…
our 'cruiser' bikes for the city …
the vitslu river
the vitslu river
The wawel castle square
The wawel castle square
very cool dragon drain pipes at th…
very cool dragon drain pipes at t…
the wawel castle surrounds
the wawel castle surrounds
the castle cathedral - lots of imp…
the castle cathedral - lots of im…
auschwitz gate - arbeit macht frei…
auschwitz gate - arbeit macht fre…
watch towers surrounding auschwitz
watch towers surrounding auschwitz
the main gate into birkenau known …
the main gate into birkenau known…
blocks at birkenau
blocks at birkenau
the auschwitz blocks
the auschwitz blocks
the sleeping conditions at auschwi…
the sleeping conditions at auschw…
individual memorials on the train …
individual memorials on the train…
germans destroyed the gas chambers…
germans destroyed the gas chamber…
a memorial to the jews who lost th…
a memorial to the jews who lost t…
jewish cemetry in krakow.. sadly t…
jewish cemetry in krakow.. sadly …
a memorial to the jewish people wh…
a memorial to the jewish people w…
the only part left of the wall whi…
the only part left of the wall wh…
schindlers factory
schindler's factory
Krakow
photo by: EmyG