For the weekend Nick and I went to Kraków, Poland. This is our third Eastern European country now and they’re all quite similar but I think I would have to say this was my favorite.
- Kraków isn’t a huge tourist place like Prague but it does have some tourists and a lot of kids travel there to drink. This leads to a pretty fun crowd and a minimum of selfie sticks.
- It’s SOO cheap, we believed Hungary and Czech Republic would be this cheap (they’re not) but Poland really is. The food wasn’t as great as I thought, 6USD for a whole meal.. Okay. I was actually really looking forward to the traditional food but whatever it was still better than the other two and the cheapest.
- THEYRE CITY IS ON A GRID. It’s a small city and its SO EASY TO GET AROUND. It’s marvelous. I LOVE GRID SYSTEMS.
- I’m kind of a UNESCO nerd and huge parts of the city are considered sights, and they are beautiful.
- I didn’t have bed bugs. I’m still kind of recovering from this trauma. And we got our own suite at a hostel (TuttiFrutti), dead center, for about 15USD a night.
- The people looked more like me. I haven’t gotten to any of my real home countries yet (sad face) but I have a bit of Polish and it showed. So yeah that’s always pretty cool.
- It was like insanely warm. Even though we looked up the temp we still went out with jackets we didn’t need because we just didn’t believe it was that warm. It was in the 50’s… isn’t Eastern Europe supposed to be cold? It was just fantastic.
ANYWAY back to on point, we got into the airport late Friday night around 9. There were buses from the airport but they were awkwardly located. The train’s under construction. So, we got a taxi. It was only about 20pounds so it really wasn’t that bad plus it was so late we just wanted to get in.
We became friends with a group of students on “Erasmus” (same thing as student exchange pretty much) who were from France, Germany, and Spain. We ended up going to a “communist bar” for those who still relish in the old days (or just want a cute place to drink). A beer was literally $1.50 converted. Shots were about $1.
We woke up the next day for a good amount of walking through the town, as I said it’s a pretty small one at that. We were staying in the “new” old town and took the “royal way” (or road) through the city.
The “main square” was gorgeous and I’m pretty sure considered a UNESCO site. I was starting to believe Europe was just a continent made up of squares… but really this was probably my favorite out of all the ones I’ve seen before.
Beginning of a Polish break dancing act with some nice stretching…
St. Peter & Paul Church
Wawel Castle is one of the huge attractions in Krakow. I honestly didn’t find it that amazing… I mean it was definitely awesome but Prague’s was still probably the coolest. We did not go in though. Keeping past traditions, we do not pay to go in about anywhere. I’ve found the majority of European castles like this you really don’t need to pay to go into. They let you around it and inside is usually pretty boring and there’s some cooler whiskey tour you could pay to go on or site you could walk by for free. I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything and am pretty cool with the turn out. We still went up close and walked the grounds as you can see. The view was actually over the river onto the really new parts of Krakow where a lot of their industry is. It wasn’t really very appealing, I didn’t even think it was worth taking a picture of most of the time (whoops). Although, as an emerging nations/ international business major/junkie I think it was a pretty neat representation of Poland’s advancement. During the recession Poland was the only economy that was still drastically growing in Europe, they’re killing it industric-ally (??) right now.
Not sure where this awkward picture came from but it’s somehow our only one together (??)
We left and went into the “old” old town, “Kazimierz”. I’m not sure how but we somehow managed to stumble into a massive Christian (maybe Catholic?) church grounds there…
Anyway, we kept walking and started to get into the real Jewish area. We couldn’t find any exact addresses but this was the area that they filmed Schindler’s List.
It started raining pretty hard and already getting dark, we weren’t up for much so we went back and headed up the Royal Road. And honestly, the Old Town was just kind of really depressing… it was all ghetto-esque and extremely run down. I know that’s kind of the point of seeing it but still… this is why I didn’t want to go to Auschwitz. Just seeing that much in Krakow was enough to depress me. Although, from what I’ve heard from everyone I completely recommend everyone go and see it and learn from it!! It’s just not exactly my thing.
The Krakow Barbakan
Stumbled upon a massive/old Polish shopping mall…
This was an opera/theater house we ran into, it was so so beautiful.
So, it kind of looks like we didn’t do a whole lot in Krakow… but we really saw the majority of the sites inside the city and I already talked about Auschwitz and my opinion on it. But the one major thing about the city is the drinking. On almost every website they will tell you to go out and explore the night life in Krakow as the biggest attraction. I completely support this and it was a big part of our trip, the last night especially. We explored 4 different bars and I indulged on the extremely cheap Polish vodka. After throwing up three times in the 2 hour long customs line coming back into England and once on the train, I’ve come to the conclusion Polish vodka is literally nail polish remover. Did the bottles even capitalize the P? I doubt it. My main lesson from this trip: don’t drink the Polish vodka. You will vomit, a lot.