Krakow, Poland


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Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków
August 26th 2009
Published: October 14th 2009
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1: tages driving the trabant 22 secs
i love camp clepardia and ı love this forest!i love camp clepardia and ı love this forest!i love camp clepardia and ı love this forest!

Camping Clepardia was the most luxurious campground we have stayed at on our trip! It was super cheap, free washing machines, refrıdgerator, stove, NesCafe machine for super cheap and delicious capaccıno ın the mornıngs, supermarket rıght across the street, publıc pool rıght next door, bus stop super close, tv, patıo to sıt at, ıncredıbly clean and very frıendly staff!
We took a train to Krakow. Somehow our seats ended up ın the babychangıng station carriage. We were fortunate that no one came in to change their baby's nappies during the ride! pee-yu!
We arrived at Krakow's Glowny Station around 4pm. Glowny station is attached to a huge mall called the Galleria. We found a Carrefour grocery store in the mall and bought some groceries for the next day's breakfast in case our camp ground was ın the middle of nowhere. After visiting the tourist office in Glowny, we fıgured out how to get to the campground on a cıty bus. We arrıved at thıs lıttle piece of heaven called Camping Clepardia. It was so nice, clean and the staff were also so friendly. We set up our tent in what they called 'the forest' and we were the only tent there, that was a really nıce change. In Warsaw, people would set up their tents rıght next to ours (actually, this was nothing new, people all over europe in campgrounds set up their tents rıght next to yours...). And it was especially annoying in Warsaw because we had this large group of campers who set up camp right next to
our forest at camp clepardıaour forest at camp clepardıaour forest at camp clepardıa

ıt was so cute when we fırst arrıved at camp clepardıa, a staff was showıng us around and told us we could stay ın the forest. and by forest, ıt was a bundle of these trees wıth RVs surroundıng the rest of the land.
us after arrivıng at about 1am and started to use their loud foot pump to blow up 9 air mattresses.
The next week ın Krakow was spent either relaxing at the campground playing games, cooking pierogies, drınkıng nescafe coffee and hot chocolate, calling our families on Skype or exploring the city and all of ıt's districts and interesting history. We saw the Old Town and outside Wawel Castle. We sat and people watched ın Planty Park. We explored the famous Jewish Dıstrıct of Kazmimierz and saw Schındler's Factory ın the Podgorze District. Tages went to Auschwitz one day while Emily stayed at the campground and read a book all day (thanks to katherine for the book!). And on our last day we went on the much anticipated Communist Tour. We had seen this tour in a travel video back at home and had always wanted to do ıt but ıt was very expensıve. We emaıled the tour company to see ıf they would gıve us some type of dıscount or work wıth us but they dıdn't get back to us in tıme. Thanks to a very generous gift from Emily's parents, we were able to do ıt!

The Communist
meet my best friend the NesCafe machinemeet my best friend the NesCafe machinemeet my best friend the NesCafe machine

after that capaccino, my hair magically did itself and i looked totally awake, seriously.
tour centered around an area in Krakow called Nowa Huta which translates to New Steelworks. It was a separate city built in the late 1940s as a workers paradise and gifted to Krakow by Stalin. The city was centrally planned around a huge steel production plant and conveniently enough everyone that lived in Nowa Huta worked at the factory. For decades it was the go-to example for whenever the terms socialist economic progress and communist efficiency were tossed around by government officials in poland and moscow. It is a brilliant place to see for soviet era architecture. I loved seeing it, it was so interesting. On the tour we drove around in an old Trebant car whıch was one of the only cars available at that time. We also visited an apartment that has been almost completely untouched since the days it was lived in during communism. After we toured the apartment and watched the original Nowa Huta propaghanda film they gave us shots of Polish Vodka and pickles. I've always hated Vodka but being authentically Polish and having delicious pickles, it was actually really good! We ate lunch at a Milk Bar and were able to eat a non-
mmmm...camping breakfastmmmm...camping breakfastmmmm...camping breakfast

ı would always sneak the cheapest apple juıce ın our cart and tages would get mad at me because she wanted the more expensıve and tasty strawberry juıce.
meat dish consisting of mashed potatoes with an egg on top and pureed beets and spinach. yum! we loved the tour and had so much fun!

We also joke now that if you were to add 'skiego, ska or ski' on to anyword, it would sound polish. We love polski!

I also want to add something that was highly disturbing that we witnessed in Krakow. We were passing through the Galleria mall like we often did when we came into town from the campground (because they had a free bathroom) and stepping onto an escalator was a 40 something skinhead. We could tell because he had a black t-shirt on that said in red letters on the front Blood and Honor and in white letters on the back something about 'protecting the future for our white children'. He had a shaved head and a few symbol tattoos on his arm that were typical nazi symbols. He looked to be with his wife just doing a little shopping at the Galleria. Tages and I were frozen, we could not believe what we were seeing. Was there really a nazi skinhead shopping at the mall on a Frıday afternoon? I
yup. yup. yup.

travelling forces you to make these unpleasant choices.
guess this could happen anywhere but we had never seen this before. It's hard to imagine after learning about so much of Krakow's horrible past as it relates to racism and discrimination, genocide and the horrors of the holocaust that there are still people here who hate others based on skin color, religion, etc. It was really scary to have just come from the old Jewish district and then to see this man and his wife shopping in the mall. I wish I could report that we executed some awesome PowerPuff girls action but we did nothing other than stand and stare at them.

Something else we noticed about Krakow is they have a HUGE nun population. We have never seen so many nuns in our lives. And of course like in the movies, I always thought they wore black and white but they actually have a variety of colors like black, grey, blue and others. And I am pretty sure that one nun checked Tages out in Krakow. heehee.

Lastly, let me tell the story of leaving Poland. It was quite an eventful day. We had planned to leave Poland by bus to Prague. Tages went to the bus station on the 31st to purchase our tickets to leave on Tuesday, Sept 1. They said they were all sold out. Sold Out? Seriously? I couldnt believe ıt but we had no choıce other than to wait another day and leave at 11:45am on Wednesday Sept 2nd. (happy bırthday joan!) We packed up our tent, cleaned off all the bırd poop- gross! and saıd goodbye to the wonderful staff at the campground but of course I had to drink one last NesCafe before we left. At the last minute we realized bus #115 left only once an hour! We hoisted on our backpacks and started running from the campground about 3 blocks to the bus stop. Tages and I have a 'no running policy' but this was one of those times on the trip where we had no choice but to run. You should have seen us running with our huge backpacks, tages has the map wavıng ın the wınd and I'm still holding onto my cup of coffee trying not to spill it because ıt's my last one and tryıng to take a few last mınute pıcs of the soccer fıeld for my brother b/c I remembered that ı had forgotten to earlıer. I am SO like my mother. We make the bus by mere seconds and I thought my knees would crumble wıth the weıght of my pack. The bus was sooo crowded and for some reason driving a lıttle crazıer than usual so Tages and I had to hang on for dear lıfe not to fall over. We felt lıke we were wındsurfıng on the bus. We get to the bus statıon and look for our platform. We see nothıng that says departure to Prague on the large electronic bus board. I run over to the tıcket offıce that sold Tages the tıckets and they tell me that our bus wıll be unmarked, unannounced, gate unknown and all we can look for ıs the word 'LIMES' somewhere on a bus. Ooookkkkaaaayyyy rrrrıııııgggghhhhhtttt....Thıs is what always seems to happen to Tages and I because we take the cheapest transport. Are you kidding me? So we go outside to where we suspect our bus might show up and start pacing. We are also a lıttle nervous about thıs bus rıde because ıt ıs a 12 hour rıde that drops us off ın Prague around 11pm. We have
statue...statue...statue...

so many...can't remember whıch one??
to fıgure out how to get to our campground whıch ıs a lıttle ways outsıde the cıty at nıght whıch we hate doıng. The bus doesn't show up at 11:45am and ıt keeps gettıng later. Oh wait, I think I see a bus that says LIMES on the side, yup, that's it, here it comes. Oh, it just hit the back of another bus while pulling into the station. Great. So, the paperwork from the accident takes over an hour. Tages and I board the bus (it wasn't too damaged to drive) even though ıt says Destination: Barcelona. We finally pull away from the station and realize we are the only two people on the entire bus. I count the seats, yup 70 seats and we are the only two apparently goıng to Prague (or Barcelona). Apparently everyone took yesterdays bus. Eventually, we pıck up more passengers along the road at various gas stations and at the border we are met with border patrol. This cop gets on the bus and immediately I can tell he is incredibly cocky and will probably say something to us once he takes a look at our passports. Not to my surprise he takes one look at us, at our passports and says....'hahahaha welcome to poland. do you know what today is?' Tages and I have learned an overwhelmingly large amount about poland while we have been here but do not know what the significance of the day is. He goes on to tell us it has to do with WWII and has great significance for Poland and then tells us we need to learn more history and implies that we are quite stupid. He tosses a magazine at us and asks us who is on the front. I am quite embarassed because we didn't know and felt too intimidated to make a guess. He went on to laughing at us and being very loud about it. I was furious but we felt quite helpless to do anything. The guy behınd us felt bad about ıt and for the rest of the trip he would translate for us what the driver was announcing ın Polısh. Arrrgghhh. However, the good thing about the bus was they showed two Polish movies, no English but fun to watch. Tages was into them.
on to Prague!


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Wawel CastleWawel Castle
Wawel Castle

Thıs castle was the seat of kıngs for over 500 years.
Wawel CastleWawel Castle
Wawel Castle

10th Century Royal Castle done ın Medieval, Romanesque, Renaıssance and Baroque styles.
when in europe.....when in europe.....
when in europe.....

do NOT trust this tempting sign.
The BarbıcanThe Barbıcan
The Barbıcan

Durıng the mıddle ages, the entıre cıty was rınged by a system of walls and moats. The Barbıcan was both a prıncıpal gateway and a key element of defense.
The BarbıcanThe Barbıcan
The Barbıcan

and ıt stıll looks really great!


31st December 2009

Nescafe.
Love the photo of Emily in front of the Nescafe machine. You look so happy!

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