Blogs from Kraków, Lesser Poland, Poland, Europe

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Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków May 20th 2019

It’s an early start this morning in order to reach Auschwitz before the 10 am compulsory, yet non-existent, tour guide cut off time. We make it with minutes to spare, although it means skipping breakfast. It feels inappropriate to complain about being hungry in a place like Auschwitz. I fail to gain entry at the first attempt as I have left my passport in the car. Then there is an issue with the spelling of my name on the ticket. Finally, on the third attempt (fourth if you count yesterday), I am admitted. The camp consists of around 30 blocks, most now form a museum detailing the history of Auschwitz. Some blocks deal with the history of the camp in general, while others recount the plight of specific nationalities of prisoners. The general blocks contain a ... read more
Arbeit macht frei
Auschwitz
Auschwitz

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków February 16th 2019

The best way to spend your free time? Active recreation! If you are a sports fan and you are not couch potato, come to Krakow, where you will not be bored! What can you do in this unique city? In addition to the party atmosphere and lots of tourist attractions, great adventure await you on the race track! Hit the gas, enjoy the speed and feel like a champion of the race track. But first a bit of history! If you want to see the true motoring gems of the past decades, be sure to check out the Museum of Urban Engineering, where you will find unique cars and move in time. You will find here cars and motorcycles made in Poland from the 1930s and learn a bit about the history of public transport in ... read more

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków July 21st 2018

Bonjour à tous, Une journée qui commence mal mais qui finie plus tôt bien. Lorsque j’expliquais que les polonais étaient limite gracieux, 2 exemples, hier, un peu fatigué je m’assoie à une terrasse, les serveuses passent, servent les clients il me semble les plus près du bar, moi je suis le plus loin. Au bout d’un quart d’heure je fais plusieurs fois signe, rien ne s’en passe. Je me manifeste de façon plus voyante, une serveuse me regarde, et sa réaction, les épaules tombent et elle souffle. Un bar aurait été pareil. Ce matin en quittant l’hôtel je m’aperçois de suite en montant dans la voiture que j’ai oublié mon appareil photo dans la chambre. Je retourne à la réception, j’explique à la petite réceptionniste que j’ai oublié mon appareil, bien sur en anglais. Je suis ... read more
Jean Paul II
Cracovie
Town Hall

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków June 10th 2018

We have really enjoyed Kraków. It helped having an extra day so we didn’t have to rush. Today was the Lady with an Ermine by Leonardo da Vinci. This was a surprise as we didn’t expect to find her here. She is caught with her body facing right while she turns left slightly as if to listen to and smile at someone in that direction. The ermine is fidgety as its hind leg muscles can be seen trying to wriggle out of her arms. The sitter is Cecilia Gallerani from Siena who was sent to the Court of Milan In 1439. She was young, beautiful and educated, wrote poetry and took an active part in philosophical and theological discussions. As such she caught the eye of the notorious Duke of Milan and became his mistress. Two ... read more
Our favourite cafe
Traditional dress and music
Doorway to a florist

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków June 9th 2018

At least this wasn’t the depths of despair! I have heard from a number of people that it is real experience going down into the Wieliczka Salt Mine. The one we had been into in Romania was quite small in comparison to this one - 300kms of tunnels over nine levels. Fortunately we didn’t walk that far and only went to 135m in depth. Our guide said that at least once a month a tourist gets lost - that happened yesterday so we should all be ok!! Great! After walking down about 800 steps we followed the guide closely into different tunnels, chambers with hand hewn salt sculptures of gnomes and mythical figures. We passed through a number of air locked chambers which regulate the flow of fresh air. Remarkably there are a number of chapels ... read more
Our Guide, Kamilla
Lighting up blocks of salt
Walking the tunnels

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków June 8th 2018

The next morning, having sussed the tram ticket question, we were all set to go. The exhibition at what was Schindler’s factory was incredible, immersing you in the times through film, lighting, audio and stage sets that disoriented you completely through the use of screen printed images on floor to ceiling glass panels. Was that another person over there? Have I just bumped into that little boy or girl? Is that tram coming my way? The worst was the walk through the dark narrow passage of tombstones with uneven ground not knowing (but really knowing) what was coming next. Eye witness and survivor accounts of the last days of the Ghetto, 13/14 March 1942, were very distressing. Oskar Schindler was a businessman and wanted to keep his Jewish workers as they were free i.e. slave, labour. ... read more
Photos and names of some of the people he saved
Our Walking group outside the evening before
Inside the museum

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków June 7th 2018

We had a very comfortable fast train ride from Warsaw arriving in Kraków just after midday. In time to drop our bags off at our apartment and set off to explore. The apartment is only about 300 metres from the train station and just outside the Old Town, so that is very convenient. Tatiana, our host, had done a great little video of how to find, and get in to, the building so we knew exactly what it looked like when we arrived. The main square is huge, 200m by 200m as as such is the largest medieval town square in Europe. It’s perimeter is bounded by many cafes, and is bisected by, the Cloth Hall, once the centre of Kraków‘s medieval clothing trade. Now it houses the permanent market. While exploring the streets and finding ... read more
Little posies of flowers for sale
St Mary’s Basilica - two different towers
The Main Square

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków May 31st 2018

Krakow, Poland was a little gem of a city to visit. I had booked the first weekend of November to go to Krakow with the main purpose of the trip to visit Auschwitz, Europe’s infamous and most notorious concentration camp. However, Krakow pleasantly surprised me with its charm and I really enjoyed my stay there. Another early morning flight means another early start to get to Stansted airport by the coach. The flight to Krakow was pretty uneventful and I’m pretty certain I slept the majority of the 2/2.5hours it took to get over there. Once at the airport and through immigration, I stopped at an ATM to get my zloty (Poland’s currency) for the weekend and hopped on the train to take me into the city centre. My hostel wasn’t far from the main train ... read more
St Mary's Church
Entrance to Auschwitz
Auschwitz-Birkenau

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków May 23rd 2018

Seemingly, the most important part of an event is the performance itself, but is it really? Sometimes even the best show can be spoiled by poor organization, bad weather or even an unattractive location of the event. Do appearances matter so much? What we see is what we think, even though we don’t want to. Our opinion or experience is created subconsciously based on what we see around, no matter whether it is a performer, confident and well-prepared, or a place, where the concert or any other kind of event is held. There is a significant difference between a small room with plastic, uncomfortable chairs where you can’t even see the band and an appropriately prepared music hall. You can feel the difference when attending a concert or a festival in a place that is covered ... read more

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków May 10th 2018

Day 2 Jews, Factories, Music and Stuffed Cabbage We haven’t reached the start of our POW trail, but already relevant themes are emerging, on our first day in Krakow. We came here more than ten years ago for New Year’s Eve. The choice of Hotel Kazimierz as our digs was made because it’s in the Jewish Quarter of Krakow, an area that we wished to explore again. It’s just the ticket, providing comfortable accommodation on Ul Miodowaa (Honey Street), next to the highly decorated Tempel. Pre war, it was a thriving business area with markets, shops and workshops. In 1942 the largely Jewish community here was forced over the river to form a ghetto in Podgorze. Apartments became crammed with extended families. Up to 500 people a day were rounded up off the streets to dig ... read more
Inside the Tempel
Mural near Plac Nowa
The square where Jews were deported.




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