Blogs from Kraków, Lesser Poland, Poland, Europe

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Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków September 9th 2019

Today was another early morning to go on the Salt Mine tour just out of Krakow. It was wet again but fined up early afternoon. These salt mines first started in the 13 Century when salt was scarce and expensive. But at the same time was needed to preserve certain foods. The tour only covers 1% of the mines(about 3km) and it is underground throughout the size of the town of Wieliczka. In fact you pop up in the centre of the town at the end of the tour. The 1% is huge as you slowly descend on foot (over 400 steps) 135 metres below ground. The walls around you and the floor below you is all salt in most of the mine. The miners worked an 8 hour day and certainly not in the conditions ... read more
The miners steps
Wieliczka Salt Mines bear Krakow -Salt Sculpture
Salt Sculpture

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków September 8th 2019

Sitting in the bar at street level as I write this. My hotel is on the edge of the Main Market Square so no cars are allowed. The sun is beginning to lower and buildings becoming covered in shade. The day began early as I was joining a city tour on foot and needed to be at the meeting place quite early. Wasn’t sure what the day would bring as it was quite wet as I looked out my window at first light. Steady rain and the only human life in the quiet of the morning was a robed monk strolling along oblivious to the rain. His pace was meditative and I wondered what his day entailed. There were temporary event railings all along the promenade which turned out to be a business half marathon for ... read more
Jewish Quarter Cemetery Krakow
Jewish Quarter Walled Cemetery Krakow
Jewish Quarter Square Cemetery Krakow

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków September 7th 2019

Up early for train departure. Walked to the station which was not far away. Only challenge being the cobblestone driveways every 20metres. Case wheels don’t roll too smoothly over them. But I soon got into the rhythm of 20 metres rolling my case and then pulling over the cobblestones. Not a fan of Warsaw Station- quite confusing if you don’t speak Polish and no officials on the platform to ask and information window were not helpful. Considering it’s the country’s capital it didn’t offer what it needed to. Anyway, finally got on the intercity train to Krakow. Very comfortable but a little bit disconcerting that my case had to stay on a luggage rack away from my view. Was relieved at the other end that it was still there. Nice surprise if someone took it- clothes ... read more
Scenery from the train from Warsaw to Krakow
Scenery from the train from Warsaw to Krakow
Scenery from the train from Warsaw to Krakow

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków May 29th 2019

Back in Krakow, and time to wander streets in the reviving former Jewish quarter. Music here and there weaving through the streets, and an immense sense of bustling life and industry behind the crumbling, ruined facades. A harshly-lit bookshop presided over by a tall and melancholy bearded man, and a gloomy bookshop in what had been a temple...our footsteps creaked and echoed on the arthritic wooden floors, I remember. Lots of art and craft workshops bubbling up, busy with the usual tat and second-hand clothes, and the occasional astoundingly beautiful odd piece of metal, or bark, or paper. I wonder if anyone actually remembers what each of those objects was used for. The stated aim is to bring Kazimierz back to life again as it was in the early 1940s....... read more
Kazimierz
Kazimierz
Detail

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków May 23rd 2019

The sun came out during our bus ride to Krakow and by the time we arrived the day was perfect. I was a little anxious during our trip as I had not yet received check in information for our next airbnb but finally about 10 mins before arrival the host communicated with me and sent cryptic photos referring as to where to locate the key. Anyhow! it turned out to be a great location and big bonus that we had the whole apartment to ourselves. Only downside was that we had no Internet because the host hadn't paid his bill and wouldn't respond to our messages. Our worst airbnb host experience so far. Arriving on a Saturday in beautiful weather, Krakow put on an impressive show for us. Sunny and buzzing with tourists, amazing buildings, cafes, ... read more
Our first cake sample in Krakow

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




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