Blogs from Kraków, Lesser Poland, Poland, Europe

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Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków February 19th 2021

18th February - Jewish Quarter Krakow Kazimierz – the district south of the Old Tiwn was the centre of Jewish life in Kraków for over 500 years, before it was systematically destroyed during World War II. In the communist era it became one of Kraków’s dodgiest districts while gradually falling into disrepair. Rediscovered in the 1990s, thanks to the fall of the regime and worldwide exposure through the lens of Steven Spielberg in the film Schindler’s List Today, our virtual guide Christopher took us around this bohemian neighbourhood packed with historical sites, atmospheric cafes and art galleries, although due to Covid all closed. At one time there were 19 synagogues in this area now there are 7 active synagogues. It was interesting to hear how the Nazi’s used some of the synagogues as stables during WW2. ... read more

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków February 15th 2021

15th February Krakow Christopher was the virtual tour guide today. We started in Kraków’s main market square. Originally designed in 1257 - the year Kraków was awarded its charter – the grid-like layout of the Old Town and its central square has changed little in the years that have followed. Measuring 200 metres square it ranks as one of the largest medieval squares in Europe. St. Mary’s church After raids in the 13th century left the original church in a heap of ruins, St. Mary’s was rebuilt in Gothic style on the existing foundations and consecrated in 1320. In the early 15th century the towers took the iconic form they have today, when the northern tower was raised and made into a watchtower for the city. It is from here that on the hour every hour ... read more

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków December 22nd 2019

I had two walking tours booked for today. The first was one was in the Kazimierz, which was the historically Jewish part of the city. The tour was about the Jewish history of the area. It took me quite a while to walk to the meeting point for the tour, maybe 30-40 minutes. I didn't mind though as I got to explore a different part of Krakow. I liked walking along the streets, there were a lot of restaurants featuring cuisines from different countries and ethnicities, and some shops that looked appealing. I think if i return to Krakow, I would like to stay in this area. I got a bit lost finding the starting point of the tour as the signposting on the streets wasn't great and I took a wrong turn. I managed to ... read more
Szeroka Street
Stara Synagogue
Synagogue Poppera

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków December 21st 2019

I had booked a food tour for the morning and was rather surprised to find that I was the only person who had. I'm rather glad that it wasn't cancelled and it was the guides first time to take a tour with only one person on it. I don't really know much about Polish food so I was looking forward to trying some new foods. The tour met at the Barbican and our first stop was a short walk away. We headed away from the Old Town into the nearby streets to Żywe Muzeum Obwarzanka, the Live Bagel Museum. Here I got to try Obwarzanka Krakowski, which is kind of like a bagel. They are usually sold in little street carts, which I had seen about on my first day in Krakow. This place is a ... read more
The statue of Jan Matejko
Żywe Muzeum Obwarzanka
Old Kleparz Market

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków December 19th 2019

I was very impressed with the train I took to Krakow. I had opted for the faster, newer train and it was immaculate. Even though I was in second class, it was really nice, there was even a free drink for passengers, but I missed it as I didn't realise it was free. I travel too much on budget airlines, so I am totally conditioned to saying no to things as I think they will cost money. The train was also pretty empty and quiet, perfect. I arrived in Krakow in about two and a half hours. I headed to the place I was staying, which was only about a ten minute walk from the station and just dumped my stuff, unable to check in as it was too early. I was staying on the edge ... read more
St. Mary's Basilica
St. Mary's Basilica
St. Mary's Basilica

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




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