Blogs from Lesser Poland, Poland, Europe

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Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków July 7th 2017

Today was my last full day in Poland! We left Zamość and headed for the wooden churches. What should have taken us 3 1/2 hours, took almost 5 hours due to traffic and construction. The first wooden church we saw was St. Michael the Archangel in Binarowa. This was built in the 1500s, and was had the most beautiful interior decor. The other 2 churches - The Filial Church of St. Philip and St. Jacob in Sekowa and The Greek Catholic Parish Church of the Protection of the Mother of God in Owczary. These churches, while pretty and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, were not as stunning as the first church. After our visits, we headed for the Wieliczka Salt Mine. Luckily we caught the last english tour at 7 pm. We descended 65 ... read more
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Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków July 3rd 2017

Today was our last full day in Kraków, so we had to finish out our list of places to see and museums to visit. The first place we went to was the Wawel Castle and Cathedral. The castle was not open today, but the cathedral was. We took a tour around the cathedral, climbed the bell tower, saw the crypt, and visited the Cathedral Museum, where there are many papal items from Pope John Paul II and others. The bell tower was only 70 steps to the top, but these steps were narrow and tall. As compared to St. Peter's Dome and the bell tower in Florence, this was not a bad climb. The view at the top was amazing, and we were able to see a 360 degree view of Kraków, my favorite being Old ... read more
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Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Auschwitz July 2nd 2017

This morning we went to the Gallery of 19th Century Polish Art, which houses the most famous museum collections in Poland. These paintings reflect the aspirations of Poland. As compared to the art I saw in Rome, these paintings were very recent, more 1890s rather than late 1500s. Then we headed to The Princes Czartoryski Museum. Only one room was open for visitors, so it was kind of disappointing because the items on display were not labeled very well. For lunch, we went to U Babei Maliny ("Granny Raspberry") and, of course, I ordered pierogies. To my surprise, the cheese pierogies were sweet and garnished with powdered sugar. I have never tasted sweet pierogies, but it was very delicious. For the second half of the day, we toured Auschwitz and Birkenau Concentration Camps. It was about ... read more
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Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków June 30th 2017

Today, I said goodbye to the beautiful city of Rome and headed to Kraków to meet my parents. I woke up very early because we needed to be out of the rooms by 8 am, but I was able to get some rest on the plane. It is so interesting how laid back, yet unorganized the airport was. I flew out of a smaller airport through Ryanair, and when it came time to line up, there was no announcements. Luckily I saw the line starting to form so I jumped in line quickly. Everyone waited to board for a long time because the plane was running late, so I stood in line with my bags, and my shoulders started to hurt. Once I arrived in Kraków, I was greeted by my parents after baggage claim. It ... read more
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Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków June 22nd 2017

22nd June - Day 2 - Krakow After a pretty warm, but relatively OK nights sleep, we woke up to our alarm at 7:30 to shower and grab a quick brekkie in Mosquito's kitchen/dining room before heading down to the collection point for our day tour to Auschwitz/Birkenau concentration camps and the Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/32). Our group consisted of 8, 3 couples plus Dan and I, and our driver David (who we named 'Danger Dave' due to his questionable overtakes) shuttled us between the venues throughout the day. The Auschwits tour was a somber affair which was a stark reminder of the horrific acts of the Nazi's of the Third Reich between 1941-1945, relatively recent in the grand scale of things. It also satisfied a bit of a morbid curiosity to find ... read more
Cattle Carriage
Largest Salt Mine Cavern
Auschwitz Living Conditions

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków June 22nd 2017

We had a pre-arranged tour to Auschwitz- Birkenau and were taken by mini bus the hour and half to visit the site. We had a very informative guide and it was certainly very educational. The tour moved very quickly and I would advice going on your own if your able to. You don't have time to really take in all that you are learning and seeing. ... read more

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków June 21st 2017

After kicking off the day with a quick all you can eat breakfast in good old Premier Inn Gatwick, we headed over to departures for the all to familiars easyJet scare mongering followed by delays at the gate. Eventually we boarded and took off headed to our first destination, Krakow! We made our way from the airport to the city Centre via (a very modern and comfortable) train and walked across to Mosquito Hostel, our abode for the next few nights. Mosquito is very decent given the ~£25 per night costs which covered our private en-suite room, continental breakfast and a small polish dinner each night if we wanted it. It's clean and has all the basics we need. After being shown around, we ditched our big bags and wandered around the Old Town in search ... read more
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Castle Green Area
Castle Court Yard

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków June 19th 2017

The past few days have been so busy that I've been to tired or without WiFi and could not post anything, so I'll do a little re-cap. On Saturday we took a taxi to the Royal Oak pub for lunch. Many of you know that I am from Royal Oak in Michigan, so when Carl found our there was a place called Royal Oak in Minsk, he had to take me there. We were grateful they had some English menus. We had to pick where we ate based on if they could speak English (very few could/would), if they had an English menu or if they had a menu with pictures. We are just not adventurous enough to order when we don't know what it is 😉 So after lunch we did a walking tour back ... read more
The Royal Oak Pub Minsk
Bolshoi Ballet
Vitaliy and Carl

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków June 19th 2017

Leaving Belarus was just as easy as getting into it. Any concern I had about trouble with the borders was unfounded. Everyone was polite at security, very serious, but always polite. Just as we were clearing security we ran into an American that we had met a few days prior and then again in another part of the city! He recognized us and invited us to join him for free drinks and food in the airport executive lounge prior to our flight. We accepted and had fun checking out the lounge and talking with our new friend Adam. I was nervous that we'd get too comfortable and miss our flight, so only stayed a half hour, but thought it was cool that he took us there. The flight from Minsk to Warsaw was very nice. We ... read more
Krakow Airport
View out our hotel window
Center Square

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków June 19th 2017

On Sunday, we checked out of our hotel and left Wrocław about 8 am. We drove to Auschwitz. On the way, we stopped in Gliwice, where Habitat for Humanity in Poland started. Gliwice is an old city, founded in the 1200s by a Polish duke. The city over the years has been under both Czech and German rule, but has been mostly Polish. The current population is about 200,000. Gliwice is where WWII started. Karolina pointed out the tower that marks the spot where it happened. At that time, the German border was at Gliwice. Hitler looking for excuse to invade Poland; so he created a situation. On Sept1, 1939, some Germans dressed up as Poles, then snuck up and shot the German guards who were guarding a radio station. This gave Hitler the excuse he ... read more
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