Krakow

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Back in January my friend Chloe and myself went on a last min long weekend to Krakow, Poland. The freezing day temps and snow/icey conditions didn’t hold us back. If anything it added to the magic of the city.

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Krakow is a the second largest city in Poland situated in the south of the country. The former capital’s old town and jewish quarter hold a rich history and showcases many medieval architectural features such as the remnants of the old city wall. The central Rynek Glówny, market square, holds the cloth hall a Renaissance era market and St Mary’s Basilica and an array of restaurants, shops and bars.

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Here is St Mary’s Basilica in daytime and night. The building stands alone against the blocks of smaller buildings which shine lights onto the church during the night. We didn’t get a chance to go inside the building but we passed it daily and noticed something different each time. We stayed in serviced apartments just off the main square and a less than 2 min walk from this church. The perfect location to walk or cycle anywhere in the city.

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Our first night was spent mainly here – the Pinball Museum. A tricky to find (we walked past it a few times) gem when we did walk in and down to the basement museum we found a bar with one beer tap and a guy to pay entry. We paid the equivalent of £5 each for endless entry all day. We planned on only being there for an hour or two but ended up being there for 5 hours… The place was huge 4/5 different rooms with mainly pin ball games but also shooting, Pac-Man, space invaders and other classic games. It was so much fun. The perfect start to the weekend and an easy activity after a long day traveling.

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We couldn’t go to that part of Poland without paying a visit and our respect to the remains of Auschwitz. We chose to do a combined tour of the Auschwitz camps and the salt mines a good choice if you don’t mind a long day.

Auschwitz was, as expected, haunting. The numbers of people that were forced there, held there and killed there are incomprehensible. When you’re doing the tour so much information is being fed to you it’s only on the way back that you start to sit down and think about the numbers. The main thing that I didn’t realise and couldn’t believe is that some of the victims actually bought tickets to go to this new and exciting way of living. They were so innocently naive about where they were going from the buying of tickets to the communal ‘showers’. How did they know it would be so terrible? Or were they already conditioned with fear to obey?..they would have seen the fear in others eyes and been scared of the authority in suits. I guess we can only think of something so terrible because we’ve seen the war and it has already happened.

The salt mine was a lighter tour. Still as amazing the depths they’ve mined to and they’ve even built a cathedral which holds weekly mass for the miners. Crazy stuff and worth a visit.

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Saturday morning we ventured out for brunch at Mr Pancake. It was AMAZING. Don’t eat before and don’t expect to move for a while after.

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For the rest of Saturday we rented bikes and took to the streets. It was such a good way to do the Jewish quarter and around the city walls. Glad we had gloves though it was mighty cold!

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Here are a couple of sights we saw. The random street art and the tightrope sculptural bridge.

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Photos of the cloth hall at night and Chloe walking into it.

On the Saturday night we decided to take on the Polish vodka with the the Krakow Bar Krawl. Highly recommend it. Not too expensive and you get to visit lots of bars, lots of drinks included and meet a lot of interesting people (shout out to Justin from NYC and Dale’s Stag do). The only thing I don’t recommend is doing it the night before you fly. What a hangover. We were not ok. Chloe’s dad had warned us about under the counter vodka and he was right. But still worth it.

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GO TO KRAKOW!

Beth Victoria

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Prague

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Recently I went on a little trip to Prague. Well actually it wasn’t that recently but I’ve finally got around to getting the photos off of my phone and onto my laptop. So here are some of the photographs that I took whilst away and a few recommendations of food, architecture and of course beer.

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 Getting the most obvious of Prague landmarks out the way first with a classic night time photograph of Charles Bridge. We found a nice little view point with a bar and blankets, set up camp just before sunset and then waited till I could get a typical shot. It was worth it!

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After waiting for the Charles Bridge photograph we were pretty hungry right next door was a very fancy restaurant we decided to go all out on the first meal with a tasting menu and matched wine. The restaurant was called Restaurant Mlýnec and the food was delicious with a little bit of dry ice theatre. If you can deffo worth a visit.

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An art deco cafe – worth a visit for the interiors but not the food.

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Frank Gehry’s dancing house, also known as Fred & Ginger, is not one of his most well known works – you’ve probably heard of the Guggenheim?But the building is interesting in shape and how it is a contrast with its surrounding more traditional designs. Go see and go in.

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Churches in Prague are sooo pretty. We went to a couple I don’t have a recommendation for the churches just wonder around and you’ll find some. Also if you look really closely at that last image the face is Michael Caine so that’s something.

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This is an interesting art piece that a lot of people just walk past not seeing. This is called Man Hanging Out… if you google the sculpture you can see it in detail. The guy is actually Sigmund Freud and the sculpture, by David Cerny, is depicted in this way to signify his fear of death. The sculpture apparently gives people a fright and calls into the emergency services aren’t rare!

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Obviously there is a lot of ‘To dos’ I’ve missed out of this blog post. But I would deffo recommend a visit to Prague to see all the wonders for yourself. I’ve finished the post with two view point photographs- because the best part of seeing a city is seeing all it’s beauty from afar. The second and last image is my favourite after walking up Petrin Hill there was a break in the trees and this was the view. So Gorgeous.

So go to Prague!

Beth Victoria

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