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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