stayed: An air bnb on a bustling street right next to the tram. It was a crazy funky room in a shared apartment. We were only there for one night and had a bit of a shocking wake-up call when our host thought we were gone and attempted to start cleaning up our room :-/ I would recommend staying closer to the main square where most of the action is.
saw: Auschwitz and Birkenau. A sad, but necessary stop in our itinerary. The scale of Birkenau was mind blowing and just sickening. It was just rows and rows of old chimney stacks where the structures used to be. Our guide told us that the amount of visitors they see per day (up to 10,000) were the amount of people that were brought here daily during the war. Shudder.
We had a brilliant driver for the day though and chatting with him was very insightful. I really enjoyed grilling him about his country, the refugee crisis and his puppy Winston 🙂 He also helped us switch around our tour time so that we had more time in Krakow. Note to travelers – highly recommend this car service. Ask for Bart. He was really, really great.
Wawel Castle. Not much to report here, but walking the grounds were free.
The Main Square. Holy square! Probably the most impressive part of the city.
conquered: People watching and dessert in the square. Try Słodki Wentzl, a local favorite I’m told.
Our first night train from Prague. Ugh. Probably the single most horrible way to travel. Sure, it gets you from point A to point B but at the detriment of your health and well-being. I had all sorts of romantic notions of a slowly swaying night train but alas, this was NOT it. The train started, stopped, reversed and slowed down on repeat ALL NIGHT LONG. I was abruptly woken up all night long thinking we were at our destination.
A milk bar! We went to this one. Basically a cafeteria concept made popular after World War 1 and carried through to the Soviet era. Now, they’ve become small, inexpensive restaurants that take advantage of welfare state nostalgia. I wouldn’t say this was our best meal, but it was a fun experience. And no, they don’t just serve milk!
other travel notes: Residential homes bordered both concentration camps and I wondered how people felt about living next to such horrible places. I suspect home prices reflected these less than stellar locations but still….Also, some people in our tour group took photos of themselves in front of every building in Auschwitz, which seemed very strange to me.
Krakow felt like a college town. Peeps were y-o-u-n-g making this gal feel o-l-d.
We were in Krakow on a Friday night and tons of people were on date night. Most women carried these cute lil bouquets of flowers given to them by their significant others. I found this very romantic.
Perogi = breakfast heaven.
Also, booking trains over the pond was harder than I imagined. I used this site to help me navigate the confusing websites. Also, trust your conductor to let you know when to get off the train. They start and stop a lot and we actually got off at the wrong stop. Luckily, ours waved us back inside before it was too late. My bad.