A Travellerspoint blog

I love Krakow !!

Travel day today on train and bus to Krakow in Poland which ended up taking 6 hours and I am glad the train went much faster than the ones to and from Serbia. Left the hostel at 7am and caught the tram several stops back to the Hauptbahnhoff. We had plenty of time to spare before our 8.09am train to Ostrava where we changed to the bus. We bought some food for the journey from a bakery and one of the items was a custard filled type of croissant, which was amazing!! I can feel my waistline widening :(

In just under an hour we crossed into the Czech Republic but didn't need to show passports as they are all EU countries even though they still have their own currencies.Our train arrived late at 11.15am and our bus was scheduled to leave at the same time so we rushed madly and were very happy to see that the bus had waited! The countryside was fairly flat with lots of farming. Unfortunately the bus got caught in bad traffic and it arrived into Krakow 45 minutes late.

The bus station was next to the train station and we went in and booked our onward travel to Prague in a few days time. It ended up costing 80 E ( $153 AUD) and we have 3 trains. Next stop, the money changer to get some czech money. I changed 50E for my 3 days.

Hostels always give directions on the website and some are better than others. We found theirs a little hard to follow but when we eventually found our tram stop then the rest was easy. We only had 3 stops to go and then walk 3 blocks. Krakow has a great feel and I liked it as soon as I arrived.

Positioned on the Vistla River Krakow is the only large city in Poland that remained intact during WW2 and is a well preserved medieval city with cobbled stone streets, numerous churches, cafes and restaurants.

Our accommodation is not really a hostel but just private rooms with a shared bathroom and kitchen. Not one of the better places we have stayed but it will be fine. The girl who met us to let us in ( does not have a 24 hour reception) was vey helpful and booked an Auschwitz tour for us tomorrow and gave us information about tram times for our early departure on Saturday morning. The location is good and just a couple of minutes from the castle and over the road from the leafy green belt of park that circles the old town so we can walk everywhere very easily. We are also just down the road from the river.

We headed out around 4pm to start looking around and fell in love immediately. We cannot believe how many large groups of school students are here and must be from out of town because they were still in town around 8pm and some look younger being primary to middle school age.

The park we walk through to get into the old town is really pretty and the old town is full of cobblestoned streets , interesting buildings and the largest square in Europe with 2 buildings in the middle - Town Hall Tower and Cloth Hall. We headed up to Wawel Royal Castle where you can wander around the grounds for free and of course see over the town and of course there was tower for me to climb! I paid 4 PLN to climb the tower. Love my exercise and the views!

In Krakow there are golf carts that can take up to 6 people offering to drive you around the Jewish Quarter and Ghetto districts.I found out the prices from one of the drivers but it was quite expensive so we didn't worry about it. Would have been a great price if there was 6 of you.. Probably 30 minutes later we bumped into the same driver again and he halved his price so we decided to get driven around the Jewish quarter of Kramieriez for 45 minute for 100 PLN ( $35 AUD).

This thriving old area that used to have 65,000 jews living here from the 14th century and over 100 synagogues up until WW2 now only has 200 jews. We went into one of the synagogues for 10 PLN ( $ AUD) as that was something neither of us had ever done. It has an upper balcony where the women and children sit so as not to distract the men from praying. It had an interesting photo exhibition of an account from survivor of the holocaust. The whole area is now home to lots of interesting cafes and has a really cool feel about it.

In the square is the impressive 16th century renaissance Cloth Hall and Town Hall tower. The rest was destroted by Austrians it s surrounded by a ring of lightly forested parkland known as the Planty the site of the old city walls and moat. It is overshadowed by the Wawel the long fortified hill and was the royal castle ad cathedral

After our tour we went back to the Main square where we sat in one of the many cafes around the square and had the most delicious pierogi and wine as we watched the sun set. My favourite pierogi was the Russian ones with potato and cottage cheese. Mum preferred the Polish meat ones. They were pan fried and just delicious. Poland is very inexpensive and dinner only cost us 7 PLN ( $ 2.30 AUD)

All around the square and town we had seen horse and carriage rides with beautiful big matching horses all dressed up in colourful dressage with a cinderella white carriage behind. We had found out the cost was 200 PL but when one carriage girl offered it for 100 PLN ( $35 AUD) we jumped at it and had a relaxing and atmospheric ride around old town for 25 minutes with the horses hooves clip clopping on the cobble stones and with the sun just going down. This was so affordable as in Vienna they were charging 55 E per person for the same thing!

We got home around 9.30pm. It was lovely lying in bed and being able to hear the horses clip clopping along the road up at the corner until after 10 pm as well as the church bells chimng every 15 minutes! Love it!

Alway up to castle

Alway up to castle


Castle walls

Castle walls


Castle cathedral tower

Castle cathedral tower


Castle buildings

Castle buildings


Castle keep

Castle keep


Main tower square afternoon drinks

Main tower square afternoon drinks


Main Square sunset

Main Square sunset


The bus to Krakow

The bus to Krakow


The river next to the castle

The river next to the castle


River

River


Ivy covered buildings of the castle

Ivy covered buildings of the castle


Ivy covered buildings of the castle

Ivy covered buildings of the castle


Ivy covered buildings of the castle

Ivy covered buildings of the castle


Castle buildings

Castle buildings


View from castle

View from castle


Ivy covered buildings of the castle

Ivy covered buildings of the castle


Mum having afternoon drinks in the town square

Mum having afternoon drinks in the town square


Afternoon drinks in town square

Afternoon drinks in town square


Castel complex

Castel complex


Town Square

Town Square


Town Square buildings

Town Square buildings


Town Square buildings

Town Square buildings

Posted by hillbillyramsey 17:00 Archived in Poland

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