Photo diary: A long weekend in Krakow

We first started our two week tour of Poland in the country's second city of Krakow. We spent four days in the city and it was a perfect amount of time - especially as we decided to squeeze in a trip to the Salt Mines and Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. It's a great city with plenty to keep you occupied, and thanks to it only being a few hours away from the UK,  it makes a great long weekend trip. One word of warning though. In August it is absolutely scorching! The heat at times was unbearable so be prepared for lots of cafe stops to refresh with an ice cold drinks.

We stayed in the Well Well aparthotel which was located just across the river from the castle. It was great value, did a decent buffet breakfast and the bed was comfortable. It's about a 15 minute walk to the castle but it was pretty straight forward and we didn't begrudge it any day we were there. To be honest, it was quite a pleasant walk. So what did we get up to?

We spent a lot of time hanging out in the Jewish Quarter. Enjoying delicious meals in the abundance of restaurants, sipping on cold beer in the quirky bars and soaking up the chilled local vibes in the winding roads. It's about a 15-20 minute walk from the old town. In the city centre we visited the gorgeous Krakow castle, St Mary's Basilica, the Main Square and the Cloth hall. Whilst we didn't enter any of the attractions, it was so lovely too see the landmarks up close.

As I mentioned above, we took trips out of the city to the Salt Mines and Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. The latter was an incredibly moving experience and something that I'm still thinking about, considering what is happening all over the world today. Growing up in Europe, WWII is something that is always at the forefront of your mind. You learn about it all throughout school, from grandparents - my grandad was an evacuee who left London for Devon as a small boy and my nan's family looked after a German PoW on their farm - and the holocaust is something that is frequently remembered. But nothing quite puts it into perspective than seeing first hand the horrors that were inflicted. Auschwitz-Birkenau sent chills down my spine and something that I will never ever forgot. Whilst it wasn't something I enjoyed, it was something that I am so pleased to have finally seen. I think it's a place that everyone should visit once in their life.

The Salt Mines were a much cheerier affair.  Opened in the 13th century, the mines are one of Poland's official national historic monuments. Deep underground - 327 metres to be exact - it's so incredible to see it in the flesh. You'll find a chapel, restaurant, gift shop and a playground.

Although I wasn't blown away by Krakow, it was a great place to visit. Thats the problem when a place is so hyped up! There's no end of things to do, the food scene is brilliant and the history is fantastic. I'm not sure I will rush back but it's certainly somewhere I'm very glad to have ticked off my list. 

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to visit Auschwitz one day. The buildings of Krakow look beautiful!


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