Our European adventure continues from Berlin. That post can be found here: Bremen the beautiful. Berlin; a city of history, culture and fascination. It’s all Germany!
Tuesday, April 19, 2022
Twas a long drive from Berlin but the scenery was nice and when it wasn’t, the road was smooth enough I could read my book. We stopped for lunch at a diner on the highway and I got to try zurek. It’s a Polish soup made with fermented rye, potatoes, carrots and kielbasa. It’s really good.
Upon arrival in Krakow our group of G Adventures travellers checked in to the B&B, dropped our bags, put some more clothes on and joined Caterina for a walking tour of the beautiful city. That ended at a local restaurant where I enjoyed Bigas stew. Also really good!
Wednesday. I opted to spend the morning on my own, just wandering. I covered a lot of ground visiting many churches, the castle, the Jewish quarter, enjoyed a very thick cup of hot chocolate and visited the underground museum. That was fascinating. The main square was excavated in 2005 when they were doing some work and found ruins underground. A 6 month project took 5 years but hundreds of years of civilization were unearthed and a lot of information along with it. Lunch was at Chimera, a unique cafeteria type restaurant frequented by locals. I enjoyed some sweet potato cream soup and a herring salad. Tasty!!
I met the group at the hotel and we loaded into 2 vans and drove to Auschwitz There we met our guide, Caterina who educated us on the history of Auschwitz and Birkenau. I’ve read plenty about these death camps but seeing it in person like this is completely different. It’s ….. indescribable and everyone should go once in their lives.
We were picked up early for our tour of the Wieliczka Salt mine. Millions of people visit and it’s quite the tourist trap but definitely worth visiting. The history spans 7 centuries of mining and some of the caverns are really beautiful. Post pandemic numbers were a bit lower than usual but I think they’re pretty good at spacing the groups so you never feel really crowded.
Sue and I enjoyed another hot chocolate at the Chocolatiers. Mind had ice cream, cranberries and pistachios on top. I called it lunch.
Then we split up to wander on our own. I went back to the castle as I was told the museum was worth paying for. So I paid the entry fee for the Cathedral as well. Climbing up the bell tower was fun as I had to squeeze through some areas and the stairs were pretty steep. The view from the top was nice too.
The castle museums were ok if you like museums. I much prefer to just wander about and decide for myself what’s interesting. It does give a good history of the castle though and was interesting. Just time consuming and a lot of reading. You can rent audio guides if you want as well.
The rest of the day I spent wandering around Krakow, enjoying the sights and watching people. They’re not terribly friendly here but there is the occasional drunk folks that can be amusing. There were some who asked me to take their picture. I obliged. One girl ended up on the ground so I got down low and snapped a few.. They’ll have some interesting shots 😉
Krakow was great and we’d love to stay longer but it’s time to move on to Prague
I enjoyed this one so much! I have read so many WWII books and this post made it come a bit more alive. I do hope to be able to go there someday. Thanks for taking time to write and share. Safe travels.
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I’ve read a lot too but visiting it makes it so much more real. I learned a lot too and really respect the Germans for how they’ve preserved things. They don’t hide this dark side of their history but want the world to learn from it. One person I talked to says they do it to the extreme, as in, constantly beating themselves up for it. Another said that what is happening in Ukraine may end up being even worse.
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