Krakow is one of those cities in Europe where you go and get surprised. Surprised that this kind of city managed to get mostly untouched after the Second World War, when all the Poland was in tatters. Surprised that is such a rich city and the city center looks amazing. Surprised by the roads there, the impressive entrances and exits in the city, 3-4 lanes wide with excellent tarmac. Surprised than on a Monday morning at 6:00 AM you can barely get out of the city on the south exit. But most of all, surprised by all the movement and the tourist that land there every year.
And as a true Land Visitor, I’ve arrived in Krakow (or Cracovia, as a polish would say) at the start of the night. That wasn’t really my intention, but since the road from Zakopane (I wanted to see the ski jumping trampoline, I managed to do that, in a early snow weather) to Krakow was quite crowded, I decided to take a shortcut to see the salt mines near Krakow (Wieliczka salt mines, to be more precise).
Unfortunately, I’ve arrived at 16:30 local hour, and the salt mine closed at 17:00. So, no salt mine visiting for me, since it would have took 3 hours to get a complete tour. Maybe another time. Anyway, the darkness descendeth over Krakow quite fast (the visit was made in late November, so not a lot of sunlight over there, quite a lot of snow). We’ve managed to get to our Airbnb stay in the center of Krakow (it was quite cheap, 20 $ for a night sleep, in the old Jewish neighborhood of Krakow. It was quite an interesting place to stay, not a lot of space, but for a night sleep, it was quite convenient.
We were 5 minutes away (walking distance) from the city center of Krakow, so we managed to see almost all the city center. And it was magnificent. The Christmas fair was on, and the smell was crazy nice, with a lot of polish traditional foods and sweets. And many many more things.
What can you see in the city center, would you ask ? Well, let’s make a simple list:
- St. Mary Basilica, an old Catholic church from Krakow, built in 1347, so almost 700 years old.
- Plac Mariaki
- Pieskowa Skała Castle, which is the old town castle
Also, near Krakow you can visit the Auschwitz concentration camp (where you can enter for free and it’s quite a moving site to visit), but about it I’m going to talk in another post.
Another thing to mention: there are quite a lot of tourists from England in Krakow. I’ve walked a lot in the market, and I’ve heard almost all the people speaking with an UK accent. Most of them have over 40 years old, but they are quite friendly and chill.
The food is quite cheap, if you get it from the supermarket, but if you want to get something from a restaurant in town, well, except city center prices. Big city center prices.
I would have loved to have more time to visit the area, but for a night, I’ve managed to visit quite a lot of places that I was interested in. Also, when I’ve arrived to Pieskowa Skala Castle, it started snowing. And then raining. So when I got at the accommodation place, I was soaked.
But after a good night of sleep, I regained my strength and went forward to Auschwitz. But about that part of the trip, next time.
In the end, I’m leaving you with some pictures of Krakow.