Krakow - Nice city.

My sleeper train to Berlin leaves tonight at 7.30pm so I have a couple of hours spare to type up my thoughts about Krakow.

I came here really because of wanting to visit Auschwitz and not because I had any other expectations of what I would find. In fact, I really like this city and while I have only been here a couple of days I know that I would like to revisit in the future. There are loads of things I have not explored (there is a huge salt mine that is open in part to the public and I have not been to the castle or inside any of the historic buildings) but I have found everyone to be very helpful and friendly and luckily have also found some good food along the way.

The photo on the left shows my starter last night in a lovely Mexican restaurant situated about 5 minutes walk from my hostel. Beef Carpaccio, marinated in rosemary and garlic, served with a spicy salsa and tortilla chips. Fantastic.

I did also eat some more typical Polish food - this shows a dish of my own assembly, that is pierogi with meat with a salad of mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes. Just the thing for a light lunch.

The centre of Krakow, the Old town, is rather touristy but there are plenty of good places to eat and many sites of interest to keep you busy. The castle is just off the main square to the South and although I have not been inside it occupies a big site, which one guide claims would occupy you for most of a day.

About 10 minutes walk from the main square, again to the South and on the banks of the River Wista is the Jewish Quarter, Kazimierz, where I am staying. Here there are many historical buildings, narrow streets and interesting sites which unfortunately I have just not had time to explore properly. According to those in the know (two lads in my dorm at the hostel) some good nightlife is situated around here as well.

If, like me, you find that after a while the older historical sites tend to blend together, you can take a trip out to Nowa Huta which was created by the Communists to supply a workforce to the enormous steelworks to the East of the city and also to act as a model town under Communist ideals. I was lucky to be shown some of the highlights of Nowa Huta as part of an afternoon tour operated by "Crazy Guides" and chauffered around in an elderly Trabant (which at the end of the tour we were allowed to try and drive, on a disused airfield). Highly recommended with a good guide and great fun.

This morning I have taken a trip out to the Aviation museum on the edge of the city which is large and slightly chaotically laid out but allows the visitor to wander around at their own pace, taking in a variety of aviation exhibits from around 1918 onwards. Unfortunately this former RAF Jaguar, pictured left, has seen better days. There seems to be a lot of building work going on at the site and a new building appears to be in the final stages of construction, so I guess in the future the displays and featured aircraft will be laid out rather more logically. They might even have reassembled the Jaguar by then!

No comments:

Post a Comment