Krakow... for those who have waited patiently...

by - Sunday, April 21, 2013

Wow... it has been awhile since I have been near a real keyboard.

And of course the one that I have found in Sarajevo has the z and y keys in the opposite spot and I cannot find the ampersand or the apostrophe keys to save my life.  Or the question mark. Le sigh.

But here goes...

On my first day in Krakow I went on two free city walks - a tour of the Old Town in the morning, followed by a Jewish walk in the afternoon.  Both tours were good... the guide spoke good English, but boy it was cold... when I woke up that morning there was actually snow falling out my window!

The Old Town tour took us around some of the main sights, including a few places where Pope John Paul II went to school and lived, and a walk through the Wawal Castle.  The Jewish tour took us to the ghetto area.  I was actually surprised that the Jewish tour wasn't (yay - found the apostrophe) more... intense.  I'm not sure what I expected, but it all just seemed so... calm.

I went to the Oskar Schindler Factory Museum that evening - the museum is so popular that you have to arrange a time to go in.  I'd luckily found this out before I left Canada, so I arranged for a ticket that would closely follow the end of my Jewish walking tour.

The museum was amazingly put together. It took you through the whole history of the Nazi occupation of the city, and honestly didn't focus on Schindler all that much.  Sadly I learned that Schindler wasn't really the man like he was depicted in the movie Schindler's List (I mean, I knew that, but I learned a lot more as well).

The next day, in addition to my tour to Auschwitz, I also went on a tour of the Wielickza Salt Mine.  We went down literally (and yes, I'm using the word correctly) hundreds of steps to over 400 feet below the surface and toured about 3 km of the almost 300 km of tunnels.  There are amazing sculptures that were carved by the miners, and a few underground lakes. And there is also an amazing underground chapel with beautiful salt crystal chandeliers.

My last day in Krakow was long... I had to be out of the hostel by 11am, but my night train to Bratislava didn't leave until 10pm.  That's a lot of time to wander.  I went to the Rynek Underground Museum, and toured parts of the Wawal castle. Sadly I spent a great deal of time in McDonalds, due solely to the free wifi.  I checked out the mall, and got to the train station early.

The night train was quite a good way to travel actually... I was assigned to a bunk, and luckily my little room only had two of us in it.  I probably slept five of the seven hours of the ride, and really was only awake because it was about a billion degrees in the cabin.

Next up... Bratislava!

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