Sunday, 20 July 2014

The Travel Series #1 / Krakow, Poland

Travelling is a massive love of mine, and what's the point in travelling if you can't share the weird and wonderful things you discover with other people! So I thought I'd start a new series, and share some of my travel stories with the interweb. Enjoy! First stop, Krakow.

In January this year my boyfriend and I jetted off to Krakow, Poland, for a few days away from our busy uni lives. I'd been to Krakow once before on a school trip but he'd never been - it quickly became one of our favourite cities!

We set off in the early hours of the morning, and after a small malfunction with our plane that landed us in the Czech Republic for an hour, we arrived at the airport. We walked to the train station (which literally just looked like a bus shelter), in the freezing cold, and got on the train. The ticket machines were hard to work out but the locals are pretty friendly and we managed to get to Krakow station. The next part was the hardest; we exited the station/shopping centre and then got completely lost. I'm useless at navigating maps and even when we eventually made our way to Market Square, we still couldn't find our hotel. But like I said, the locals are so friendly, and somebody showed us where our apartment building was.

Our apartment, Venetian House Aparthotel, was beautiful - a really modern and bright spacious apartment that we found through - and we absolutely loved it. Even though our actual apartment didn't look out onto the main market square, it was still lovely.

Our kitchen / poor quality photo

The city is beautiful; we spent our first full day visiting the shopping centre which is above the station, and has all sorts of clothes/shoe/food/beauty shops. We bought stuff like pasta, milk, bread, vodka and chocolate from a little supermarket, and we bought enough food for the three days we were there for around 40zlotys - which is under a tenner. Amazing. There's these crisp sort-of-things, which I think are basically corn puffs (like Wotsits without the cheese, maybe), that we loved - so much so, we buy them from the Polish supermarkets at home too.

Our second full day was the day we went to visit Auschwitz; I'd already been, which was the purpose behind my last visit to Krakow, so I knew what to expect. It's heart-wrenching, soul-destroying, life-affirming, inspiring, drastically emotional, and above all, it reinforces the horror of WW2. If anyone wants a separate blog post about our experience visiting the camp, let me know. We got their via train, which was complicated and uncomfortable but we felt proud to have managed it, especially with the language barrier. *side note* There's a burger shop next to Oswiecim Station that does the best burgers I've ever tasted. Thoroughly recommend.

Market Square - we stepped out of our building
to this every day!

Other places I'd recommend include Coffee Heaven, a café which does amazing bagels; and the Buddha Bar, tucked away somewhere in Market Square - such a lovely chilled out atmosphere and lovely decor. Drinks are ridiculously cheap there, as everything is everywhere in Krakow. Plus there's a Sephora, two actually, which is a bonus for you beauty loving girls.

To say that Krakow is a beautiful city would be an absolute understatement; we spent the whole time getting lost down side streets and just standing in awe of everything around us. On our last day, as we sadly made our way to the airport, it we found ourselves surrounded by snow. The beauty was insane.

There's no city I would recommend more than Krakow, and there's nowhere I feel more at home. I can't wait to go back, and I'd love to live there for a year or so in the future.

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