The greatest part of being a uni student in England is the fact that we get the month of April off for “studying” purposes. This has given so many student ample opportunity to travel around Europe and elsewhere without missing a single session of class.
I was lucky enough to travel to Krakow, Poland this past week, and may I say, it has been my favorite travel thus far! Krakow had so much to offer, from “The Old City”, over to “The Jewish Quarter”, and on to “The Ghetto”. We also were able to see Auschwitz I and II while in Poland.
The rich history and old design of the city made it seem as though I was not in Europe anymore. (I have now been to quite a few European cities, and they are beginning to look very similar with the architecture and random elements). It was so great to have see the sun shining and be able to wear a tank top for the first time since I have arrived 8.5 months ago!
I stayed in the “Pink Panther” hostel of Krakow when visiting. This has, by far, been the best hostel I have stayed at while in Europe. I highly suggest staying there if in Krakow. We were right next to city center, and the hostel had a great kitchen, living room, and bathrooms. (Always remember to read the reviews of all hostels before staying in them! Especially the cleanliness reviews!) My friend and I immediately met other travelers, who we hung out with most of the remaining time in Krakow!
The first day, my friend, Tracy, and I were looking for a “Tour Bus” to take us around the city. (Most cities have large, double decker tour busses… I suggest taking all of them if they are available!) However, Poland did not have such a device, instead, they had golf carts! My friend and I rented a golf cart and proceeded into the city. We started with the Jewish Quarter of Krakow. This was very near city center, but a bit of a walk. We passed a huge castle, old synagogues and Catholic churches. We also passed quite a bit of old architecture… I am not totally sure how to describe this city, aside from it is amazing!!!
We next headed over to “The Ghetto” where they housed the Jewish people during the second world war. This area was very different from the rest of the city. It was a lot more dark and grim. After learning more about the history (more than a textbook had ever mentioned) I found myself wanting to learn more about this history.
We were able to see where the old Schindler factory was held, and where a lot of “Schindler’s List” was filmed. It was amazing at how accurate that movie really was, and how well it held to the Krakow origin.
We eventually left that area, and decided to walk around “The Old City” until night time came around. My friend and I had a blast meeting new people and finding out more history about Poland.
The first night, we went out with a bunch of other hostel goers. We had such a blast! I was able to meet 2 English guys, a Swedish man, a few from Malaysia, 2 from India, 3 Aussie’s and another american. The best part of hostels is meeting people from all over the world and becoming friends with them!
We went out to a few bars/night clubs that night… it was a great time, and fairly cheap! Cannot complain about that! Most of the clubs we went to were underground. This was something I have rarely seen while in Europe… so it was a really cool “lair” type scene.
The next day, we did a day trip to Auschwitz I and II. This was a completely surreal experience. I saw the rail road tracks of which the prisoners were dropped off at… the beds the slept in… the bathrooms, work houses and even the gas chambers. Auschwitz is something I believe everyone should see. My friend that I went with is Jewish, so it was an even more powerful experience hearing about her feelings and family history with the persecution. The camps were horrid. Something again, that I cannot explain in full detail.
Moving on, my friend and I had made it back to Krakow from the camps… where we got some traditional polish dinner and went out with our hostel family. We had another great night out with our new friends! Our plane had actually left that next day at 6:30am so we decided to stay out all night and converse with our new friends.
It was so great to hear about where everyone had been, and where they plan to go yet! We sat up soaking in the Polish culture on the deck of the hostel. We also made a few trips outside to take in our surroundings one last time.
I will write again this week of my recent trip to Bristol, England. (Another amazing trip and site to see!)
Until next time! Cheers,