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Travelled in September 2021

Old Town Square

Well, it had been approximately 2 years since I had last been on a flight and so happy to be travelling abroad again.  This was a trip that had been postponed twice since booking. 

I think I pretty much felt the same as all my customers who have already travelled abroad, anxious, apprehensive, excited.  However, only happiness and relief when I took to the skies!  Don’t think I’ve felt like that on a plane since I was 13 on my 1st holiday abroad to Salou. 

At the time of writing this, the government has made travelling simpler, so there is no need to have a lateral flow test to come back to the UK if double-vaccinated.  The day 2 PCR test when you return is still required, but again under review that it may be reduced to a lateral flow. 

Krakow has been on my bucket list for a few years now and again, many people I know who have already travelled have raved about it.  So, I wanted to see for myself what all the fuss is about.   

We travelled out mid-September for 4 nights from Edinburgh with Easyjet.  I have flown Easyjet now a few times and always found their staff to be extremely helpful and polite.  This time was no different.  We had to keep our face masks on walking through the airports and on the flight, except when eating and drinking.  This didn’t bother us at all.  Going through security at 5 am was pretty quiet but as always, we found Wetherspoons to have some breakfast which was fairly busy as not all restaurants/cafes were open. 

We had private transfers booked to our accommodation – Central Krak apartments and had our driver meet us in the arrivals hall.  The transfer wasn’t expensive, however, you can opt for the train or bus to the city centre which is very reasonable.  Taking the train is a very easy journey. 

We had a list of places we wanted to visit and didn’t waste any time.  We dropped our cases off and headed out.  We visited the Kazimierz area of the city, which is known as the Jewish Quarter.  We followed the walking tour in the lonely planet guide, taking in some museums, food trucks, and some quirk shops. We also went into the Corpus Christi church was stunning!  There was also a market at Plac Nowy.  I knew that at night Kazimierz comes alive so we went back down a few days later and had dinner at Marchewka z Groskiem restaurant where my partner had a local dish, Golonka.  We then went for drinks at the Alchemist bar.  I read some amazing reviews, although not as much my cup of tea, it was great to experience this quirky and bohemian bar.    Kazimierz reminded me of the West End of Glasgow.  I think at the weekends it will also be a lot busier than we experienced.  There were many bars and restaurants to choose from that looked fabulous.  Krakow is also very popular with Stag weekends, particularly in this area.

We used the tram a few times to get about the city and thank goodness for google maps which made travelling so easy.  

Local Tram – so easy and reasonable to get around the city

We were only a 15-minute walk to the old town square.  WOW!!  This place is stunning.  You can take a ride on the horse and cart which was like something out of Cinderella.  We visited the Rynek underground which gave us a great insight into what is under the square and the history of Krakow.  We just purchased tickets there for later that day but you can book in advance to guarantee entry.   The renaissance cloth hall with lots of stalls runs along the centre of the square.  On one side of the square is St Mary’s Basilica, built 1397 and famous for its wooden carved Veit Stoss altarpiece and an amazing ceiling painted in dark blue and gold to look like the night sky.

Old Town Square Highlights

There are many eateries around the square, our favourite was one which was recommended to me – Sioux Restaurant.  We even went twice as such great food and value.  Some restaurants had live music playing which was lovely.  

lovely local food

Our weather was great, about 23 degrees so we were fortunate to eat and drink outside every night.  There are several milk bars around the city and opted for 1 for breakfast just near the square which was lovely.  One of our highlights was the Street Food Market just a 5-minute walk from the square.  We opted for some local food which was very reasonable and delicious.  Remember to take cash! 

We also managed to visit Wawel Castle https://wawel.krakow.pl/en. You can walk around the grounds for free or opt to pay to enter various areas of the castle.  We opted for the All the King’s Tapestries ticket and paid extra to visit the Cathedral and gardens.  We climbed up to the bell at the top of the Cathedral, the views of the city are beautiful.  You can even see the dragon’s den which has a dragon blowing real fire! 

The walk along the river running alongside the castle is just lovely.  You can even take a day river cruise or evening around the city.  I would have loved to do this, but just didn’t have the time.  The prices are very reasonable. 

We booked 2 tours prior to leaving the UK.  We really enjoyed the Salt Mines which was a short transfer of approx. 30 mins from the city.  You honestly can’t believe that these were mainly completed by hand.  They are absolutely stunning and in my opinion a MUST SEE.  Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and funny.  

You can’t go to Krakow and not visit Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.  KL Auschwitz was the largest of the German Nazi concentration camps and extermination centres. Over 1.1 million men, women, and children lost their lives. Although a long transfer of 1.5 hours it was worth it.  You can’t comprehend seeing it first hand.  The tour guide brought what happened to life.  Be prepared for a long tour and ensure you have good walking shoes. This tour is not for someone with walking difficulties. 

So, after walking approximately 50km, it was time for home.  Easy private transfer to the airport and a great flight home. 

Let me help organise your trip to Krakow. Prices are very reasonable to travel to Krakow and whilst there.

www.JBBrillianttravel.co.uk

Julie Batchelor

Personal Travel Specialist