We’re in Poland’s second city spending four days in the quaint, cultural, crazy Krakow for city break. A curious mix of communist, medieval and modern buildings wrapped around an old town square. It’s hard to miss, old town is dominated by St Mary’s Basilica where the bugle calls out each hour and the old town splays out from the Cloth Hall to old streets.
We had a hotel (Hotel Maksymilian) that was a 7 minute stroll from the centre than we then explored the city from. We’ve had to dress for the November weather, we’ve had snow, mist, fog, rain, clouds and its been freezing everyday and even I have sworn we’ll go somewhere warm for once. Krakow is not a massive city centre but we certainly clocked up some kilometres that we broke up with regular food and drink stops. Initial impressions are that its very much like Budapest and Prague, perhaps too similar to each other.
The main square was gearing up for Christmas with lots of work going off and in a way we were disappointed we were a little too early for the Christmas market but then again, I suppose it would have just been the usual fair of tourist tat. With its very own fire breathing dragon, Wawel Castle is a busy junction with views over the Vistula river a hilltop castle. The castle is a mish-mash of medieval, Baroque and Renaissance. Its free to enter though there are some areas you have to pay for but it’s cheap.
No visit to Poland is complete without sampling the food and drink. Seems rude not to engage in the national Polish drink so tried Vodka at Wódka vodka bar, beers in The Tram Bar. On a a cold winters day when the cold air has bitten, a plate of Pierogi, fried or baked Polish dumplings, from U Babci Maliny restaurant is a great comfort food.
We also managed to squeeze in a few other things including a day trip to Auschwitz and Birkenau, the Wieliczka Salt Mine, and shooting guns including an Uzi and an AK47! Its easy to become crazy in a Krakow city break, its cheap as chips and we much preferred being there mid week. Our last day was Saturday when the tourist hordes descended in large numbers making the streets and bars a very busy Krakow city break.