The snow once again was following us as we woke up to set off towards Krakow the ground was already white. It was 11/11 today and Independence Day in Poland and the streets were all lined with the Polish flag in preparation for the celebrations. Probably not the best day to visit Krakow as a few thousand other people had decided to do the same.
A lot of the trains were fully booked but we managed to secure a couple of seats and the hotel situation was worse and we ended up having to spend twice as much as normal but it couldn’t be helped.
It was only a couple of hours by train and so pretty easy by our standards and we were even allowed to check in early to our room. The sounds of trains passing our window was a little ominous but the reviews we read assured us that the noise would finish by midnight.
The town of Krakov is only meant to have 500,000 people in it but I think that number had almost doubled with the number of tourists wandering the street. Still because it was Independence Day and the long weekend the atmosphere was pretty good. The funniest was hearing so many English accents obviously all taking advantage of the long weekend.
Krakov somehow managed to escape most of the bombings in WWII and so has a beautiful old town and a huge main square. The square was dominated at one corner by St Mary’s Basilica and then in the middle of the square were the old cloth markets. There were loads of temporary markets set up and hundreds of people wandering around enjoying the sights. The place was so big that it was easy to join the crowds and everyone seemed to be heading from the square towards the old castle. So we joined them.
The walk through the centre of town was nice and then up to the Royal Wawel castle which was mostly closed so we were just able to walk around the outsides which were well restored and pretty. The Wawel cathedral was open and was actually quite interesting, full of artefacts and the walls were lined with separate chapels.
Unfortunately there weren’t any views of the old town so back towards home we went. On the way we noticed a fairly large number of riot police gathering who were there to monitor some demonstrators. We couldn’t really understand what was going on but it looked like it could of turned tasty so we gave it a wide berth. The other side of the square was a complete contrast with a stage erected and a sing along.
I can see why Krakow is so popular a destination for a visit as it really was quite pretty and there were loads of restaurants and pubs lining the streets. The other main reason for coming here is slightly less festive. Auschwitz. The number of visitors in the area slightly worried us and we found out that we had to use a tour company to go there and luckily our hotel sorted us out with a tour for the next day.
That night we spoilt ourselves to some Polish food which was wholesome without being too much to write home about…the beer was good though.
We found out later that the trains in and out of Krakow station continue 24hrs a day!! Not much sleep had, typical the most we have had to pay for a hotel and we can’t even sleep!! T
St Mary’s Basilica in the main square
The Polish flag proudly hanging from the clock tower in the main square.
The pastel coloured buildings once again.
The throngs of people walking down the Main Street in Old Town.
The imposing view up to the Royal Wawel Castle.
The Wawel Cathedral. You can see all the domes for the different chapels.
The main courtyard at the castle.