Once upon a time (back in late October... yes I realize this is a rather belated post), my friends and I spent a lovely autumnal weekend in Krakow, Poland.
The journey started on the night train on a Thursday night. It was a long weekend for us as well as my friend's birthday so we took advantage. Since it was me and five other friends, we managed to get a couchette cabin all to ourselves. Three fold-out beds on either side. Of course given that we are a bunch of 20-somethings on the way to a vodka-themed weekend in Poland, there wasn't much sleeping done.
|Party in our cabin! |
It was good fun and we ended up seeing the same people around town throughout the weekend since it is such a small town and all.
Eventually we did sleep for a bit. I think we went to bed around 4 a.m. Me being super light-sensitive as I am though, I was the first one up, awoken by one of the most beautiful sunrises I've seen. Not that I see many sunrises, I imagine they're all quite beautiful but we all know I'm really less bleary-eyed and rather more able to appreciate said beauty at sunset.
I've seen sunrises from planes and coming up over rivers and mountains, but seeing the sunrise from a moving train over chilly fields in southern Poland, well, it was a great way to start the day.
|Seriously, who wouldn't be happy to wake up and find this?|
Impressively, we were up and about and ready to eat before noon, so really I think we did a pretty good job. We wandered into the center for food and somehow ended up at a Georgian restaurant. (Because that's what people go to Poland to eat?) Whatever, it was clearly time to wash down last night's booze mixture with some grade-A vodka. (Because that's what people go to Poland for.)
|Beer, because we're becoming Czech. Vodka, because we're in Poland.|
I think the thing I loved the most about Krakow was that we went in Autumn. I'm sure I'd love it just as much any other time of year (I am going back this summer so I sure as hell hope so.). but there is this lovely park that encircles the entire center area of the city. So you just walk through all of these trees whose leaves are orange and yellow and red and all the amazing colors you find at that time of year and the leaves are falling down all over the place.
It's magical. Or something like that. Maybe it's just that being from Texas I've never had a real Autumn experience. It's officially my new favorite season and probably one of the things I'll miss most about Europe.
|We look fabulous strolling around in our Autumn wear.|
|Rynek Glowny aka the main square|
Not sure what else I would've expected. I do tend to travel through my stomach and my camera.
|Ollie taking tons of awesome pictures.|
Krakow is amazingly cheap. We went to this cafeteria-style place (called a 'milky bar') that was probably the best food we had there the whole time. I think I spent $2 there and I had a huge meal complete with meat, gravy and potato pancakes. Mmmm, potato pancakes.
Also, pierogi. If you haven't eaten pierogi yet, don't. Wait until you can get to Poland where they crack them out as if they'd been making them since childhood (oh wait...) and you will never want to eat anything else again.
|Pierogi covered in pig fat! |
However, it is a bit of a jaunt to make it to the Jewish ghetto and the Schindler Factory which were incredible (in both and informative and depressing way) and totally worth it.
|Memorial in the Jewish Ghetto|
The memorial in the Jewish ghetto is also really great. The square it occupies is where they used to round up the Jews before forcing them into the crowded housing areas in the ghetto area. They were to bring all of their belongings and leave them in the square. Later, everything would be burned.
|Wonderful picture from Olga.|
The only regret I have is that we didn't make it to Auschwitz, but that is something I plan to correct this summer in August. Looking forward to another wonderful weekend in Krakow. Hopefully I love the city in the summer as much as I did in fall.