Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Weekend in Krakow

I have just returned from a lovely weekend in Krakow in Poland. Part of my drive to see new places in Europe meant that I 'did' Poland twice in a month!!

This time it was Krakow a very pretty city and the former capital city of Poland. We flew with Ryan air from Stanstead. The first flight had not been without issues, this time it was no better. We arrived at the airport early in the morning for out 8.30am flight. We checked the boards and queued up at the right check in desk. After waiting for ages to get to the front (Ryan air have supermarket style queues where what ever queue you join moves the slowest!! Easy jet have Post Office style queues where you queue and take the next available check in) Once we got to the front the lady said that check in had moved to another desk!! So we moved queued again finally got to the front and the baggage machine in our queue broke down. We asked the lady what we should do and she said join another queue!!!! Well I was not best pleased. I was fuming. Luckily the man in the queue next door allowed us to go next on his queue!

So we headed off to security check in and I was subjected to yet another body search, the perils of having a metal hip joint. I know why they have to do it, but it can be downright  invasive to have the waist band of your trousers 'felt' under your top. I really had not appreciated just how much of an issue that this would be for me. It makes clearing security a complete pain. I wish all airports had body scanners at least they can see what my issue is. 

We took off and had a bit of a bumpy flight, we landed several times having bounced along the carriageway. We were late so were not subjected to the Ryanair fan fair!!

We were collected by taxi (another moment of fame, a man waiting for me with my name on a board!!) Our hotel, The Hotel Polonia,  We had chosen the hotel for its good reviews and excellent price. We paid around £30 a night for bed and excellent breakfast.

The view from my hotel room was good, I looked over a park and a tram stop. The hotel and the tram have both been there since 1917 and every time the trams went by the whole place shook!

On the second day we took a really exhausting trip to Auschwitz , Birkenau and the salt mines.
We were collected at 9am and had a 90 minute drive to Auschwitz. We had a tour guide who took us around the camp. Its a very sad place and very hard to actually understand the whole size of the horror that happened there, 

Strangely the place looked like quite a nice collection of blocks of flats , I know that at the height of the atrocity it was very grim but look at it now!

There is still lots of evidence of the past history around, barbed wire and look out towers.

There were two concentration camps close together, the other one was called Birkenau, there was a railway that connected the camps. People were rounded up and taken to one of the camps where they were selected to either work or be exterminated. Some people arrived at the camp and were killed within the hour. A truly horrific place.

There were some very sad exhibits, people had been told that they were being taken to a better place to escape the war, so they packed all their precious belongings to take to their new life. They were stripped of their possessions and executed.

We walked for miles (according to my tracker on my iphone by the end of the day we had walked 9 miles!!) 
We ended the day by visiting the salt mines. That was an interesting trip, We went far underground and visited an underground cathedral built by the miners. It was quite a trip!

Just about everything was made out of rock salt.

It was a great visit right up until the end when we had to get back up to the surface via a miners lift, which was cramped and pitch black!!!

Take a look at the Salt Mine Website HERE!

That was an exhausting day but one that I am glad I was able to do. 

Hurrah!! we are heading towards a long weekend. I love a nice Bank Holiday! I am getting used to four day weeks.

Have a lovely weekend.

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