This trip was a bit of a strange one for me. It came about because I needed to leave the country for a couple of weeks when my UK working visa ended. While Krakow and Berlin had always been on my list of places I wanted to see before I left Europe, it was a weird feeling planning an enforced trip. Luckily my amazing Mum came over to do the trip with me, after putting off thinking about it and planning it for so long I finally sucked it up and did so in just enough time for her to book and join me. It wouldn't have been the same without her and I wouldn't have enjoyed it even half as much!
|Travel buddies reunited!|
Our first destination was Krakow. I flew from Edinburgh and Mum from Dublin. I have never not wanted to get on a flight so much before and climbing the stairs I could happily have turned around and run back into the airport! Obviously I couldn't unleash Mum on Poland on her own though, so I had to go.
We stayed in a great airbnb apartment in the Jewish quarter. It was arty and beautiful and just what we needed to come back to everyday.
First stop for me was the supermarket where I picked up a bottle of wine, cheese, salami, fresh bread, grapes, some small salads, and what I thought was cream cheese but turned out to be butter, for a grand total of 5 euros. I was starting to remember why I love Eastern Europe so much!
I scoped out an outdoor burger van on my way back to the apartment and when Mum arrived we walked down and had one of my favourite meals of the trip! There was something awesome about sitting on crates with a steel drum for a table in the still cold air of Krakow, eating a totally homemade delicious burger. I would have eaten there every night if I wasn't so obsessed with always trying different foods!
|Restaurant in the Jewish Quarter we went back to our second night|
|Mum in a courtyard where some of Schindlers list was filmed|
|Walking up to the Castle|
|On one of then oldest streets in Krakow|
|Potato pancake with goulash sauce|
|Old Town Square|
|Old Town Square|
|That one time I got wine bottle sized cider by accident|
|3 course dinner on the first night! Step 1: Borsch (beetroot soup)|
|Step 2: Pierogi! The start of a glorious relationship...|
|Step 3: Things I can't remember the name of and could never pronounce but that taste delicious|
Day one we got our bearings, ate more yummy food and booked our trip to the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
I hadn't been totally sold on the Salt Mine because we have been to one in Kansas but Mum wanted to go and it was a great experience. We got to go down and learn a lot about the importance of salt in the past (sounds thrilling I know...I'm not selling it so well!) but also see sculptures and an entire chapel made out of salt. I also picked up the best present ever for a certain someones birthday - who wouldn't be excited about getting garlic salt bought underground in a Polish salt mine...right?!
Then we discovered the 24 hour pierogi place and I fell in love and probably put on a couple kilograms.
|Salt statue - actually really impressive!|
|Old steps the miners used - not so safe!|
|Looking down on the Cathedral of salt|
|Pictures brought into 3D entirely in salt|
|You can't tell that well but this actually pops out so much it looks like you can step inside|
|Salt crystal chandiler|
|This one shows a bit more of the depth|
|In the mine!|
|Back around ground in Krakow main square|
|Pierogi menu for the day|
|Spinach and salmon - posh pierogi!|
|Plum with cream.... I could eat this picture|
|I wish this was around the corner from my house!|
The food in Poland definitely didn't disappoint and the next couple of nights saw us eating more delicious Polish cuisine and Israeli food in the Jewish quarter.
|The streets of Krakow|
We also took a walk down to Schindler's Factory, which has now been turned into a museum. We weren't going to go in since I really just wanted to see the factory but it ended up being an awesome exhibition all about what happened in Krakow leading up to and during the war. I learnt so much and to be in the place where people worked for their lives made it even more humbling.
|Plaque outside the factory - so strange to be there having seen Schindler's List|
|Pictures of the Jews saved|
|Mum outside the gates to the factory|
|Oskar Schindler's desk|
|Some of the names of the Jewish people saved|
|Mum listening to survivors stories next to enamelware modelled on that made at the factory|
|Mum outside the factory|
|The square where most Jews from Krakow were deported from|
|Dinner in the Jewish Quarter again|
Krakow was just the beginning of our historical tour around a small part of Europe, but it was a great start and I can highly recommend a visit for both the city as it is now and the history you can see and learn from there.