Poland – a time to reflect

Natasha, Murray and I left Prague, by train, for a 2-night stay in Krakow, Poland. We had booked a package through Escape2Poland – fantastic company should you ever wish to go to Poland – which included transfers, hotel and a tour of the Salt Mines, and Auschwitz. The rest of the time spent in Krakow was just doing our own thing, finding our own little city tours etc.

We stopped and had a quick bite to eat at the train station in Prague before getting on the train, and then headed to the platform – and were shown to our compartment for the night. It was a shock, to say the least! There are no words – I’ll allow you to come up with your own description based on the photo:

This was to be our home for the next ~10 hours or so!!!!!! We thought that maybe we’d be able to pass the time away by going to sit in the pub and drink the night away, but alas – our plans were short lived! The conductor on the train was having none of that 😡 We were to be confined to our cabins, with no food, nor water (let alone drinks) being offered. There were 3 bottles of water on the bunks and that was to suffice. Until I remembered that we had a bottle of wine with us! We popped that baby open, and drank straight from the bottle (what can you do when there are no glasses on offer??!!) 🙄

Once the bottle was dry we decided to hit the sack and try sleep the journey away. Unfortunately easier said than done – the train was incredibly loud, hot, and just terribly uncomfortable on those bunk beds. We came to a stop at some station in the middle of god-knows-where for about 2 hours, which brought upon even more distress with there being no air-conditioning in the train, and therefore having to have the windows open – only to have announcements blaring outside about trains coming and going. MEH!

But, we did eventually arrive in Krakow, in one piece, at around 7am, and got taken to our hotel. We were sooo looking forward to having a shower and climbing into a proper bed for some well-needed sleep. But once again, our plans were shot down when we arrived as none of our rooms were ready 😦 Well, we decided to take a walk up the road and find ourselves somewhere to have some food instead – and boy oh boy did we hit the jackpot. We found this quaint little place (wish I could remember its’ name, or have a photo of it!!!), where we feasted! The people were so incredibly friendly and welcoming; it was an absolute treat!

We then headed to the main square where we got a mini-tour guide to drop us off at Oskar Schindler’s Factory, via the Jewish quarter.

     

     

     

That afternoon we were taken to Wieliczka Salt mines for our tour. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The entire mine is over 300m deep, and over 300kms long…. we only toured about 1%, but still managed to walk down 800-odd stairs! Luckily there was a lift on the way up :cheeky:

The most amazing part of the mine (for me) was St Kinga’s Chapel – a chapel built over a course of 67 years (so far), by 3 men, each working one at a time. So man 1 works, dies, then man 2 starts. They are currently on man #4. The chapel is 90m below ground, and is still used today for mass and for weddings! We were lucky enough to see a bride arriving as we were leaving 🙂

     

     

The next day we were up early for a drive out to Auschwitz and Birkenau. This was a very humbling experience and I took many, many photos. I have only put a few below, so please go look at my full album.

     

        

     

     

     

Our last night in Krakow was very laid back – we’d had a little bit of rain which cooled things down a bit. We had a lazy dinner, enjoying the sights of the main square.

        

The next morning we enjoyed a horse-drawn carriage ride before heading off to the airport, to once again meet up with the wedding party – and await Zee Wedding!

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