During the summer I took advantage of some cheap Ryanair flights and booked several trips to cities I had never visited before. The first trip would be to Copenhagen. I wrote a little about it and uploaded some pictures to this post. All pictures in this post were taken with a Canon G7x, so no fancy lenses or crazy expensive camera bodies this time round. Just one little point and shoot.
Poland was next. The flights to Krakow from Dublin cost £70 return. Parking at the airport cost £20 and the AirBNB hire came to £240 which was split between me, Stephen and his father Charlie. So in total it was around £330 for accommodation and travel for a weeks stay. The AirBNB apartment we stayed in was amazing. I would’ve been happy to call it my own apartment!
My only experience of Poland in general was what I had heard from other people. Names like Auschwitz & Birkenau were familiar to me but I wanted to see these sights for my own eyes.
We landed in to Krakow on Sunday evening but it would be too late to check out any of the normal tourist spots. The concentration camp tours were booked for Monday morning. Theres always a certain apprehension when exploring a new country but I have to say the guide that met us on Monday morning was great. We got lifted right from our front door and he looked after us all day from Auschwitz to Birkenau then on to the salt mines.
I wont talk about the concentration camps too much as I am not eloquent enough with my words to tell you all about it in a way that does it justice but I do want to say a couple of things.
Well over 3 million visitors tour the Auschwitz/Birkenau camps so don’t be surprised when you get there at how many other tour groups are in front and behind you whilst you follow your tour guide round.
I personally found it really hard to get my head round what happened. Due to the amount of people there you don’t really have time to sit and take it all in. You get a lot of numbers thrown at you and its pretty hard to absorb it all.
If you are going to do the same (and you should as its a great way to see a bit of the country) just be aware that its a full 8/9 hours from start to finish. From Krakow the first stop at Auschwitz is about 90 minutes via coach transfer. Birkenau is only 10 minutes from Auschwitz and the salt mines are 90 minutes from Birkenau.
Tuesday would be Krakow day. Whilst the weather wasn’t great it didn’t put us off going for a walk. I am a super keen cyclist and whilst Krakow seemed to have fairly decent infrastructure for bikes I couldn’t actually hire one of the city bikes on offer. With hindsight I should’ve rented a bike from a normal shop but sure I will know for next time!
Krakow isn’t a very big city so it shouldn’t take you too long to walk round the inner old city area. The old city focuses on the main square, in the middle of which sits the cloth hall. I guess in the old days it was used for just that but today it sells tourist tat so go mad in there if thats your thing! I do recommend going to Wassel Castle. Its a very impressive building that looks like its out of a movie set.
In total I got to spend three full days there and whilst the weather wasn’t great I would highly recommend a trip there.