Our day started off with a trip to the Oskar Schindler museum, which has surprisingly little about Oskar Schindler himself and more about Krakow itself during the war. The museum is free on Monday but make sure you get there early, there were a lot of school groups going through and as we were leaving (at about 1 in the afternoon) they were turning people away as they were fully booked for the rest of the day.Sorry no pictures of the museum, museum pictures a pretty boring, here’s some random Krakow shots instead.
Next we took a mad dash to the city centre to go on a Communism tour we’d booked earlier. We were picked up by our guide in a Soviet era Polish built Nysa van, the van could hold about a dozen people but we were the only two there. Our guide took us to some of the old communist sites of the city, Nowa Huta, the steel works, a lake resort that never had a lake, people would come from all over Poland for a holiday by the lake, only to discover no lake, but a view of a delightful power station (sorry that’s all a bit vague, but I can’t quite remember the details and the internet and several glasses of Hungarian wine is failing to jog my memory). At another stop (I forget what it was) the van broke down, I saw our guides foot sink to the floor on the brake pedal and then a quiet “uh oh, i mean uh oh, this is not part of the tour” A couple of quick phone calls and a 15 minute wait later our guides boss turned up in a old Polish built Fiat to finish the tour in.
They threw in a free tour of Kazimierz (the Jewish town) by way of apology on one of the little battery powered mini tour busses that are everywhere in the city (yet I managed not to get a photo of). We ended up having dinner at a jewish restaurant called Ariel that is apparently the oldest Jewish restaurant in town, it was pretty damn good.
The next one and a half days we spent at Auschwitz and the Salt Mines, which I’ll endeavour to give their own posts.
Things I learnt in Krakow:
It gets REALLY hot in summer.
Polish food is amazing.
Polish beer on tap is even better than from a can, especially after a day of site seeing in the middle of summer.
It’s difficult to recover from a stumble with a 15kg backpack on in Krakow train station, ouch.