Krakow, Poland

Krakow must be one of the world’s most underrated cities. It’s overwhelming impressive. I’m stunned I haven’t previously heard of it’s beauty.
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Our original plan to travel through Turkey during October (2017) was derailed when US placed a travel ban on Turkish citizens from entering the country. The day before our scheduled departure, Turkey enacted a similar ban on US citizens from entering their country. So, we diverted.

We finally decided to road trip through Eastern Europe, after looking into numerous destinations, . With no set plan, we followed hashtags, used Lonely Planet and Rick Steves, and talked to other travelers before deciding to check out Krakow Poland. We are SO glad we did.

While Krakow was a major hub for Hitler’s regime and ethnic cleansing, it was never bombed and remains beautifully intact. The Old City is home to the largest medieval square still in existence. It’s car-free center radiates charm and romance. The bike path lined riverfront is has many restaurants, perfect for sipping wine at sunset. {One thing to note sit-down restaurants should only be enjoyed when you’re not in any hurry at all. It was common for dinner to take 30+ minutes to arrive}

Our apartment was situated between the Old City and the Jewish Quarter (found on booking.com). A perfect location for all Krakow has to offer.

Our fist day we went on a 4 hour bike tour with Cruising Krakow. Our guide was funny and informative and our tour included riding along the river and exploring the old Jewish Ghetto. Although full of the sad memories of WWII, Krakow’s history is so important to remember as to not be repeated.

On our second day we drove to Auschwitz and toured the Jewish extermination camps from Hilter’s regime. A terribly moving and emotionally powerful experience, though wildly educational and important. The tour can last 6 hours, if you let it. Busses can be caught from Krakow central. We chose to drive a car so we could leave if / when the tour bauschwitzecame too overwhelming. Lucky we did. After about 3 hours of Jenny walking around with tears running down her face, we decided to head back to the city. We strongly recommend the visit to Auschawitz, however be prepared for an emotionally draining day.

The third day we had planned to visit Oscar Schindler’s museum (Schindler’s List is based on his true story). However, after our full day at Auschawitz we needed to emotionally reset. We happily took to the mountains for a long hike. Using the AllTrails.com app we found the Morski Oko hike in the Polish Alps. It was about a 2 hour drive from the city center and worth every minute.

Morski Oko is a small lake at the top of the Trata’s Mountains. In true Polish style, you can get a plate of meat and potatoes and a beer at the top of your 4 mile hike, or you can picnic (if you’re from California;)

We spent 3 full days in Krakow. While we did and saw a lot on our trip, we would have been happy to stay another week. The city is drenched in history. A few things we didn’t have time to do, that would have been fascinating are: Schilnder’s Museum and a fully functioning communist city called Nowa Hunta. We’d really love to experience more of Poland in the future, and we suggest you add it to your travel radar!

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