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Cracow 2009

Cracow, Poland

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Monday and off to Cracow, Poland. Got the Easyjet just before 4 with a load of noisy, annoying, girls on a school trip! Managed to survive without getting arrested and caught the express train from Balice Airport to the city, which takes around 20 minutes. Not far to the Angel House, No 6 Blich which is sited at the top of a residential block. It was a top place and we were welcomed by the sweet Ilona. Ended up with place to ourselves! After dumping the cases went to Roosters for a late evening meal before going to the Wodka bar to have to a Zubrowke, a vodka flavored with Bison grass, apple juice and spice, Very nice!

Next morning got waited on by the chatty Ilona (been learning English for 6 months but seemed like 6 years!) who served breakfast including very hard honey, weird. Still nice all the same. After breakfast we made our way to Wawel Royal Castle and had soup in a bun before a visit round the Cathedral (10 Zloty) and got a shot of Mr Zigmunds lovely bell. Lisa had a salami, cheese and tomato toasty and a cheesecake. In the afternoon we had a hot beer made with ginger for me, and raspberry for Lisa, in the Cafe Magia as recommended by Ilona. Top drink but Lisa got gum trauma!! Back to the hotel for a snooze before heading back into town to the Mlyn Cafe for a Zywiec, nice bar and really cold beer but the barman was Mr Grump. Had a fab meal in Wesele in the main square. I had mushrooms and veal, Lisa had cheese, pork with cabbage shared dumplings and veg. Then out into the rain to seek out the Polish pub for a Okocim and a watch of the girlie volleyball.

On the Wednesday, we were out early for hopefully an early start at Aushwitz to be dashed at the first hurdle. The train didn't leave until 11.05! so we had a look in the church of St Mary (pretending to pray how - bad is that). At Oswiecim station we got a 26 bus to the camp. Supposedly only 24.25 and 28 go to the camp but we reckon they all do. Auschwitz felt a bit like a film set, saw the famous slogan on the gates and a number of displays, the most disturbing the piles of shoes, clothing etc. We visited Block 11, which was the camps central prison and held executions in the yard between this and block 10. We took shuttle to the vast Birkenau , very grim which was made worse by the weather. The ruins of gas chambers, and remaining accommodation blocks were all very bleak adding to horror of it all. We had a mad journey on way back with a rush back across snow to make connection, Trzebinia at train station. Then back to apartments for a warm with some wine and 'micky most'. That evening we went to Katedra for a beer before getting to Miod Malina for chicken for Lisa and steak to die for for Al. Afterwards we went to the Tygiel cafe for a night cap.

Off to the Salt mine Thursday after a coffee in the main shopping center again because we had to wait for the 11.35 train (it was only a short 5Zl train journey to a very snowy Wieliczka). The start of the tour down into the mine started with 300 steps!. The guide was entertaining taken us down lots of walkways tunneled out of rock salt to view various caverns excavated and carved by the miners. The mine was populated with religious carvings and chapels, even the chandeliers were crystals carved from salt. The mine was huge with over 300 km of tunnels and was worked from the 13th Century to 1996. We were taken into the chapel of St Kinga to see amazing carvings and wall frescos friezes, including a copy of the last supper. Luckily enough no stairs on the way up but back in a very fast, multi layered, but claustrophobic, lift. Not long till we got back to Cracow for an onion soup and a vodka in the Ratuszowa. We eventually found of what pod means (as everything was called pod this that or the other).. it means underground.. Made sense.

After a refresh at the apartment we head for the 'dark' or 'smoky bar' which was really called Mkodanowapolska for a Zywiec. Upon checking the menu at the Pod Antiomi (underangel) we decided to give it a miss and go to the Miod Mailina on Grodzka St again. After being asked to be moved away from a gang of very loud Italians (even the staff had had a gut full of them) we got a cozy seat and some peace. I had a steak again, Lisa had pork yummy stuff! As we were leaving we noticed Danni Devito was on the next table too! Afterwards we went to the Katedra on Poselska St, this time it became full of noisy English folk.. time to leave!

Friday was check out day and Ilona had a few more guest in to deal with this morning. We packed up, left our cases for a later pick up and headed out for our last day in which had become a very snowy Cracow. I got to take a good couple of shots of the remaining old city ramparts and Barbican before Lisa's 'foot trauma' got so intense we had to take refuge in the period rooms of the famous Noworolski cafe located in the Sukiennice (cloth hall) for a coffee. Later that morning we headed out to the castle to take some more snaps as it it looked so picturesque in the snow, which was by then getting fairly heavy and deep. After some pea and sausage soup in the refectory there, well recommended by the way, we attempted to explore the Jewish Kazimierz quarter but the foot trauma got worse (poor Lisa!) so we dived into the dark bar for a respite of beer and heat. After some more shots of the snowy Cracow scenes we had a quick Roosters meal before trying to drag our cases in the snow to the station for the return trip to the Airport. A scary de-ice and a trip on a boiling hot plane saw us back on British soil.


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