What do you think of when you think of Krakow, Poland?
Before this trip, I didn't think of anything, really!
Which is PERFECT!!!!! I didn't have any expectations at all. My slate was completely blank going in.
And in the end, I ended up being pleasantly surprised.
Welcome to Krakow, Poland!
After my elective in Geneva, I met up with my friend Amanda, and some of her friends for a couple weeks of backpacking.
They were nice enough to let me tag-on to their trip a little late in the game, so the itinerary was already set and almost everything was already booked. Which was GREAT!! It took me to some places I never would have thought of on my own, one of them being Krakow.
We stayed at Greg & Tom Beer House Hostel, which could not have been better located. Right on the main street, steps away from the main square.
But the best part about this hostel, is that THEY FEED YOU DINNER, FO' FREE! Like a reeeeeeal restaurant quality meal: soup, main course, and even dessert. JACKPOT.
They also have a pub-crawl which was A TON OF FUN!!!!!
Krakow is set up like most European cities. There's a main square, a castle, a big church, and a main street. There's also a Jewish Quarter (I did the free walking tour! It's also where all the best bars are at) and an Old Town.
Despite a somewhat tumultuous history and Nazi occupation during World War II, Krakow emerged largely intact. The Old Town is ADORABLEEEE. I loved the colours (I'm a sucker for pastels)! Buildings in greens, pinks, blues and yellows with intricate white moulding framing the windows and rooftops line narrow cobblestone streets.
The main square has a market, selling mostly flowers and some tacky souvenirs, and you can find a pretzel stand on almost every corner (you better believe I got one!).
But my favourite part of Krakow, was the small square just beside the big one. For one reason really: the food!! (and beer and wine!! and music and general liveliness.)
I tried Oscypek for the first time, a traditional Polish cheese that is smoked and made of sheep's milk. Sounds whatever, but is sooooo tasty!! I discovered it on my last day in Krakow, which makes me a sad panda only because I didn't get to eat MORE of it!
I also visited Auschwitz while in Krakow, but decided to leave the camera at home. Something about it just didn't seem right.
But I will say this, if you ever have the opportunity to visit a concentration camp, DO IT. My day at Auschwitz was completely unfathomable - it's such a dark but important part of our history and finally seeing in real life what you've read about for years in history books gives you a completely new perspective.
Although I really enjoyed my time in Krakow, I didn't looove everything about it. One thing I noticed (which is kind of minuscule and weird but I still noticed!!!) was that everyone dresses in pretty drab colours. Normally not a big deal, but it's July people!! I walked out in a pretty yellow sundress and walked RIGHT BACK inside and took it off. I stuck out like a sore thumb!
But other than that, Krakow is lovely. A hidden treasure :)
Aaaaaaand a hunky Polish man (haha) even gave us roses!!!!!
We are lucky ladies!!!
Now off to the next adventure :)