Krakow - Day 1

Trip Start Aug 17, 2009
Trip End Jul 20, 2010

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Where I stayed
Totu Hostel

Flag of Poland  , Southern Poland,
Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Late Tuesday night we set off from Berlin for Krakow. The original plan had been to fly, but when we discovered there was a night train we knew we needed to have the experience.  Boy was the night train an experience!!  Imagine this:  A compartment 5 feet wide and about 6 feet long, 4 "bunk beds," a walkway about 10 inches wide, 4 people, and all their crap.  I tried to take pictures, but I couldn't get far enough back to get the full effect.  There was a luggage rack that we all put our computer bags in, but the luggage didn’t fit.  Sahara managed to get her suitcase up on a rack over the window and Nicole and I left ours on the floor in the walkway, effectively leaving a 10 inch x 8 inch area of clear floor space to stand on.  Very tiny space, lots of stuff, us all crammed in there, and some crazy Russians trying to get in because they didn’t realize they were in the wrong car (good thing there was a chain on the door!).  We also decided that the atmosphere was screaming “Harry Potter,” so we broke out the computer and watched the 4th movie (with train compartments and “International Magical Cooperation” :-) ) while 'feasting’ on bread, cheese and cookies and drinking wine out of the bottle.  Very classy I know, but so much fun.  Surprisingly, I was actually able to sleep pretty well on the “beds,” but as we know I can sleep anywhere.

We got in to Krakow at about 9 am, found a taxi to take us to our hostel, where thankfully we were able to check right in to our room which was pretty large, had a little balcony, an in-room bathroom and very comfy beds.  After showers and a regrouping we headed out to explore old-town Krakow.

I have to say I went in to Krakow with very few expectations and some fears about what it would be like.  But after 2 days, I’m in LOVE with this city.  It’s a gorgeous city, the people are very nice, and we had a very good time.  We spent Tuesday just exploring.  Walked over to the main square, where there were stalls set up selling all sorts of handicrafts, jewelry, porcelain, glassware, etc.  We were also on a mission to find lunch, and of course that means pirogues.  Well, we found a restaurant attached to, we think, the opera house.  Gorgeous building, atmosphere inside was perfect, and for about $15 we had a delicious Polish meal.  I had Borscht and Pirogues.  We also had a fantastic waitress who really made our first meal in Poland perfect. 

While we were exploring before lunch we had passed a church that was advertising a concert Wednesday afternoon, pretty cheap too, so we decided it would be a perfect way to spend some time in Krakow.  The concert, the “Magic Piano” was in the church, so perfect acoustics, beautiful setting.  I hope you can appreciate it from my “covert” recording, since cameras were technically not allowed.  After the concert we made our way back to the hostel, relaxed for a while and then went to the restaurant downstairs from our hostel where we ate really well again.  Another restaurant with a perfect setting, great wait staff, lots of really good food, wine, and, of course, an after dinner Vodka flavored with herbs and honey.  A perfect first day in Poland and a perfect way to relax after Berlin.  Early night too, since we had to be up and downstairs at 8:45 Thursday morning for our trip to the more sobering sights of Poland.

Next up….Auschwitz, Birkenau, and the Salt Mines.
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