Although nice, I failed to see how it could be classified as top ten...IN THE WORLD. It may have been the fact that a large group of school kids was staying and had taken over the main floor that clouded my image. Or maybe it was their free computer that corrupted my camera's memory card, losing about 500 or so original pictures including all my photos of Warsaw. Either way, although very nice, I had stayed in nicer hostels in Tokyo, Lisbon, Brussels & Warsaw.
I met a couple Canadians at the hostel, despite all the school kids downstairs. One guy from Ottawa was heavily involved with the federal Liberal Party and had just recently attended the leadership convention in Montreal that elected Stephane Dion as the new leader. An interesting discussion about Alberta, Klein and Harper ensued.
Krakow wasn't as damaged as Warsaw during the war and a number of buildings, including the historic medieval square, or old town, still remain today. I had not realized but Krakow had just recently turned 725 years old.
The one excursion I did do in Krakow was to visit Nowa Huta, now a suburb of the city but originally designed and built as a separate town in 1949 by the communists government from the ground up as an ideal communist city for the working people to counter Krakow, which was thought to be a city full of artists and intellectuals.
The area today has wide open lanes, lots of parks and an odd 1920s New York City look
to it. Although said to be the greenest area of Krakow it had a drab gray feel to it due to the look of the buildings.
I only stayed in Krakow for two nights as I wanted to head towards Ukraine and then south before I ran out of time in Europe. Krakow was very fun and appears to be gaining a reputation for tourists. Much more energy than Warsaw but with the same great low low prices. Despite the large group of kids in the hostel I still was able to have a great time...the place was only steps away from the heart of the old town where most bars, restaurants and clubs are located. If you can get to only one city in Poland, come to Krakow...there is more to see, more to do and the people are much friendlier than in Warsaw.
Poland, for some reason, has a very high % of very high quality hostels. In Krakow I booked at The Stranger hostel. It was listed in the Lonely Planet Blue List 2006 guide as one of the top ten hostels to visit in the world.