Before cracks appear in your lust for wandering and before exuberant crack-heads populate all popular destinations around Europe, book your tickets and go to Krakow! It has been proven finally by Team OneTimeFashionista that in order to polish your love for travelling, you need to immerse yourself in the Polish culture. Good news is that such a destination is not poles apart but in the most decorated city of Poland – Krakow.
This 2nd largest city had been the capital of Poland for over 500 years from 1038 to 1596. Polish legends say that the city is protected by a mighty dragon but rest assured that the seriously vibrant bars and restaurants did not have any dragons at the doors. On the contrary, Krakow turned out to be one of the most welcoming cities where we have been.
Ideal for a weekend gateway, we arrived late at night on a Friday evening and settled down well in our local abode called “Armon Residence” – situated deeply inside the historic Jewish district of Kazimierz. Out for a quick meal, we found out that unlike in the UK for example, eateries in our neighbourhood were wide open, filled with young Poles enjoying themselves ushering into the weekend. We learnt that some places in Krakow remain open until the last person leaves.
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The 1st day of our Krakow excursion woke us up to the delight of being in the heart of the historic Jewish neighbourhood of Krakow– Kazimierz. Infact the famous Old Synagogue was literally a stone’s throw away from our entrance and we started the day with exploring this Jewish place of worship which happens to be the oldest Jewish architecture still around in Poland.
Flanked with Jewish restaurants in the same neighbourhood, the location is also a common starting point for a cart-ride around the major attractions in Krakow. It is perfectly possible to walk around the town at your leisure but we had the option to get a cart all by ourselves and to save time we just jumped into one. Our driver Jegor had been kind enough to be our guide for the next couple of hours for only 350PLN. If you are in Krakow soon, call him at +48 733 375 761 and mention OneTimeFashionista to get a discounted price.
Trolley car tour around Kraków. Pappz on the tail😜📸 #OnetimefashionistagoestoPoland #VisitKrakow #love #travelblog #travelblogger #traveldiaries #traveltheworld #travelphotography #wanderlust #worldtraveler #worlderlust #photooftheday #passionpassport #coupletravels #couplegoals #fashionblog #fashionblogger #fashiondiaries #fashionista #canon #instatraveling #instadaily #instagood
In about 5 minutes of quick ride, we crossed the Barbican of Krakow which was once connected to the old City Walls and used a gateway to the Old Town. We saw the popular Wawel Castle from a distance but decided to go inside later.
It was imperative to take a pause in front of the famous Papal window of the Bishop’s Palace, the 2nd largest after Wawel. This is the window from which the most famous resident of Krakow, the Pope John Paul II, used to appear to address the faithfuls. When we arrived, the town was gearing up to welcome Pope Francis who was expected to inaugurate the World Youth Festival in Krakow. Therefore the town was already buzzing with jovial youngsters from all corners of the world. So before the congestion, Pope or no Pope – it was the perfect opportunity to ponder at the Papal window from a close distance.
Again, no voyage is complete without a taste of the local flavours. Through historic alleys and cobbled streets, Jegor brought us to a local eatery to try out some Zapiekanka, the darling street food of Poland which is akin to the hybrid of a hotdog, baguette and sandwich. A must try while you take a break from your sight-seeing.
The Kazimierz district is unique because along with a number of synagogues, there were certain churches as well which stand as the witness to the historic changes that Krakow underwent with the advent of Christianity in the region. Beautiful facades, interiors and atmosphere proudly displayed how the osmosis of faiths took place.
Away from the buzz in the town centre and locations of religious interest, it was time to venture out to the outskirts where the Schindler’s Enamel Factory was located. This impressive location now contains an interactive museum displaying the historic moments of the Nazi occupation of Poland during the World War II.
Worth mentioning that tickets were available at the entrance, but our cart-driver Jegor was clever enough to have taken us to another crowd-free location nearby from where tickets were sold. Just next to the Jewish Ghetto Monument, we got our tickets and also marvelled at the goose-bump giving chair installations at the site where 33 steel and cast iron chairs have been installed to commemorate the plight of Jews being transported to various concentration camps, the uncertain wait and the trauma that they had to endure.
Oskar Schindler’s Factory was more like a preliminary pilgrimage every modern day voyager should make to experience how low humans stooped. The sights, the sounds, the artefacts in display and the bits of history on the systematic cleansing of the Polish Jews are guaranteed to transform the emotions of any ordinary person visiting.
Currently working on the Poland travel stories. On day 1 in Krakow, we went to see the Oskar Schindler’s Factory. It was more like a preliminary pilgrimage every modern day voyager should make to experience how low humans stooped. The sights, the sounds, the artefacts in display and the bits of history on the systematic cleansing of the Polish Jews are guaranteed to transform the emotions of any ordinary person visiting. (If you know the history of Hitler and Nazis, you should be familiar with this sign on the marble floor on which we are standing on, inside the Schindler's Factory. This graphic symbolism is called the Hakenkreuz (swastika), which was used as its principal symbol and, in the form of the swastika flag, was the state flag of Nazi Germany) #Travelblog #Secondworldwar #history #Hitler #Nazi #SchindlersFactory #Poland #VisitKrakow #travelblogger #traveldiaries #travelphotography #traveltheworld #photooftheday #coupletravel #couplegoals
Following the emotional exploration of this historic factory, we returned to the midst of merrymaking locals and tourists in the Main Market Square, which dates back to 13th century and which happens to be one of the most beautiful town squares in Europe. In 2013, Lonely Planet voted Krakow Square to be the best market square in the world and it was evident why. The warm glows of the setting sun, the constant movement of the joyous crowd, the music in the air – all gave an impression that Krakow was the best place to be in the world at that moment.
The key attractions inside the Wawel Castle close at 5pm, hence we decided to explore the open air vast compound. This castle holds an extremely important and decorated place in the Polish history, being the resting ground for many famous Polish leaders – political and religious, this itself is worth the time spent. Especially the views overlooking the promenade along the river Vistula during the sunset is breathe-taking.
As the political and cultural heart of Poland through the 16th century, Wawel Castle is a potent symbol of national identity. It's now a museum containing five separate sections: Crown Treasury & Armoury; State Rooms; Royal Private Apartments; Lost Wawel; and the Exhibition of Oriental Art. Each requires a separate ticket. Of the five, the State Rooms and Royal Private Apartments are most impressive. Your trip to Krakow will be incomplete without spending a full day here. #traveldiaries #travelblogger #travelblog #travelphotography #traveltheworld #Poland #krakow #wawelcastle #photooftheday
We then walked back to the Jewish neighbourhood to try out some authentic Jewish food and our choice of dining was at the Ariel Restaurant. Certainly one can argue that there is nothing religious about food, but the recipes, the preparation, the setting, the surroundings – all contributed to the experience of being in Krakow and its rich Jewish heritage.
Anyone planning to travel to Poland must be clear about one recommendation and that is to start with Krakow. It is the healing balm to the rusty traveller’s soul, the best gateway to polish your Polish adventure. We ended our day one with this soothing feeling while looking forward to the next.0