Krakow with Katie – another country, and a great time

After so much goind on this spring, I feel spoilt. Spoilt to have so many things to do, and to have so many people to share them with, Flanders, France, Scotland… I’m a lucky man. The short but very sweet trip to Krakow was possibly the most surprising.

It didn’t start well though. We sat for just over 4 hours on the tarmac at Manchester Airport c/o Ryan Air and a mystery ‘error warning’ in the cabin. Better to be safe than sorry, but it meant we arrived not mid-evening in an exciting new city, but in the wee small hours, and a bit knackered!

The hotel (katie had researched and booked) – the Leonardo Boutique Hotel in Krakow Old Town was full of very welcoming staff – even at that hour – and we were well placed.

After a few unprecedented days of warm weather, our arrival brought in more precedented British weather, and our morning walk around the old town and castle was a bit soggy.

But it soon cleared up, and we had a lovely mix of walking and chilling. We ate some delicious polish food in Restauracja Wr?ga that evening, and walked the lovely Bohemian streets of the Jewish Quarter.

The more traditional tourist routine followed on our second day – and we visited the chilling sight of the death camp at Auschwitz. The thorough and detailed tour was as harrowing as you might expect it to be, but very very recommended. An incredible insight into the cruelty that humans can inflict – and how the narrative can be controlled by the powerful. Truly harrowing.

Following that, a bit more upbeat, but down-there trip to the incredible Wieliczka Salt Mine – excavated from the 13th century, produced table salt continuously until 1996, as one of the world’s oldest operating salt mines. At one time it provided the majority of the GDP for the area now defined as Poland. Just incredible.

That evening was a delicious and dramatic meal in the Pierwszy Stopie? Restaurant (see video below.

TH enext morning’s walk – via St Florian’s Gate round the old town again – then back again round lower Jewish Quarter

Mr. Black cocktail bar

We went on to Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory on a recommendation, and again were both fascinated and deeply humbled by the incredible story. (Watched the Spielberg film again too when we got home!)

A heartily recommended country, and city. And a delightful surprise, in so many ways.