Saturday, December 6, 2014

Wowed by Krakow

Sorry I couldn't resist turning the title into a rhyme. But Krakow was honestly an amazing city, and I didn't have nearly enough time to do everything I wanted to do!

To begin with, Krakow was a very cold and foggy change from Prague. I was freezing the whole time, no matter how many hats I layered on my head! However, this also paved the way for some awesome late-night adventures and cool photos (check the one above - main market square by night!).

My one true Polish love, PIEROGI

My first official day in Krakow was packed to the brim. I went on an amazing free walking tour (highly recommend!), made lunch with my CS host, and went exploring by night. She showed me Krak's Mound, which would've been a great view...except the fog was so thick we could barely see in front of us!

It was definitely thrilling (and kind of scary) to stumble around the hill area in the dark. We even found an unfinished church and some rainbow stairs with inspirational quotes, which I absolutely loved!

Next, my host took me to my first pole dancing class at Fly Away studios! Okay, laugh all you want but pole dancing is not easy and my host was definitely better than me. It's been several months since I've been in a dance studio, but I love learning all forms of dance and enjoyed the challenge. :)

Lover's Bridge

On my second day, I went on a poignant and thought-provoking tour of the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial site. Though I didn't have much money left, this was a place I felt was very important to see and understand. The museum and tour did not leave me in tears, but I definitely was shocked that any human could have survived those conditions. It was impossible for me to wrap my mind around the sheer scope, the number of deaths and the severity of the situation at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

How can a beautiful sunset light up this terrible place?

This trip basically occupied the entire day, but I still had time for one more walking tour before I left Krakow for good. The free Jewish Quarter tour, offered by the same company, took me on a very informative walk around the Kazimierz area. We saw some of the filming locations for Schindler's List, and learned about the quarter's role in isolating the Jewish people prior to their deportation to concentration camps. This tour basically concluded my trip (well I did spend one more crazy night dancing at a club), but I left with some food for thought as well as a greater appreciation for the city of Krakow.

Future Krakow to-do list:
1) Schindler's factory
2) Rynek Underground museum

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