Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Krakow Underdone

Although there have been a few places that have been difficult to leave, our time in Krakow left us feeling a little disappointed because several things prevented us from getting the most out of our time there. The rain and cold weather had been following us all the way from the UK and although our bodies were fighting, the dreaded cold set in for both of us which left us feeling pretty miserable. We were also unimpressed with the campsite’s showers which tricked us into being warm, but after getting in, went cold within a few seconds. Despite wanting to curl up in our tent in our trackies, we soldiered on and caught the bus into town on our first day. We had planned to be there for the free walking tour, which we missed because of a ridiculous traffic jam and therefore stuck on the bus. We did learn, that traffic jams are common in Krakow, even in the middle of the day….we decided to drive to Auschwitz to spend an afternoon, but after sitting in traffic for half an hour we realized that there was no way we were going to get to the other side and have enough time to do Auschwitz justice. So, after a heated discussion, we made an executive decision to reschedule Auschwitz for our final day in Krakow. The dilemma being that we had to sacrifice the free walking tour and miss out again. You might be asking what’s so important about the walking tour? Well, we have found that these tours provide a great overview of a place and particularly it’s history. Without the history or at least some background information, a walk of the city is reduced to looking at some ‘nice’ buildings and monuments. We were pretty frustrated to say the least but had to remind ourselves that the main reason we came here was to visit Auschwitz, so anything on top of that would be a bonus. Thankfully, our final day brought the sunshine we had been waiting for which always has a nice effect on anyone’s mood.

In a nutshell, we left Krakow wanting more, but knowing that we needed to keep moving. Despite experiencing some frustration, our time in there definitely wasn’t a waste. One major highlight for us was meeting some Polish couch surfers (Chris & Ewa) in the city, who ended up inviting us back to their home where we ate home made carrot soup and traditional Hungarian/Polish goulash. The veggie drought was finally broken and our bodies were extremely thankful! An absolutely lovely couple who we wish we could have spent more time with, but we appreciated again, the connections that ‘couch surfing’ facilitates.

Chris & Ewa

We did have the chance to wander the beautiful streets and Main Square of the city as well as the Jewish quarter where you could visibly see the damage and scars from war. It was here that we managed to stumble across the free walking tour group who were in their final half an hour. They happened to be on their way to the ‘Schindler’ factory and we decided to join them after spending quite a bit of time prior, trying to find it ourselves. We were surprised to find a renovated building, which didn’t look much like a factory at all, but we learned it was now a museum. The fact that it was closed meant we were unable to venture in. Following the tour, we had the opportunity to taste a traditional dish – polish dumplings…..very tasty.

Polish dumplings

Scaffolding.....a common sight throughout Europe ;-)

The beautiful streets of Krakow

Although we felt we hadn’t used our time very wisely, we knew that the limitations we experienced in Krakow were mostly out of our control. Shit happens while travelling and we have to accept that this will almost always have an impact on our plans. We have decided to remind ourselves to appreciate the things we did have the opportunity to see/do instead of giving our attention to what we missed out on. Maybe then we will learn to respond more appropriately when shit does happen.


Anonymous said...

Loved reading your blog guys!!!! I'm so happy for you that you are having this wonderful experience, but at the same time so envious. What an amazing adventure hey? How on earth are you funding this trip. I guess your working in the UK has helped plus your initial savings I suppose. You know Prague is one place I really wanted to go to when travelling around Europe with my sis back in '95 but didn't make it unfortunately!!! Sounds unbelievable!! How about those dumplings, YUM. I have some Russian friends who make dumplings similar to those, they are delicious. Bet you are enjoying the different cuisines hey? So you've been there one year now. Do you think you'll stay on until Christmas so you can experience the whole white Christmas thing? good to hear of your travels and experiences. Often think of you guys and look forward to having you back here with us in OZ, hopefully sooner then later :) Love yas, Mela.

Tim and Sal said...

Great to hear from you Mela! Yep, still living off savings...right now it's really good because we are travelling through the cheaper countries. Couch surfing and camping also helps to keep costs low. Prague is incredible, you definitely have to make it there one day. We are in Cesky Krumlov right now, also an amazing place similar to Prague, but on a much smaller scale so after a few days here we feel like a local! We are loving the different cuisines, some are richer than others so sometimes our poor tummy's feel it, but it's mostly good. Have no idea about Christmas still, will keep you posted on that one. Thinking of you all and sending lots of love xo

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